Everyone has been looking forward to the big Danny Elfman performance of Tim Burton film music for most of the summer. Taking place at Lincoln Center for much of July, I attended a pre-show conversation taking place between the show’s lead conductor John Mauceri and its solo violinist, the young and talented Sandy Cameron. The performance itself lasts about 2.5 hours long and explores a number of Tim Burton films that Elfman supported through music, from Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie, to The Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands.
I wasn’t sure what to expect considering neither Danny Elfman or Tim Burton were present, but I came to understand how collaborative these projects can be when it comes to scoring/updating film music for symphony orchestras, when the original music was never intended to be heard outside of the original movie recording. Mauceri has made a career out of legitimizing movie music as critical compositions as serious and well crafted as any classical Beethoven or Strauss suite. As Mauceri explains, the public’s interaction with original music compositions has only increased since the time of silent movies and as we have familiarized ourselves with great works like Star Wars and Lord of thr Rings, the music from those films is just as memorable to us. We have become well versed in the kind of music that keeps us engaged with a visual narrative, and the sort of music (or lack thereof) that can turn us off.
I quickly recognized that Mauceri has teaching experience working with students, as he rambled on to us about historical instruments such as the Theremine instrument and eastern european composers who migrated to the western United States during WW2 who began writing for Hollywood productions. All very fascinating and compelling. I hope to attend any programs he ever teaches about music theory.
Solo violinist Sandy Cameron stars in a special performance of Edward Scissorhands that was specifically composed for her by Danny Elfman. A graduate of Harvard University and the Juilliard Pre College Program, her debut onto the public stage has only just begun. I’m looking forward to her becoming more known in future projects and being a great musical role model for young girls.