Monday, February 21, 2011


A beautiful aspect of music is that it has the ability to greatly impact the listener at a deeply emotional level.  Animation, if crafted by the right hands, allows a story to be told, unbound by the rules normally governing the real world.  In Fantasia (1940), music and animation were intertwined to create a masterpiece of sight and sound.

A fantasia is a musical composition with roots in improvisation, and not always adhering to textbook rules.  Fantasia very much lives up to its namesake.  It was a costly film at the time of it's release $2.28 million, and was very long, over two hours in length at a time when cartoon shorts were more the norm.


The visual styles presented in the film range from abstract to represent the absolute music of Bach in the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, to Dukas' programmatic The Sorcerer's Apprentice providing a character driven story with a familiar Disney charm.  The animation in this movie is some of the best hand-drawn animation ever to be produced.  Even tiny details such as rivulets of water slowly edging down a spider web, are precisely portrayed.  The artists are just as skilled at crafting the beating wings of a fairy as making Chernabog absolutely terrifying.

I first experienced Fantasia as a young child, and it gave me a deep appreciation of concert music.  I did not know the names of the composers: Bach, Tchaikovsky, Dukas, Stravinsky, Beethoven, Ponchielli, Mussorgsky or Schubert, but I did hear the beauty that was presented in Fantasia.  This movie increased my interest in music and will always be among my favorites.

The marriage of music and visual art as presented in Fantasia should be experienced by all, old or young.  I highly recommend this movie to all.

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