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Music for a Darkened Theatre, Volume One (1990)
Music Composed by Danny Elfman
Conducted by Shirley Walker, John Coleman, Bill Ross
Orchestrations by Steve Bartek
Additional Orchestrations by Shirley Walker, Bill Ross, Steve Scott Smalley
Album Produced by Richard Kraft and Bob Badami

Label (Catalogue): MCA Records, (MCAD-10065)
Availability: In print
Purchasing options: Available at Amazon.com



Danny Elfman's first compilation of his film and television work, Music for a Darkened Theatre, is essentially a a professionally produced promotional disc - with a twist. While the album features plenty of music previously available (Batman, Dick Tracy, etc.), there are tons of goodies here that can be found nowhere else. Exclusive to MfaDT Vol 1: Hot To Trot (the freewheeling, rock/orchestra, beer commercial-esque "Main Titles" and "Wandering Don" are very much in that Elfman mode of 1988-1990), Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Jar (a suite of music, mostly electronic for this obscure television show directed by Tim Burton), Face Like A Frog (another obscure assignment for Elfman, this one a stop-action animated short film) and what truly makes this album essential -- the almost nine minutes of Elfman's score for SCROOGED, which remains one of Elfman's few unreleased film scores.

It's these rarities that make MfaDT1 an essential purchase for Elfman fans. Otherwise the presentation of previously released material is quite good. The major cues from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Batman are present. Two of the top cues from Midnight Run are also present (that original soundtrack album is now out-of-print). Some of the suites do feature some nips and tucks - bits of Batman and Darkman have been snipped. While the suites from Beetlejuice and Nightbreed provide good samplings from the respective scores, the original albums are recommended for the full dose. Included is Elfman's popular television themes for The Simpsons and a shorter version of Tales from The Crypt.

Danny Elfman provides short liner notes for each score. Of note is that this album is comprised of original performances (except for Pee-Wee's Big Adventute and Back To School, both of which are re-recorded with the National Philharmonic, as they appear on Varese Sarabande's dual soundtrack album). That means MCA Records probably had to foot the considerable bill for AFM union orchestra re-use fees (except for Batman which was recorded in London). MfaDT1 serves as the perfect introduction to Danny Elfman's music, and is required in every Elfman fans collection.



A second volume of Music for A Darkened Theatre was released in 1996, covering music from Edward Scissorhands to Mission: Impossible was well as several unreleased tracks of music from Elfman's television work. To date a third volume has not been released.

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Click for enlarged CD artwork
Click cover to enlarge
01. Pee Wee's Big Adventure (6:59)
02. Batman (8:23)
03. Dick Tracy (3:01)
04. Beetlejuice (3:41)
05. Nightbreed (7:01)
06. Darkman (6:52)
07. Back To School (1:28)
08. Midnight Run (4:41)
09. Wisdom (4:37)
10. Hot To Trot (2:20)
11. Big Top Pee-Wee (5:23)
12. The Simpsons "Theme" (1:29)
13. Alfred Hitchcock Presents (3:19)
14. Tales From The Crypt (1:27)
15. Face Like A Frog (2:07)
16. Forbidden Zone (1:14)
17. Scrooged (8:42)

Total running time: 73:22

Danny Elfman's music at:
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