“The greatest moment of my life!” proclaimed Danny Elfman as he received a triple standing ovation that cheered on his career, and singing performance with songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and as this moment brought down the house and closed the concert, we had already been treated to the stunningly talented BBC Concert Orchestra, the Maida Vale singers and conductor John Mauceri who lead the way. Mauceri has had an incredibly distinguished career and this made him the perfect choice to guide this celebration, he even lent his voice to The Nightmare Before Christmas, complete with a Santa hat.
Elfman is one of the most celebrated film composers in our modern era. He scored the famous The Simpsons theme and worked with Peter Jackson, Gus van Sant and David O Russell to name but a few. Yet, it goes without saying that one of most important people he’s teamed up with is undoubtedly Tim Burton. Last night at the historic Royal Albert Hall in London, we joined Elfman and thousands of fans to celebrate his work and collaboration with Burton, and it gave everyone an unforgettable evening with an astonishing arrange of work. Their career together strides the last 25 years effortlessly, so whether you’re a fan of Burton’s work or not, you’ve definitely heard Elfman’s arrangements.
Tonight, the Hall celebration began with Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and then the golden period that included crowd favourites such as Corpse Bride, Sleepy Hollow, Big Fish, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Batman Returns and Mars Attacks! plus, another personal favourite, the unique Beetlejuice. What’s especially impressive about their collaborations is how their art complements the other. The Gothic-style world of Burton is his recognisable forte and because of the addition of Elfman, their work deservedly sits side-by-side quite effortlessly.
Every composition found its place with images on a big screen above the Orchestra, the visuals flicked between Burton’s own sketch work and clips from the films. The evening revealed many things including the true emotive skin of Frankenweenie that really comes across with a live orchestra. I felt this was particularly poignant when you considering it’s probably one of the closest works to his heart and it changed his life and career. Last night was all about sharing that remarkable career with his friend Elfman though and as the composer belted out the real essence of Jack Skellington, the entire Royal Albert Hall felt the moment of elation in the atmosphere. To add to the cheers, we also had Tim Burton on stage plus Helena Bonham Carter ‘losing her [singing] virginity’ with a charming performance as Sally.
Something special happened in the old Hall and it was easy to see and feel that unique, timeless connection between music and storytelling that can often can be over-done or drift off insignificantly into the background. Danny Elfman’s ‘The Music from the Films of Tim Burton’ was a truly tremendous evening and celebration of what’s achievable on that big screen that we all love so much, and these two gave us a sterling sampling of this art at its finest.
This review is from the event on October 13, 2013 – Check out the Royal Albert Hall’s upcoming events right here: www.royalalberthall.com/Films-In-Concert and click here for our other reviews.
It was originally published on The Hollywood News.