The music of Patrick Doyle is anything but nonsense or silly, like Shakespeare's "Hey Nonny Nonny" phrase suggests. It is, however, playful at times. Much like the man himself. Most of Patrick's character is in his music, so naturally this makes for an endlessly entertaining platform for a concert experience.
December is the annual celebratory month in the calendar year, so how fitting that Patrick Doyle's 60th Birthday be celebrated on the 1st December with the world's greatest orchestra. Before we move on to happenings of the day, here's Patrick and I speaking about said concert:
Rather than just a standard review, I thought a diary themed account of the day would be something a little different. So without any further (Much!) ado:
The London Barbican's stage is set, lighting being ironed out and some performer plotting was going on. LSO Concerts & Bookings Manager, Marc Stevens is purveying over all and is as calm as ever. Rehearsals are about to start.
Patrick Doyle and Patrick Neil Doyle (eldest son) compare sheet music and notes at front of stage.
Emma Thompson was coming straight from a different rehearsal, so whilst the orchestra eagerly awaited her arrival to start from the very beginning, conductor Frank Strobel started with the 3rd piece: Eragon Main Theme. This sounds so good live. I have flashbacks of Jeremy Irons swaying to it with a big grin during the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's performance in July.
The London Symphony Chorus and LSO rehearse In Pace from Hamlet. This is my first time hearing the all choral version (original performed by Placido Domingo) which is just beautiful.
Emma Thompson arrives and stage is re-set for The Picnic cue from Much Ado About Nothing which starts the concert. Principal Flute, Gareth Davies' brother, Huw Davies is the guitarist. The resemblance is uncanny as I almost called him Gareth earlier.
Emma consults Patrick and Maggie Rodford (Patrick's Manager, Agent & Producer) with her idea of performing Much Ado's Picnic scene in Scottish. Everybody laughs heartily at the suggestion and eagerly agree. Rehearsal starts and nobody except Emma can keep a straight face. She wanders though the orchestra with wine glass and bottle, flirting (in Scottish-brogue character) with Alastair Blayden (sub-principal cello) and Regina Beukes (viola).
The Much Ado About Nothing Overture is put through its paces sounding typically brilliant.
Abigail Doyle (eldest daughter) enters with notepad and soprano Janis Kelly, organising everybody efficiently.
Sense & Sensibility has 2 selections: My Father's Favourite and Weep You No More Sad Fountains. The latter performed beautifully by Patrick's old Royal Academy friend, Janis Kelly.
Time for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Harry in Winter and Potter Waltz are the selections from the Suite. Principal percussion, Neil Percy & Barnaby Archer get carried away on the xylophones! Perhaps one day The Hogwarts Hymn will be performed, it seems to regularly get overlooked.
Henry V sounds better than ever. No offence, CBSO. London Symphony Chorus handle the award winning Non Nobis, as well as Patrick's original solo, perfectly.
Head of LSO Planning, Sue Mallet (she has John Williams' phone number on speed dial!) checks sound, auto-cue and lighting with Maggie Rodford in the tech booth.
15 minute rehearsal break, whilst Derek Jacobi's arrival from filming elsewhere in London is anticipated with an air of excitement.
A cleaner lifts my note book and programme when I was away from my seat. Barbican staff have no idea where she went. “Perhaps it's the disappearing Hogwarts' housemaid!”, says the 'trying to be funny' Barbican staff member. I suspect they're in the outside bin but don't want to start rummaging, tempting as it was.
Jack Ryan's world premiere is performed after a well earned rest. Both choir and orchestra separately in 2 pieces which are on the 24-track CD out at the end of next month (Faith of Our Fathers with Choir Track 7 and Ryan, Mr. President Track 23). Patrick on top patriotic form here. What was that? I'm biased? Not at all.
Derek Jacobi arrives and his wonderfully commanding presence is felt immediately. Patrick and Emma run to embrace him
My Thoughts be Bloody from Hamlet receives a stunning melodramatic reading from both Derek (literally) and the orchestra. The Barbican erupts after the last note. Derek noticeably exhausted.
More hugs for Derek when he takes his seat in the stalls. Emma Thompson's 50th Birthday piece, Corarsik for Violin and Orchestra features a lovely solo from tonight's leader, Tomo Keller.
Abigail, Fionnuala (vocals) and Patrick Neil Doyle (piano) take to the stage for I Find Your Love from Calendar Girls. Perfect harmonising. Elliot Doyle introduces the piece with a very funny few words and manner.
Wah-Wah receives a pleasant, if forgettable run through. Must rediscover the score when I get home.
Caesar's Home is noble, exciting and poignant. Three words that summise much of Patrick's music. I love this cue from Rise of the Planet of the Apes and first time i've heard it live.
A generous suite from Brave, especially arranged by James Shearman and Patrick for the Pixar in Concert premiere at the Hollywood Bowl last year. Bagpipes and traditional flutes needed a couple of run throughs to get pacing right.
A quick run through of Patrick's opening speech for lighting and auto-cue purposes. It's a truncated blah-blah version so hilarity ensues.
Strike Up Pipers from Much Ado About Nothing sees all take to the stage and sing those joyful words to the joyous music!
Frankenstein's Creation cue is 2 minutes of utter excitement! A perfect encore piece (although it was decided to not play it at the last minute, due to feelings that Strike Up Pipers would be a suitable finale).
Top concert presenter / producer, Tommy Pearson pops in to see what's happening. Isn't in a very talkative mood, must be jet-lag. Players vacate the stage and Team Patrick head to their dressing rooms to prepare.
I chat with LSO Chairman and Sub-Leader, Lennox MacKenzie. He's looking forward to some well deserved time off.
Made my way to the foyer to meet friends.
Time for the pre-concert talk with Patrick which is hosted by Principal Flute, Gareth Davies. A very good turnout and Gareth welcomes all by warning that he won't have much to say, as Patrick won't let him get a word in edge ways. Many of Patrick's friends are in the audience, some from his school and college days and some from Renaissance Theatre Co. days. He strikes up conversations with them whilst we all feel like eaves droppers. This sets the tone for the concert and reception ahead. It was really a big family and friends Birthday party, which was always the intention.
The actual concert started at 7:30, not long after the pre-concert talk finished. Seriously, it could have run on all night but we were warned this could happen. Ultimately, it was a truly wonderful evening and a friend has written a good summation of what all involved were building up to, so enter fellow film music expert, Michael Beek...
Musings on a Merry Evening
Cineworld have a succinct review here with some excellent photos by Matthew Andrews and a brief interview...
Cineworld reviews Patrick Doyle at 60
Onwards and upwards, Patrick Doyle's music in concert continues in Belfast on March 31st at the Waterfront Hall with the fabulous Ulster Orchestra. It's a concert which i'm co-producing so I would absolutely encourage you to come along, say hello, visit Northern Ireland and experience some fantastic music live. Better still, there will be other Patrick Doyle themed events around the same time because the Belfast Film Festival are screening some of his movies. There will also be a Q&A and celebrity appearances yet to be announced. Here's all of the information you'll need to book and I recommend Hastings' Europa Hotel for a great place to stay:
The Music of Patrick Doyle from the Films of Sir Kenneth Branagh
Before I bid you a fond festive farewell, here are some other noteworthy UK based film music concerts which deserve your attention. Hopefully you'll make it along to one or two and support film music LIVE. Happy Christmas!
Royal College of Music Film Orchestra in Concert
The Artist Live in Concert with the LSO and Ludovic Bource
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl Live with Royal Liverpool Phil and Richard Kaufman
Pixar in Concert UK Premiere
The Music of John Williams with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Richard Kaufman
A Night at the Oscars
For more information about film music live in concert, click on www.moviesinconcert.nl
Special thanks to Kenny Morrison, Marc Stevens & the LSO, Maggie Rodford and Patrick Doyle.