Last month's Disney in Concert: Around the World by the Phoenix Symphony was a welcome reminder of the richness of music. The eleven pieces in the selection may have been familiar sounds, yet there is a completely new layer in hearing even a familiar piece live. Add to this also the ability to watch the musicians and notice which specific instruments form those familiar sounds and it becomes quite special.
Though Disney music is part of the Pops series from the Symphony and so is a more casual, lighthearted symphony experience, this music is quite good in its own right. Disney dominated the world of animation for so long not by default but because of superior quality, including that of the music, in their films. That is, there were also two live action films represented, Mary Poppins and Pirates of the Caribbean. I remember being so excited to hear the latter's music from my high school band--suffice it to say that Phoenix Symphony presented that score more wonderfully.
Sure, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid may be the two biggest favorites from my era, but The Hunchback of Notre Dame is stellar music-wise. Getting to hear that music live was a highlight. Hearing the Fantasmic brought me straight into the parks, as did the "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" melody that started off the first overture. I did love starting off the day at a Disneyland rope drop to that tune, maybe heading straight towards Splash Mountain. Ah, nostalgia.
While the music here may conjure up specific images like running off to Splash Mountain or seeing the Notre Dame cathedral, I also had a chance to sit and notice all the little details. Like how delicate the notes are at the beginning of The Little Mermaid. Or how triumphant that Fantasmic theme is and how much energy the musicians bring to it. Though we love the music because of its associations, the music is, like I said, quite good in its own right and well worth experiencing live.