mon 20/05/2024

CD: Imogen Heap - The Music of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Imogen Heap - The Music of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

CD: Imogen Heap - The Music of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

The cult alt-pop star's soundtrack finally receives a release

Cursed by a musical coat of notes, apparently

London’s Palace Theatre this week celebrated the thousandth performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which opened there back in 2016.

Like everything else JK Rowing puts her hand to, it’s been an outrageous success, taking the post-Hogwarts wizarding world further into the future than any other part of the franchise. At least that’s what I understand: I’ve only watched four of the films and read none of the books. However, the music from the production, in and of its own right, assuredly has something.

Imogen Heap has been many times around the music biz block, never quite making it as a conventional pop star but always convincing industry heavy-hitters of her potential, always pushing forward, her music heavily sampled (by Jason Derulo amongst others), collaborating with everyone from Taylor Swift to Deadmau5, and most recently associating herself with cutting-edge music technologies. With her various successes in film and TV soundtracks, she was also a natural, albeit unexpected, off-piste choice, to score a play in which so much had been invested.

The music comes in four suites, 42 pieces in all, and its multiple miniatures add up to an electronic-orchestral journey through styles, held together by an opulent new-agey feel, and a chugging underlying drive. The occasional use of Heap’s own vocalising of airy shapes around her synth sweeps adds a human warmth to proceedings. There are moments when it all goes a bit Clannad but also ones such as “Ministry of Magic” where the ghost of trip hop creeps in, while she’s also unafraid to cheekily evoke Paul Dukas’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (on “St Oswalds”).

Threat appears, naturally, this being a drama of darkness and light, notably in the tribal drive of “A World of Darkness” but, in the end, it’s an uplifting musical voyage, varied enough to engage, bubbling over with ideas and piano motifs, retaining the interest.

Below: listen to Imogen Heap's "Platform 9¾" from the sountrack to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child


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