Soundtracks in, symphonies out?

Wizards, witches and even muggles are invited to watch as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) bring the music from Harry Potter to life.

The Music of Harry Potter, which will include the scores from all eight movies, will be bringing magic to Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on March 15th.


The Music of Harry Potter will take place in the Usher Hall on March 15th (Credit: Kevin Rae)

Richard Kaufman, a Grammy award winning Hollywood conductor, will lead the orchestra in exploring John William’s music from the iconic franchise, including Hedwig’s Theme, Hogwarts Forever, and Nimbus 2000.

The audience will be left to imagine Hogwarts, though, as no movie footage will be screened. To encourage a more magical feel to the concert, people attending are encouraged to dress in their House robes or as their favourite character with prizes for the best dressed.

For more information on this event and to purchase tickets, click here.

However, this type of event – an orchestra playing scores of successful movies – is not new, and it’s a trend that doesn’t seem to be disappearing any time soon.

The Usher Hall will also be the setting for the RSNO’s The Music of John Williams and Back to the Future in Concert.

Recently, it was announced that the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 would be brought to the stage, following the success of the BAFTA award winning television series.

The 13 date tour will be accompanied by film sequences from the TV series, which began raising the public’s awareness of the fragility of the planet when the programme was first broadcast in 2001.

On the tour’s page, it states:

“The live concert adaptation is an extension of that striking visual and environmental narrative.”

But why has the orchestra, which was typically entertainment for the upper classes, started to play the soundtracks of much-loved movies?

In a sense, the ensemble might be adapting – or maybe evolving is a better word – to how music is created, listened to, and loved by the public today.

Over the past few years, movie soundtracks have become more of an indicator for how worthwhile the film will be. This might have been similar in the past, but iTunes and Spotify have made listening to scores simple. A quick download, and the soundtrack for Guardian of the Galaxy is on your mobile. A press of a button and Shazam has found your favourite song from The Breakfast ClubThe Greatest Showman soundtrack was so popular that it was released again, with chart-topping artists performing the songs. 

There is no denying it – soundtracks are strong right now, and that seems to have created an opening for the orchestra. But lifestyle-related issues could have also effected this change.

Songs most people listen to now are short – four or five minutes at the most. In comparisons to classical music, this is a minuscule length of time, especially as Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 goes on for over an hour. People do not have the time or patience now to listen to something that length, even if it is one of the most celebrated pieces in music history.

The cost of making the music, as well as how people relate to the music, might even factor into why soundtracks are in and symphonies are out – it appears to be yet another change society has gone through.

To see upcoming events at the Usher Hall, click here.

Add a little magic to your week with the Harry Potter pop up bar

Edinburgh’s latest pop up bar ‘Perilous Potions’ from the Pop Up Geeks, welcomes wizards, witches and muggles to enter a magical world of potion making.

The Pop Up Geeks are a small independent team using their passions to create unique drinking experiences inspired by their favourite entertainment works. Previous pop ups include, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things and The Walking Dead.


One of the many potion cocktails available.


Harry Potter comes to life in the bar.

The latest Harry Potter themed bar hosts drinks inspired by the wizarding world. Open seven days a week fans can visit the bar and create and improvise their own potions, using a variety of different magical mixers and spells. 

This is the new permanent residence for the ‘Geeks’ in the capital and the attention to detail in the decor is incredible. Flying keys and letters overhead are accompanied by broomsticks on the walls and all your favourite Harry Potter tunes playing.

The highlight is, of course, the drinks menu. Concoctions that change colour, smoke or bubble can be created following detailed potions recipes, or fans are welcomed to sit back and have their very own drink made for them.

With Harry Potter’s history in the city, the bar is perfectly located for tourists and fans of the books and film series. Edinburgh is the birthplace of the famous boy wizard, with much of the first book written by author J.K Rowling written in local cafe The Elephant House, and finished at luxury hotel The Balmoral.

The ‘Geeks’ have transformed their own passions into an enjoyable experience for others in the capital’s social scene, and now they have their own permanent residence it’s interesting to see what’s next..

So what will it be? A Glacio Ardetium, a bubbling beverage to soothe any ailment, or a forbidden  Draught of Delirium to length your life? Or, alternatively, order a ButterBeer and relax and enjoy the ambiance.

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Twenty years of magic in Edinburgh

People all across Edinburgh can look forward to celebrating all things magical over the coming weeks after the release of the brand new Harry Potter exhibition at Edinburgh Central library.

The Harry Potter: A History of Magic display commemorates the 20th anniversary of the first book in J.K Rowling’s immensely popular series.

The exhibit launched simultaneously with 20 other public libraries across the UK, running in parallel to the flagship exhibition at the British Library in London.

Fans of ‘The Boy Who Lived’, both young and old, can view specially designed panels featuring images of rare books, manuscripts and ‘magical’ objects featuring at the British Library.

The spellbinding exhibition celebrates 20 years of ‘The Boy Who Lived.’

The displays also include images of materials from J.K Rowling and Bloomsburg’s personal collections.

Edinburgh’s historic connections with magic will also be showcased and will include rare books from the Royal Observatory, examples of magical herbs from the Royal Botanical Gardens and other marvellous examples from the Central Libraries personal collection.

The library is just one of many locations celebrating the book’s anniversary.

A series of other Potter themed events will also be taking place across the city over the next few months.

The events range from magic school tutorials, magical stage make-up lessons, visits by Hedwig and Pigwidgeon look-alikes from the Scottish Owl Centre, as well as special events at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Councillor Ian Perry, Education, Children and Families Convener, praised the library’s spellbinding display:

“This fantastic display is set to capture the minds of Harry Potter fans young and old, so we’re extremely pleased to be working with the British Library to bring its magic to the capital, which has such a strong connection to the stories.”

Full details for events available online or by calling your local library.

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