Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton at the Royal Albert Hall
With all due respect to silent films, which boast masterpieces like Chaplin’s, it’s undeniable that a cinematic experience is not such if not accompanied by a worthy musical score. Sometimes composers and directors pair up to create a strong, everlasting bond: that is the case with Danny Elfman and Tim Burton. Their partnership spans a prize-winning near 30 years.
The Royal Albert Hall hosted a celebration of both geniuses. Conducted by John Mauceri, the BBC Concert Orchestra and Maida Vale Singers brought Elfman’s scores alive, while excerpts from Burton’s films along with some of his sketches and drawings were projected on a screen.
Flickering through disquieting, sombre images as well as colourful and joyful scenes, Elfman and Burton were given credit for expressing an extremely varied range of emotions. Violins and cymbals, xylophones and harps, trumpets and bass drums, low-pitched baritones, soaring sopranos, whispers and shrieks all recalled the eerie, phantasmagorical, vibrant, carnivalesque world typical of Burton’s films like Beetlejuice, Batman or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
As the pictures were being aired, one could not help looking up in a reverie. Associating the music with the films and vice versa, when the images faded out it felt quite unnatural to listen but not to watch. Closing the eyes though, thanks to the power of imagination, Burton’s weird, touching, hilarious stories were still there.
Each track was welcomed with enthusiasm and at the end the applause was very warm. When it was The Nightmare Before Christmas’s turn however, the audience went wild. Danny Elfman came on stage to impersonate Jack, singing and acting like a little crazy goblin. Soon afterwards there was space for Helena Bonham-Carter too, who gave her own humble version of Sally’s Song before leaving Elfman alone again. Receiving the first standing ovation, the composer then walked away to let Alice in Wonderland kick in and draw the show to an end.
Once more on stage, now duetting with the conductor, Elfman was highly engaging and moved by the crowd’s response, thanking everyone for giving him the best moment of his life. Later, Burton joined in, complimenting both Elfman and Bonham-Carter. A second standing ovation proved the night a huge success.
Photo: Nick J Webb
For further information about the Tim Burton and Danny Elfman 25th anniversary, visit here.
Watch the teaser for Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton here: