(Sept 4, 2019)
Famous for 122 years…
This was already popular from the time it was composed, but the Disney film, “Fantasia”, made it wildly popular, and it remains so. Again you can hear how modern this sounds, because it sounds like it’s right out of Harry Potter, and the music for that was again written by John Williams.
Once again, the augmented chord is front and center, the most important chord in the piece. There is also a great use of the whole tone scale, which is simply like two augmented chords combined. There are countless great recordings of this piece, but for students this one may be most interesting because the players are so very young. It’s unbelievable to me that people this age play so well and with so much energy.
If you are interested for comparison, try one of the recordings with famous orchestras with famous conductors.
This is the original. Be sure to listen to this, if you like the music, because this is far and away the best performance you will ever hear:
Today the sound is dated, but Disney and Stokowski teamed together to make Fantasia, and it was the first time most people anywhere in the world heard stereo. I first heard this in a theatre when I was a small boy, and I was mesmerized by the sound. We had never head anything like this. Ever. The first stereo recordings on records did not appear until the late 50s, and even then there were very few.
Sound was moving from one side to the other, and Stokowski did all sorts of unusual things with the music, which the animators had to sync to.
Finally there is this, and to me this sound is pretty bad – I don’t know why – but you can see the animation. Try to imagine how people were amazed by this in 1940, the year Fantasia was first seen.