‘The Erumpent’

This comedic cue opens with a chromatic, semitonal string idea, which is developed later and already has a cheeky, humourous nature due to the sliding semitones used. A percussion pattern and plucked strings enter, with an ornamental flute line superimposed on top, all giving quite an Eastern feel, with typical non-Western percussion and wind instruments being employed. This dissipates and diminuendos, as the original chromatic idea returns in the violin, now fully formed and becoming the A idea of the ‘Erumpent’s Theme’, as Newt nears the end of the mating dance.

A blare from the brass occurs after this, as Jacob spills the Erumpent musk on himself. There is then a dramatic tremolo on a cimbalom, an unusual Eastern-European instrument which was expertly used in Hans Zimmer’s score to Sherlock Holmes, just adding a slightly strange and Eastern tinge to whatever it is used in. An ascending, dissonant, chromatic string movement follows this, redolent of some of Williams’ writing in the first two Harry Potter films. The string idea reaches its peak when there is a brief, growling bass and percussion, as the Erumpent turns towards Jacob. This bass growl then reaches an almighty thud before a dramatic rest, as the Erumpent sniffs. Then a dissonant, dominant substitute preparation enters as Jacob turns to run, before bursting out into a gorgeous, fairground waltz-like, comedic melody, as the chase begins, and this comprises the B idea for the Erumpent.

This motif repeats again, with a slightly altered ending, before dropping down into a punching, accented staccato rhythm, with a quick shift to the minor, building the drama in this chase scene as it cuts to Newt chasing the Erumpent and his wand being stolen, and away from the comedy of Jacob. This comedy soon returns however, as we cut back to Jacob being chased over a hill in Central Park with the ‘Erumpent’s Theme (C)’.

The more dramatic music returns as we change to Newt trying to barter for his wand – a pulsating chromatic idea starts, with harp runs in the background, and muted brass figures as we turn back to Jacob, now stranded on a tree branch. Interestingly, as this new tension-building idea carries on, a decorated version of the ‘Niffler Theme’ can be heard, although I think the theme is being used by Howard to just represent mischief throughout the film, and especially here as Jacob is up a tree and Newt is haggling with a monkey.

The music climbs and climbs until it all cuts away, leaving a bare string tremolo as the Erumpent plunges its horn into the tree. Dissonant brass stabs then come in, as we witness the tree begin to crumble, the stabs become more frequent, before turning into rising string turns as the tree explodes and Jacob comes tumbling down. He takes to the ice and a new 6/4 idea; the ‘Chase Motif’ starts that really intensifies this moment and is one of my favourite motifs in the film, despite its brief appearance. The rhythmic building of tension is similar to that of Liszt and Wagner, and is really effective in mounting towards the climax of this scene.

This idea modulates upwards, becoming more rhythmically complex. and eventually spiralling into a controlled chaos. This results in an enormous, blaring, held pedal which comes to a dramatic halt acommpanied by a cymbal crash, as Newt manages to put the Erumpent back in the case, who I’m sure will be on very thin ice…

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