Bald Mountain – Fantasia’s Finest

Rob Jaiven

Rob Jaiven

Rob Jaiven has been an animation art collector and dealer for over 35 years. Many of the most famous pieces of animation art known to exist have been sold by his company Cuckoo Comics & Collectibles.
Instead of growing up and putting away his childish things, after years as a mathematician Rob quit the academic life, took those childish things out again and began his company. Suddenly in the early 1980's these childish things became fashionable and sought after. Cuckoo Comics & Collectibles continues to buy and sell the oldest, rarest and most desirable pieces of animation art. Rob also serves to educate collectors and is happy to answer questions and to talk about animation art with anyone who has an interest.
Rob Jaiven

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Night on Bald Mountain is the eighth segment of Walt Disney’s animated feature Fantasia. Fantasia was released by Walt Disney Productions in 1940. It was a never before seen combination of classical music and animation. The film was divided into eight segments. The most famous one probably is the Sorcerer’s Apprentice starring Mickey Mouse. Many consider the final segment, Night on Bald Mountain, to be the finest one of all.

Actually that last segment was Night on Bald Mountain dissolving into Ave Maria. I think the dazzling imagery combined with ghosts, demons, lost souls and the devil himself was probably a bit much to close the film. The serenity of Ave Maria was needed. But it is Night on Bald Mountain all viewers remember.

At Walpurgis Night (the Witches’ Sabbath), Chernabog, god of evil, emerges from the peak of Bald Mountain (in reality Mount Triglaf, near Kiev in southern Russia) to summon all of his minions. These include ghosts, demons, lost souls, hags and harpies, who dance furiously as he throws them into the mountain’s fiery pit. The spirits dance and fly through the air until driven back by the sound of an Angelus bell as night fades into dawn.

devils

   Demons, ghosts, lost souls, and harpies driven into the fire on Bald Mountain


Chernabog is driven away by the light of the dawn. A chorus is heard singing Ave Maria as we see a line of robed monks. They are walking with lighted torches through a forest and into the ruins of a cathedral. The sequence showcases the animation of Vadimir Tytla and the style of Kay Nielsen. It also includes the longest shot ever produced in the multi-plane camera (in the procession). 

Night on Bald Mountain was an orchestral work by the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky that was completed in June 1867. The work had not been performed in public at the time of the composer’s death in 1881. It was revised by his colleagues and still later by other generations of composers and conductors most notably by Rimsky-Korsakov.

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