The Second Disc

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Wonderful World of Disney: “The Legacy Collection: Fantasia” Coming Soon

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Fantasia - Legacy Collection

When considering the history of Walt Disney Studios, Mickey Mouse is always front and center.   Lovably scrappy Mickey became a breakout smash with 1928’s Steamboat Willie, setting the company on the path to becoming the all-encompassing entertainment conglomerate it is today.  The character himself, however, has had several ups and downs over the years.  One of these down periods was during the late 1930s when Walt Disney felt that Mickey wasn’t reaching the same heights of popularity he had previously.  To remedy this, Disney decided to go back to the format of his earlier Silly Symphonies (which would feature a different character in each short subject) – but this time, with Mickey Mouse.  Disney intended to craft a less-comedic-than-usual short with Mickey entitled The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, set to the music piece by composer Paul Dukas of the same name.  When the short ran over-budget, however, Disney elected to craft an entire film of shorts of similar nature.  This groundbreaking collection became the studio’s third full-length animated feature:  1940’s Fantasia.  Now, to celebrate its 75th anniversary, Walt Disney Records is continuing its Legacy Collection series with the 4-disc release of The Legacy Collection: Fantasia on January 13, 2015.

Fantasia features eight segments (directed by different directors), each set to a different classical piece by composers including Bach, Stravinsky and Beethoven. The entire effort was overseen by Disney as well as story men Joe Grant and Dick Huemer.  Composer and music critic Deems Taylor introduces each piece in a live action segment. For the all-important soundtrack, Disney brought in Leopold Stokowski to conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra on seven of the eight parts (Stokowski conducted a group of musicians from Los Angeles on “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”). A new multi-channel recording system was invented to capture the orchestra.  Deemed Fantasound, it pioneered many techniques for recording multiple channels still in use today.

Fantasia was first released in roadshow presentations in 1940 and 1941.  The first began on November 13, 1940 at the Broadway Theatre in New York City.  Each roadshow employed the Fantasound set-up.  The demands of World War II shortened a planned 5-year run of roadshows and Fantasia was given to RKO to distribute in a more traditional manner.  RKO presented the film with a mono soundtrack and edited it down from its initial running time of 2 hours and 5 minutes to, at one point, a short one hour and 20 minute run time.  Upon its 1946 re-release, Fantasia was edited to run one hour and 55 minutes, becoming the standard for all subsequent re-releases.  Following that 1946 re-release, Fantasia has had seven more runs in theaters, in varying aspect ratios and eventually in stereo sound.

For the 1982 re-release, Disney had the entire soundtrack re-recorded in digital sound.  Irwin Kostal (West Side Story, Mary Poppins) conducted a 121-piece orchestra for the new recording.  This recording took into account the various edits that had been used over the years.  This new edition was also re-released in 1985.  But for the film’s 50th anniversary in 1990, the original soundtrack conducted by Stokowski was digitally remastered for the first time and the film negative was restored.

Upon its initial presentation in 1940, Fantasia did not have a soundtrack release.  (Disney had actually spearheaded the concept of the commercial soundtrack release in 1937 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.)  It would take until 1957 when the full score (sans spoken intros) was released on a mono 3-LP set by Disneyland Records.  A stereo version would follow.  In 1982, Irwin Kostal’s digital re-recording received a 2-LP release.  Both versions of the soundtrack have since been released by Walt Disney Records on CD.

What will you find on the new Legacy Collection edition?  Hit the jump for that info, plus pre-order links and the full track listing!

The new Legacy Collection edition contains the Stokowski and Kostal recordings, spread across 4 discs.  All of the music has been newly remastered.  Three bonus tracks have also been included:  the original score for the deleted “Clair De Lune” sequence, and actor/Winnie the Pooh voice artist Sterling Holloway’s readings of “Peter and the Wolf” and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”  “Peter and the Wolf” comes from Disney’s Make Mine Music, released in 1946.  The “Peter” section was extracted and sometimes shown in front of screenings of Fantasia.  It was released on 10” vinyl in 1949 with expanded narration by RCA Victor.  It was paired with “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ story for a 1964 Disneyland Records release.  Like the previous Legacy editions, the CDs will be housed in a hardback digibook which includes original concept art and more.

Critics were mixed on Fantasia upon its initial release.  Over the past 75 years, however, critical acclaim has grown for the film and it is now acknowledged as a classic.  It has become part of Disney from their theme parks to video games.  And even if Walt Disney’s initial plans to add new segments to the piece for each re-release never panned out, a sequel did appear in time for the new millennium:  Fantasia 2000.   The soundtrack has seen various releases across the decades as well and this new Legacy Collection edition is the most complete version seen to date.  It arrives in stores next Tuesday, January 13, and you can pre-order below!

The Legacy Collection – Fantasia Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Walt Disney Records, 2015) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

CD 1 (Original Leopold Stokowski Version, Performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra)

  1. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. BWV 565 (Written by Johann Sebastian Bach)

The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71A (Written by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky) (Tracks 2-7)

  1. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
  2. Chinese Dance
  3. Dance of the Reed Flutes
  4. Arabian Dance
  5. Russian Dance
  6. Waltz of the Flowers
  1. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Written by Paul Dukas)
  2. Rite of Spring (Written by Igor Stavinsky)

CD 2 (Original Leopold Stokowski Version, Performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra)

Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral), Op. 68 (Written by Ludwig van Beethoven) (Tracks 1-3)

  1. I Allegro Ma Non Troppo
  2. II Andante Molto Mosso
  3. III Allegro / IV Allegro / V Allegreto
  4. Dance of the Hours from the opera La Gioconda (Written by Amilcare Ponchielli)
  5. A Night on Bald Mountain (Written by Modest Mussorgsky)
  6. Ave Maria, Op. 52 No. 6 (Written by Franz Schubert)
  7. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Read by Sterling Holloway
  8. Clair de Lune (Moonlight) from Suite Bergamasque (Written by Claude Debussy)

CD 3 (Irwin Kostal Digital Re-Recording, Performed by the Disney Studio Orchestra and Chorus)

  1. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. BWV 565 (Written by Johann Sebastian Bach)

The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71A (Written by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky) (Tracks 2-7)

  1. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
  2. Chinese Dance
  3. Dance of the Reed Flutes
  4. Arabian Dance
  5. Russian Dance
  6. Waltz of the Flowers
  1. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Written by Paul Dukas)
  2. Rite of Spring (Written by Igor Stavinsky)

CD 4 (Irwin Kostal Digital Re-Recording, Performed by the Disney Studio Orchestra and Chorus)

Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral), Op. 68 (Written by Ludwig van Beethoven) (Tracks 1-3)

  1. I Allegro Ma Non Troppo
  2. II Andante Molto Mosso
  3. III Allegro / IV Allegro / V Allegreto
  4. Dance of the Hours from the opera La Gioconda (Written by Amilcare Ponchielli)
  5. A Night on Bald Mountain (Written by Modest Mussorgsky)
  6. Ave Maria, Op. 52 No. 6 (Written by Franz Schubert)
  7. Peter and the Wolf – Read by Sterling Holloway

CD 1 Tracks 1-9 and CD 2 Tracks 1-6 from Walt Disney’s Fantasia, Disneyland Records WDX-101, 1957
CD 2 Track 7 from Peter and the Wolf/The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Disneyland Records DQ-1242, 1964
CD 2 Track 8 previously unreleased on CD
CD 3 Tracks 1-9 and CD 4 Tracks 1-6 from Walt Disney’s Fantasia, Buena Vista Records V-104, 1982
CD 4 Track 7 from Peter and the Wolf, RCA Victor Y-386, 1949

Written by Joe Marchese

January 9, 2015 at 11:20

Posted in Reissues, Soundtracks

One Response

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  1. This looks to be a fantastic release!

    galley99

    January 9, 2015 at 12:32


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