a laudatory review of Gunther Schuller's autobiography, Terry Teachout writes:
was especially interested in what Mr. Schuller had to say about
"Fantasia," Walt Disney's 1940 animated feature film about
classical music, which he saw for the first time when he was 14:
"That film masterpiece truly changed my life, particularly its
Stravinsky 'Rite of Spring' sequence, which, as far as I can
remember, was the first time I heard that remarkable music. It
completely bowled me over. I knew then and there that I had to be a
to say, snobs of all kinds have long taken a dim view of "Fantasia,"
with its dancing mushrooms and cavorting hippos. Not so Mr. Schuller:
"I hope [Stravinsky] appreciated that hundreds—perhaps
thousands—of musicians were turned onto 'The Rite of Spring' (and
by implication lots of other modern music) through 'Fantasia,'
musicians who might otherwise never have heard the work, or at least
not until many years later."
leads Terry to reflect on the important role that middlebrow culture
once played in introducing young people (and not-so-young people) to
in the days of middlebrow culture, the movies weren't the only way
for children to get a taste of the classics. I initially made the
acquaintance of such literary gems as "Macbeth" and
"Moby-Dick" in comic-book form, courtesy of the unjustly
mocked Classics Illustrated series ("Featuring Stories by the
World's Greatest Authors").
did I. (Terry and I are the same age.)