Source Material of Fantasia

4th March, 2011 - Posted by DisAnim - Comments Off on Source Material of Fantasia

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – The animation has as much story as the title of the song does—none. It’s really just abstractions. The latter half has segments of light and violin bows flying around, but there’s simply not much to say about it.

Nutcracker Suite – “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” story is about a prince turned into a nutcracker who battles a mouse king. The main character is a girl who enters the fantasy world. The Fantasia version has nothing to do with this. The source material is. . . a forest.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – The music was composed by Paul Dukas and based off of a poem by Goethe with the same name. It is practically the only Fantasia piece that stays true to the source material, as the animated sequence is also based off of the poem. Being as short as it is, Disney didn’t stray too much. One of the main differences, however, is that the sorcerer has a nickname: Yen Sid. The character is based somewhat on Walt Disney himself (notice that Yen Sid is “Disney” backwards), particularly with the raised eyebrow shots. Another difference is that Goethe’s poem doesn’t suggest that the sorcerer is upset with the apprentice at the end, while he is in Fantasia. Goethe’s poem has influence from similar, earlier stories, but it seems that the key elements and moral are a bit unique to his version.

The Rite of Spring – The original music and dance sparked a riot when it was first performed in France. Disney’s version is altered in the music (switching different segments around), and the storyline has nothing to do with Stravinsky’s ideas of pagan dances. Instead, Disney’s inspiration comes not from art, but from science, with the evolution and eventual destruction of the dinosaurs.

The Pastoral Symphony – Beethoven was probably thinking of the countryside when he wrote the song. The Fantasia version, however, draws its inspiration from Greek mythology. A few specific gods are featured such as Zeus, Artemis, Hephaestus, and Helios. There are also a slew of mythological creatures, such as centaurs, pegasi, satyrs, etc. The story doesn’t have a strong plot and appears to have its roots in the general Greek mythology rather than a specific story from it.

Dance of the Hours – As far as I can tell, the dancing related to different times of day is the only thing that is tied to any source material. Ballerina hippos were one of Disney’s original ideas.

Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria – Chernobog is actually based off of a Slavic deity of the same name (though occasionally different spellings). Little is known definitively of the original beliefs surrounding Chernobog, but Disney drew a lot on the inspiration of the folklore that currently surrounds him—an evil, dark being. While the Ave Maria segment doesn’t have a single source of inspiration, it does draw on the common conception of the holiness of nature.

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