When I was young, I never noticed the music score that would make up a Disney film. I couldn’t tell the difference between the clarinet and an oboe, or a trombone and a horn. Looking back, I wish there was someone that actually said, “listen child, what you are hearing is a [blank]. Can you hear the slide/tinny sound/warm tone/etc.” With little guidance and exposure to the other instruments of the orchestra, it wasn’t until I was well and truly in my late teens when I could begin to decipher music, separate the parts and instruments, and hear each sound with its unique timbre.
Everytime it rains, I often think of the one piece of music that I feel depicts it perfectly – Little April Shower from Bambi, scored by Frank Churchill and Edward Plumb. From the warm opening notes of the clarinet, the piercing triangle and beautiful mix of nuances from the vocals, this scene from Bambi causes me much delight and happiness as the animals all huddle up at home and seek shelter from the relentless rain. And then the storm comes! As a child, I was always very frightened by the ferocious crash of the cymbals and the eerie vocals that perfectly embody the fierce nature of wind as they are combined with muted brass, a percussive piano and the swell of strings to reach a terrifying climax. But when the storm is over, the texture thins out until all that is left is the clarinet as it too slowly bows out, one drop at a time.
What is your favourite Disney film?
-The Fine Duchess