ANIMATION SPIN
February 2, 2016 posted by

Disney’s Complete “Silly Symphony” Soundtrack Collection

A peek inside the soundtrack LPs of cartoons that set the foundation of feature animation with great music, storytelling—and voices that include Walt Disney himself.

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WALT DISNEY’S SILLY SYMPHONY COLLECTION
Complete Original Soundtrack Recordings
Walt Disney Records D002216001 / D002216301 / D002216601 / D002216901 D002217201 D002217501 D002217801 D002218101 (16 Records / 12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Mono)

Released in 2015. Executive Producers: Kevin Augunas, Neil Schield, Jesse Obstbaum. Restoration Producer: Randy Thornton. Musical Directors: Carl Stalling, Bert Lewis, Frank Churchill, Leigh Harline, Albert H. Malotte, Scott Bradley, Edward Plumb, Paul J. Smith. Additional Arrangements: John H. Payne, J.H. Wood, Rafaello Penso. Associate Restoration Producer: Tommy Millstone. Restoration and Mastering: Jeff Sheridan. Liner Notes: J.B. Kaufman, Russell Merritt. Art Direction: Suzanne Hutchinson. Running Time: 9 hours, 35 minutes.

Voices: Walt Disney, Marion Darlington, Florence Gill, Allan Watson, Richard Edwards, Purv Pullen, Esther Campbell, J. Delos Jewkes, Pinto Colvig, Billy Bletcher, Dorothy Compton, Mary Moder, Marcellite Garner, George Gramlich, Kenny Baker, Billy Sheets, Tudor Williams, Ned Norton, Eddie Holden, Alice Ardell, Clarence Nash, Leone Ledoux, Martha Wentworth, Leo Cleary, Lillian Randolph, J. Topete, Lee Millar, Esther Campbell, Clarrie Collins, Jimmie Cushman, Marie Dickerson, C.B. Johnson, James Miller, Thelma Porter, Eddie Printz, Duke Upshaw, Gayne Whitman, Louise Meyers, Jean MacMurray, Jerry Phillips, Marie Arbuckle, Marta Nelson, Barbara Whitson, Devona Docie, Lee Sweetland, Dorothy Lloyd, Beatrice Hager, Melvin J. Gibby, Victor Rodman, Max Terhune, Dave Weber, Al Bernie, Thelma Boardman, Sara Berner, Ann Lee, Tommy Wiggins, Betty Bruce, Tom Buchanan, Ralph Hansell, Donald Kearin, Dick Holland, The Rhythmettes, Homer Hall Male Quartet, Freeman High Male Quartet, The Blackbirds, The Coquettes (Sally Noble, Mary Rosetti, Millie Walters).

Cartoon Soundtracks: The Skeleton Dance; El Terrible Toreador; Springtime; Hell’s Bells, Merry Dwarfs, Summer, Autumn; Cannibal Capers; Night; Frolicking Fish; Arctic Antics; Midnight in a Toy Shop; Monkey Melodies; Winter; Playful Pan; Birds of a Feather; Mother Goose Melodies; The China Plate; The Busy Beavers; The Cat’s Out; Egyptian Melodies; The Clock Store; The Spider and the Fly; The Fox Hunt; The Ugly Duckling; The Bird Store; The Bears and Bees; Just Dogs; Flowers and Trees; Bugs in Love; King Neptune; Babes in the Woods; Santa’s Workshop; Birds in the Spring; Father Noah’s Ark; Three Little Pigs; Old King Cole; Lullaby Land; The Pied Piper; The China Shop; The Night Before Christmas; Grasshopper and the Ants; The Big Bad Wolf; Funny Little Bunnies; The Flying Mouse; The Wise Little Hen; Peculiar Penguins; Goddess of Spring; The Tortoise and the Hare; The Golden Touch; The Robber Kitten; Water Babies; The Cookie Carnival; Who Killed Cock Robin? Music Land; Three Orphan Kittens; Cock O’ The Walk; Three Little Wolves; Elmer Elephant; Broken Toys; Toby Tortoise Returns; Three Blind Mouseketeers; The Country Cousin; Mother Pluto; More Kittens; Woodland Café; Little Hiawatha; The Old Mill; Wynken, Blynken & Nod; Moth and the Flame; Merbabies; Farmyard Symphony; Mother Goose Goes Hollywood; The Practical Pig; The Ugly Duckling (Remake).

Original Songs: “King of the Sea,” “Babes in the Woods (Main Title),” “Welcome Song,” “Indian War Dance,” “Hickory Dickory Dock,” by Bert Lewis; “Lullaby Land of Nowhere,” “Good Morning Miss Riding Hood,” “Tripping Along,” “See the Funny Little Bunnies,” “I Would Like to Be a Bird,” “You’re Nothin’ But a Nothin’,” “Near the Far North Pole,” “Merry Men of the Midnight Sun,” “Santa’s Secretary,” “O.K. A Cake of Soap,” by Frank Churchill; “Father Noah (Main Title),” “I’m Father Noah,” “The Boy’s Song,” “The Girl’s Song,” “Mother Noah’s Song,” “Rain Chant,” “Skies Are Clear,” “The Land of Mustn’t Touch,” “Song of the Boogey Man,” “In the Town of Hamelin,” “Rats! Rats! Rats!” “I’ve Done My Works As I Was Told,” “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “The Wise Little Hen,” “The Penguin is a Very Funny Creature,” “Goddess of Spring,” “Pluto Aria,” “Hi-De-Hades,” “The World Above,” “Let Me Return,” “Wynken, Blynken & Nod (Main Title),” by Leigh Harline; “Mice Singing and Playing (Three Blind Mouseketeers),” by Albert H. Malotte; “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” by Frank Churchill, Larry Morey, Ann Ronell; “King Cole’s Ball,” by Frank Churchill, Bert Lewis; “The World Owes Me a Living” by Frank Churchill, Larry Morey; “The Golden Touch,” “Counting Song,” “Gold, Gold, Gold,” “Dirty Bill,” “Hallelujah,” by Frank Churchill, J.H. Wood; “Cookie Carnival,” “The Sweetest One of All,” “Hail the Queen,” “Dandy-Candy Kids,” “Old Fashioned Cookies,” “Angel Food Cakes,” “Devil’s Food Cakes,” “Up-Side-Down Cakes,” “Jolly Rum Cakes,” “Judge’s Plea,” “The Queen Commands,” “Hail the King and Queen,” by Leigh Harline, Larry Morey; “Who Killed Cock Robin (Main Title),” “Will You Love Me Tonight?” “Somebody Rubbed Out My Robin,” by Frank Churchill, Larry Morey; “Schweine Stew,” by Frank Churchill, Rafaello Penso; “Jack Horner and the Blackbirds,” “Little Boy Blue and the Blackbirds,” “Mother Goose Truck (The Mulberry Bush)” by Edward Plumb.

(Additional listings of original instrumentals, popular songs and public domain songs on this set are located after “Give a Little Listen” below.)

The songs listed above are only a fraction of the contents of this massive vinyl record set (additional listings of original instrumentals, popular songs and public domain songs on this set are located after “Give a Little Listen” below.) Why so many song and music lists? While the actual album cover lists the music, songs, composers and voices by each cartoon, these itemized listings are designed to convey the staggering amount of talents and music in its awesome bulk.

The very fact that the producers of this album decided to make it possible is miraculous. We do not live in an entertainment world where soundtracks from short cartoons from the 1930’s are generally considered as viable audio releases. This is usually the sort of thing that fans see in their dreams but don’t really own after they’ve awakened. That’s all changed.

Each Silly Symphony is a mini-musical, featuring the works of legendary Disney music personnel as Carl Stalling, Bert Lewis, Frank Churchill, Larry Morey, Leigh Harline, Paul J. Smith and Edward Plumb, along with names either not as well known or not especially connected with Disney: Albert H. Malotte, Rafaelo Penso and Scott Bradley. Malotte is best known as the composer who set “The Lord’s Prayer” to music (which few realize that he wrote during his Disney tenure). Bradley makes his only appearance on a Disney record here because, as house composer for the Harman-Ising animation unit at MGM, he scored this cartoon because it was farmed out to their studio.

The vocal performances also abound with Disney veterans, like Clarence Nash, Billy Bletcher, Pinto Colvig, Florence Gill and even Walt himself—as well as radio and cartoon actors better known for their non-Disney work, like Kenny Baker, who was Jack Benny’s house tenor before Dennis Day, and the wonderful Sara Berner, who played one of Jack’s telephone operators and voiced dozens of Warner Bros cartoon characters. Who knew Marion Darlington did so much work in addition to the birdcalls for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?

Speaking of Snow White—and Pinocchio, Bambi, Dumbo and Fantasia—they’re all rooted in these scores in one form or another. Leigh Harline’s melody for Water Babies could have graced a scene in Bambi. “The Pastoral Symphony” is heard in the opening scene of Farmyard Symphony. The signature styles of each composer is either already evident in the Silly Symphony scores or it foreshadows their later work. Since this cartoon series so influenced the animation industry, and the other studios so eagerly created their own versions, this set also serves as a celebration of ‘30s and early ‘40s Hollywood animation music in general.

History of the Silly Symphonies and The Making of the Box Set

The 75 Silly Symphony soundtracks in this boxed set are presented on 16 vinyl records nestled in eight gatefold albums in a numbered slipcase. Inside the eight gatefold covers are voluminous liner notes by J.B. Kaufman and Russell Merritt, whose coveted Silly Symphonies book has been updated and will be released in September. While the notes explain the visuals to convey the action behind the audio, they also offer details about each cartoon’s musical selections, historic context and even the conditions of sound recording.

CookieCarnivalSheetMusic-600There’s something surreal–especially for those of us who grew up owning Disney records that only hinted at the shorts of Disney’s early days–to be able to place a phonograph needle into the grooves of a vinyl record and hear Cookie Carnival or Music Land start to play. In the grand scheme of things, these tracks are true classics along the lines of the other great masterworks of music. Only they’re silly.

The implications of having these soundtracks finally committed to commercial recordings are considerable. Now that the issues needed in making them available to consumers as audio products have been taken care of (no small feat), that means all the music, vocal performances and even legendary sound effects from a seminal element of in the history of Disney, animation, film musicals and popular culture are forever preserved on permanent discs. The package includes codes to allow the owner of the box set to download the whole thing to play on computer, phone or in the car (oh, yes indeed). But really, the idea of each track being carved tangibly into gleaming vinyl LP discs makes them seem carved in stone for the first time, and for all time.

The Silly Symphony Collection can be purchased here.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Excerpt from “The Night Before Christmas”
This is a 90-second taste of a few moments from one of the most well-known Silly Symphonies, with Kenny Baker singing the theme music composed Leigh Harline. Note the crisp, pristine restoration and remastering work by Randy Thornton, Jeff Sheridan and Tommy Millstone.

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ADDITIONAL MUSIC AND SONG LISTINGS:

Original Instrumentals: “Skeleton Dance Background,” “Autumn (Score)”
by Carl Stalling; “Pan’s Call,” “Pan’s Fire Dance,” “Just Dogs Main Title,” “Playful Pups,” “Scratching Fleas,” “Just Dogs End Title,” “Battle Music,” “Vengeance of King Neptune,” “Merry Mermaids,” “Witch Chase,” “The Bird’s Birthday,” “Little Otto,” “Scampering,” “King Cole Epilogue,” “Learning to Fly,” “Embarrassing Moments,” “To The Rescue,” “The Flying Mouse,” “The Disappointed Mouse,” “Not Wanted,” “The Bat’s Chase,” “Remorseful Mouse,” “Happy Mouse” by Bert Lewis; “Drowsy Butterfly,” “Flight of the Bats,” “Owl Hoot,” “Egyptia,” “The Snoop,” “Waltz of the Alarm Clocks,” “The Posting Lord,” “Bird Store Incidental Music,” “Bears and Bees Opening,” “The Bears and the Bees,” “Bugs in Love Main Title,” “Bugs in Love End Title,” “Hornet’s Revenge,” “Stacking Wheat,” “The Wolf Attack,” “Wolf Gallop,” “I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff,” “Wolf’s Scram,” “Two Merry Pigs Are We,” “Crafty Wolf,” “Spirit of the Woods,” “Frightened Swine,” “Good Morning Grandma,” “Porker’s Revenge,” “The Ambitious Mouse,” “The Good Fairy,” “Give ‘Em a Yell,” “Slow But Sure,” “May the Best Man Win,” “Warming the Hare,” “High Stepper,” “Ain’t He Big and Handsome,” “Battin’ the Ball Around,” “The Racket” by Frank Churchill; “Rain Intermezzo,” “Storm Music,” “Nursery Parade,” “The Pied Piper March,” “Joyland,” “China Shop Main Title,” “Valse Vienna,” “China Ware Dance,” “Interlude,” “Fight of the Satre and the Shepherd Boy,” “Santa Claus Theme,” “Comedy Mysterioso,” “Toy Trumpet Call,” “Parade of Toys,” “Bugle Call,” “Interlude,” “The Toys’ Christmas Party,” “Hurry Up for Toys,” “Merry, Merry Christmas,” “Grasshopper and the Ants Main Title,” “There’s Food on Every Hand,” “Slaving Ants,” “Russian Dance, “ “Winter Storm,” “Happy Ants,” “Plaintive Mood,” “Militaresque,” “A New Deal for Chickens,” “Funny Little Bunnies,” “The Pig Jig,” “Corn Pone Jitters,” “Intermezzo Piscatorial,” “Inflation Episode,” “Descriptive Agitato,” “Elmer Elephant,” “Blow the Flame Away,” “Elmer Elephant Incidental Music,” “Step-Father and Son,” “To the Rescue,” “Woodland Café Enr’acte,” “The Old Mill Main Title,” “Angelus,” “Pastorale,” “The Frogs,” “The Storm,” “Wynken, Blynken & Nod #1, #2, #3, #4,” “Valse Charmante,” “Scherzo Grazioso,” “Excitement,” “Storm Music,” “Farmyard Symphony Incidental Music” “Animal Chase” by Leigh Harline; “Three Blind Mouseketeers Main Title,” “Cat Preparing Traps,” “Mice Looking for Food,” “Mice Evading Traps,” “Cat Shuffling Bowls,” “Mice Running from the Cat,” “Cat Chasing Mice,” “Mice Saved from Traps,” “Three Blind Mouseketeers End Title Music,” “Little Hiawatha,” “Introduction,” “Hiawatha’s Arrival,” “In the Forest,” “Hiawatha and the Rabbit,” “Hiawatha and the Bear Cub,” “Hiawatha and the Mother Bear,” “Hiawatha Rescued by His Animal Friends,” “Little Hiawatha End Title Music” “Moth and the Flame Main Title & Opening Sequence,” “Boy and Girl Eating Sequence,” “Girl Moth Entices Flame,” “Moths to the Rescue,” “Boy and Girl End Sequence & End Title,” “The Ugly Duckling Main Title & Opening Sequence,” “Little Ducklings,” “Ugly Duckling Arrives & Argument Sequence,” “Ugly Duckling Theme,” “Ugly Duckling’s Reflection,” “Play Theme,” “Ugly Duckling Left Alone,” “Ugly Duckling and Bird Sequence,” “Ugly Duckling and Decoy Sequence,” “Ugly Duckling and Cygnets—Closing Sequence” by Albert H. Malotte; “Merbabies Fanfare,” “Babes Swim Down to the Bottom of the Sea,” “Circus Parade,” “Tiger Fish,” “Oriental Scene,” “Laugh Montage,” “Calliope Music,” “Circus March,” “Elephant Balancing on a Ball,” “Donkey Music,” “Donkey and Turtle,” “Curtain Opening,” “Ballet Music,” “Whale Sneezes,” “Baby Snail Scoots,” “Merbabies Theme (End Title)’ by Scott Bradley; “Thumbing a Ride,” “Morning Music,” “A Troublesome Dummy,” “Introduction to Laurel and Hardy,” “See Saw,” by Edward Plumb; “Pig Skip,” “Practical Pig Theme,” “A Warning,” “Scamps Scampering,” “Threats, “ Three Little Wolves,” “What’s This,” “A Challenge,” “Machinery Music #1, #2,” “The Crafty Wolf,” “A Lucky Break,” “Good Riddance,” “What a Lie” by Paul J. Smith; “Pandora’s Box” “Funny Little Bunnies Main Title,” by Frank Churchill, Bert Lewis; “The Stranger,” “Apples of Gold,” “Hail Midas,” “Zounds!” “The Golden Curse,” “Robber Kitten Introduction,” “Stick ‘Em Up,” “Ambrose,” “The Snooty Kid,” “Sneakin’ the Cookies,” “The Run-Away,” “Dead or Alive,” “Palzy Walzy,” “Scramm,” “The Keystone Chase,” “Tough Guy,” “Who Killed Cock Robin Introduction,” “Lock ‘Em Up,” “The Cuckoo Bird,” “Guilty Birds,” “Hancy” “Three Orphan Kittens,” “Deserted,” “Pies and Flies,” “Fun,” “Pepper,” “The Chase,” “Feathers,” “On the Piano,” “Scared,” “Steeple Chase,” “Romance,” “Slow But Sure” by Frank Churchill, J.H. Wood; “Three Little Wolves Introduction,” “Altogether,” “Pulling the Pulley,” “Wolf Alarm,” “Little Bo Peep,” “In the Cave,” “The Horn,” “Ripe Tomatoes,” “Pacifying Prelude,” “The Three Orphans,” “Rollo,” “Freddie Fly,” “Spurting Sparrow,” “Walking the Line,” “Scattin’ the Cats,” by Frank Churchill, Rafaello Penso; “Water Babies,” “Back to Nature,” “Carnival,” “Frog Run,” “Fiesta,” “Prayer,” “The Saxes Have It,” “Music Land Incidental Music #1, #2, #3, #4” “Jazz Battle Music,” “Jazz Fireworks,” Broken Toys Main Title,” “Broken Toys Opening Sequence,” “Awakening of Dolls,” “Sailor and the Blind Doll Sing,” “Colored Dolls Sing and Dance,” “March of the Broken Toys,” “Broken Toys Incidental Music #1, #2, #3,” “In Doll Hospital,” “Doll Operation Music” by Leigh Harline, J.H. Wood; “Toby Tortoise Returns Main Title,” “Silent,” “Jam It Nice, Boys,” “Toby Tortoise Returns Incidental Music,” “Whirlwind Whoo,” “Country Cousin Main Title,” “Country Cousin,” “Table d´Hote,” “Country Cousin Incidental Music,” “Mouse Trix,” “Traffic Ostinato,” “Farm Yard Idyll,” “Pluto’s Soliloquy,” “Plaizer ´d amore “Mother Pluto Incidental Music,” “The Cock Fight,” “Reminisence,” by Leigh Harline and Rafaello Penso; “Chicken Walk,” “Chicken Chase” by Albert H. Malotte, J.H. Wood; “ “El Jarabe Tapatio” by Parucheka Penso, Rafaelo Penso.

Popular Song Vocal: “Truckin’” by Rube Bloom, Ted Koehler (Vocal).
Popular Song Instrumentals: “Abba Dabba Honeymoon” by Walter Donovan, Arthur Fields; “Furioso,” “Storm Music,” “Bon Vivant” by J.S. Zamecnik; “In a Chinese Temple Garden” by Albert Ketelbey; “Storm and Fire Music” by Herbert Holmes; “March of the Spooks” by Maurice Baron; “Fire Dance” by Charles Huerter; “Wedding of the Birds” by Henry H. Tobias, Harry Tobias, Charles W. Kisco; “Prisoner’s Song” by Guy Massey; “Selections from Sari” by Bert Kalmar; “The Carioca” by Edward Elisco, Gus Kahn, Vincent Youmans; “12th Street Rag” by Euday L. Bowman; “Ku Ku (Dance of the Cuckoos)” by Marvin T. Hatley; “Frankie and Johnnie” by Bert Leighton, Boyd Bunch.

Classical Music Excerpts: “Peer Gynt Suite,” “March of the Dwarfs” by Edvard Grieg; “Carmen,” “Habanera” by Georges Bizet; “Ciribiribin” by Alberto Pestaloza; “Whispering Flowers” by Franz von Blon; “Dance of the Hours” by Amilcare Ponchielli; “Funeral March of a Marionette” by Charles Gounod; “Fingal’s Cave,” “Tarentelle,” “Ruy Bias Overture,” “Wedding March,” “Spring Song” by Felix Mendelsohn; “Anvil Chorus,” “La Traviata,” “La Donna E Mobile – Rigoletto,” “Miserere” (from Il Trovatore) by Giuseppe Verdi; “Jolly Fellows Waltz” by Robert Vollstedt; Henry VIII Gavotte” by Henri Ghys; Intermezzo Naila” by Leo Delibes; “Stephane Gavotte” by Alphons Czibulka; “Valse Arabesque” by Theodore Lack; “Murmuring Brook” by Eduard Poldini; “Moments Musical,” “The Erl-King,” “March Militaire” by Franz Schubert; “Moonlight Sonata,” “Eroica Symphony #3,” “Minuet in G,” “Theme from Sixth Symphony,” by Ludwig van Beethoven; “Blue Danube Waltz” by Johann Strauss; “The Dance of the Serpents” by Edorado Boccalari; “Ballet Egyptienne” by Alexandre Luigini; “Lustspeil Overture” by Bela Keler; “Narcissus,” by Ethelbert Nevin; “Dance of the Goblins” by Hans Engelmann, “Skater’s Waltz” by Emil Waldteufel; “Furioso #1” by Otto Langley; “La Petite Coryphee” by George Tracey; “Danse Orientale” by Grigory Lubominrsky; “Barcarolle” “L’Amour d’Apache” by Jacques Offenbach; “Erius” by George Trinkhaus; “Petite Tonkinoise” by Vincent Scotto; “Don Juan Minuet” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; “Light Cavalry Overture” by Franz von Suppe; “Valse Lucille,” “Chant Sans Paroles” by Rudolf Friml; “Kaminnoi-ostrow” by Anton Rubinstein; “Valse Bleue” by Alfred Margis; “Funeral March” by Fryderyk Chopin; “William Tell Overture,” “Theme from The Barber of Seville Overture” “Semiramide” by Gioachino Rossini; “Carnival of Venice” by J. Bellak; “Stradella,” “Theme from Martha” by Friedrich von Flotow; “Hockzeitsmarsch” by Johann Sebastian Bach; “Lullaby” by Johannes Brahms; “Coronation March” by Giacomo Meyerbeer; “Gavotte” by Francois-Joseph Gossec; “Ride of the Valkyries,” “Bridal Chorus (From Lohengrin),” “Pilgrim’s Chorus from Tannhauser” by Richard Wagner; “Theme from Bohemian Girl” by Michael William Balfe; “Theme from Second Hungarian Rhapsody” by Franz Liszt.

Public Domain Vocals: “Old King Cole,” “Little Jack Horner,” “Little Bo-Peep.”
Public Domain Instrumentals: “Glow Worm” by Paul Lincke; Mosquito Parade” by Howard Whitney; “First Heart Throbs” by Richard Eilenberg; “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” by Leon Jessel; “Scotch Poem” by Edward MacDowell; Pizzicato Polka” by Leo Delibes; “Cocoanut Dance” by Andrew Hermann; “Down in the Jungle” by Theodore Morse, Edward Madden; “At a Georgia Camp Meeting” by Kerry Mills; “Shadowland” by Lawrence B. Gilbert; “Jingle Bells” by James Lord Pierpont; “Birds and the Brook” by R.M. Stutz; “Listen to the Mockingbird by Alice Hawthorne; ” “Flower Song” by Gustav Lange; “Under the Double Eagle” by Jack Wagner; “Ghost Dance” by Cara Salisbury; “In a Chinese Tea Room” by Otto Langley; “Sneak” by Herb Brown; “Down South” by H. Myddleton; “Home, Sweet Home” by Sir Henry Bishop; “In a Clock Store” by Charles J. Orth; “Busy Bee” by Theodore Bendix; “Hunt in the Black Forest,” “Peek-a-Boo” by Wm J. Scanlan; “By Heck” by S.R. Henry; “House is Haunted,” “Merry Wives of Windsor” by Carl Nicolai; “Anvil Polka” by Albert Parlow; “Dreaming” by Archibald Joyce; “The Blue Bird” by Clare Kummer; “Dance” by Meyer Helmund; “Rock-a-Bye Baby” by Effie Canning; “A-Hunting We Will Go” by Thomas Arne; “Kitten on the Keys” by Edward E. Confrey; “Silent Night, Holy Night” by Franz Gruber; “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Phillip Sousa; “Aloha Oe” by Queen Lilliuokaloni; “Yankee Doodle,” “Blow the Man, Down,” “Chicken Reel,” “Mother Goose Opening,” “Three Blind Mice,” “Hi-Diddle-Diddle,” “Jack and Jill,” “Mother Goose Melodies,” “Sing a Song of Sixpence,” “Little Boy Blue,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” “Won’t Get Home Until Morning,” “Oh, Don’t You Remember a Long Time Ago,” “Little Brown Jug,” “Bugle Call Assembly,” “Peek-a-Boo, I See You,” “Ach du Lieber Augustine,” “Flying Mouse Main Title,” “Sailor’s Hornpipe,” “Happy Birthday To You,” “Elmer’s Got a Funny Face,” “Frankie and Johnnie,” “Hootchy Kootchy Dance,” “Where O Where Has My Little Dog Gone?” “John Brown’s Body,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “The Campbells Are Coming,” “London Bridge,” “Marx Brothers Fanfare,” “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” by Anonymous.

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34 Comments

  • The soundtrack from Music Land is one of my all time favorite Silly Symphonies cartoons! It’s amazing how they use musical instruments for the “voices” of the characters of Music Land
    A Viola for the Queen of The Land if Symphony
    A Violin for the Princess
    A Tenor Saxophone for the King of The Isle of Jazz
    A Alto Saxophone for the Prince
    And
    A Double Bass/Upright Bass/Bass Fiddle for the Justice of the Peace
    My favorite scene is when The King of The Isle of Jazz declares war on the Land of Symphony for holding his son The Prince as a prisoner by blasting the Land of Symphony with a hi octane jazz melody and how The Queen counterattack by using pipe organs blasting out Wagner’s The Ride of the Valkyries.

    • I love that cartoon. It’s also impressive how such genuine sorrow was created by a mere duck call in The Ugly Duckling. That part still gets to me.

  • Greg:
    You’ve really outdone yourself with this pos! I’ve never seen so much info! Disney really did a yeoman’s job with this set! And putting it out on vinyl LPs was a very wise decision! The audio on that excerpt was crystal clear! It’s gonna be fun looking for (and purchasing) vinyl again! Again,another superb post!

  • I wish I could afford this set.

    • Me too. Also wish it was on CDs.

    • I wish they sold the volumes individually. That way I could get the ones I would like to own

  • Thanks for this detailed glimpse at a genuine audio treasure. Do you know if it will ever be available in CD?

    • There was a time when I said, “Snow White will NEVER be on video!” so you never know. But there are no apparent plans now.

  • Thanks, Andy — you say such kind things!
    This was quite an endeavor for both me and my wife (who spent hours proofing it). The post was planned for several weeks ago, but I can’t resist the urge to add more and more to these things. The music, composers and performers are just so important.

  • Sorry to be “that guy”, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so FURIOUS at the Walt Disney Company as I am about this box set. HOW DARE THEY release this $400 monument to short-lived fads, conspicuous consumption and gross overpackaging while THE CARTOONS THEMSELVES ARE OUT OF PRINT.

    • While the set is not on CD, the vinyl set comes with codes for digital downloads of all the music.

    • But that’s not the point. THE CARTOONS ARE OUT OF PRINT! Can’t understand why people who love this ANIMATION company don’t see the irony that the only way the masterpieces of animation are being sold now is … without … the … animation!

      It’s a car without the motor, a hammer without the head, a burger without the beef. WHERE’S THE BEEF? Why won’t Disney just sell me the gosh darned high definition beef?

  • “We do not live in an entertainment world where soundtracks from short 1930’s cartoons from the 1930’s are generally considered as viable audio releases.”
    ..which is precisely why..
    “The 75 Silly Symphony soundtracks in this boxed set are presented on 16 vinyl records nestled in eight gatefold albums in a numbered slipcase.”
    Thanks but no thanks. I’ll get the Kaufman/Merritt second edition and play my Silly Symphonies DVD’s with the TV off and wait for Song of the South, Disney.

    • Just don’t expect the “Song of the South” Blu-Ray to be gold plated.

      I wish people be thankful for what we got.

    • You can’t please anyone these days it seems Nic.

    • Sure you can. Release the cartoons on Blu Ray.

    • Easier said than done, Eric.

  • Greg, thank you for this review. Content- and design-wise this set is obviously great. But…
    … as a longtime European Disney fan the way this set was released is a major disappointment. Why no CD release for those of us who just want to enjoy and study these soundtracks and are not interested in the vynil and luxury packaging?

    Yes, there are digital downloads, but apparently these do not work outside the US. Besides, I have already read multiple complaints about interrupted downloads with no possibility for another download attempt.

    It is a real shame that Disney makes it virtually impossible for many serious fans to obtain these soundtracks and enjoy the results of the great work that was done by the restoration team. A ‘regular’ CD release (or Itunes download) next to the vinyl collectors set would have satisfied everybody (and would eventually mean more money for Disney). The fact that this is the same Walt Disney Records who released that nice Legacy Collection last year makes the disappoinment even bigger.

  • One question about that excerpt from A Night Before Christmas: Does this mean the music on these LPs will have the sound effects included? If so, that’s honestly a disappointment to me.

  • Separate music, dialogue and sound effects tracks no longer exist. The nature of Silly Symphonies was such that the dialogue and sound effects were “married” to the music, so to speak, making all three part and parcel of each soundtrack. Though it would have been ideal for the separate tracks to allow more flexibility in restoring and remastering the tracks, the album producers used today’s most sophisticated digital audio tools to bring out, as it used to say on Disneyland Records album covers, “greater clarity and brilliance.”

    These are not mere audio rips of the cartoons as they appear on the DVDs. If you’re a soundtrack collector, the best comparison might be to the MGM soundtracks that Sony did in the ’80s, which was a simple audio lift from the movies. When Rhino did the MGM soundtracks a few years later, there was a major effort to preserve them in the best possible audio and the difference is evident on the restored tracks. DVDs and especially VHS tapes–in fact, sound for film and TV in general–is not usually mixed for audio recording.

    The “Night Before Christmas” audio sample on this post is an edited version of the downloaded track. To my ear, there is a considerable difference between it and the audio from the DVD. I also found the vinyl to sound even better than the downloads, but vinyl sound is a bit more dependent on the quality of the stereo equipment that plays it.

    So yes, the music is not free of the other elements, but the results of long hours of painstaking audio work are evident.

    • Thanks for replying, Greg. One thing though: I don’t think you’re right about the dialogue part when you say, “Separate music, dialogue and sound effects tracks no longer exist.” Thing is, even back in the 1930s, Disney produced their cartoons with separate Music & FX tracks (in addition to the standard English-language audio track), in order to allow for dubbing of their films into other languages. That’s why a film like “The Three Little Pigs” (1933) could be dubbed into, say, Swedish many decades later; as you can see a sample of here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdoG6wbt6YY

      So even if Music Only tracks don’t exist anymore, Music & Sound Effect tracks without dialogue definitely DO exist.

      I agree that the clip you posted sounds much clearer and crisper than anything I remember hearing on the Treasures DVDs (and I would have expected nothing less). In that light, it is only to be hoped that these restored tracks are used if the Silly Symphonies are ever released on Blu-ray.

    • Maybe the separate audio tracks did exist, but were destroyed during Michael Eisner’s regime, like the original nitrate negatives for the Disney shorts.

  • How deep do the liner notes go? Do they give a rundown of which pieces are played on each cartoon? For example, for a Carl Stalling cartoon would it list…

    0:00 — 1:33 Carl Stalling music
    1:34 — 2:05 excerpt from “Night On Bald Mountain” (Mussorgsky)
    2:06 — 2:22 excerpt from “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain” (trad. folk song)
    2:23 — 6:34 Carl Stalling music

    Or does it at least list all the songs and composers from each track if it doesn’t get into exact details on the timing of each one?

    • Here’s an example:
      THE PRACTICAL PIG (1939)
      Musical Direction by Frank Churchill and Paul Smith
      Performed by Billy Bletcher, Tommy Wiggins, Mary Moder, Betty Bruce, Tom Buchanan, Ralph Hansell, Donald Kearin, Dick Holland and Leone Ledoux
      “Main Title (Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?)” by Frank Churchill
      Additional Lyrics by Ann Ronell Arranged by Paul Smith
      Published by Bourne Co. (ASCAP)
      “Pig Skip,” “”Practical Pig Theme,” “A Warning” by Paul Smith
      “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” by Frank Churchill. Additional Lyrics by Ann Ronell
      Published by Bourne Co. (ASCAP)
      “Scamps Scampering,” Threats” by Paul J. Smith
      Published by Bourne Co. (ASCAP)
      “Frankie and Johnny” Music by Bert Leighton. Lyrics by Boyd Bunch
      Published by Bourne Co. (ASCAP)
      “Three Little Wolves,” “What’s This,” “A Challenge,” “Machinery Music,” “The Crafty Wolf,” “A Lucky Break,” “Good Riddance,” “What a Lie,” “Machinery Music #2” by Paul J. Smith
      Published by Bourne Co. (ASCAP)

  • I noticed that you’ve included the cover art for the “Cookie Carnival” piano transcription, part of a terrific Silly Symphony and Mickey Mouse shorts score series from Russell Schroeder and Voigt Publications. Highly recommended!

    • Yes, indeed! Russell has music books for Cookie Carnival, Funny Little Bunnies and Mickey’s Ye Olden Days, as well as a songbook of Disney shorts that spans decades and his renowned Lost Chords books. I’ve just posted images and info about the music books on the Cartoon Research Facebook page.

  • Excellent info, although this is more an overview of the set rather than a review of the contents and quality. Yes, it’s great that these cartoons’ sound is now preserved, but not on vinyl, which is technically a lossy format because it will degrade over time in being played, and any number of warping or scratching issues will make a disc redundant if not cared for properly. Of corse, those paying $400 per box are unlikely to be throwing their discs around like frisbees, so the offer of digital files is where the real preservation will be felt (and would argue that it again takes the right equipment to truly “hear” a digital file correctly), especially in Mr Thornton’s uncompressed masters. It’s those that would be best served by a SuperAudio CD release, although I would just settle for a CD issue, hopefully from Intrada. The mere fact that the download codes do not work outside of the US and have glitch issues makes this set redundant even for those who may have purchased it for the packaging alone and the chance to listen via those codes. I also do not believe that this expense has been used to clean up and preserve these cartoons’ soundtracks without looking ahead to some kind of high-definition release. Clearly the image on the short films has been restored as much as the sound. Since the sound effects are baked in to these soundtracks, we can only hope that they will become available in some form such as this in due time, especially for those unable to enjoy this collection now through reasons of cost, equipment or location.

  • There are Berliner 100 plus year old discs that can still be played, deterioration and all. Disc recordings have proven to be very durable. I have no problem that the Disney people put this collection on LPs only. Mosaic Records for example still issues certain projects only on LP. As long as there are audiophiles who want that format, it will still be there.

    • Yes, but if would have been nice if this release did not cater to audiophiles only, but also to a wider range of Disney enthusiasts.

  • While not confirmed,Record Store Day 2016,April 16, there is supposed to be a limited edition 10″ of The Skeleton Dance b/w Three Little Pigsprobably made at 33 RPM.
    If you don’t know how RSD works,hold onto your heart. There is a limited number of pieces produced,sometimes as little as 500, up to the low thousands. Independent brick and mortar stores(that is,no Amazon,Best Buy,FYE,Barnes & Noble,etc.), order quantities,many times ordering from multiple distributors to get a better fill. Everything is available for sale April 16,not before,usually early morning,8AMish. Stores are forbidden to hold stock in advance for special orders and usually limits are placed on quantities that a consumer can purchase per visit. Consumers wait for hours before opening(and sometimes camp out for days-I’ve seen this),many of them Ebay flippers who will resell the items at a much higher price. At the end of day,stores can allow multiple sales and online sales,sometimes at original retail price,sometimes higher,depending on demand. With the worldwide interest of all things Disney,soundtrack collectors,animated fans like you and other factors,expect this to be a quick sellout. A 10″ piece of new vinyl can easily be priced in the $15-20 range nowadays,though suggested retail has not been set and, to reiterate,this has not been confirmed on the RSD website. Details usually emerge around a month before actual RSD. Also,this is info about the US RSD-other countries may their own variations on this event.

  • Good news, Joost!
    I have just learned that the Silly Symphony downloads are now in operation internationally, too. Enjoy!

  • Does anyone know the name of the song in Busy Beavers where two beavers chew on a tree, all sorts of critters run/fly out of the tree, and the beavers continue to chew the tree till it falls? It happens twice. Thanks!

    • According to Russell Merritt and J.B. Kaufman’s book on SILLY SYMPHONIES, The score of BUSY BEAVERS includes excerpts from Vincent Scotto’s “Petite Tonkinoise” (1906) for the beavers at work.

  • The following link presents a Popper Clarabella Orchestrion playing an cheerful but unknown 5-part rondo which I’ve found present in the factory scene in the “Santa’s Workshop” from “The Silly Symphony”. Anyone who knows the original title to this rondo (plus the composer)? Your answers / suggestions are greatly appreciated!
    Best Regards / Christopher
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80tUXstEX54?

    (If you fail to open this link, search “Popper Orchestrion Clarabella VIDEO 1 Restored by Roberts Musical Restorations” on YouTube.)

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