Newman sees the opening cue to Batman as a signature example of Elfman’s mastery for musical storytelling; moreover, how it perfectly translates to a concert setting. “Batman has a six-note motif. The beginning of the film is in this imitative counterpoint. The first five notes of that motif kind of circle around itself then they pause at a minor triad. Then there’s a big huge build to this major triad. Aside from it being compositionally interesting it’s really interesting how it delineates that character. Honestly, we’re so conditioned to these superhero movies now. There’s so many of them. Back then it was a really unique thing to have a character that was—I don’t want to say an anti-hero—but had an angsty past, yet is very heroic. In these first few bars all that stuff is told, which is what I think is fun and interesting about film music, that is in some ways different from concert music.”
Batman was a fresh challenge for Elfman, who up to that point in his film career had only scored comedies. During the symposium, Elfman reflected on creating a new musical palette that would complement Tim Burton’s gothic stylings. “There’s no model for any of Tim Burton’s films. There was no model for Pee-wee, Beetlejuice, Edward or Batman. There was nothing to use as a template. Because at that point for big action cartoon adventure, the only model was John Williams.”
One of the many reasons Newman chose the three scores to perform were to showcase Elfman’s orchestrations, which are an indelible part of his signature sound. “There is always a tremendous rhythmic energy in his music. It’s also very angular. The way he orchestrates is very high, very low. There’s contrabassoon, a lot of tuba, a lot of piccolo, a lot of oboe playing high, clarinet playing high. There’s a lot in the high and low ranges. You hear lots of tuba, lots of low piano, lots of bass clarinet doing little things; then they get bigger and bigger.”
To counter the Burton films in the program, Newman included the finale from Elfman’s Americana-flavored score to Sommersby. While the bulk of the film was orchestrated by Steve Bartek, the finale was orchestrated by the late veteran orchestrator Jack Hayes. With guitar and banjo, Sommersby deftly features Elfman’s ability to score against “type,” conquering multiple genres and styles. Newman reflects: “I think the most difficult things in film music is you have a small amount of time to say something. How do you say it in an abstract way? Sommersby has this beautiful octave-ish theme, that has a wide interval skip. In other words, the theme almost uses an octave scale and it’s developed and used over and over and over and builds, modulates in bits.”Bagi pelanggan FSM, baca lengkapnya di sini.