Michael Sheppard

piano, composer

Fantasy on Themes from "Harry Potter" - world premiere!

2011 Performance
I began writing my Harry Potter fantasy back in 2004 or maybe even 2003. It isn't because of writer's block that it took so long to finish; it's just that I would put it on the back burner for weeks, months, and at one point even years at a time to focus on being a pianist! But whenever I would bring it out again, it would immediately transport me back into the magical world of Hogwarts and all of those friends' adventures.

This, I think, is largely due to John Williams's irresistible main theme that is woven throughout the scores to all the movies, even the later sequels whose scores he didn't write himself. It's called "Hedwig's Theme" (named for the owl that is Harry's constant companion throughout), and is, for my money, one of JW's more successful tunes in a career of hugely successful tunes. This theme is the basis for my fantasy.

It started out as almost -- and I say "almost" very pointedly, because there are also a few fun quotes from other, not unrelated, music -- a theme and variations, but then, at a certain point, I discovered that it wanted to go somewhere else; after a few variations, it seems to come to a kind of resting-place, where it wonders about the main material for a few measures, and then takes off in a flurry of other themes, some of which have been hinted at before. It builds to a huge climax using the "Family Portrait" material, which then abates a little and then builds up again into, yes: a fugue. (I had to.) The fugue uses all of the Harry-Potter-related material we've heard so far. Then this builds to an even bigger climax , where a surprise (and, again, not unrelated) theme gets aired for a few measures, but then it keeps going until it seems as if the very fabric of the universe gets ripped in half. Out of that mist creeps Hedwig's Theme in a haze of disorientation; after considering all that has come before, it comes down and touches ground again. Where it touches down is, of course, anyone's g
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