Interview: Celebrating the London Symphony Orchestra
Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
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Saturday, 04, Apr 2009 12:01
By Matthew Champion.
Q: What connects the music for Star Wars, Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Harry Potter films?
A: The original soundtracks were all recorded by the world-renowned London Symphony Orchestra.
Ahead of the orchestra playing a selection of its most popular work at the Barbican on Saturday night, Academy award-nominated composer Patrick Doyle spoke to Matthew Champion about a life in film.
While Doyle's name may not be instantly recognisable, his credentials are. In a career spanning two decades so far he has scored Henry V, Carlito's Way, Sense and Sensibility, Donnie Brasco and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - where he took over from feted composer John Williams.
Matthew Champion: How much scope were you given to change the musical direction of the Harry Potter films in Goblet of Fire?
Patrick Doyle: My job was to compose the music that complemented this new story with lots of fresh characters, including the Beauxbatons Girls, the Durmstrang Boys, Professor Moody and although he wasn't 'new' the rebirth of Voldemort.
The movie also had the death of a principal character, which was quite cathartic. Harry and his friends were now quickly growing up and with their eyes on the opposite sex and this maturity was also reflected in the score.
The emergence of these new characters and the emphasis on Voldemort conjured up many new thematic ideas. I also endeavoured to make the score in places much more British. The Hogwarts Hymn being an example of this. The love element concerning Harry and Cho inspired the 'Harry in Winter' piece which is featured in the concert tonight.
This was a darker story and very much more grown-up than the previous narratives.
MC: Do you prefer scoring for JK Rowling or Shakespeare adaptations?
PD: Shakespeare loved the fantastic and his plays exemplify this from the ghost in Hamlet to the witches in Macbeth. The plays are overflowing with the supernatural and high drama.
I approach every score whether it is an animation picture or a Shakespeare adaptation with the same commitment. For example Prokofiev in his 'Peter and the Wolf' and 'Romeo and Juliet' treats both of these popular works with equal respect.
A director of an animation film said to me recently "Thank you for calling my animation movie a film." I was slightly taken aback by this because it never occurred to me that the characters and story were less interesting or important because they weren't played by live actors.
Writing for comedy is in fact much more difficult than writing for tragedy.
MC: What are your favourite film scores?
PD: It is very unfair to mention one composer's work and not another's. I don't have any favourites. I love to watch a movie just like a regular cinemagoer.
MC: What would be your ideal project to score?
PD: I am very lucky in that up until now I have had the opportunity to compose for every genre in the world of film. I have no particular project that I can think of. I take what comes along as long as it excites me.