The Stuff of Fantasy

Dancing hippos, elephants and alligators, Donald Duck working for Noah to fill the ark and of course Mickey and the mops. Nearly everyone has probably seen the 1940 animated Disney movie Fantasia, and for the concert version presented by the Santa Barbara Symphony, new additions created in 1999 were added. The old favorites are there, like Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite”, Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours” and “The Sourcerer’s Apprentice” by Paul Dukas. Replacing a few of the film’s pieces are Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 featuring thousands of butterflies, Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” with a huge and destructive firebird, and Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” marches about Donald and the Ark, all from “Fantasia 2000. The newer widescreen animations are a bit more ambitious, combining hand painted backgrounds with CGI, then in it’s infancy, but the originals are so strong and so charming that they more than hold their own, and are deservedly lauded as a pinnacle of Disney’s all hand-created animation techniques. The SB Symphony sounded wonderful under the baton of guest conductor David Lockington and the audience was enthralled.