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Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Tuesday, February 23

Danny Elfman at Carnegie Hall

Synopsis

The American composer Daniel Robert "Danny" Elfman is best known for writing the opening theme of The Simpsons and for scoring movies directed by his friend Tim Burton.

But on today’s date in 2005, Elfman had, for him, a rather unusual experience—namely, hearing some of his music played live at Carnegie Hall when the American Composers Orchestra gave the premiere of “Serenada Schizophrana,” his first-ever foray into composing a symphonic concert work.

In notes for a subsequent recording of the piece, Elfman said:

“I’ve always had visuals to drive my orchestral music… As I’d never done anything like this before, figuring out how to begin was daunting. I began several dozen short improvisational compositions… Slowly, some of them began to develop themselves until finally I had six separate movements … I more or less let the movements take themselves wherever they wanted to go in a kind of musical stream of consciousness (which, with the way my brain works, was not a very smooth stream).”

Hearing the work at Carnegie Hall, Elfman concluded, was (quote), “a thrilling and surreal experience.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Danny Elfman Serenada Schizophrana orch; John Maurceri, cond. Sony 89780

Additional Information

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