As the New York Times put it when Danny Elfman’s Serenada Schizophrana was performed live at Carnegie Hall in February 2005: "Better good Hollywood music than second-rate Brahms." Elfman, better known for his soundtracks to Tim Burton movies, had been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra to write a concert work, and the Serenada Schizophrana in six movements was the result.
It appears here under the baton of John Mauceri, known for his crossover work with Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Fans of Elfman’s soundtracks won’t be disappointed—or even very much surprised—by this venture into the concert hall. The composer’s style remains very much the same, probably because his habitual orchestrator, Steve Bartek (whose contribution is crucial to Elfman’s sound), worked on four movements, with Edgardo Simone handling the remaining two. Blending Bernard Herrmann, Duke Ellington, Max Steiner, and especially JG Thirlwell (a.k.a. big-band industrialist Foetus), Elfman has come up with an audience-friendly piece that actually sounds more convincing than similarly high-reaching works by Paul McCartney or Elvis Costello.--E.V.