Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt
swashbuckler332

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"Hello, Vinny. It's your Uncle Bingo. Time to pay the check!"

I had originally put together a Batman feature compilation, Gotham Avenger: Screen Tales of the Dark Knight in October of 2005, and it incorporated music from Batman Begins. As with Man of Steel: Screen Tales of the Last Son of Krypton, it had a built-in obsolescence both in terms of incorporating music from the current state of the franchise and that the next film in said franchise would use an element of my chosen title. In the case of the Superman mix, it was the "Man of Steel" part, in the case of the Batman mix, it was the "Dark Knight" part. In re-imagining the Superman mix as an exclusive Christopher Reeve compilation, I simply called it You'll Believe A Man Can Fly. While I have not completely retitled the new Batman compilation, I have dropped the subtitle here as well.

Frankly, dropping the material from Batman Begins (which will be incorporated into a future mix concentrating on the Christian Bale series) worked in this particular album's favor. The dead-serious music that James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer contributed to that film didn't always sit comfortably next to the material from the earlier five films, and made that disc a particularly strange listen. Instead, I have narrowed the field to the five theatrical films that were produced between 1989 and 1997. Four of these technically have continuity with one another, but the tone of the Joel Schumacher films are so radically different from that established by Tim Burton that one could easily consider those movies a discrete series.

This album consists of music from three composers, Danny Elfman, Shirley Walker and Elliot Goldenthal. While each one of them has a distinct style that is apparent in each of their scores, they also have many things in common. They all represent the Dark Knight himself with a bold, minor mode theme and go intentionally over-the-top with the sturm und drang. Danny Elfman was a hard sell to the studio for Tim Burton, but the resulting score would revolutionize the sound of the comic book movie. Elfman's bold, brassy, Wagnerian but slightly off-kilter music was a major aspect of the film, and his greatest career success has been in this genre. He would return for the 1992 sequel Batman Returns, where the more kinetic elements of the original film's score score would be balanced by tragic music for the Penguin and Catwoman. Batman: The Animated Series premiered between these two films, much of the music for which was composed by Shirley Walker, who conducted the original Batman score (in fact, the first season of Batman: The Animated Series featured an arrangement of Elfman's theme). Her more serious but no-less operatic approach would be given a larger palette, complete with a choir, on the feature-length theatrical release Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Burton handed over the directorial reigns of the feature series to Joel Schumacher, who would create two affronts to the concept of the character, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. While most of Schumacher's choices were completely disasterous, he brought Elliot Goldenthal into the mix, who based his technique not only on the expectations of the genre, but the musical vocalizations that children make when they play. The resulting scores were beyond over-the-top, and incredibly entertaining for all that.

All of the scores fit together so well that this disc makes the older version even more obsolete than The Dark Knight would have made it. The Batman Begins music really spoiled the curve by being so different from the others, forcing me in some ways to concentrate on similar music from the other films to give the album some consistency. A major advantage to the revision is that I was able to represent more facets of each of the represented scores, which was especially rewarding with respect to the underrated Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, which is a majestic score of the old school.



26 Tracks • 81:29
  1. THE BATMAN THEME 2:33
    (Batman • Danny Elfman)


  2. THE PROMISE 2:17
    (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm • Shirley Walker)


  3. FLEDERMAUSMARSCHMUSIK 1:12
    (Batman Forever • Elliot Goldenthal)


  4. SELINA’S TRANSFORMATION 4:08
    (Batman Returns • Danny Elfman)


  5. POISON IVY and MR. FREEZE’S PLANS 4:13
    (Batman & Robin • Elliot Goldenthal)


  6. BRUCE AND VICKI * 2:32
    (Batman • Danny Elfman)


  7. FIRST LOVE 1:30
    (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm • Shirley Walker)


  8. BATMAN TO THE RESCUE 3:49
    (Batman • Danny Elfman)


  9. THE BIG CHASE 5:29
    (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm • Shirley Walker)


  10. THE CEMETERY 2:51
    (Batman Returns • Danny Elfman)


  11. NYGMA VARIATIONS (AN ODE TO SCIENCE) 5:58
    (Batman Forever • Elliot Goldenthal)


  12. FACE-OFF 0:32
    (Batman • Danny Elfman)


  13. BIRTH OF BATMAN 4:11
    (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm • Shirley Walker)


  14. DESCENT INTO MYSTERY 1:28
    (Batman • Danny Elfman)


  15. MOUTH TO MOUTH NOCTURNE 2:08
    (Batman Forever • Elliot Goldenthal)


  16. A PLEA FOR HELP 1:42
    (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm • Shirley Walker)


  17. PHOTOS * 1:30
    (Batman • Danny Elfman)


  18. CHASE NOIR 1:41
    (Batman Forever • Elliot Goldenthal)


  19. ATTACK OF THE BATWING 4:41
    (Batman • Danny Elfman)


  20. PERILS OF GOTHAM 2:39
    (Batman Forever • Elliot Goldenthal)


  21. UP THE CATHEDRAL 4:52
    (Batman • Danny Elfman)


  22. TRUST ME NOW 4:11
    (Batman & Robin • Elliot Goldenthal)


  23. THE FINAL CONFRONTATION 7:05
    (Batman Returns • Danny Elfman)


  24. HELPING HAND 2:42
    (Batman & Robin • Elliot Goldenthal)


  25. BATMAN’S DESTINY 3:35
    (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm • Shirley Walker)


  26. FINALE * 1:46
    (Batman • Danny Elfman)

  27. * Contains “Scandalous” by Prince with John L. Nelson


Selections from BATMAN (1989) • Composed by DANNY ELFMAN
Orchestrated by STEVEN BARTEK, SHIRLEY WALKER and STEVEN SCOTT SMALLEY
Performed by THE SINFONIA OF LONDON Conducted by SHIRLEY WALKER
Engineered by ERIC TOMLINSON • Produced by DANNY ELFMAN and STEVE BARTEK

Selections from BATMAN RETURNS (1992) • Composed by DANNY ELFMAN
Orchestrated by STEVEN BARTEK and MARK McKENZIE • Conducted by JONATHAN SHEFFER
Engineered by SHAWN MURPHY • Produced by DANNY ELFMAN and STEVE BARTEK

Selections from BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM (1993) • Composed and Conducted by SHIRLEY WALKER
Orchestrated by IAN WALKER, LOLITA RITMANIS, PETER TOMASHEK, HARVEY R. COHEN, MICHAEL McCUISTON and LARRY RENCH
Synthesizers Performed by HANS ZIMMER • Engineered by ROBERT FERNANDEZ • Produced by SHIRLEY WALKER

Selections from BATMAN FOREVER (1995) • Composed by ELLIOT GOLDENTHAL
Orchestrated by ROBERT ELHAI, DAVID JOHN OLSEN, MICHAEL McCUISTON, LOLITA RITMANIS, RANDY KERBER and SHIRLEY WALKER
Conducted by JONATHAN SHEFFER • Vocals by HARMONIC VOICES and ELLIOT GOLDENTHAL
Theremin Performed by PAUL SHORE • Violin Performed by BRUCE DUKOV
Engineered by STEVE McLAUGHLIN • Produced by MATTHIAS GOHL and RICHARD MARTINEZ

Selections from BATMAN & ROBIN (1997) • Composed by ELLIOT GOLDENTHAL
Orchestrated by BRUCE BABCOCK, RANDY KERBER and MICHAEL McCUISTON
Conducted by STEPHEN MERCURIO • Theremin Performed by PAUL SHORE
Engineered by STEVE McLAUGHLIN • Produced by MATTHIAS GOHL and RICHARD MARTINEZ


  1. THE BATMAN THEME 2:33 (Batman • Danny Elfman)
    The opening of the album is a suite that presents each composer's Batman theme. This rousing march is Danny Elfman's overture to Tim Burton's re-envisioning of the character with Michael Keaton, deliberately stressing the darkness of this particular knight by writing it in minor mode. This theme has become iconic, as mentioned before it was incorporated into the titles of Batman: The Animated Series for a season, and had a heavy influence on Goldenthal's.


  2. THE PROMISE 2:17 (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm • Shirley Walker)
    Shirley Walker's more reflective theme has a liturgical in tone, often heard in choral form, as it is during the main title and opening cue here. Despite their dire sound, the "latin" lyrics are nothing of the sort, consisting of various permutations of the names of members of the music production team.


  3. FLEDERMAUSMARSCHMUSIK 1:12 (Batman Forever • Elliot Goldenthal)
    Elliot Goldenthal's theme is structurally very similar to Elfman's, but louder (if such a thing were imaginable) and much more Wagnerian. Unlike the previous two tracks, which were main titles, this is an cue from the score that presents the theme in full-on action mode.


  4. SELINA’S TRANSFORMATION 4:08 (Batman Returns • Danny Elfman)
    While Batman Returns was a summer release, the film itself took place in the winter, and thus Elfman's score is a snowy affair reminiscent of his work on Burton's Edward Scissorhands. Meandering and sometimes stabbing strings perfectly capture the attitude of a cat, and the music periodically blooms out in Elfman's main "villain" theme for the sequel as Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) becomes Catwoman. This is actually the "Part II" of "Selina's Transformation" as it appears on the original soundtrack album.


  5. POISON IVY and MR. FREEZE’S PLANS 4:13 (Batman & Robin • Elliot Goldenthal)
    Goldenthal's scores would periodically address the 'detective' aspect of "Detective Comics" with several noirish touches, such as the jazz passage towards the beginning of this track. There is a Moroccan pastiche for Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), which is then followed by the Straussian tragic music for Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger).


  6. BRUCE AND VICKI 2:32 (Batman • Danny Elfman - Contains “Scandalous” by Prince with John L. Nelson)
    This is the only real suite I created for this album (there are other edits, but mostly within cues). This, however, is a 'concert arrangement' of the love theme from the first film, for which Elfman incorporated the original Prince song "Scandalous." The two represented cues were "Kitchen" (part of "Kitchen/Surgery/Face-Off") and "Love Theme." I added an additional string line to the transition to make it smoother.


  7. FIRST LOVE 1:30 (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm • Shirley Walker)
    I continue the mood of the previous track with Walker's passionate love theme for Bruce (Kevin Conroy) and Andi (Dana Delany), a beautiful piece for woodwinds, strings, bells and choir. Now listen very carefully because I'm only going to say this once: I don't mean anything by it, but this theme just always reminds me that Sousa march heard at the end of Airplane! (damned if I can remember the name of it).


  8. BATMAN TO THE RESCUE 3:49 (Batman • Danny Elfman)
    The action picks up again for one of Elfman's most frenetic battle cues, heard in the film as Batman rescues Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) from the perverse clutches of the Joker (Jack Nicholson). The lauded brass section of the Sinfonia of London is given one hell of a workout, and there are interesting percussion and piano figures.


  9. THE BIG CHASE 5:29 (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm • Shirley Walker)
    The tone brightens for a few moments before the Theremin representing the Phantasm is introduced, which begins a chain reaction leading to an outburst of muscular action. Walker's Batman theme is heard in several guises, and there is a passage about three minutes in that is one of the most arresting moments on the disc.


  10. THE CEMETERY 2:51 (Batman Returns • Danny Elfman)
    This track appears as a contrast to the theatrics of the previous two. The music for the Penguin (Danny DeVito) blooms into a tragic setting of the villain theme. A more determined version on the Penguin material closes out the track.


  11. NYGMA VARIATIONS (AN ODE TO SCIENCE) 5:58 (Batman Forever • Elliot Goldenthal)
    As I mentioned before, Ellot Goldenthal's music can get really damn strange when he wants it to. This bizarre Theremin-centered track is, as its title suggests, a theme and variations, where the variations become progressively off-kilter until the whole thing just goes bananas, as befits the fate of the titular Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey).


  12. FACE-OFF 0:32 (Batman • Danny Elfman)
    Elfman's riff on Camille Saint-Saëns' Danse Macabre is first heard in this carnival-esque arrangment as Jack Napier, transformed into the Joker, murders Boss Grissom (Jack Palance).


  13. BIRTH OF BATMAN 4:11 (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm • Shirley Walker)
    Walker's love and Batman themes intertwine in this pivotal cue from Mask of the Phantasm. Although variations on the Batman theme had been heard in previously included cues, this is the first time since track 2 that it is heard again in full with choir.


  14. DESCENT INTO MYSTERY 1:28 (Batman • Danny Elfman)
    As Batman whisks Vicki into the Batcave, the music takes over with this enigmantic, mounting cue. This is the unofficial conclusion of "side one" of this album; there is no specific delineation other than on the album artwork this is the end of the first column and the next track is the beginning of the new.


  15. MOUTH TO MOUTH NOCTURNE 2:08 (Batman Forever • Elliot Goldenthal)
    "Side two" opens with Goldenthal once again evoking Strauss in this haunting cue, reminiscent of his main theme for Interview with the Vampire, written the previous year. A dramatic reading of his Batman theme closes out the track.


  16. A PLEA FOR HELP 1:42 (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm • Shirley Walker)
    Walker's love theme returns again in a euphoric guise, but the joy is short-lived, as ominous strings creep in. A dramatic slam of choir and organ leads to a dark variation on her Batman theme.


  17. PHOTOS 1:30 (Batman • Danny Elfman - Contains “Scandalous” by Prince with John L. Nelson)
    A plaintive two-note piano motif has the melody from "Scandalous" weaving through it in one of the most wistfully beautiful moments in Elfman's Batman. This leads into an eerie passage as the action goes from Vicki looking at photos to the Joker looking at photos.


  18. CHASE NOIR 1:41 (Batman Forever • Elliot Goldenthal)
    A smoky trumpet passage opens this sultry cue which features a bluesy variation on Goldenthal's Batman theme.


  19. ATTACK OF THE BATWING 4:41 (Batman • Danny Elfman)
    One of the biggest action set-pieces of the summer of 1989 was the confrontation between Batman and the Joker for the future of Gotham. More carnival-esque touches are heard representing the Joker while the Elfman's Batman theme is heard in many settings, including some of the most triumphant in either of Elfman's Batman scores (in particular the statement heard at 3:54).


  20. PERILS OF GOTHAM 2:39 (Batman Forever • Elliot Goldenthal)
    Swirling strings and clarion calls on brass open this explosive track that presages the epic approach that Goldenthal would take to Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within several years later. There are several distorted versions of Goldenthal's Batman theme heard over the course of the track. I shortened a short passage in the middle for listening purposes.


  21. UP THE CATHEDRAL 4:52 (Batman • Danny Elfman)
    As with "Descent Into Mystery," this is a moment in Batman where the music takes over the soundtrack, yielding this operatic cue featuring a pipe organ and dark variations on the already-dark Batman theme. In the original incarnation of Gotham Avenger and my initial assemblies of this album, the placement of this track and "Attack of the Batwing" were reversed. The alteration came when I found that I needed to spread the action out on the second side to keep from overloading the listener before the endgame.


  22. TRUST ME NOW 4:11 (Batman & Robin • Elliot Goldenthal)
    That endgame begins with a lone trumpet; gradually additional instruments begin to pick up the meandering line. Goldenthal's Batman theme then leads to a powerful bass and brass passage lead to oscillating strings (another sound that would characterize the soundscape of Final Fantasy) and further brass fanfares. The original version of this album had a much shorter excerpt from this track.


  23. THE FINAL CONFRONTATION 7:05 (Batman Returns • Danny Elfman)
    A snare drum heard over the villain theme leads into an authoritative statement of the Batman theme as the album's climax begins. This is a reduction of the two parts of "The Final Confrontation" suite on the original soundtrack album, which intertwines all of the thematic material in the film. I essentially recreated the same program material as heard on the original Gotham Avenger disc, albeit with smoother edits than I could have achieved when I made that disc. The only exception is that version omitted the Catwoman sequence towards the end, which is included in this incarnation.


  24. HELPING HAND 2:42 (Batman & Robin • Elliot Goldenthal)
    This is the flip side to the Mr. Freeze material heard in track 5. Once again, Goldenthal presents music reminiscent of Strauss, with a choir and enobling horns blooming out of the tragic strains with hope.


  25. BATMAN’S DESTINY 3:35 (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm • Shirley Walker)
    A barrage of orchestral sounds tumble about, yielding the Phantasm motif and an arresting setting of Walker's Batman theme that emerges. The conclusion of this track brings us back to the materia primoris as established in track 2.


  26. FINALE 1:46 (Batman • Danny Elfman - Contains “Scandalous” by Prince with John L. Nelson)
    Elfman's Batman theme sounds triumphantly followed by quieter arrangements with shades of "Scandalous" weaving through. The Batman theme returns with a vengeance as it builds to its final conclusion.

Tags: danny elfman, elliot goldenthal, film music, james newton howard, my mixes, shirley walker
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