Rhapsody in Blue!

What triggered me to write this post was a story a fellow blogger posted on his blog a few days ago. I'm so glad this happened, since what you are about to read in this post still fascinates me everytime.

As a child, Disney's "Fantasia" was one of my all time favorites. Due to my mother's passion for music, we always enjoyed very musical cartoons, and she'd be watching and humming along with us. I still enjoy watching it till this day, and thanks to the post I read, I now watched my ultimate favorite sketch again.

If you don't know about "Fantasia", it is a wonderful project where some of the greatest masterpieces in classical music are combined with Disney cartoons. If you watch it, you will see cartoon sketches, accompanied by a live orchestra led by a conductor who moves in complete harmony with the cartoons. At some point, you would not know which one accompanies the other, they are totally in sync. The creators of "Fantasia" describe this as an attempt to interpret these great musical masterpieces in a way which suits the cartoons. I think it's genius.

Again, because of that post I read which talked about how robotic and banal a person's life can be, I decided to share my favorite "Fantasia" cartoon. It tells the story of four different characters, who each dream about a different life but can't escape reality. One character, I found, was very similar to what the blogger described in his story.
Life can get so monotonous and we can almost measure our steps with our eyes closed. You will be able to see that in this cartoon throughout the various elements mimicking daily routine.

Lastly and before you see the cartoon, I should mention the accompanying music. What was chosen for this cartoon was Gershwin's  Rhapsody in Blue - written in the 1920's. I first heard Rhapsody in Blue as a child in this cartoon. I then went on studying the composer later (while I studied music) and grew to love the piece even more. I was even lucky enough to see a live performance of it. Why this piece for this sketch? Because all the instruments are echoing the monotony in the story. Make sure to lisen for that while you watch.

Before composing Rhapsody in Blue Gershwin said: "It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer – I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise... And there I suddenly heard, and even saw on paper – the complete construction of the Rhapsody, from beginning to end. No new themes came to me, but I worked on the thematic material already in my mind and tried to conceive the composition as a whole. I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our blues, our metropolitan madness."

... and now for the interpreted version of Rhapsody in Blue. I hope you appreciate it the same way I do!

*Note that the funny-looking character playing the piano half way along the cartoon is a caricature of Gershwin himself!
*The orchestra isn't visible here, as the scene has been omitted. The music you hear though is a live accompaniment of the cartoon!



  1. Bonjour Lina,

    merci pour cet article interéssant.

    J'aime beaucoup les compositions de George Gershwin. Je trouve qu'il a conservé dans son jazz l'ame russe de sa descendance.

    Comme moi, il est enfant d'immigrants russes, Jacob Gershowitz et Rose Bruskin.

    À travers sa Rhapsodie bleue j'entends les flutes et violons du vieux shtetl, du ghetto juif dans les villes et villages de la Russie ...

    C'est une musique émouvante qui me touche beaucoup.

    Olivia Kroth

  2. Bonjour Olivia,

    Je suis contente que l'article vous plait. Moi aussi, j'adore Gershwin et cette rhapsodie. Je trouve que sa musique parle, et ca me touche moi aussi!

    C'est bien de trouver la musique de notre origine, ca nous rappelle notre identite.

    Vous avez vecu en Russie pendant votre enfance?

    Alors on a cette passion pour la musique en commun. Vous savez, ma professeur de musique etait Russe!

  3. Malheureusement je n'ai jamais vécu en Russie, je suis née en Allemagne, ma mère, grand-mère et arrière-grandmère étaient des réfugiés russes de Riga en 1945.

    Les Russes aiment la musique,c'est un peuple musicien.

    Passez une bonne soirée, Lina.

  4. Hello Lina,
    I have to hear the video of this piece when I am on my laptop, unforunately the desk top I'm on right now has no sound.
    I have never seen Fantasia. I look forward to seeing this video clip!
    Life can become robotic and monotinous, especially if the same things happen day after day without any changes in our lives. This is when we should dare to become original or try to find a solution to change the robotic feel to our days.
    Thank you for coming by and leaving me very kind comments on my blog!
    For every negative person we may run into in our lives, their are kind and positive people like you who add brightness and sunshine to sweeten our negative experiences!
    Wishing you a very beautiful evening!!!!!!!!
    Many blessings from me to you!

  5. Il me semble qu'on a beaucoup en commun Olivia. Le peuple Palestinian est un peuple refugie aussi. Une grande partie vit dans des conditions miserables, et meme ceux qui ont une bonne vie ailleurs, il y a toujours ce sentiment de nostalgie, n'est-ce pas?

  6. Hello Lydia,
    So nice to have you back here!
    Well, you should see Fantasia, and especially this cartoon.
    What's funny is, as a child I never really understood all the symbolism in it, but Im glad I kept watching!
    You are right about becoming more daring to break the monotony in our lives, this is what I'm trying to do!
    Thank you, you're really very sweet! It would make me happy to have a good impact! I feel the same. We should surround ourselves with positive people and we will surely feel more uplifted ;)
    Have a beautiful day as well!

  7. C'est vrai, Lina,

    il y a beaucoup de nostalgie dans la vie des immigrés.


  8. Bonsoir,

    Beaucoup de goûts en commun en lisant votre blog ! Depuis quelques minutes je me régale, toujours grâce à Framboisine ;)

  9. Scary realistic post!, Thanks for sharing this memory :)

  10. Hi Adi,

    Well, you inspired it! While reading your post I remembered this guy getting out of bed and working like a machine. It's such a smart cartoon, and really my favorite.

  11. Bonjour Dominique,

    Merci beaucoup de visiter mon blog! Il me semble qu'on a beaucoup en commun. Je vois sur votre blog que vous etes fan de la musique classique. Votre musique preferee est celle que je prefere aussi!