Daily Archives: October 31, 2016

Review – Toronto Symphony Orchestra: ‘Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton’


“For all the costumed spectacle and fun, this event was a substantive, rich and revealing concert. Mr. Elfman’s music and Mr. Burton’s cinematic images are intricately enmeshed… Mr. Elfman took a more creative approach in creating this program. He devised suites for orchestra and chorus, fashioning his scores into sections of a two-part, evening-length composition with its own musical integrity…At one point, a slinky, sad waltz melody wafts from the strings [“Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)”]. Gradually, accents are nudged by dissonant chords, and the music morphs into a hard-bitten dance. Imagine Prokofiev in Hollywood.” —New York Times

“It was an inspiring example of how to do a film music concert that should be forever imitated – a thoughtfully curated and varied program honoring the important marriage the music has to images while also letting the music breathe and come to life on its own.” —LA Weekly

“As imaginative and inspiring as Tim Burton himself, this exquisite performance of Danny Elfman’s genius at the Royal Albert Hall is dramatic storytelling in its purest form…Utterly evocative from the outset – chilling, rousing, innocent and epic – Elfman has the incredible ability to bring Tim Burton’s pictures to unique and individual life through music.” —The Upcoming

DANNY ELFMAN’S MUSIC FROM THE FILMS OF TIM BURTON explores the collaborative relationship between music and storytelling, and its importance in the filmmaking process. Composer Danny Elfman and visionary Hollywood filmmaker Tim Burton have created a unique concert experience, blending music and visuals to celebrate the three decades long partnership of two of Hollywood’s top creators. This live concert features Danny Elfman’s celebrated film scores brought to life on stage by orchestra and choir, enhanced by the stunning visuals of Tim Burton’s original sketches, drawings, story boards, and film clips rendered in exquisite detail on the big screen.

Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton has sold out performances around the world in cities like Tokyo, Los Angeles, London, New York, Lucerne, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Mexico City, Prague, Atlanta and Paris. In July 2015, it opened the Lincoln Center Festival with seven critically acclaimed performances.


Halloween is indeed full of creative fun, frivolity and spooky cheekiness for the kids. But for us adults, changing up the usual party scene and getting civilized with a pint and your spookiest outfit at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is now the ‘cool’ way to get down with the holiday.

Last year, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra made us welp with their orchestral accompaniment to Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’. This past weekend they upped their game with ‘Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton’.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra did a smashing job of curating a detailed synopsis of ‘Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton’. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra stitched in Burton’s best films scores along with film clips, art work and moments long forgotten. For an Elfman and Burton fan, this evening was for them.

Elfman and Burton have melded their talents into creating tangible emotional triggers that not only amplifies their storytelling but teaches us about the humanity that lies deep within its characters. These characters are like you and I – warts and all.

Without touching film scores created by Elfman’s special touch we would be hard pressed not to shed a tear and still be talking about memorable characters like Edward Scissorhands, Jack, the Queen of Hearts and William Bloom.

In ‘Beetlejuice’ we are introduced to Elfman’s “danse macabre”. Elfman’s emo jitterbug was perfectly executed alongside Burton’s dark humour and costuming as seen through the likes of characters played by Catherine O’Hara, Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder.

Elfman’s and Burton’s collaboration on ‘Batman’ captures the Caped Crusader in a shadowy world, halfway between a film noir and an animated graphic novel. The film required a major symphonic score, and Elfman’s was a sensation – quirky and unpredictable, yet also so muscular and violently stark that it instantly helped define the comic book genre.

‘Sleepy Hollow’ was Burton’s love poem to the British Hammer horror movies he loved as a child, and Elfman responded with a richly atmospheric and gothic score. As a viewer, we may have only read about ‘Sleepy Hollow’ as a child or seen it in animated shows around Halloween.  Taking in a realistic film with a score that made us cringe in our seats was already successful in its horrific intent.

‘Big Fish’ mixed Burton-esque fantasy with a more serious personal drama, as a resentful son tries to come to terms with his father’s predilection for tall tales – loss, as the son sees them. For his touching Americana score to ‘Big Fish’, Elfman received his first Oscar nomination earned by one of his collaborations with Tim Burton.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra did a tremendous job in providing a meditative Halloween journey through the use of Danny Elfman’s music alongside the Orpheus Choir of Toronto who added a pop up experience to the night. The two boy sopranos took us over the edge in reminding us of the innocent storytelling in front of the grandiose quirky imagery derived from Tim Burton’s unique imagination.

Be sure to check out the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s website for more unique programming in the week’s ahead.