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.
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!