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Patrick Doyle, Composer

There is a pleasing symmetry to this interview. Patrick Doyle is scoring the remake of the Agatha Christie classic Murder on the Orient Express. I interviewed the composer of the first version, Richard Rodney Bennett, back in 1974. If he was alive today he would be astonished at Patrick’s output, and envy how much he is in demand.

Patrick Doyle creates melodies, lots of them. Like painters who begin with a blank canvas, composers seem to me a sort of wondrous sorcerer. They buoy our spirit, and give us that too often diverted emotion called pleasure.

They don’t all have to wander around in a thunderstorm as if manically depressed Beethoven straining for inspiration. They can look like bespectacled, good natured Patrick, cuddly, amenable, cosy in the cloister of his Shepperton Studio office, adding a dying seventh to a film score for emotional effect.

Awards galore

Patrick is multi-talented – composer, musician, song-smith, orchestrator, and generally far too nice for his shirt. Other people have spotted his attributes. My interview coincided with Patrick’s invitation to the International Film Festival of Braunschweig, (Brunswick) Germany. The city feted him, making him their first recipient of their White Lion Lifetime Achievement Award for Music in Film. He can add that to his Scottish BAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award, his PRS Lifetime Achievement Award, his PRS and Henry Mancini Lifetime Achievement Award, and many others. He also has Oscar, Golden Globe, César nominations, and a BAFTA nomination to his credit, as well as a Los Angeles Film Critics Award. Lifetime awards sound as if people presume your work is over. Not so Patrick.

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