The first third of the Toccata and Fugue is in live-action and features an orchestra playing the piece, illuminated by abstract light patterns set in time to the music and backed by stylized and superimposed shadows.
The first few parts of the piece are played in each of the three sound channels first left, then right, then the middle, then all of them as a demonstration of Fantasound. The number segues into an abstract animation piece—a first for the Disney studio—set in time to the music. Toccata and Fugue was inspired primarily by the work of German abstract animator Oskar Fischinger, who had actually worked for a brief time on this segment. The animation segues back into the live-action footage of Stokowski as the piece concludes, setting the precedent for the rest of the musical numbers.
Although the Philadelphia Orchestra recorded the music for the film excepting The Sorcerer's Apprentice , they do not appear onscreen; the orchestra used onscreen in the film is made up of local Los Angeles musicians and Disney studio employees like Jimmy MacDonald and Paul Smith , who mime to the prerecorded tracks by Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Originally, the Philadelphia Orchestra was slated to be filmed in the introduction and interstitial segments, but the union and budgetary considerations prevented this from coming to pass. The Nutcracker Suite , a selection of pieces from Tchaikovsky's classic ballet, is a personified depiction of the changing of the seasons; first from summer to autumn, and then from autumn to winter.
Unlike the ballet, this version has no plot. It features a variety of dances, just as in the original, but danced by animated fairies , fish, flowers, mushrooms, and leaves; no actual nutcracker is ever seen in this version. Many elements are rendered carefully and painstakingly using techniques such as dry brush and airbrush. The musical segments are as follows:.
As dawn breaks over a meadow, during the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," tiny fairies sprinkle drops of dew on every flower and stern. A cluster of tiny mushrooms, dressed in long robes and coolie hats resembling Chinese plus one little mushroom always out-of-step , perform the "Chinese Dance. High-kicking thistles, dressed like Cossacks, and orchids dressed like lovely Russian peasant girls, join together for the wild "Russian Dance.
In the final musical segment, "Waltz of the Flowers," autumn fairies color everything they touch brown and gold with their wands. Then the frost fairies arrive and everything becomes part of an icy, jewellike pattern among falling snowflakes.
One quaint novelty of the full-length roadshow version of Fantasia is that during his commentary on the Nutcracker Suite , Deems Taylor observes that the complete ballet The Nutcracker "is never performed anymore.
It is the story of wizard Yen Sid 's ambitious, but lazy, assistant who attempts to work some of the magical feats of his master before he knows how to properly control them. Mickey plays the role of the apprentice.
In the original roadshow version, after Mickey leaves, Deems Taylor and the musicians are seen applauding for Mickey and Stokowski. Disney's interpretation of The Rite of Spring features a condensed version of the history of the Earth from the formation of the planet to the first living creatures to the age, reign, and extinction of the dinosaurs.
The sequence showcased realistically animated prehistoric creatures including Tyrannosaurus Rex , Dimetrodon , Parasaurolophus , Apatosaurus , Triceratops , Ornithomimus , and Stegosaurus see list of dinosaurs used , and used extensive and complicated special effects to depict volcanoes, boiling lava, and earthquakes.
The large carnivorous dinosaur attacking the Stegosaurus is a villainous Tyrannosaurus rex according to the preliminary introduction to the segment by Deems Taylor, and concept sketches by the artists. Disney also changed the order of the movements in the piece.
The segment, after beginning with the first, second, and third movements, omits the fourth and reorders all the others. The Danse de la terre is placed near the end of the cartoon rather than midway through the work. At the end, the orchestra replays the slow introduction to the Rite , which does not happen in the original work. The original ends with a violent Sacrificial Dance - also omitted in the Disney version - and an orchestral crash.
The roadshow version of the film features a humorous moment omitted from the general release version. When Deems Taylor announces the title of the work, there is a sudden loud crash in the percussion section, and we see that the chimes player has accidentally fallen against his instrument. He sheepishly gets up, to the amused chuckling of Taylor and the other musicians. Deems Taylor announces a fifteen-minute intermission following the conclusion of The Rite of Spring.
The musicians are seen departing the orchestra stand, and the doors close to reveal a title card. In a proper roadshow of Fantasia , the theater's curtains would close simultaneously with the closing doors on the screen, and the title card would remain projected for fifteen minutes while the guests are briefly excused. Following the intermission, the film would be started again.
Onscreen, the stage doors are opened again, and Taylor and the orchestra musicians are seen returning to their respective places. After the intermission, a "jam session" in the orchestra is started by a bassist playing a jazzed-up version of a theme from the third movement of the Pastoral Symphony, which the clarinetist and other instruments take up. This is followed immediately by the brief Meet the Soundtrack sequence which gives audiences a stylized example of how sound is rendered as waveforms to record the music for Fantasia.
The sequence features animation by effects animator Joshua Meador and his team, who give the soundtrack initially a squiggly line which changes into various shapes based on the individual sounds played on the soundtrack a distinct personality. The instruments are a harp, violin, flute, trumpet, bassoon, and percussion including the bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, and triangle. The Pastoral Symphony utilized delicate color styling to depict a mythical ancient Greek world of centaurs, families of pegasi, the gods of Mount Olympus, fauns, cupids, unicorns, and other legendary creatures and characters of classical mythology.
It tells the story of the mythological creatures gathering for a festival to honor Bacchus, the god of wine riding his horned donkey, Jacchus, which is disturbed by Zeus , who decides to amuse himself by throwing lightning bolts at the attendees.
However, due to problems fitting the story to the music, the decision was made to abandon Cydalise for other music. This portion of the film was criticized for a brief yet blatant nudity on the part of the female centaurs.
Other criticisms center on the racial images of a female centaur servant named Sunflower, who is part African human, part donkey, and two attendants to Bacchus who are part African Amazons, part zebra. The servant has been excised from all prints in circulation since often by the use of pan and zoom, so the scene doesn't focus on her , although the clip has recently turned up on various blogs and internet media.
The dancers of the morning are represented by Madame Upanova and her ostrich students. The dancers of the afternoon are represented by Hyacinth Hippo and her hippo servants. For this section the piece is expanded by a modified and reorchestrated repetition of the "morning" music.
The dancers of the sunset are represented by Elephanchine and her bubble-blowing elephant troupe. The dancers of the night are represented by Ben Ali Gator and his rival alligators. The finale sees the chaotic chase that ensues between all of the characters seen in the segment until they eventually decide to dance together. The Night on Bald Mountain segment is a showcase for animator Bill Tytla, who gave the demon Chernabog a power and intensity rarely seen in Disney films.
The devil known as Chernabog summons from their graves, empowered restless souls. The horror of the demons, ghosts, skeletons, vultures, ravens, firewomen, monstrous imps, witches, harpies, and other evil creatures in Night on Bald Mountain comes to an abrupt end with the sounds of church bells, which send Chernabog and his followers back into hiding, and the multiplane camera tracks away from Bald Mountain to reveal a line of faithful robed religious figures with lighted torches.
The camera slowly follows them as they go through the forest and ruins of a cathedral to the sounds of Ave Maria. The film ends with a final shot of a sunrise, shining beyond the horizon. In , Walt Disney felt that the studio's star character, Mickey Mouse , needed a boost in popularity. He decided to feature the mouse in The Sorcerer's Apprentice , a deluxe cartoon short based on the poem written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and set to the orchestral piece by Paul Dukas, that was also inspired by the original tale.
The concept of matching animation to classical music was used as early as in Disney's cartoon series, the Silly Symphonies , but he wanted to go beyond the usual slapstick, and produce shorts in which, as he put it, "sheer fantasy unfolds He just happened to meet Leopold Stokowski, conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra since , at a restaurant in Hollywood by chance and discussed his plans for the short.
Stokowski was happy to collaborate on the project and offered to conduct the piece at no cost. Following their meeting, Disney's New York representative ran into Stokowski on a train headed for the East.
In writing to Disney, he reported that Stokowski was "really serious in his offer to do the music for nothing. He had some very interesting ideas on instrumental coloring, which would be perfect for an animation medium.
The union of Stokowski and his music, together with the best of our medium, would be the means of a success and should lead to a new style of motion picture presentation. The Sorcerer's Apprentice was to be promoted as a "special" and rented to theaters as a unique film, outside of the Mickey Mouse cartoon series. An agreement signed by Disney and Stokowski on December 16, , allowed the conductor to "select and employ a complete symphony orchestra" for the recording.
Disney hired a stage at the Culver Studios in California for the session. It began at midnight on January 9, , and lasted for three hours using eighty-five Hollywood musicians. Roy suggested keeping any additional costs to a minimum. He said, "because of its very experimental and unprecedented nature This was the birth of a new concept, a group of separate numbers—regardless of their running time—put together in a single presentation. It turned out to be a concert—something novel and of high quality.
Ideas to produce a complete feature film were pursued in February , when inquiries were made to extend Stokowski's contract. In August, Disney asked Stokowski's representative to have him return to the studios to select material for the new film, which was initially titled The Concert Feature.
The pair further thought of presenting the film with an on-screen host to introduce each number in the program. Both had heard composer and music critic Deems Taylor provide intermission commentary during radio broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic and agreed he would be most suitable for the role. Disney did contact Taylor about the project, but by then work on Pinocchio , Bambi , and development on his new Burbank studio kept him too busy to work on the new feature.
In a change of plans, Taylor was asked during a call on September 3, , leave to come to the studios as soon as possible. Taylor arrived at the studio one day after a series of meetings began to select the musical pieces for The Concert Feature. Disney made story writers Joe Grant and Dick Huemer gather a preliminary selection of music and along with Stokowski, Taylor, and the heads of various departments, discussed their ideas. Each meeting was recorded verbatim by stenographers with participants being given a copy of the entire conversation for review.
As selections were considered, a recording of the piece was located and played back at the next gathering. Disney did not contribute much to early discussions; he admitted that his knowledge of music was instinctive and untrained. In one meeting, he inquired about a piece "on which we might build something of a prehistoric theme It would be perfect for prehistoric animals. Leopold Strokowski's recordings with the Philadelphia Orchestra for the movie Fantasia were landmarks on several counts.
Apart from attempting to bring classical music to the masses in the theater, the soundtrack album -- which came out on LP in the s -- was one of the earliest stereo recordings, featuring some of the most enjoyable high-fidelity sound of the period and boasting impeccable performances even if the pieces were mostly re-edited and shortened. Apart from his reputation as a fiercely independent musical personality, Stokowski was also a showman with very few peers, and his careful yet extroverted performances of these pieces including Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" and the summary of Beethoven's "Pastorale Symphony" introduced many listeners not blessed with classical music educations to these pieces for the first time.
As the film wasn't a success on its initial release, there weren't millions of such listeners, but at least many tens of thousands. The performances on Fantasia retain their luster in the modern era, with sound clean enough that they do not need to be considered "historical" recordings. The recordings are also infinitely preferable to the mid-'80s attempt to re-score Fantasia with a modern orchestra and modern sound -- not only did the latter fall considerably short of what people expected, but the interpretations were flaccid and dull by comparison with the originals.
Soundtrack fans and Disney-philes alike should stick with this, the inimitable original. If any information appears to be missing from this page, contact us and let us know! Net Soundtrack. Net Search Register Login. Music From Fantasia Music By Various Artists. The design has a draft of 5. The centerboard version has a draft of 5. The fuel tank holds 6 U. The boat has a hull speed of 6.
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