Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Score Sample: Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them (2016)

The Harry Potter films actually have a pretty impressive film music history. The series started with the maestro himself, John Williams, crafting memorable themes for the first three films. Hedwig's Theme has become the identity for the franchise and is used in nearly every instance of Harry Potter mentioned in television or movie form. After that you had composers like Patrick Doyle and Alexandre Desplat providing some equally impressive scores for the series.

So when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was announced many film score fans wondered who would take up the mantle and if Williams themes would be used. The job fell to James Newton Howard, who has provided some excellent fantasy adventure scores in his day. He seemed like a good fit for the project. What is more, the film is set in the 1920s, so Howard was able to have some fun with the score. He took John Williams signature sound for the earlier films, added a bit of jazzy 1920s style and created a wonderfully fun score that hits all the sweet spots. 

This concert suite shows off both sides of the score using the memorable main them and taking it through variations. The last couple minutes go full 1920s jazz, and it is a lot of fun. So here is the track A Man and His Beasts from James Newton Howard's score to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.


  1. I haven't seen this flick, but it sounds as though Howard wasn't overly cautious. That always counts for something.

    1. Yeah it is always a gamble when they pull in a new composer for a franchise. Sometimes it works out and sometimes... not so much. But JNH always provides solid work, and also has some really great scores to his name. His work in the late 90s is really impressive. And his recent score for "Maleficent" was one of the best scores of that year.