Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Soundtrack, James Hannigan, 2009
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix turned to be industry veteran James Hannigan’s breakthrough work – a delectably luscious orchestral game score that topped Jeremy Soule’s previous contributions to the franchise and could proudly sit aside John Williams and Patrick Doyle’s Harry Potter soundtracks. It’s no surprise then that Hannigan’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince soundtrack doesn’t change the winning formula. Hannigan’s follow up work is as riveting as Order of the Phoenix, but it does introduce a few noteworthy changes.
The most important thing first: Half-Blood Prince once again features near-symphonic depth in its orchestrations and counterpoint. And of course, once more its melodies are gorgeous, full-bodied creations. Like Order of the Phoenix, it’s a work that sits very near the top of orchestral game soundtracks. The most significant difference between Half-Blood Prince and Order of the Phoenix is a greater sense of scope and scale. Outside of its roaring battle cues, Order of the Phoenix mostly pivoted between light-hearted mischievousness and hushed nocturnal wonder. The Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince soundtrack tips the balance in favour of a sweeping sensation of adventure.