What’s Worth Watching: A concert of Danny Elfman’s film music on PBS for Friday, October 30

Danny Elfman
Stephanie Berger/PBS
Lincoln Center Festival presents Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton at Avery Fisher Hall on July 6, 2015. Conducted by John Mauceri with special guests, Danny Elfman, Sandy Cameron- violinist, Ingrid Michaelson and John-Dominick Mignard and Leif Christian Pedersen, boy sopranos. Credit: Stephanie Berger

Danny Elfman’s Music From the Films of Tim Burton, Friday, Oct. 30, 9/8c, PBS (check local listings at pbs.org)

Just try to imagine some of Tim Burton’s cinematic masterpieces—Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas—without the glorious musical scores provided by the protean composer Danny Elfman. It’s impossible. Likewise, when a New York orchestra plays suites based on these themes in a beguiling Live From Lincoln Center concert, you don’t really need the clips and sketches being projected to conjure iconic images from these films in your own mind’s eye.

I witnessed this concert live last summer at Avery Fisher (now David Geffen) Hall, feeling a bit abashed I hadn’t attended in costume, but then I wasn’t as much in the Halloween spirit as I am now, making this a perfect time to rewatch. If it holds up as well on TV as it did in person, we’re all in for a great treat. Highlights of the concert, conducted by John Mauceri, include a virtuoso violin solo during the Edward Scissorhands section (hands down my favorite) and the elfin Elfman himself taking the stage to rapturous applause to perform some of Jack’s songs from Nightmare. When the last notes are struck, you’ll probably want to watch at least one of these movies again immediately. (Given the season, I’d suggest Nightmare or Sleepy Hollow.)