Classical works, "part of", and Fantasia

I’m a newbie here, and hopefully not stepping into a minefield (or rehashing settled topics, though I did some searching before posting).

From reading some other threads (e.g., When is a part not a part?), it seems broadly agreed that classical works should not be “part of” the film soundtracks they appear on. For popular works, the clutter of dozens of such relationships would obscure the more meaningful relationship to their true parent work. A notable exception seems to be the Fantasia soundtrack, which has “parts/part of” relationships with each constituent work.

(I stumbled across this while using Beets and its “parentwork” and “alternatives” plugins to create symlinks grouped by a parent work to all of its recordings in my collection. All of the relevant Nutcracker numbers from multiple [non-Fantasia] albums ended up grouped under Fantasia rather than The Nutcracker. No disrespect to Fantasia, but that definitely seems wrong! I’m sure I could come up with a Beets-specific workaround to this quirk, but I feel the issue is more general than this particular tool.)

I can understand an argument that the Fantasia soundtrack stands as its own work, with these other works as parts. But many of them appear in other soundtracks as well, and it seems like a slippery slope. Disney, Stokowski, et al, certainly seemed to think of Fantasia as a concert in visual form, even naming it the “Concert Feature” while in development (see Fantasia (1940 film) - Wikipedia). Seen through this “concert” lens, it does not seem appropriate to view these works as “parts” but simply as performances/recordings.

I considered just removing the relationships, but thought better of it given a) my newbie status and unfamiliarity with the norms and guidelines here and b) the relatively high profile of both these individual works and the Fantasia soundtrack itself. And I’m also unsure if there is a more appropriate way to capture the relationship between the soundtrack and these works, given their collective significance in the history of both film and popular appreciation of classical music.

So I thought I’d throw this topic out to see if there is consensus either for the status quo or in favor of a particular resolution. Eager to hear any thoughts!


I’ll preface this by saying I’m not a classical editor, but I’d consider myself a tiny bit familiar with works…

how I’d probably enter the Fantasia works would be to create new works (disambiguated with “Fantasia (1940)” or something) and relate those to the respective original Nutcracker works with some “Version of” relationships. those works would then be related to the Fantasia soundtrack work, not the Nutcracker works.

the only issue I can foresee, we then possibly end up with a couple exact duplicate works, where they were included without any changes. a very rare case, I’m certain, but definitely very possible.

edit: I’ve actually had some ideas bouncing around my head about this in general, mostly about popular songs… for example, how throughout the Shrek movies they use popular songs and re-arrange them, such as “Holding Out For a Hero” and “Livin’ La Vida Loca”. since these songs are arranged differently, they could get their own works related to the originals.

I actually looked at the Fantasia soundtrack work, and I believe the first part is the correct way to enter these:

Yeah, I was thinking that might be a useful approach for the rest of the works as well. It would certainly address the issue of the main works having multiple “part of” relationships. And in this case, it really is a different arrangement/orchestration, so having a separate work is definitely the right answer.

One thing that didn’t smell quite right, though, is that while the Toccata and Fugue was actually orchestrated by Stokowski, I believe most of the rest are the original orchestration/arrangements. (Note: I am no expert here, so someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.) For instance, Stokowski re-orchestrated A Night on Bald Mountain, but in the end they used the standard Rimsky-Korsakov orchestration. In these cases, would it seem a little artificial/hacky to create a new arrangement solely for the purpose of having different “part of” relationships?

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My understanding after reading the relevant Wikipedia page is that this is true only for the re-releases from the 1980s onwards?

In any case, the article also mentions that “[m]any found fault with Stokowski’s rearrangements and abridgements of the music”, suggesting that yes, these should indeed be at the very least different arrangement works. What is unclear to me is whether the often-recorded Stokowski concert versions of the Mussorgsky and the Bach, for example, are the same arrangements made for the film.

Quite right, it looks like my own reading/memory was too cursory.

It does sound like a reasonable justification for adding Stokowski arrangements for the other works as well.

A couple different sources (here and here, p. 2) say that the 1927 orchestration of Toccata and Fugue in D minor is the same as the one used in the film. As for the Mussorgsky, this answer suggests the film’s orchestration was exclusive to Disney and is not generally available. (I have no idea if any of these are accurate, however.)