‘Harry Potter,’ ‘The Emoji Movie’ Composer Patrick Doyle on Writing King Charles III’s Coronation March, Royal Friendship

Composer Patrick Doyle counts “Cinderella,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” among the films he has scored. From Saturday, the two-time Oscar nominee (for his work on “Hamlet” and “Sense and Sensibility”) will have another credit to add to his already-lengthy resume: composing the music for King Charles III’s coronation.

It is a gig that will cement his place in the annals of history, joining fellow royal coronation composers including Handel (who was commissioned for the coronation of King George II in 1727) and Elgar (for Edward VII in 1902).

So how did the man who also composed the music for “The Emoji Movie” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary” come to be involved in such an historic event?

It was as simple as Buckingham Palace giving his agent a call, Doyle tells Variety. “That call came completely out the blue. It’s an extraordinary thing to be asked, a huge honour. Of course, I said ‘yes’ immediately. But then the enormity struck me very, very quickly after that.”

“But I’ve known King Charles for a huge part of my career, over 30 years,” Doyle adds. “And I felt that he wouldn’t have asked me if he didn’t think I would be up to the task.”

It turns out that Doyle and the King have what he describes as a “close professional friendship” that dates back to the late 1980s, when disaster struck during the opening night of Kenneth Branagh’s production of “Twelfth Night” at Riverside Studios in London. Doyle was conducting the production’s orchestra as well as accompanying on piano (the show also marked the start of a decades-long partnership with Branagh). As the curtain went up and Doyle began to play, a lamp that was perched on top of the piano slowly toppled over, knocking the sheets of music all over the composer and the floor. “Thinking about it now my heart sinks,” Doyle recalls, still mortified 30 years on. “There was total silence. So I shouted in desperation, ‘Has anyone seen page one?’ The entire place erupted.”

In the audience Doyle caught Prince Charles, as he was known then, in “fits of laughter.” When the prince was introduced to the cast and crew backstage he said to Doyle: “That was very funny. You should do that every night.” Two years later Charles wrote the composer a letter to commend him on his score for Branagh’s film version of “Henry V” before writing to him again not long after asking him to compose a piece to commemorate the 90th birthday of Charles’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

For the coronation, Doyle’s brief – which he says was conceived by Charles himself – was to create an orchestral march that was “triumphant, uplifting and memorable” and could later be adapted to brass and woodwind bands.

Doyle has composed marches before, for “Cinderella” and “Harry Potter,” but in this case, he says, the work was more challenging. Not only due to the nature of the occasion but because a film provides a starting point from which to begin writing music: “You have imagery and the narrative and the actors and the whole cut and the look of the picture and the feeling and the tone.”

With no script to work from, Doyle set about creating his own “story and imagery.” “I thought about the times I’ve met King Charles over the years and the times we have all watched him in a professional role on TV and in the media,” he says. “So all of these things came into my head. Eventually I composed what you would term an overture march, in that it tells a story and hopefully reflects aspects of the King’s character.”

Doyle’s goal, he explains, was to make the march “as personal as possible” which is why he split it into four sections beginning with a “heraldic opening” full of pageantry followed by a more brisk Celtic-infused part (influenced by Doyle’s own Scottish background) then a “joyful and fun” section to reflect Charles’s “great sense of humour” before closing with a march that is “romantic and reflective [which] builds to a triumphant climax.” There are also orchestral “flourishes” throughout, Doyls says, “to represent fireworks going off – for obvious reasons.”

“Like an overture you would hear before an opera gives you a sense of what’s coming, or a musical theatre piece, it tells a story and hopefully reflects aspects of King Charles’s character,” Doyle explains.

The result will be played during the Commonwealth procession before King Charles and his wife Queen Camilla are crowned in front of a 2,000-strong congregation at Westminster Abbey in London, which will include Doyle, who has been invited as a guest.

It marks a fitting career high for a composer who has worked on a mind-boggling variety of films ranging from Kenneth Branagh’s “Frankenstein” to Disney Pixar animation “Brave.” “I’m very, very fortunate that I’ve never been pigeonholed throughout my career,” he says. “I love all genres of film and perhaps that’s part of the reason. I’ve done rom-coms, action movies, sci-fi movies, thrillers, period pieces, and of course, many, many Shakespeare films with Kenneth Branagh. I suppose I can be a musical chameleon.”

How would he describe his signature style? “I’m what you would call a dramatic composer,” Doyle replies with a smile. “A hundred years ago or so I’d be writing for opera.”

Read More About:

Source: Read Full Article