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Corpse Bride
CD Cover

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

Music composed by Danny Elfman
Label: Warner Bros
Orchestrations by: Steve Bartek (supervisor), Edgardo Simone, David Slonaker
Conducted by: Nick Ingman
Choir: Metro Voices
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios, London [orch]
Recorded: Air Studios, Lyndhurst and Abbey Road Studios, London [songs]
Lyrics by Danny Elfman and John August
Recorded and mixed by: Dennis Sands
Produced by: Danny Elfman
Rating: * * * 1/2 (film) / * * * 3/4 (CD)


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Track Samples

01. Main titles (1'18") 922k
09. Tears to shed (0'33") 392k
14. The wedding song (0'49") 581k
20. End credits part 2 (0'41") 481k

Did you know...

  • "Victor's Piano Solo" appears to ape the famous moody first movement of Beethoven's 'Moonlight' piano sonata
  • The gloomy unison ending of track 21 is a clear thematic reference to the "Marche funèbre" from Chopin's second piano sonata, op.35
  • The end credits include a mention for Wagner's Tannhauser opera, which is for the wedding procession music. Not always identifiable because it is one of the few pieces associated with such an occasion to an extent that its origins are almost forgotten (well, that is my excuse).
  • Elfman himself admitted the Gilbert & Sullivan style employed during "The Wedding Song" - for those not familiar with their light operettas, Gilbert's chorus lyrics in particular, frequently deliberate tongue-twisters, were often set by Sullivan to jaunty (homophonic) tunes at a cracking pace, and sung in a light, almost staccato style in order to maintain adequate diction!
  • The Corpse Bride orchestral score was recorded 2005.08.01, but the songs were composed and demo'd so long before (so the voices could be animated accurately) that the composer was able to compose Serenada Schizophrana and the orchestral score to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the interregnum. (Film Score Magazine, 2005.07-08)
  • Corpse Bride originally had five songs. Only four survived to be included in the film. (Film Score Magazine, 2005.07-08)
  • Elfman's turn as Bonejangles, singing "Remains of the day", was an experience he wanted to avoid. After failing to choose a vocalist for the song and persuaded to sing it himself, he needed two attempts and suffered "a mega-sore throat all night long both nights". (Film Score Magazine, 2005.07-08)
  • His work on Corpse Bride is the reason why Elfman was unable to adapt (etc.) his music for the Edward Scissorhands ballet choreographed by Matthew Bourne despite the long gestation of the project and creative input. (Film Score Magazine, 2005.07-08)
  • The songs to Corpse Bride and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, although very different in style, were composed at the same time since director Tim Burton was running the projects concurrently and needed songs in advance for both. (Cinecon.com, 2005.09.19 / msn.com chat, 2005.09.19)
  • This marks Elfman's 12th film with Burton (presumably counting Charlie as no.11 and discounting some of the music for the online Stain Boy?) (msn.com 2005.09.14)
  • "When we talked about the score, [Burton] said that whenever we're in the land of the living, we should keep it very repressed... Think of 'tick, tock, tick, tock.' And when we're underground, anything goes." (Elfman interviewed, Orange County Register, 2005.09.25)
  • Prior to the film's release, the official Corpse Bride soundtrack site included demo versions of the songs. The instrumentation was delivered synthetically (and shows how live orchestra can open up a work) but the vocals were nearly identical. One exception seems to be Elfman's reprised vocalizations at the end of "The Wedding Song", either withdrawn or drowned by the orchestra in the mix.
  • The famous "Tara theme" (or Tara's theme) from Max Steiner's Gone with the Wind score is used in the film, as is an excerpt from Richard Wagner's opera Tannhauser
  • The hushed staccatto choral arrangement of "Remains of the day" at the end of the End Credits is only on the CD soundtrack. Although the music is the same, only the orchestra plays this section in the film.

Track Listing

01. Main Titles (2'06")
02. According to Plan (3'45")
Performed by Albert Finney, Joanna Lumley, Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse
03. Victor's Piano Solo (1'18")
04. In the Forest (4'35")
05. Remains of the Day (3'27")
Performed by Danny Elfman, Jane Horrocks, Paul Baker, Alison Jiear, Gary Martin
06. Casting a Spell (1'25")
07. Moon Dance (1'25")
08. Victor's Deception (1'28")
09. Tears to Shed (4'00")
Performed by Helena Bonham Carter, Jane Horrocks, Enn Reitel
10. Victoria's Escape (2'45")
11. The Piano Duet (2'31")
12. New Arrival (1'53")
13. Victoria's Wedding (0'42")
Performed by Danny Elfman, Jane Horrocks, Paul Baker, Alison Jiear, Gary Martin
14. The Wedding Song (3'15")
15. The Party Arrives (3'01")
16. Victor's Wedding (3'21")
17. Barkis's Bummer (2'09")
18. The Finale (2'07")
19. End Credits Part 1 (2'35")
20. End Credits Part 2 (1'50")
Bonus tracks
21. Ball & Socket Lounge Music #1 (Band Version) (2'33")
22. Remains of the Day (Combo Lounge Version) (2'15")
23. Ball & Socket Lounge Music #2 (3'06")
24. Ball & Socket Lounge Music #1 (Combo Version) (1'10")
Total running time: (57'25")


What is the Corpse Bride?

A pale-face chap (Johnny Depp) shortly to be plunged into a marriage of convenience (to Emily Watson) finds himself engaged to a cadavar (the eponimous Bride, voiced by Helena Bonham-Carter) killed on the night of her elopement. Tim Burton's warped mind and designs are obvious, direction kept top-notch by co-director Mike Johnson, and although simple in plot, the film keeps busy in grotesque foreground fun.

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