IF Tim Burton is the virtuoso behind his films’ visuals, then Danny Elfman is his willing twin and gleeful partner in crime.
The composer was the special guest at a concert of his various scores – 15 of them over 25 years – when he joined the BBC Concert Orchestra and a choir for the finale of Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton.
Singing songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas he brought comedy, energy and a touch of the festive ghost story to an already heady brew of phantasmagorical wonder.
A big screen above the stage showed clips and sketches from Burton’s oeuvre – everything from Batman and Big Fish to Planet of the Apes and Corpse Bride – as massed strings vied with the ’50s kitsch of the Theremin to transport the audience into Burtonland.
Elfman’s themes have underlined Burton’s world in the majority of his films.
He has created musical identities for lonely outsiders, giggling villains and taciturn anti-heroes.
Johnny Depp owes him a lot.
And in tackling the whole of the Burton/Elfman partnership this concert introduced audiences not just to the blockbusters but also to those films whose soundtracks might have been overlooked.
There was much fascination to be had in observing the hand movements that produced the eerie sound of the Theremin, the staple of sci-fi flicks of long ago and a sizeable part of the score to Mars Attacks!
But Elfman, who has also provided scores of scores for television shows, is confident enough to slip its unique sound into several other compositions, thus merging old and new with a nod to the movies of his childhood that inform his work today.
A magnificent event before an adoring crowd, this concert once again proves the appeal of classic movie music played live.
Elfman’s presence at the concert featuring his scores was a stroke of genius.