Last night I attended the world premier of Danny Elfman’s Serenada Schizophrana at Carnegie Hall. The event was commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra. I’ve been a big fan of Danny Elfman ever since he I heard the soundtrack to Batman. He’s done a lot of other movies like Spiderman, Men in Black, Planet of the Apes, and Beetle Juice. However my favorite Elfman score is Nightmare Before Christmas. Where he not only did the score, but was the voice of Jack Skellington.
Serenada Schizophrana is a 6 movement piece done with a full orchestra and small chorus of female singers. This was a completely new work written for this performance. It had a classic Elfman feel to it, similar in style Batman and Spiderman but had a much deeper and richer complexity to it. The third and fourth movements were very reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann work on the Hitchcock movies. The final movement was a perfect crescendo of both orchestra and choir.
At the conclusion of the performance the conductor Steven Sloane brought Mr Elfman up on stage. While he didn’t say anything you could see he was very happy with the way the performance was received by the audience.
The piece prior to to Danny Elfman’s work was another original work, Dark Florescence (Variations for Two Guitars and Orchestra). This was an orchestra piece featuring an acoustic and electric guitar. The electric guitar was played by Andy Summers. Yes Andy Summers of the Police. The juxtaposition of electric guitar and orchestra was unique and interesting. Not something you want to hear everyday but still interesting.