Friday, August 12, 2011
21. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" from Fantasia
I'm prone to outside the box choices. Rarely, though, am I prone to ones you're not doubt familiar with. Fantasia was a staple of my childhood, and odds are you've at least crossed paths with this one once upon a time.
Ah, but is it a musical number? Well, it is musical, that's clear enough, but there aren't lyrics, nor is there dancing in any tradition sense. My justification though is that the story itself seems to serve the music, and actions on the screen transpire in great, glorious time to the cascading sounds. Everything from the march of the brooms to the sweeping gestures of Mickey and the magician match every rise and fall in the music, and with image and sound in such perfect union, I wouldn't know what else to classify it as.
My decision becomes easier when considering the context it plays in. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is but one of many threads within Fantasia, and while some have more abstract relationships with their accompanying music, others such as "The Dance of the Hours" and "The Nutcracker Suite" full on embrace their roots in performance art. My selection in question falls somewhere in between, but in my infinite wisdom, I've deemed it appropriate. If not a musical number, what else is this? What fun are musical numbers anyway if you have such a narrow definition of them.
And yet, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" wouldn't even come close to my favorite segment out of Fantasia (I adore "The Rite of Spring" and I have a soft spot for the "Pastoral Symphony"). It is, however, the most iconic, and in many ways, the most cinematic, especially with early cartoon folk hero Mickey Mouse finally coming into his own here (it's his finest hour). It also challenges our conception of the musical more than "Dance of the Hours" and I like that about it. I think it fits, and not even merely as a fringe entry. Alas, I don't think any of my other choices are from as far left field, though this should set up nicely for some of the other more...symphonic....entries still to come.
Also, not the last animated number.