A Note from the Composer

Serenada Schizophrana CD sleeve note
Serenada Schizophrana was a completely new experience for me. As a film composer, I’ve always had visuals to drive my orchestral music. Serenada began as a commission from the American Composers Orchestra in New York with very few restrictions. As I’d never done anything like this before, figuring out how to begin was daunting. I began composing several dozen short improvisational compositions, maybe a minute each. Slowly, some of them began to develop themselves until finally I had six separate movements that, in some abstract, absurd way, felt connected. Free from film restrictions, I more or less let the movements take themselves wherever they wanted to go in a kind of musical stream of consciousness (which, with the way my brain works, was not a very smooth stream.) The finished piece premiered at Carnegie Hall in February 2005 with Steven Sloane conducting. It was, to say the least, a thrilling and surreal experience for me.
Naturally, I have many musical influences. On some level, both conscious and unconscious, they were probably all affecting my writing. They range from the early film composers such as Bernard Herrmann, Nino Rota, Dimitri Tiomkin, Max Steiner and Erich Korngold, to my “classical” influences of Sergei Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, Béla Bartók, Dmitri Shostakovich and Carl Orff. I also cannot omit early Kurt Weill and Duke Ellington as playing an equal role, along with the enigmatic Harry Partch and one of my few living influences, Philip Glass.
In general, I consider myself to be a musical throwback. I am forever attached to the music of the early 20th century when, for me, orchestral music flourished alongside the creation of jazz in a unique and remarkable way. I suppose this piece mixes up all my influences in a kind of musical “gumbo.” I hope it’s interesting and perhaps even entertaining.
– Danny Elfman
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