Reviews I | Craig Richard Lysy

The following is a jury report written by Craig Richard Lysy who is one of the members of the Judges Panel of the Composers Challenge:
Note: Each entry is given a rating out of 10.
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Well first allow me to thank my friend Kalaisan for fostering this competition and for again providing me with the privilege and honor of judging.  Well, contestants, you have been tasked with supporting a very demanding and complex cue.  So, outwardly we have a multi-scenic film passage that highlights an epic battle scene where good and evil contest.  This requires aggressive and kinetic scoring to assist in driving the battle.  Far more important in my mind is the emotional narrative.  Several scenes tested your ability to emote powerful emotions;

  1. Harry’s Faustian choice to surrender the prophecy orb to Lucius or see Ron and Hermionie killed.
  2. Sirius Black being killed by Ballatrix reveals Harry in agony at the death of his friend.
  3. Harry’s rage for vengeance and his inner struggle to either show mercy or murder Bellatrix.
  4. The possession of Harry by Voldemort where he struggles to be true to himself and his values or surrender to the inner darkness that dwells in every man’s soul.
  5. Lastly, the Harry Potter universe is a fantasy realm and the music must be congruent and aligned with that culture.

For me, you must all speak to and emote the powerful emotions animating these scenes, not just the bombast of war.  Most important, the music exists for a single purpose – to service the film.  So let us begin our journey . . .

Entry #1: 

The composer introduces his four-note theme and the manner in which he/she captures the tension of the opening scene with Lucius is exceptional!  In the ensuing battle the orchestral accent and action writing is outstanding.  The interplay of strings and horns was exquisite.  What is most exceptional is the scoring of Sirius’ death scene with its discordance, plaintive strings and wordless chorus.  The use of a slow crescendo as Harry’s fury builds is also well conceived.  For the Bellatrix scene, a twisted violin plays the Hogwart’s Theme and interplays with a harsh orchestral dissonance, which perfectly emotes Harry’s inner struggle to be true to the principles of Hogwarts or succumb to vengeance.  The confrontation and battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore is effectively scored and I appreciate the string work and horn play, which properly support the battle.  The orchestral ascent as the fire dragon rises is also nicely done.  We now come to the pivotal possession scene, which for me is the apogee of this composer’s effort.  The music is perfectly attenuated to the film’s imagery and perfectly emotes Harry’s struggle.  We are informed of his triumph with Hogwart’s Theme, which again attests to the composer’s insight.  The piece concludes as it began with the composer’s four-note theme, which expands into a full statement.  I really like the lyricism, string play, use of woodwinds and dissonance in this piece.  I believe the composer astutely understood the emotional dynamic of each scene and delivered the goods.  Bravo!

Rating: 9

Entry #2: 

The low register approach for the opening scene with Lucius while interesting did not for sufficiently support the scene.  In the ensuing battle scene key points were spotted well with horn fare but the kinetic flow seemed underpowered.  The use of the Windows Of The Past Theme on trumpet for the Sirius’ death scene did not work for me, perhaps plaintive strings would have emoted the theme better.  If you are going to use a trumpet here to emote Harry’s sorrow, it needs to be more elegiac.  With Harry’s fury the music does not build, there is no crescendo, it just explodes, which I believe misses what Harry is feeling.  The chase music however is nicely done.  My compliments in your use of strings, rolling timpani, tuba and chimes for Harry’s struggle to show mercy to Bellatrix.  As to the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore, Dumbledore’s entrance seems underpowered, although once the battle is joined the music rises to the occasion, and I acknowledge the musical synergy with Voldemort’s bolts and the fire dragon.  For the pivotal possession scene I did not feel the struggle, but the reference to Doyle’s Goblet Of Fire Theme was a nice touch.  The piece concludes well and I appreciate the sparkling glockenspiel.  I judge this effort uneven but with some nice statements and I appreciate the creative use of instruments.  Thank you for your effort.

Rating: 5

Entry #3: 

The opening scene with Lucius emotes well and I feel in the music the tension of Harry’s struggle.  The composer’s lyrical and dynamic trumpet propelled five-note action theme underpins the subsequent battle – well done.  The use of a solo voice and strings doloroso for the Sirius’ death scene is exquisite!  The composer continues this achingly beautiful melodic line with a reference to Hedwig’s Theme for the chase, thus choosing to emote the pathos of Harry’s grief and not his rage.  Having said that, although the music seems under tempo for a chase scene, it more than makes up for this with its profound and evocative emotive power. As Harry struggles over Bellatrix Voldemort’s Theme entwines with the composer’s music.  This is nicely done!  The composer’s five-note theme informs us of Dumbledore’s arrival.  In the ensuing battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore, the composer employs Hedwig’s Theme set over a percussive line to support the battle.  The orchestral flourish for the fire dragon is just outstanding.  The eerie metallic sounds of the glass shard storm were well done.  The piece achieves its apogee with extraordinary cello work as Harry struggles during the pivotal possession scene.  When later joined by violins, chorus and harp the music becomes transcendent!  The concluding passage, which references the Hogwart’s Theme, is a perfect finish.  Wow, this is just a sublime composition.  The lyrical music is well conceived and perfectly attenuated to the film’s imagery and emotional narrative.  This effort was supremely moving to me and I offer my highest praise to the composer.  Bravo!

Rating: 10.

Entry #4: 

The opening scene emotes the menace of Lucius and I really like the choral accents.  When the battle is joined the music synchronizes well with the film’s imagery.  The use of Hedwig’s Theme by chorus for the Sirius’ death scene is a fine touch, and the composer makes a nice transition atop Hedwig’s Theme for the chase.  The reference to Voldemort’s Theme to mark his arrival is also nicely done.  I commend the use of resplendent strings to inform us of Dumbledore’s arrival as well as the use of a grand and powerful statement of Voldemort’s Theme to support the genesis of the fire dragon.  The use of dissonant organ in the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore is also appreciated.  In the pivotal possession scene I hear an early echo of the Fawkes The Phoenix Theme as strings join with the Hogwart’s Theme, which is used very creatively to emote Harry’s struggle.  The concluding passage, which again features Hedwig’s Theme, brings us to conclusion.  I believe this to be a fine effort and I commend the composer and appreciate how essential themes were integrated into the effort.  Well done!

Rating: 7.

Entry #5: 

I like the string work and the shifting orchestral chords of the opening scene with Lucius.  As the battle is joined the composer creatively supports the action by referencing Hooper’s Flight Of The Order Of The Phoenix Theme.  A fleeting and plaintive Hogwart’s Theme emotes the Sirius’ death scene.  The music that supports the chase scene, Harry’s fury and his struggle over Bellatrix is masterful – well done!  The interplay of Voldemort’s Theme and Hedwig’s Theme, which prelude the oncoming battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore is nicely done.  The music for the battle scene though seems underpowered with the genesis of the fire dragon not emoted.  Yet the string writing for the pivotal possession scene is exquisite and ultimately very moving with the Hogwarts Theme a splendid touch.  The furious finale that features a solo violin statement, which ushers in an aggressive concluding passage, is also well done.  I offer my compliments to the composer for a fine effort, which featured a nice use of themes.  Perhaps more pathos is the Sirius death scene and more energy in the battle of the Masters is my only criticisms.  I really felt you in the possession scene.  Bravo.

Rating: 7

Entry #6: 

The opening scene with Lucius is supported by a more modernist approach with an interesting use of rolling drums, woodwinds and ambient piano.  The ensuing battle seems somewhat thinly orchestrated and somewhat underpowered initially, although the music does gain strength later.  I feel the pathos during the Sirius’ death scene and the crescendo of Harry’s fury and transition to the chase scene while unconventional is effective.   The use of a crescendo with tremolo strings to emote the tension of Harry’s struggle in determining Bellatix’s fate is nicely done.  The subsequent reference to Voldemort’s Theme with a low register piano pulse darkly speaks to Harry’s confrontation with the Dark Lord.  A reference of Hedwig’s Theme supports Dumbledore’s entry and the slow build before the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore is also effective.  The battle music supports the film’s imagery with good references to the fire dragon, shattering glass and storm of glass shards.  For the pivotal possession scene dissonance and minimalism mark the initial struggle and I like how the music warms as Harry slowly regains self-mastery.  Nicely done.  The finale, which culminates atop Buckbeak’s Flight theme nicely, concludes this effort.  This is a nice effort, which effectively supports the film imagery.  Thank you for your contribution.

Rating: 6

Entry #7: 

The opening scene with Lucius is textural, nativist and quite organic in its approach – most interesting and unexpected.  The ensuing battle begins with a string ostinato that is joined by piano, wordless chorus and a competing string ostinato, which is quite innovative.  The use of wailing female voice emoting a dissonant and plaintive rendering of Hedwigs theme for the Sirius’ death scene is nicely done.  Now for Harry’s fury and the chase scene, the composer continues to use Hedwig’s theme on solo voice, but adds a contrapuntal nativist male voice, thus joining sorrow and rage.  This is creative and I really appreciate the artistry.  This line becomes increasingly dissonant as Harry struggles over Bellatrix.  There is no reference to Dumbledore’s arrival and the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore is scored organically with pounding timpani.  This drum line continues unabated with no reference to the fire dragon.  The use of silence for the shattering glass and glass shard storm is an interesting departure.  For the pivotal possession scene eerie and discordant wailing wordless voices reference Harry’s struggle.  There is a diminuendo as Harry recalls his friends with a culminating resurgence of the female voice as Voldemort flees his body.  The wailing female voice with an electronica sustain ends the encounter, which fades to nothingness, closing the piece in silence.  Well, I acknowledge and commend taking the road less travelled. However, having said that, much of the music is strikingly incongruous with the film’s culture, and at times distracted me.  The lack of essential scene referencing and contrast during the battle of the Masters was telling.  I appreciate the innovation, creativity and artistry.  Thank you for your effort.

Rating: 5

Entry #8: 

The opening scene with Lucius is minimalist and supported by a repeating chord, which is later joined with percussion.  The ensuing battle is again minimalist and features nativist drums and gongs.    For the Sirius’ death scene we get our first orchestral statement replete with shifting dark chords and gongs.  The transition to Harry’s fury marks the return of nativist drums with attending horn play.  The pace of the music lags noticeably when compared to Harry’s running.  As Harry decides Bellatrix’s fate string chords join the drums, which are in turn joined by a shifting dark low register chords as Voldemort arrives.  There is no thematic reference to Dumbledore’s arrival and the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore is initially scored without music.  Only with the shattering glass and glass shard storm does the music return in the textural percussive form.  Bells, tremolo strings, horn chords, percussion and woodwinds mark Harry’s struggle during the pivotal possession scene. We are again treated to silence as Voldemort reappears and then finally disappears.  A stark reference to Hedwig’s Theme plays through the paper headlines and we conclude with an affirming resonant orchestral chord.   This effort is kindred in construct and approach to entry 7, although weaker in my judgment.  Again there is a cultural disconnect that is incongruous and ultimately distracting.   There is a lack of referencing, contrast and the unscored battle of the Masters is a missed opportunity.  I acknowledge and commend the creative approach, the innovation and the courage to take the road less travelled.

Rating: 4

Entry #9: 

The opening scene with Lucius is scored with a crescendo of tremolo strings, which culminates with a dramatic wordless choral statement.  Nicely done!  The ensuing battle music references Hedwig’s Theme as it emotes powerfully with a dramatic use of percussion, horns and chorus.  Plaintive strings and chorus mark the Sirius’ death scene with a fleeting reference to Hedwig’s Theme.  This melodic line is sustained during Harry’s fury and chase of Bellatrix, which underscores the tragedy and Harry’s grief.  As Harry struggles to decide Bellatrix’s fate ominous strings sound.  Slowly chorus joins and emote Voldemort’s Theme to mark his arrival – nicely done.   Dramatic strings mark Dumbledore’s arrival and we build to crescendo, which marks the onset of the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore.   The battle music, which is emoted alla marcia is just exceptional with contrasting themes, including Voldemort’s now rendered by chorus.  The kinetic support of the fire dragon is excellent and the crescendo achieved atop Voldemort’s Theme with the shattering of glass and his apparent triumph just superb!  Bravo!  Tremolo strings and wordless chorus mark the onset of the pivotal possession scene.  To mark the struggle the composer provides a lyrical original theme that emotes a profound pathos that is stirring and supremely moving.  This is just exceptional writing.  Bravo!  The sounding of Hedwig’s Theme on French horns informs us of Harry’s triumph.  We conclude with a statement that references a life affirming statement of Hedwig’s Theme.  I offer my compliments to the composer.  This is just exceptional scoring, which features excellent thematic writing, use of chorus and kinetic action passages. I offer high praise for this excellent effort!

Rating: 8

Entry #10: 

The opening scene with Lucius exudes darkness and tension as Harry surrenders the orb to a fleeting reference of Hedwig’s Theme.  A crescendo informs us of Lucius’ apparent triumph.  The ensuing battle music with a reference to Hedwig’s Theme is first rate in its timing, chorus and kinetic power.  Well done!  Ethereal choir nicely supports the Sirius’ death scene, but the music does not correctly pivot to emote Harry’s fury.  It regains congruity with the chase scene.  Voldemort’s Theme plays as Harry decides Bellatrix’s fate and crescendos harshly with his arrival.  Dramatic music which features a fleeting reference’s Hooper’s Dumbledore Theme informs us of his arrival.  The battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore, which features chorus and Voldemort’s theme, is effectively emoted and the orchestral ascent that supports the fire dragon is first rate.  The scoring of the glass shard storm is also nicely done.  The pivotal possession scene offers a striking choral dissonance with fleeting references to Voldemort’s theme.  As Harry’s friends arrive the music correctly warms and softens.  We build to climax atop Hedwig’s theme to mark Harry’s triumph.  As Voldemort prepares to depart ethereal choir and his theme inform us that the last word has not been spoken.   The finale, which culminates with a reference to Buckbeak’s Flight theme warmly, concludes this effort.  I congratulate the composer on a fine job.  With the exception of Harry’s rage, I believe the music was precisely attenuated to the film.  Thank you for a fine effort.

Rating: 7

Entry #11: 

Ominous and dark bass inform us of Harry’s peril in the opening scene with Lucius.  The string crescendo that marks Lucius’ apparent triumph is nicely done.  In the ensuing battle a repeating percussive line, horn fare and string ostinato supports the action.  The composer does not score the Sirius’ death scene and instead focuses on its aftermath, which is emoted with plaintive solo boy’s voice.  The pivot to mark his rage is not emoted, and when we move to the chase scene the sluggish referencing of a Desplat’s Statues Theme fails to support the chase.  Desplat’s theme works better as Harry decides Bellatrix’s fate.  Dissonance, drum strikes and tremolo strings inform us of Voldemort’s arrival.  The use of low register wordless male chorus to announce Dumbledore’s arrival seems odd and misplaced.  Wordless chorus and a repeating string statement underpin the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore.  There is no reference to the creation of the fire dragon, but fanfare supports its demise.  The choral support during the shattering glass and glass shard storm is an interesting approach.  Discordant horns announce the pivotal possession scene, which is supported by a contrast of upper and low register strings and boy’s chorus.  The music warms and softens with the sight of Harry’s friends.  We culminate wonderfully as the music assumes a poignant religioso quality.  I found this very moving – Bravo!  The choral ending with sparkling glockenspiel is nicely done.  This effort spanned the full spectrum with the miss steps stated above.  I really like the choral work in this effort and I believe the cue reached a sublimed apogee with the religioso culmination of the possession scene.  Thank you for your effort!

Rating: 7

Entry #12: 

An ominous choral breath joins a dark orchestral palate to support the opening scene with Lucius – very unsettling.  Plaintive strings inform us of Lucius’ apparent triumph.  We explode into the ensuing battle with a militarized variant of Hedwig’s theme, which the composer blends expertly with some fine dynamic action writing.  The synchrony with film imagery is masterful.  For the Sirius’ death scene plaintive strings, piano and voice emote the terrible pathos of his passing.  An orchestral burst nicely expresses Harry’s fury and pursuit of Bellatrix.  Tremolo strings quiver as Harry contemplates Bellatrix’s fate and are joined by an ominous sounding of Voldemort’s Theme.  The theme continues to sound with no reference being made for Dumbledore’s arrival.  In the ensuing battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore we are treated to outstanding choral supported action writing, which again offers a militarized rendering of Hedwig’s Theme.  The fire dragon is nicely supported, as is her slaying.  The pulsing detonation build up for the glass shattering crescendo is outstanding as is the glass shard storm.  I really liked this passage.  Bravo!  For the pivotal possession scene an ethereal choral rendering of Voldemort’s plays as we hear a counter ascending melodic line strive against it for the light – this is exquisite!  A tender piano arises from a diminuendo as Harry’s friends are seen and blossoms into a resplendent melodic line that is just wondrous.  A string ostinato and ethereal chorus join in ascent to inform us of Harry’s triumph with a dramatic climax.  The concluding finale features a grand and triumphant adaptation of Hedwig’s Theme.  I really like this score and appreciate the composer’s skills.  The action writing is first rate, the orchestration excellent and the use of chorus masterful.  I am really moved by your music.  Bravo!

Rating: 8

 

Entry #13: 

The composer chose to not score the opening scene with Lucius, which I believe was a poor choice.  The scene demands music and we are left with a void.  The ensuing battle is modernist in construct and references Hedwig’s theme, but the music is culturally incongruous with the Harry Potter universe and distracting.  The composer regains footing with the Sirius’ death scene where he/she captures with dissonance a terrible and grim fate.  Harry’s fury is not addressed by the music, which fails to capture and articulate his rage.  We rebound with the chase scene, but the music does not transition to the new emotional dynamic of Harry struggling to decide Bellatrix’s fate.  An eerie metallic percussive line ushers in Voldemort, but no reference is made to Dumbledore’s arrival.  In the ensuing battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore vigorous pacing is provided, however no reference is made for the fire dragon, Dumbledore slaying the dragon, nor the sonic cascade that shatters the glass.  The music returns to adequately support the glass shard storm.  For the pivotal possession scene a grim and dark dissonance supports the possession as Hedwig’s Theme plays in counterpoint – nicely done.  As Harry’s friends are seen the music softens as Harry struggles to regain himself amidst the dissonance.  Hedwig’s Theme informs us of his triumph.  The finale references Hedwig’s Theme to conclude our journey.  The lack of music is several scenes weakened the film’s presentation.  The more modernist approach too harshly contrasted the culture of the Harry Potter universe.  I offer my compliments for the Sirius death scene and possession scene.  Thank you for your effort.

Rating: 5

Entry #14: 

For the opening scene with Lucius we open with silence and progress to a synthetic pulse and a sharp shrill dissonant spike.  In the ensuing battle modernist non-thematic music propels the scene with percussion, however the music syncs well with the imagery.  For the Sirius’ death scene we have minimalism from which surges some fine orchestral anguish.  I complement the composer for speaking to Bellatrix’s twisted evil nature with horrific discordance as she smiles at her deed.  The progression to a percussive propelled chase scene and Harry’s fury is nicely done.  The use of dissonance to emote Harry’s conflicted mindset is nicely conceived.  A synthetic gasp to announce Voldemort’s arrival is a nice touch.  Dumbledore’s entrance is referenced and the eerie synth crescendo, is creative.  Modernist writing with sharp percussion and dissonance animates the battle scene.  The fire dragon is referenced, as is the glass shard storm.  The synth gasp for Voldemort’s apparent departure is nicely done.   For the pivotal possession scene dark low registered growls usher in a stark dissonance with a solo violin straining Hedwig’s Theme to inform us of Harry turning the tide.  Hedwig’s Theme struggles, yet prevails as a dissonant rush signals Voldemort’s exit from Harry. The finale, which, opens with a violin sustain, and twinkling glockenspiel is a nice touch, as is Voldemort’s departure.  Hedwig’s Theme twinkles as the newspaper scenes roll and we finish with a flourish.  I offer my compliments to the composer.  The music is creative, innovative and demonstrates some nice touches and effects.  I see a thoughtful creative approach here.  Having said that, my criticism is that in the final analysis the music is not culturally harmonious or congruent with the Harry Potter universe.  In a more modern and contemporaneous setting I believe this approach would work quite well.  Thank you for your effort!

Rating: 5

Entry #15: 

For the opening scene with Lucius, tremolo strings sow tension as Voldemort’s Theme sounds a dire fate.  Nicely conceived!  The ensuing battle is propelled by a militaristic variant of Hedwig’s Theme with some nice horn and percussion work.  For the Sirius’ death scene a plaintive A Window To The Past Theme carries his passing.  Bellatrix’s evil grin is nicely referenced and Harry’s fury propelled by a fierce string ostinato with menacing horns.  A repeating statement of this line marks Harry’s conflict as he decides Bellatrix’s fate.  Dark horns sounding Voldemort’s Theme inform us of his arrival.  While Dumbledore’s arrival is referenced, Voldemort’s Theme continues to dominate as we segue into the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore.  An aggressive string ostinato line with horn play propels the action against a contrapuntal Voldemort’s Theme.  The fire dragon is referenced and the use of Voldemort’s Theme with dissonance for the glass-shattering scene nicely conceived.  For the pivotal possession scene dissonance, orchestral strikes, growling bass and percussion carry the flow with shifting strings chords supporting Harry’s stream of images.  This is very well conceived!  Drums and tremolo strings support Harry’s struggle and the music warms atop Hedwig’s Theme on piano as Harry’s friends are seen.  Harry’s triumph is nicely supported as we hear a final twisted and menacing statement of Voldemort’s Theme to support his departure.  We conclude wonderfully in the finale atop a reference to Fawkes The Phoenix Theme, although the theme’s entry was a little unpolished.  Well, my compliments to the composer for a thoughtful effort, one that was nicely attenuated to the film’s imagery.  I liked your approach, use of themes and orchestrations.

Rating: 7

Entry #16: 

We begin with clock-like tones and ambient writing for the opening scene with Lucius, which crescendos with the passing of the orb.  The horn reference to Sirius’ arrival is nicely done and the ensuing percussion driven battle features Hedwig’s Theme, a string ostinato and some nice horn play.  For the Sirius’ death scene we have an anguished A Window To The Past Theme, which plays against an ascending line of strings tragico – just outstanding!  We continue the melodic line for the chase scene and slowly build dramatically upon strings to crescendo as Harry ponders Bellatrix’s fate.  This is nicely done.  Dark growling horns inform us of Voldemort’s arrival.  We have a grand statement of Buckbeak’s Theme, which entwines with Hedwig’s Theme to support Dumbledore’s arrival.  We are treated to some fine action music for the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore.  Buckbeak’s Theme continues to be referenced as dramatic horns propel the action.  The fire dragon reference is excellent and the choral infused string writing for the glass shattering and glass shard storm outstanding.  For the pivotal possession scene pensive strings intone A Window To The Past Theme, which perfectly supports Harry’s struggle.  As Harry turns the tide and his friends appear we hear a magical Buckbeak’s Theme twinkle on xylophone and strings – I like this approach.  We continue on atop a twinkling Hedwig’s Theme as Harry begins his ascent from possession.  Next, Hedwig’s Theme sounds on heraldic horns and then flows into A Windows To The Past Theme, which informs us of Harry’s Triumph.  This scene was nicely scored!  A variant of Voldemort’s Theme plays to mark his passing words to Harry.  The finale concludes atop a life reaffirming Hedwig’s Theme.  I applaud this composer for a job well done.  Your music was congruent and nicely attenuated to the film.  I liked the orchestrations and use of themes.  Well done!

Rating: 7

Entry #17: 

Dark shifting low register chords with metallic percussive accents carry the opening scene with Lucius.  In the ensuing battle staccato rhythms carry the fight and gain potency atop strings.  A repeating horn powered theme animates the battle with great effect – nicely done!  The transition from Lucius’ defeat to the Sirius’ death scene is excellent!  For the death scene, plaintive strings render an anguished Hedwig’s Theme and transitions to a violin carried melodic line that is exquisite.  This line continues with an accelerando to support Harry’s rage and pursuit.  I think it works fine due to the passion and tempo.  However, I do not feel conflict or struggle in the music as Harry decides Bellatrix’s fate.  The melodic line continues in a lower register to inform us of Voldemort’s presence.  We are thematically informed of Dumbledore’s arrival and segue into the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore atop the staccato action line heard earlier.  The horn led battle theme animates the battle and powerfully supports the fire dragon confrontation.  The music crescendos and explodes as Voldemorts shatters the glass.  The support of the glass shard storm is also excellent.  For the pivotal possession scene, chimes intone A Window To The Past Theme, which the composer adapts into an exquisite and anguished string line.  As Harry sees his friends the melodic line slowly ascends; struggling for the light.  We conclude magnificently on this string line as Voldemort departs and the paper articles roll.  Wow, this is just an exceptional effort, with just one minor criticism.  I really like your themes and the continuity of your effort.  The staccato action writing and horn play were first rate.  The writing to complete the last 3.5 minutes of the piece was just outstanding.  Bravo!

Rating: 8

Entry #18: 

The use of shifting dark chords and tremolo strings effectively supports the opening scene with Lucius.  In the ensuing battle the action music transitions to an aggressive rendering of Hedwig’s Theme.  A Window To The Past Theme entwines with Hedwig’s Theme to emote the anguish of the Sirius’ death scene – nicely done!  The music erupts to emote Harry’s fury and a classic accelerando unfolds to support the chase scene.  Tremolo strings sow tension as Harry decides Bellatrix’s fate and we segue into a rendering of Voldemort’s Theme, which informs us of his arrival.  Dumbledore’s arrival is referenced and the action music that supports the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore is effective.  The fire dragon is referenced and the choral work for the glass shattering nicely done, as is the glass shard storm.  For the pivotal possession scene a melodic line that incorporates A Window To The Past and Hedwig’s Themes carry Harry’s struggle.  I appreciate the tolling bell accents.  The music lightens as Harry turns the tide and we ascend atop bells and choir.  A twinkling Hedwig’s Theme sounds as Voldemort leaves.  The composer’s own noble theme carries and completes the finale.  This is a good effort and I appreciate the use of chorus and bells.  The music supported the film’s imagery and I offer my compliments.  Well done.

Rating: 6

Entry #19: 

The opening scene with Lucius is scored very well with original writing, which expertly emotes the tension and dire circumstances Harry find himself in.  Well done!  In the ensuing battle a sharply accented and staccato like rendering of Hedwig’s Theme propels the battle.  We flow seamlessly into the Sirius’ death scene, which the composer emotes with an eerie flowing metallic dissonance.  Harry’s rage is not referenced and the accelerando that animates the chase scene seems weak and underpowered.  Horns and tremolo strings sow tension as Harry decides Bellatrix’s fate.  A horrific dissonance informs us of Voldemort, while a noble variant of Hedwig’s Theme supports the arrival of Dumbledore.  In the ensuing battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore a wordless chorus supports a potent horn line.  The fire dragon is referenced and a sharp string ostinato joins the chorus as Voldemorts shatteres the glass and unleashes the glass shard storm.  Wordless chorus carries the battle’s aftermath and darken as the string ostinato rejoins to emote Harry’s struggle in the pivotal possession scene.  Horn dissonance sounds but recedes as Hedwig’s Theme informs us of Harry regaining self-control.  Horns nobile emote Hedwig’s Theme to inform us of Harry’s triumph and continue through the newspaper headlines to conclude the piece.  This is a nice effort, which I appreciate.  My sole criticism concerns the pivot to Harry’s rage and his pursuit.  I liked your original writing, and your use of established themes and writing for chorus.  Well done.

Rating: 6

Summary:

All of you have so much talent I am humbled.  Anyone that can compose music inspires me and earns my admiration.  Thank you for all that you do.

Awarding 1st and 2nd place came together easily, not so with 3rd place.  I struggled and ultimately after 3 repeat listens gave up deciding on whom to award the 3rd place finish.  Sorry, each of these efforts was just wonderful and equally deserving.  My final decision is:

Composers Challenge Craig Ratings

Thank you for the opportunity and the enjoyment of your music.

All the best.

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