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Get to know the filmography of Danny Elfman: the creator of the Batman soundtrack

Daniel Robert 'Danny' Elfman is one of the most versatile and successful contemporary composers in the world of cinema. Recognized for being a founding member of the new wave band Oingo Boingo and, mainly for writing music for the films of great directors like Tim Burton or Sam Raimi.

He debuted in 1985 as a soundtrack composer with his film Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and has maintained an extensive collaboration with Burton to this day. Likewise, he has composed the soundtrack for the original trilogy of Spider-Man directed by Sam Raimi, and composed the soundtrack for Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness from the same director. He is also known for creating the famous theme for the animated television series The Simpson which, among many other works, have given him great prestige throughout his eclectic career as a musician. For all these reasons, we invite you to discover the filmography of Danny Elfman: the creator of the Batman soundtrack.

Batman Danny Elfman
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Who is Danny Elfman?

This 69-year-old American composer, musician, singer-songwriter and record producer was born in Los Angeles on May 29, 1953 and has become one of the most admired composers of recent years thanks to the freshness, originality, irony and surprising use of music for the screen.

It is curious to observe Danny Elfman's studies, since his parents hired a private teacher and enrolled him in the music conservatory, but Danny left everything to learn independently. He joined his brother's theater group, The Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo, as part of the choir, but his restless personality led him to compose songs and eventually direct it. Danny and his group composed the music for the film made by his brother Forbidden Zone (1980) and after many concerts they achieved some fame.

Its very particular style seasoned with jazzy touchesstics, a product of his musical training, and his enormous versatility, define the Californian's musical style. Furthermore, his specialization in the fantasy genre has earned him fans and admirers who always look forward to each new work of his.

Danny Elfman Awards and Nominations

If we talk about the relationship between Oscars and Danny Elfman, it should be noted that he has been a candidate for the award four times. By Good Will Hunting in 1997; men in black in 1997, big fish in 2003 and Milk in 2008, although he has not finally won the statuette on any occasion.

 Danny Elfman
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Regarding his recognitions in the Golden Globes, Danny Elfman has been nominated three times. The first of them, in 1994, for the film The Nightmare Before Christmas, by his faithful companion in cinematic exploits, Tim Burton, although that year the award went to the sky and the earth, for Kitaro's work.

Later he was also nominated for these awards in 2004, for his work also for Burton, in big fish, although the winner was Howard Shore for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and in 2011 by Alice in Wonderland, also by Burton, although the award was awarded to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, for The social network.

Elfman was also nominated for the Bafta awards on two occasions. The first of them in 2003, for the original music of Chicago, which he composed in collaboration with Fred Ebb and John Kander, and in 2011, also by Alice in Wonderland. An award that Alexandre Desplat won for his work in The king's speech.

One of the most transcendent moments of the Burton-Elfman relationship was in batman (1989), for whose original music the composer received the Grammy Award. And there, one of the most memorable moments is the triumphant orchestral theme that would be taken up in the 1992 sequel Batman Returns and would serve as inspiration for the entry theme Batman: The Animated Series.

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Elfman would not only receive the Grammy for this work, he also obtained the BMI Film Music Award for his work, so the way in which the composer conceived this musical theme, which is already a relevant part of culture, is fascinating. geek: in the bathroom of an airplane. In an interview with Marc Maron, Elfman explained that the main theme of batman It occurred to him in the bathroom of an airplane while flying home from the film's London set to Los Angeles, something that raised concern among passengers. “I started running around in the bathroom and humming phrases, and I went back to my seat and started thinking. I'm thinking. Ten minutes, back to the bathroom. And again to my seat and then back to the bathroom, because I couldn't do this with the guy who was sitting next to me," he commented.

The Californian composer also won an Emmy Award for the theme for the television series Desperate women, in addition to being nominated for the song The Simpsons, the longest-running primetime comedy of all time.

What did Danny Elfman compose? His best soundtracks

If we do a chronological review of Danny Elfman's best soundtracks, we inevitably find his excellent work in Beetlejuice. The original music he composed for this film impeccably framed the gloomy and dark atmosphere, at the same time comic and grotesque, that Burton needed for his work. This soundtrack is characterized by the exaltation of the grotesque, the morbid, the circus and the chaotic. Themes and leitmotifs recurring, related to characters and situations in the most purely Wagnerian style. Pianos, choirs, tangos and calypsos come together in a comic-psychotic work.

Other of his most picturesque scores is that of nightbreed by Clive Barker. The soundtrack of this 1990 film runs between the grotesque and the comical, with melodic dynamics that would later be so characteristic of the composer. Rhythms with a lot of cadence, choruses and a sense of certain wildness in which, rightly, what seems terrifying ends up being burlesque.

Danny Elfman
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Far from Tim Burton's universe, in 1996 Danny Elfman composed the soundtrack for Mission: Impossible, by Brian De Palma, starring Tom Cruise. Initially it was going to be Alan Silvestri who worked on it, but he would be replaced by Elfman. On this occasion, the composer's efforts are focused on giving entity to the three most relevant scenes of the film and the main character. 'Betrayal' is his best song, due to its exacerbated lyricism and cuts like 'Ménais à Trois' or 'Zoom B', help to overcome a certain general tedium that accompanies the rest of the score.

If we continue this chronological review of Danny Elfman's best soundtracks, we find his foray into the Marvel universe, with Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, both directed by Sam Raimi. Regarding these two scores, especially that of the first part, critics classify it as one of the best soundtracks of the superhero genre. We find masterful main themes, both the one dedicated to the protagonist and Duende, and other unique moments of action, which mix emotionality, strength and beauty.

Within this same comic universe, Elfman participated with Brian Tyler in the score of Avengers: Age or Ultron. Tyler wanted to create a cohesive musical universe with the music of John Williams to Star Wars, Superman and Riders of the Lost Ark, referring to the music of films Iron Man, Thor and  Captainton Amanddelicious. For his part, Elfman contributed his voice, inspiration and eclecticism. The Philharmonia Orchestra recorded the soundtrack at Abbey Road Studios.

The American composer also visited the saga of the legendary John Connor, to write the score for Terminator: Salvation. At certain moments, such as at the beginning or end of the film, the composition shakes us, although in general the original soundtrack is not up to par with the works of genius. On the other hand, he is accused of having used some passages from the original film Terminator, with music composed by Brad Fiedel.

Danny Elfman's success on the Batman soundtrack

Unusually, Danny Elfman's extraordinary soundtrack for batman (1989), directed by Tim Burton, did not achieve recognition in awards, nor was it even nominated, with the exception of two minor awards, such as the BMI Film & TV Awards and the Brit Awards, which it won in 1990.

The composer had just forged a solid and happy bond with Tim Burton after their two previous collaborations, Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice. Both worked in the same reactionary tune and shared the same rebellious artistic vision, which sought to renew both visual and musical design. With Oingo-Boingo, Elfman's music had already influenced bands like Fishbone and Nirvana.

The main theme of Batman: Original Motion Picture Score It has remained in the collective memory as the melody associated with the character, towards which the musician has mixed feelings. The fundamental element of the success of this first batman film of the eighties, was its musical theme. “I could have composed the film with percussion, a harmonica and a banjo, because all you hear are percussion hits in the big moments, and you don't hear what the real orchestra is doing,” the musician noted.

With more than 75 scores for films, the Californian composer is undoubtedly the great representative of film music created since independence and eclecticism. A personal and creative style that we have also been able to enjoy in other films such as Dolores Clairbone, Planet of the Apes either Men in Black. The latest Elfman-Burton collaboration has been Wednesday, one of Netflix's latest great hits.

Now, we have a very special occasion to enjoy the best music of Danny Elfman and the Film Symphony Orchestra, since on our current tour Krypton, the iconic music from Tim Burton's Batman is playing. Do not miss it!

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