Danny Elfman, John Williams Compose Traditional Classical Concertos

Danny Elfman, composer for film and TV and formerly of Oingo Boingo, released his debut classical composition today, aptly titled "Eleven Eleven." Elfman joins fellow film composer John Williams in premiering a classical concerto this year; Williams debuted his second violin concerto over the summer at Tanglewood, played by his friend and world-class soloist Anne Sophie Mutter.

Performed by soloist Sandy Cameron conducted by John Mauceri, Elfman's album opens with his violin concerto in four movements: Grave – Animato, Spietato, Fratasma, and Giocoso – Lacrimae. The album follows "Eleven Eleven" concerto with his piano quartet in five movements, performed by the Philharmonic Piano Quartet Berlin.

Elfman's Eleven Eleven is quintessentially in the composer's classic style; however, Cameron lends her own voice and style to the score, which brings out the beauty and enchantment of the piece. Cameron performed an interlude at Elfman's recent Nightmare Before Christmas in concert event. Audiences were given a taste of her style, which showcases phenomenal skill and technique, especially when it comes to fast, virtuosic passages and clean passages, precise staccato.

Williams second concerto, on the other hand, is wholly modern, almost experimental in nature, without a main driving theme or variations as in a traditional concerto. It features four movements: a Prologue, Rounds, Dactyls, and an Epilogue, with each movement never staying in one place musically nor thematically, certainly not amongst the movements themselves. It lacks a melody, more at home amongst Bartok and Stravinsky in nature than it is among any of Williams' film scores, and that's an impressive range to show off: both modern and the classically expected.

This thoroughly modern piece highlights the highs, cadenzas, and virtuosity of Mutter's established abilities as a soloist and musician. Her dedication to the score, her instrument, and the overall feeling of the whole concerto shows a level of studying and practice many would find meticulous.

Danny Elfman, John Williams Compose Traditional Classical Concertos
L-R: Danny Elfman attends the Premiere of Universal Pictures' "Dolittle" at Regency Village Theatre on January 11, 2020, in Westwood, California. Editorial credit: Silvia Elizabeth Pangaro / Shutterstock.com | Composer John Williams at the 2016 American Film Institute Life Achievement Award gala honoring John Williams at the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood. Editorial credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

Danny Elfman's album containing Eleven Eleven is available on Spotify; John Williams' second violin concerto airs on November 12 on PBS.

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About Eden Arnold

Eden enjoys watching baking shows with her cat, and they have lots of opinions about television (as well as movies and everything else). She puts this to good use along with her journalism degree and writing experience with by-lines over the years in newspapers, magazines, books, and online media outlets. You can find her on Twitter and IG at @Edenhasopinions.
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