Music review: RSNO – Patrick Doyle's Music from the Movies, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

This concert to mark Patrick Doyle’s 70th birthday showcased the movie composer’s instinctive knack for capturing essence of a film, writes Ken Walton

Music from the Movies concerts can be dreary affairs, where scores intended as integral to the cinematic experience are ripped from their context and presented as an often banal sequence of bitesize extracts. Not so this RSNO All-Star 70th birthday celebration for Lanarkshire-born film composer Patrick Doyle, known for scores including Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, Sense and Sensibility, Carlito’s Way and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Doyle himself co-hosted with close friends Peter Capaldi and Richard E Grant. They played their parts like the charismatic stars they are: Grant reminiscing with his wry, wicked-looking demeanour, cool but racy; Capaldi as master raconteur and unhinged impressionist; Doyle himself, affectionately self-effacing. Doyle’s daughters, Abigail and Nuala, also featured, divulging happy family secrets and singing enchantingly.

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The engine room of this slickly-produced programme was, of course, Doyle’s mood-setting music, played with full-bodied vibrancy, heartwarming soul and richly-coloured texturing by a sharply responsive RSNO under the crisp baton of Belgian conductor/composer Dirk Brossé.

Patrick Doyle PIC: Ian West/PAPatrick Doyle PIC: Ian West/PA
Patrick Doyle PIC: Ian West/PA

The Celtic-themed scores – among them Brave and such non-film repertoire as the Scottish Overture – called on the added piquancy of the bagpipes (Lorne MacDougall) and whistles (Fraser Fifield). Gaelic singer Màiri MacInnes sang hauntingly from Whisky Galore. Other prominent solo cameos fell to pianist Lynda Cochrane, cellist Betsy Taylor and violinist Hannah Perowne in Corarsik, a soft-scented birthday gift for Emma Thompson.

But most revealing, as the programme swept through extracts encompassing Sense And Sensibility, Much Ado About Nothing, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Murder On The Orient Express, was Doyle’s instinctive knack for capturing so simply the essence of a film, while still creating music that sustains its own immutable, self-expressive presence.