Fantasia is a Movie starring 13 journeys.
Symphony No. 5 by Ludwig van BeethovenEdit
How do you do? My name is Deems Taylor, and it's my very pleasant duty to welcome you here on behalf of Walt Disney! What you're going to see are the designs and pictures and stories that music inspired in the minds and imaginations of a group of artists. In other words, these are not going to be the interpretations of trained musicians, which I think is all to the good. Now there are three kinds of music on this "Fantasia" program. There are three kinds of music in this program. First there's the kind that tells a definite story. The second kind, while it has no specific plot does paint a series of more or less definite pictures. Then there's the third kind, music that exists simply for its own sake. The number that opens our program is music of this third kind.
"Pines Of Rome" (Ottorino Respighi)Edit
When you hear a title like "Pines of Rome", you might think of tree-lined streets and romantic ruins. But when the Disney animators heard this music they thought of something completely different. Here is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by maestro Leopold Stokowski performing Ottorino Respighi's "Pines of Rome".
"Dance Of The Hours" (Amilcare Ponchielli)Edit
Now we're going to do one of the most famous and popular ballets ever written: the "Dance of the Hours" from Ponchielli's opera "La Gioconda". It's a pageant of the hours of the day. We see first a group of dancers in costumes to suggest the delicate light of dawn. Then a second group enters dressed to represent the brilliant light of noon day. As these withdraw, a third group enters in costumes that suggest the delicate tones of early evening. Then a last group, all in black, the somber hours of the night. Suddenly, the orchestra bursts into a brilliant finale in which the hours of darkness are overcome by the hours of light. All this takes place in the great hall, with its garden beyond, of the palace of Duke Alvise, a Venetian nobleman.
"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (Paul Dukas)Edit
And now we're going to hear a piece of music that tells a very definite story. As a matter of fact, in this case, the story came first and the composer wrote the music to go with it. It's a very old story, one that goes back almost 2,000 years: a legend about a sorcerer who had an apprentice. He was a bright young lad; very anxious to learn the business. As a matter of fact, he was a little bit too bright, because he started practicing some of the boss' best magic tricks before learning how to control them. One day, for instance, when he'd been told by his master to carry water to fill a cauldron, he had the brilliant idea of having someone do the job for him. So he brought a broomstick to life to carry the water. Well, this worked very well at first. Unfortunately, however, having forgotten the magic formula that would make the broomstick stop carrying the water, he found he'd started something he couldn't finish.
"Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102" (Dmitri Shostakovich)Edit
Over the years, the Disney artists have cooked up dozens of ideas for new "Fantasia" segments. Some made it to the big screen this time. But others, lots of others, How could I put this politely? didn't. For example, Danish illustrator Kay Nielsen drew these sketches for a segment inspired by Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries". Here they are. And there they go. Now, Salvador Dali, the limp-watches guy got into the act with an idea that featured baseball as a metaphor for life. How come that didn't work? Makes sense to me. Then we had a bug ballet ...and a baby ballet. And they even considered a sequence from Weinberger's "Schwanda the Bagpiper". But, finally, a success. The Disney artists wanted to create a short film based on the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2 and Hans Christian Andersen's "The Steadfast Tin Soldier".
"Carnival Of The Animals, Finale" (Camille Saint-Saëns)Edit
These drawing boards have been the birthplace of some of the most beloved animal characters of all time. So it's no surprise that our next segment is "The Carnival of the Animals" by Camille Saint-Saëns. Here, sensitive strains of impressionistic music combine with the subtle artistry of the animator to finally answer that age-old question: What would happen if you gave a yo-yo to a flock of flamingos?
"The Pastoral Symphony" (Ludwig van Beethoven)Edit
The symphony that Beethoven called the "Pastoral", his sixth, is one of the few pieces of music he ever wrote that tells something like a definite story. He was a great nature lover, and in this symphony, he paints a musical picture of a day in the country. Of course, the country that Beethoven described was the countryside with which he was familiar. But his music covers a much wider field than that, and so Walt Disney has given the "Pastoral Symphony" a mythological setting, and the setting is of Mount Olympus, the abode of the gods. And here, first of all, we meet a group of fabulous creatures of the field and forest: unicorns, fawns, Pegasus the flying horse and his entire family, the centaurs, those strange creatures that are half man and half horse, and their girlfriends, the centaurettes. Later on, we meet our old friend Bacchus, the god of wine, presiding over a bacchanal. The party is interrupted by a storm, and now we see Vulcan forging thunderbolts and handing them over to the king of all the gods, Zeus, who plays darts with them. As the storm clears, we see Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, and Apollo, driving his sun chariot across the sky. And then Morpheus, the god of sleep, covers everything with his cloak of night as Diana, using the new moon as a bow, shoots an arrow of fire that spangles the sky with stars.
"Night On Bald Mountain" (Modeste Moussorgsky) and "Ave Maria" (Franz Schubert)Edit
The last number in our Fantasia program is a combination of two pieces of music so utterly different in construction and mood that they set each other off perfectly. The first is 'A Night On Bald Mountain' by one of Russia's greatest composers, Modest Mussorgsky. The second is Franz Schubert's world-famous "Ave Maria". Musically and dramatically, we have here a picture of the struggle between the profane and the sacred. "Bald Mountain" according to tradition, is the gathering place of Satan and his followers. Here, on Walpurgnisnacht, which is the equivalent of our own Halloween, the creatures of evil gather to worship their master. Under his spell, they dance furiously until the coming of dawn and the sounds of church bells send the infernal army slinking back into their abodes of darkness. And then we hear the "Ave Maria", with its message of the triumph of hope and life over the powers of despair and death.