Thursday, 28 November 2013

The William Tell Overture

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There is a joke which says that an intellectual is someone "who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger." One of the most popular pieces of classical music ever written, Gioachino Rossini's William Tell Overture is instantly recognizable and has been used, reused, parodied and abused for countless purposes, not the least significant being The Lone Ranger and Disney's The Band Concert.

This 12 minute piece, the overture to Rossini's 1829 opera William Tell based on the Swiss legend and  play by Friedrich Schiller, has four movements. The first, "Prelude (Dawn)," sets the stage of the Swiss Alps that serve as the opera's backdrop. This is followed by "Storm," which is self-explanatory. The calm after the storm is the "Ranz des Vaches" or "Call to the the Cows," which has been employed over, and over, and over again as aural shorthand for both the arrival of Spring and of the dawn. The William Tell Overture ends in hyperdrive with the "Finale (March Of The Swiss Soldiers)," otherwise known as the theme from The Lone Ranger. This "cavalry charge" recapitulates the scene from the final act of the opera in which the Swiss soldiers arrive to liberate the nation from Austrian oppression. As a form of music called a "galop," the "Finale" lends itself very well to any scene of horses galloping, or anything moving at a quickened pace, including the hearts of anyone listening. For the finale of Disney's film, Hans Zimmer goosed just this one movement to almost the same length as the whole overture, but the payoff was fantastic!

The following video clip presents the Neponset Valley Philharmonic Orchestra recording the complete William Tell Overture for their Pops in Love concert of February 13, 2011.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A Visit to the Walt Disney Studios - Part 2

In our previous installment, we caught a glimpse of the Roy E. Disney Animation Building, entered through security, saw the famous signpost at Pluto's Corner, entered the original Animation building and passed by Walt Disney's office. Now let's continue our tour with the soundstages...

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A Visit to the Walt Disney Studios - Part 1

During our trip to Disneyland USA in May of 2012, Ashley and I decided to take up the offer of a day-trip through Hollywood with Adventures by Disney. Entitled Lights... Camera... Magic!, this tour brought us to Grauman's Chinese Theater, the then-Kodak Theater and Hollywood and Highland Center, a brief stop at the Disney Soda Fountain and Studio Store in the El Capitan Theater, and the Original Farmer's Market for lunch. The true highlight, however, was a tour of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. 

For your enjoyment, here is a two-part photo-tour of our visit to the place where the magic is made. First is the Roy E. Disney Animation Building, which is the current home of feature animation and which was not on the itinerary of our tour. It does, however, very distinctively show off the stark contrast in architectural styles to be found at the studio. On the one hand are the original buildings from when the studios were built in 1940, and on the other are the products of Michael Eisner's love affair with architect Michael Graves in the Eighties and Nineties.     

Nevertheless, here we are, passing through those gates and the security station made famous in The Reluctant Dragon and the Disneyland/Wonderful World of Color series.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Jules Verne at Voyages Extraordinaires

If you are a fan of Jules Verne, Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Tokyo Disneysea's Mysterious Island or Disneyland Paris' Discoveryland, you may be interested in the series of posts on my other blog, Voyages Extraordinaires, starting this month. In May, Ashley and I visited France and took a day out to see Amiens, the town in northern France where Verne lived and was buried. It starts today with a travelogue of his mansion, and continues through November.

Click here to visit Voyages Extraordinaires.

Jules Verne's manor.

The city of Amiens.

Jules Verne's grave.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Join the CommuniTour!

Our good friends George Taylor and Jeff Heimbuch over at Communicore Weekly are heading to Hollywood and they want you to join them!  They are already hosts of the Greatest Online Showtm, so what more could be in store for them in the movie capital of the world? The Oscar? The Golden Globe? In-N-Out Burger? 

Howabout The Walt Disney Studios and Archives, Imagineering, Jim Henson Studios, the sights of Hollywood Blvd. and special guided tours of Disneyland? Check out George's latest post at MiceChat to find out more, and see some photos from our own Adventures by Disney tour! In the coming weeks, we'll share the full story of our tour of the Walt Disney Studios to help entice you.