June 21, 2013
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards
Patrick Doyle receives Mancini Award; Hal David and Marvin Hamlisch tributed by Jon Burlingame
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—Patrick Doyle – Scottish-born composer of film scores including Henry V, Sense and Sensibility, Brave and Thor – received the Henry Mancini Career Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Thursday night at its annual film and television awards dinner at the Beverly Hilton.
Doyle has scored nearly 50 films in a career that stretches back to 1989 and his first movie collaboration with director Kenneth Branagh on Henry V. Their subsequent films include additional Shakespeare adaptations Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, As You Like It and Love's Labours Lost; and such other notable projects as Dead Again, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Sleuth and Thor. They have already finished Jack Ryan, to be released at Christmas, and will soon be starting on a live-action Cinderella for Disney.
Branagh sent a congratulatory video praising Doyle warmly for his enthusiasm and creativity; he called Doyle "a great artist" and thanked him for consistently "improving my work." Branagh reminisced about first listening to the now-famous "Non Nobis Domine" from Henry V on a tiny cassette recorder 25 years ago, and elicited laughter from the crowd when he referred to Doyle's "fantastic, incomprehensible semi-ravings" when the composer gets excited.
A very different video tribute came from actress-writer Emma Thompson, another old friend whose Doyle-scored films include Sense and Sensibility, Brave and Nanny McPhee. She drew gales of laughter from the crowd, praising Doyle for composing a number of scores written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and acting drunk as she raved on about Doyle's body of work. The two have been close friends for more than 25 years.
The award was presented by ASCAP president Paul Williams and 20th Century-Fox president of post-production Ted Gagliano, the latter a longtime friend. Williams cited Doyle's versatility, from the "sensual, exotic score" for Indochine to the "1920s chamber jazz" of Gosford Park and the "bombast" of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. "He brings something colorful and unique to every film," Williams added.
In an interview earlier in the week, Doyle noted that film composition was "never on the radar for me, never my plan." But after studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and a detour acting, singing and working as musical director in Kenneth Branagh's Renaissance Theatre Company, he accepted Branagh's offer to score his film of Henry V. "As fate would have it, I happened to meet Ken and we became great friends. I owe him so much, as a friend and an artistic collaborator, it's hard to put into words. We have the same values, the same sense of humor. When we first met, it was as if I'd known him forever. Hopefully, I've reciprocated his generosity of spirit." The two are currently working together on a stage version of Macbeth.
The ASCAP Foundation Life in Music Award went to 94-year-old Ray Charles, whose vocal arrangements have adorned dozens of radio and television shows, several films and many recording projects. Charles, often billed as "The Other Ray Charles," worked for 35 years as choral arranger-conductor on Perry Como's radio and TV shows and led the Ray Charles Singers during that period. He conducted the original Finian's Rainbow on Broadway and contributed music to The Hollywood Palace; worked on shows starring Bing Crosby, Julie Andrews and Glen Campbell; and eventually sang the enduring theme for the sitcom Three's Company. He later won two Emmy awards for his music direction and still contributes to the Kennedy Center Honors.
Veteran Muppet performer and director Frank Oz appeared on stage to salute Charles for his contributions to The Muppet Show. "We were anarchic, to say the least," Oz laughed, noting that Charles was a "musical, calming" influence on the London set.
Julia Rinker, who sang the original TV recording of Three's Company with Charles, performed it live along with Lee Hale, adding new congratulatory lyrics for the occasion.
Also during the evening, former ASCAP president Marilyn Bergman paid tribute to her late collaborator Marvin Hamlisch, who died a few months ago. "Working with Marvin was like playing in a big sandbox. He was a unique, dear, funny man," she said. Her husband and co-writer Alan Bergman sang their Oscar-winning "The Way We Were" accompanied by pianist Brian Byrne.
Williams also saluted the late lyricist Hal David.
Among the several musical cameo performances during the evening was a medley of this past year's Oscar-nominated movie songs written by ASCAP members (from Ted, Les Miserables, Chasing Ice and Skyfall, the last of which won).
Dozens of ASCAP awards were handed out for music written for the year's top-grossing films and highest-rated TV shows. Among the composers on hand to accept were John Powell (Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Lorax), Alain Boublil (Les Miserables), Walter Murphy (Ted), The Woman in Black (Marco Beltrami) and Wreck-It-Ralph (Henry Jackman).
©2013 Jon Burlingame