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audio doesn’t work for me either — not on lincoln center’s page and not from their itunes link. thank goodness for the transcript!
Hadn’t seen this before – lengthy, richly detailed interview between Elfman and the Lincoln Center’s “The Score” podcast about his classical influences and how he goes about composing his chamber works. Perhaps the first time he’s heralded John Adams? Also, calls himself a “commission slut” and notes that he keeps a “future file” of ideas and compositions that don’t make it into his film scores. 😀
KG: How much was the concerto floating in your mind though during that year and a half? Does it just completely go away and then come back? Or is it just sort of there?
DE: Every now and then, I would have like a little idea while I was writing something else and I would kind of write that idea down and tuck it away in a “for the future” file. And one of them did survive, just as at least a beginning, an idea. So yeah, sometimes I’m writing something for a movie and I get some kind of thing in my head, and as I’m putting it together I go, “All right, this will just never work for the film. But it’s interesting.” And I’ll put it in one of two files: either future possible film thing, because it’s that kind of melody or tune or piece of music, or this is orchestral. I don’t know what this is for. Put this in the “could be a concert piece, could be something,” I don’t know. And then later, when I’m starting new work, I’ll go into these files and see “Well, what did I have?” Sometimes there’s something useful, sometimes there’s not. I still have a dozen pieces I really like over the last three, four years that I don’t know if I’ll ever find a place for them. I’ve got like kind of odd orchestral stuff, I’ve got a piece for like twenty guitars and a chamber orchestra.
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by sajrocks.
additional thoughts just posted to FSM after second listen:
some of elfman’s brightest, airiest orchestrations in years (can really hear between the sections with some great woodwind clarity)…
loving the kooky faux rock/jazzy riffs al la ‘the incredibles’ in “walking toward destiny”, “grinch’s wild ride” and especially “mailing the letter”…
well hello reedy organ, theremin and i think elfman’s first use of full bell choir ever…
some terrific stallingesque writing reminiscent of his work on “meet the robinsons” and obvs “nightmare before christmas”…
knocks the choir/brass big christmas sound out of the park, and keeps the tchaikovsky pizzicato string + glockenspiel holiday cliche ALIVE…
standout tracks: “the big opening”, “christmas in whoville”, “lost lonely boy”, “loudest snow”, “taking the bait” and showstoppers “grinch’s wild ride” and “stealing christmas”…
a nod to “welcome christmas” from the 1966 film in the first bars of the opening? fah who foraze, dah who doraze indeed!
Fun, super relaxed 90-minute interview between Elfman and fellow horror buffs on “The Boo Crew”. Amidst the typical (but a little more in-depth) biography/process topics are a great opening bumper with everyone goofing off, Elfman mentioning his favorite recent horror scores, his fessing up to the Wendy Carlos homage in DARK SHADOWS, and at just after the 1hr 11 min mark, he mentions a new concert work likely to debut next year scored for “chamber orchestra, 12-16 female singers, two percussion, two electric guitars, bass and drum”!
I don’t think I ever heard it in any other MI movies.
Kraemer uses “The Plot” a bit in his ROGUE NATION score, e.g. “A400”, “Havana to Vienna”, “The Syndicate” and I think most prominently in “The Torus”.
Oh man. Elfman’s M:I score is securely in my top three all time favorites given the pure sonic invention and percussive density. I remember my jaw dropping in the theater hearing “Red Handed”, “The Heist” and the whole end train sequence for the first time. Over the years tracks like “Max Found”, “Mole Hunt” and “Betrayal” have really grown on me as prime examples of subtle psychic manipulation. Can’t wait for the expanded release (and hopefully Mike Matessino’s keen restorative work and liner notes)!
fascinated that JUSTICE LEAGUE re-entered the charts this week at #14 (doubly fascinated that there are even charts for such things). i’m sure this was helped by the dvd/br release, but i also think it’s an indicator that the score, like the movie, isn’t near as bad as all the haters and gatekeepers made it out to be upon release. hope it gets some extended play down the line and people have fun “rediscovering” it when the time is right for them. *rolly eye emoji*
- This reply was modified 12 months ago by sajrocks.
the headline for that metro article should have been “Sex: Scored!” 😀
ddddeeee: I’m curious, if you had to put together a 45-50 minute compilation of the best tracks from the three films, what would it be?
At least this breaks the trend in less than three years, lest we forget the critical dud brigade that was 1998-2001 (CIVIL ACTION to PLANET OF THE APES). *shiver*
That dual interview was mesmerizing! Also re “looking to be Elfman’s first well-received movie since Goosebumps”, i think it should be noted that though panned by critics, JUSTICE LEAGUE took in $650m+ worldwide and has relatively high audience scores across the board. And while the critics panned TULIP and GIRL, both films received kudos for Elfman’s scores, especially the latter. Just trying to look at the bright side!
Happy to see Den of Geek give Elfman some love for his contributions to Superhero sounds over the years. Reminded me how much I’ve been enjoying the JL score. Some of my favorite cues/musical moments:
-“Hero’s Theme” – dig the syncopated slow burn/build and lumbering 6/4 time signature, as well as the the stabby string counterpoint that starts at 1:07, the complete tonal shift in the middle, the twitchy string figures throughout, and those creaky electronics at the end.
-“The Amazon Mother Box” – haven’t really heard over the top grandeur at this level since Elfman’s amazing Dark Shadows opener (also dig those descending string figures reminiscent of his Hulk score–super hero callback!)
-“Tunnel Fight” – as excellent an action set piece as Elfman has ever composed, and my heart always skips a beat when Flash’s tickly time jump theme cuts through the well-balanced bombast.
-“Anti-Hero’s Theme” is a jaw dropper, unlike anything Elfman has composed for a blockbuster in terms of chord building amidst in his patented “dark superhero” minor mode mono-texture. This cue always makes me wonder what Philip Glassi would do with Batman.
-“Friends and Foes” – powerful, nuanced composition and darrrrrk. Especially love that rolly flute and harp thing at 0:35, and the sinister variations of the Williams’ Superman theme.
-Also: the orchestral arrangements of Zimmer/Guo’s Wonder Woman theme, sections in “Final Battle” reminiscent of his Age of Ultron score (nice subversion of the two universes!), and, more than the full quotes of his classic Batman theme, how he twists/turns it throughout to near unrecognizable mutations.
diggin’ the “hero’s theme”. touches of ultron and spider-man by way of his errol morris music. just wondering why “hero’s” is singular. “friends and foes” has some nice textures. looking forward to seeing how these marry to film. here’s the (double ?) cd tracklist via EW:
Justice League soundtrack
01. Everybody Knows – Sigrid (4:25)
02.The Justice League Theme – Logos (0:48)
03. Hero’s Theme (4:17)
04. Batman on the Roof (2:34)
05. Enter Cyborg (2:00)
06. Wonder Woman Rescue (2:43)
07. Hippolyta’s Arrow (1:16)
08. The Story of Steppenwolf (2:59)
09. The Amazon Mother Box (4:33)
10. Cyborg Meets Diana (2:36)
11. Aquaman in Atlantis (2:39)
12. Then There Were Three (1:10)
13. The Tunnel Fight (6:24)
14. The World Needs Superman (1:00)
15. Spark of the Flash (2:18)
16. Friends and Foes (4:14)
17. Justice League United (1:24)
18. Home (3:24)
19. Bruce and Diana (1:06)
20. The Final Battle (6:14)
21. A New Hope (4:36)
22. Anti-Hero’s Theme (5:35)
23. Come Together – Gary Clark Jr. & Junkie XL (3:13)
24. Icky Thump – The White Stripes (4:14)
25. The Tunnel Fight (Full Length Bonus Track) (10:58)
26. The Final Battle (Full Length Bonus Track) (12:57)
27. Mother Russia (Bonus Track) (1:45)
The score 89:30 min, the songs 11:52 min
(updated w/ times via iTunes.)
definitely a different mix (or even recording) than what was on the orginal soundtrack, but the tempo feels the same to me.
Just getting into this. WOW. Hoping this Elfman’s audition tape for Spielberg’s READY PLAYER ONE.
Beyond the obvious (Scrooged, Edward, Nightmare, Batman Returns, Family Man), I’d recommend the following for their holiday cheer/christmas creepy vibes (some a bit of a stretch!):
“Main Titles”, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
“Main Titles”/”Beautiful Day”, Flubber
“Jump for Joy”, Black Beauty
“At Work”, Sommersby
“The Moon”, Simple Plan
“Bliss”, Fifty Shades of Grey
“Dog Poo”/”Anita’s Theme”, Milk
“Worm Lounge #1”, Men in Black II (always reminds me of an office christmas party for some reason…)
“I Forget”, Serenada Schizophrana
“Finale & Bows”, IRIS
So impressed! In the “at least one track” category, should there be NOVOCAINE, SCREAM 2, NACHO LIBRE, NOTORIOUS, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, “Original Music from ‘Tales from the Crypt'” and maybe 9?
Elfman discussing orchestration/orchestrators, courtesy of an ancient (1995!) Film Score Monthly profile:Quote:“I use orchestrators, not arrangers. The difference may seem subtle. but it’s not,” [Elfman] explains. “The orchestrator’s job is to take music which has been clearly written and balance it for the size orchestra that has been designated. Steve Bartek has been my primary orchestrator on almost every film I’ve done. He never changes a melody, he doesn’t add counterpoint, he does not change or add harmonies. That’s the composer’s job. He will elect what instrumentation might best express what I’m trying to convey in terms of doubling melodies and dividing the parts of the string section so they can be used most effectively. I don’t want to minimize this job, it’s very important. It’s time-consuming and I, Iike most composers, depend on our orchestrator to complete the final stage of the scoring. John Williams uses orchestrators and he certainly doesn’t need to. Prokofiev used orchestrators, though he certainly didn’t need to. I use orchestrators for the same reason.” To give specific examples, if Elfman wrote three parts for strings, Bartek will decide which individual players will play which note to best balance the orchestra. He might also write out more orchestral parts than are eventually used; for example, the oboe music might include lines from the flute part, so that even though the oboist is not expected to play, his music will include the flute lines in case it is deemed necessary for him or her to “double” (also play) it. It’s simply easier to have it all written in advance than to have to rush and have the copyist scribble out new parts on the stage. “We may have the first pass of a cue over-orchestrated, and then have to tacit parts, but better that than under-orchestrated,” he explains.
The orchestrator is helpful before the recording, as well as during it. “I have a tendency to overwrite, as you’re well aware, and Steve is very helpful in finding train-wrecks before we get to the scoring stage. When I’m moving very fast, he’ll be able to help me, like ‘tell me where I fucked up by laying it on too dense.’ Sometimes Steve will call me up, he’ll say, ‘Your melody is down there in this very loud section, I think you’ve got to make a decision between what the trombones are playing or where the melody is.'”
Great profile on Elfman in the Los Angeles Times, discussing his approach to GIRL ON THE TRAIN:Quote:Elfman likes to present directors with three different approaches to a score, one being decidedly more unorthodox. “The pleasureful moments for me are when I play something which I think is more off-center,” he said, “and the director’s eyes light up and go, ‘Yeah!’ Then I go, ‘All right — we’re in business.’”
In this case, the angle was a bass-heavy, rhythmic motor using (among other things) de-tuned mandolins and screaming electric guitars. In some scenes, musical phrases are run in reverse for a disorienting effect. Most of the score was made with synthesizers and sampled instruments, and Elfman said he had fun taking a break from orchestras, spending half of his time programming sounds late at night. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-girl-on-the-train-danny-elfman-20160930-snap-story.html
Elfman also comments on the viral YouTube video “The Marvel Symphonic Universe”, taking exception to how his comments about temp tracks were used. The article reconfirms the violin concerto and Ponsoldt thriller THE CIRCLE as upcoming projects.
In other news, though the film was near universally panned, several critics spotlighted Elfman’s score as a highlight (in addition to the Hollywood Reporter rave mentioned above):
“It helps loads to bask in the dark shadows of Charlotte Bruus Christensen’s cinematography and the haunting cadences of Danny Elfman’s score.” http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/peter-travers-the-girl-on-the-train-movie-review-w443189
“The casting is topnotch (including Lisa Kudrow in what amounts to a fleeting cameo), and the tension-building assets include Danny Elfman’s score.” http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/06/entertainment/the-girl-on-the-train-review/
“while critics largely criticized Taylor’s direction and Erin Cressida Wilson’s screenplay, the film’s aesthetic elements, including Danny Elfman’s score and Charlotte Bruus Christensen’s cinematography, are being noted as highlights.” http://www.ew.com/article/2016/10/03/girl-on-the-train-reviews
“there’s plenty to keep this cinematic train a-rollin’, from Charlotte Bruus Christensen’s adventurous cinematography to Danny Elfman’s expressive score and Erin Cressida Wilson’s oddly sympathetic script.” https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/oct/09/the-girl-on-the-train-review-emily-blunt-paula-hawkins
“thanks to some crafty editing from Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland, fine cinematography including lots of very cool train shots from Charlotte Bruus Christensen, and an eerie Hitchcock-like score from Danny Elfman (one of his best and most surprising), the movie works on its own terms.” http://deadline.com/2016/10/the-girl-on-the-train-review-emily-blunt-tate-taylor-video-1201830759/
“Credit ‘The Girl on the Train’ for making tracks with Danny Elfman’s surprisingly (for him) untraditional music, a moody, anti-melodic score radiating with atonal tension and pulsating suspense lacking in every other compartment on this unexciting ride.” http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20161006/entlife/161009357/
What was it like collaborating with Danny Elfman on the score?
Tate Taylor: It was a dream. He’s such a master and his work speaks for itself. We had a blast. We took chances, and I told him to go as crazy as he wanted. He’s fantastic and became a great friend.September 12, 2016 at 6:14 pm in reply to: Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton won an Emmy! #68378
two emmys actually: music direction and sound mixing!
“Rachel’s Theme” from GIRL ON THE TRAIN?
1. Unknown Known (2013) – The awkward, maybe slightly special needs cousin to Standard Operating Procedure—one of my top Elfman scores of all time—is just beyond. Heart, quirk, sadness, malevolence—all pretty much following the incomprehensible blatherings of a man sitting in a chair. And Elfman doing minimalism is always a pleasure. Of course Philip Glass set the bar (installed the glass ceiling?) when it comes to documentary scoring, but Elfman has twice now proved he can not only work in that milieu, but can comprehensively make it his own.
2. Dark Shadows (2012) – I’m agog every time I listen to the uncut Prologue music—such craftsmanship, audacity, richness and density! Plus the 70s/synthesizer sound experiments, bass flutes galore, and tingles still ripple over my body when those growling electronic glissandi tear through the Shadows theme.
3. Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) – Totally riveted by this score—pure iconoclasm of the genre and sort of a mashup of elements I love from Unknown Known and Red Dragon.
4. Alice in Wonderland (2010) – You had me at “Alice!” The extended score from the box set really brings this one to life.
5. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – Maybe not a proper choice with such full-bodied, fully realized and incredibly accomplished scores as Epic, Oz, Peabody, Wolfman (love that Wolf Suite!) and Real Steel, but I’m going on the utter listenability of a number of tracks—how clean and crisp the action cues are yet containing a healthy dose of invention, the emotional complexity of Ultron-Twins, and, let’s not forget, a solid, stirring heroic theme the likes of which we haven’t really heard on this level in decades. Though Elfman reverently and expertly seeded in bits of Silvestri’s theme and style from the first film, he still came up with something timeless of his own (more timeless than Silvestri’s I feel, which sounds a little 90s shrug-of-the-shoulder to me.) I think the world has moved on from this style of theme, but it’s awesome to know Elfman can still crank one out in a rush when he must.
Bonus: IRIS (2011) – Though not a film score, this would be at the top of the list of “Tops” from 2010-2015. It’s such an expansive, imaginative tapestry, and a complete encapsulation of Elfman’s musical being.
That radio interview was awesome. Seeing the show tonight and can’t wait! I’ve been keeping track of all the coverage and most articles say the same thing: how did you get started, what’s it like working with Tim Burton, did it really take 15 minutes to compose the Simpson’s theme, etc.–nothing new for most of. But there’s been a few new insights.
The New York Times’s review of the concert pointed to influences of Shostakovich and Paganini in addition to the more typical stylistic comparison of Prokofiev (didn’t Elfman once say that if you hear classical influences in his works–e.g. Wagner in BATMAN–it is most likely those influences transmitted through golden age film composers like Korngold, Waxman and Herrman?)
Slate waxed rapturous about Elfman’s use of the Neapolitan 6 chord.
And The New York Post asked a hard hitting question about Elfman’s religious leanings. (Spoiler: No surprise but Danny appears to be marching in the army out to crush religious freedom, if I’m reading the subtext of The Post’s question right.)
“Madison Gate Records and Sony Classical have announced that they will be releasing the official soundtrack to the upcoming adventure horror/comedy Goosebumps…”