Music Reviews



Royal Albert Hall, London
Sunday, Oct. 28

LONDON -- Scottish film composer Patrick Doyle's charity fundraiser had more than average resonance as the man who scored most of Kenneth Branagh's films and such others as "Sense and Sensibility," "Indochine," and "Carlito's Way" has successfully battled leukemia.

The concert was directed by Branagh and featured many of the actors and filmmakers associated with films featuring Doyle's music including Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Richard E. Grant, Judi Dench, Mike Newell and Regis Wargnier. Belgium's Dirk Brosse led the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in almost three hours of sumptuous themes that play as well in the concert hall as they do in the motion pictures.

The first score Doyle wrote after his treatment was for Regis Wargnier's "East/West," a tale of sacrifice and loss in Stalin's Soviet Union. Baritone Anatolij Fokanov sang Doyle's evocative "The Land" from that score, raising the hair on the back of everyone's neck.

The composer's daughter Abigail Doyle performed "The Way It's Meant to Be" from Robert Altman's "Gosford Park" with great flair, and Beth Nielsen Chapman contributed a lovely "I Find Your Love," which she co-wrote with Doyle for "Calendar Girls" though it didn't make the finished film.

Thompson playfully led "Sigh No More, Ladies" from "Much Ado About Nothing," while pianist John Alley did justice to "My Father's Favorite" and soprano Janis Kelly did likewise on "Weep No More, My Sad Fountains," both from "Sense and Sensibility."

Soloist Carmine Lauri's performance in the world premiere of the "Rosalind Violin Concerto," inspired by "As You Like It," resonated with passion.

Highlights of the evening were dramatic presentations by Derek Jacobi doing the "My thoughts be bloody" soliloquy from "Hamlet" and Branagh declaiming the "St. Crispin's Day" speech from "Henry V."

All of the guests were old pals of Doyle, and their stories from the past 30 years added greatly to the entertainment. Not all of the stories were about Doyle, however. Rickman told of a note he received from Taiwanese director Ang Lee while filming "Sense and Sensibility." His note read: "Be more subtle. Do more."

Doyle's music is both subtle and marvelously rousing. There's no doubt he will do more.