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I Wish Williams Would Adapt Sweeney for Burton


Alejandro
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Filming begins in London early next year on Sweeney Todd, with Johnny Depp starring and Tim Burton directing.

Will Elfman do the adaptation? Does he even do his own orchestrations, I know he doesn't conduct his scores. I think he might pass on the project.

The film is produced through Dreamworks/Paramount by Laurie McDonald and Walter Parkes (worked on all of Spielberg's directing gigs since 1998 I believe) and Richard Zanuck (Jaws, Jaws 2, among others).

Wouldn't it be cool if these three producers (and Spielberg) entice both Burton and Williams to work together on this project?

I heard "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof by the original cast. But then I put on Williams' arrangement from the film. Dear Lord.

I wish he adapts Sweeney only if he's not working on any other projects.

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It's a bit of a mystery what Elfman does. I know he writes down his music (I think 8-10 lines usually), but he definitely doesn't orchestrate. Mind you, he "adapted" Herrmann's Psycho, though, but I'd guess that's just to get a big musical name on the project.

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I don't think Elfman offers much orchestrational detail in his sketches, as he really isn't exactly a very learned musician. Steve Bartek always used to orchestrate for him, although I suspect he has a whole host of sub-orchestrators these days.

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I remember reading something about the orchestrating choses, but too vaguely; in any case, whether you consider "orchestrating" as "developing the notes for the players to play" or as "composing music that will be played by various instruments", I think it is clear Elfman has a style and sound of his own that are not orchestrator-dependent.

He did conduct a few things recently-- and, even though I suppose being able to conduct must surely be a great help, I don't think conducting is that much for a criterion for the quality of a composer; many composers who can conduct do not do so, preferring to listen, write down changes, control the mixing, whatever.

For someone who didn't have formal orchestral training, Elfman surely knows how to write excellent film music, in a distinctive voice-- so good a composer some of his traits have been copied. That's a wonderful accomplishment. There is also no denying that Elfman's style has much evolved and is quite eclectic.

The thing is, some composers have all the required training, but lack the inspiration, originality, genius; while lots of people with no training at all can hear great music in their head but can never write it down, and a few of theme get to actually compose great music because they know enough to communicate their ideas.

I don't know anything of Sweeney Todd, but I am sure Elfman will be up to the task, especially with songs.

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I don't think Elfman offers much orchestrational detail in his sketches, as he really isn't exactly a very learned musician.

Well I have the "nightmare before christmas" demos, and the music is practically the same as in the final version, with all the little orchestrational details, just played with synths instead of an orchestra. So I'd guess what Elfman's orchestrators get is a midi printout from the sequencer he uses to compose and record his music, and the corresponding audio files, and what they have to do is format it in a way musicians can play from it. At least in this case, they didn't add/change anything musically.

Edit: One other thing is that a huge part of the distinctive "Elfman sound" is characteristic sophisticated orchestration, and you can't put that on his orchestrators. (Hell, I've even read someone claiming Williams's "sound" was produced by his orchestrators, though that person must've been pretty dumb, because he held the published piano selection albums for several films as evidence that Williams's "piano sketches" were pretty basic and without substance. :roll: )

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I saw a video on YouTube once where Elfman showed his process of orchestrating in a Batman Returns documentary. He used synths to meticulously break down a particular scene in the film.

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Elfman is sometimes credited as 'Music by...' As far as i know, thats how composers who dont do all orchestrations and even neither conduct the score are credited.

(im not saying he hanst done orchestration or conducting in all of his scores)

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Elfman is sometimes credited as 'Music by...' As far as i know, thats how composers who dont do all orchestrations and even neither conduct the score are credited.

So is Williams. It's a normal composer's credit.

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Unless we're talking about soundtrack releases. On those, Williams generally does get the "Composed and Conducted" credit. The CE3K CE has "Music by," though.

The Elfman albums I have all have either "Music Composed by Danny Elfman" as credit, or "Music by Danny Elfman."

Still, Elfman's orchestrations are very typical. I doubt that's all Steve Bartek or one of his other orchestrators.

- Marc, who just realized he needs more Elfman. :spiny:

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Even if Elfman doesn't do much orchestration himself, the Danny Elfman & Steve Bartek pairing (I believe they always work together?) is what makes the music work - does it actually matter that it's done by two people working closely together, rather than one?

- Rob, writing in jumbled sentences again

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Elfman's and Bartek's signature "quirky" orchestrations partially comes out of their days as "Knights of the Oingo Boingo", I suppose... It comes out of a theatrical "vaudeville meets new wave" sound world. Elfman's synth sketches for "The Nighmare Before Christmas" are indeed quite representative as far as what the finished product sounds like, but I suspect Elfman thinks more in timbral generalities, such as "brass", "winds", "strings" or "tutti", rather than more specifically, as in "alto flute unis. with English horn", "3rd trumpet with horns", etc.

Judging from the sketches provided above, I think it is interesting to note how his layering is really baroque, meaning it is very much based on a rhythmic undercurrent, a sort of musical engine, if you will (here: 16th notes). His sketches provide a little bit more information than I expected, but (as I expected) they do seem like the sketches of a composer who really isn't a natural orchestral thinker, but more of a sonic conceptualist.

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I am so glad that Sondheim's Sweeney Todd is finally coming to film. I performed in it a few years back, and it is honestly one of the most emotionally complex and musically beautiful musicals ever written - a true, though often forgotten, masterpiece. "A Little Priest" is surely one of the best "showstoppers" ever.

I just hope to god that Depp can sing...

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Unless we're talking about soundtrack releases. On those, Williams generally does get the "Composed and Conducted" credit. The CE3K CE has "Music by," though.

The Elfman albums I have all have either "Music Composed by Danny Elfman" as credit, or "Music by Danny Elfman."

Still, Elfman's orchestrations are very typical. I doubt that's all Steve Bartek or one of his other orchestrators.

- Marc, who just realized he needs more Elfman. ;)

I WAS speaking about CD Credits...

Manuel, you idiot!

:)

Yes..... ;)

:)

:P

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Elfman is sometimes credited as 'Music by...' As far as i know, thats how composers who dont do all orchestrations and even neither conduct the score are credited.  

(im not saying he hanst done orchestration or conducting in all of his scores)

The credit is just a way chosen to wrote it. Could be "music by", "music composed by" etc etc. - I highly doubt it has anything to do with how much orchestration the composer did etc :P

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ARGH! Sweeney Todd! One of my favourite Sondheim musicals! I'm very excited!

You like Alias AND Sondheim? So there are still members with good taste.

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Sweeney has some fine pieces, though my favorite Sondheim's are " A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "Merrily We Roll Along." "Sunday in the Park with George" is good, too. I didn't like "Little Night Music" all that much, except for "Send in the Clown" but only the version sung by Cleo.

MySpace Film Music Group:

http://groups.myspace.com/filmmusiccentral

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Funny, I think the opposite - "Forum" is one of his weakest works, and I really love "Little Night Music". But that really doesn't matter much - I even like the very flawed "Bounce". You need "Assassins" and "Company", too, as they are two of his best masterpieces (and the man had a lot of them).

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i wish sondheim himself would adapt it for the movie, like how bernstein did for his. one of the greatest musicals sweeney todd is.

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You like Alias AND Sondheim? So there are still members with good taste.

Hahah, I was about to say something regarding "Merrily..." being one of my favourites therefore probably cancelling my "good taste", but apparently not! It's nice to know other people think that quality's not based on success!

Love "Forum" too, I'm hoping to be part of a production of it here soon.

8O "Our Time" - Merrily We Roll Along

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didn't he orchestrate CHicago?

I love the orchestratsions in that... I don't think he'd have a problem with this one...

He didn't orchestrate anything, even his original music. There was the original Kander/Ebb music and arrangements, additional dance arrangements and then some more adaptations on top. It's not really clear how much Elfman did outside his small amount of original work, but he didn't orchestrate it, in the sctrict sense of the word.

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I think these are the Chicago album credits:

Douglas Besterman Arranger, Orchestration

Rick Wake Arranger, Producer, Vocal Arrangements

Paul Bogaev Arranger, Vocal Arrangements, Executive Soundtrack Producer

Richie Jones Arranger, Producer, Engineer, drum programming

Bruce Fowler, Orchestration

Steve Bartek Orchestration

Michael Starobin Orchestration

MySpace Film Music Group:

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