Why is Chernabog considered evil? All he does is to throw around some demons and souls, and the souls at least went to him willingly. I mean, sure he is a jerk, but at worst he is some kind of bully, not the incarnation of evil everyone seems to want him to be. Even House of Mouse seems to interpret him that way (as a bully, not as a "Satan"). It seems as though the only reason he is an evil being is because he looks like a demon, which is roughly as morally decent as claiming someone is evil because they have black hair.
That's exactly it: Chernabog is a bully. He's bored, petty, and uncaring. He takes the demons and souls that came to him, changes their forms at will, and compels them to dance for his pleasure. They may have come to him willingly, but they clearly have no control over what Chernabog does to them once they get there. That's a pretty vivid interpretation of Hell: to be stripped of your free will and turned into simply the Devil's plaything.
All he does it's celebrating a sabbath which is equivalent for a human throwing a night party. The villagers don't even seem to notice it or hear it and they are not hurt or something. He throws the demons in the fire but since the fire doesn't hurt him maybe it has the same effect to his minions.
Which idiot decided that Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony Number 5 was an "abstract" piece of music? It very distinctly tells a story, that of Fate (the famous opening theme) versus the Hero (the counter-melody). Even the animation (two tiny white butterflies fleeing from a mass of black ones) reflects this. I can forgive the original Fantasia for using Toccata and Fugue in D Minor since Bach obviously didn't foresee his work being used as the theme music for the quintessential Mad Scientist but this just smack of laziness.
Complaints like this were addressed by the creators, when fans were upset that some of the pieces of music had nothing to do with the actual "stories" (the Nutcracker Suite featuring no characters from the ballet from which is is adapted, for instance). They said that their goal was to animate the "impressions" they got from the pieces, separated from the context of the songs. As one animator put it: "We say that The Rite of Spring makes us think of dinosaurs. So prove that it doesn't!"
There is some justification for it from a musical standpoint, actually. The 5th doesn't have a melody the way most other pieces of music from its time had. The 'melody' is clearly made of layers of the famous 'three quarter notes, HALF NOOOOOTE' line, and the counter-melody has aspects of it as well. In that respect, it is like an abstract painting, which is all about playing with form without content or subject. Still, the fact that it still has two discernible threads attests to Beethoven's awesomeness, and the dubiousness of their choice.
Because God forbid people attempt their own interpretations of great artistic works that may not coincide with the original intent of the artist. I mean it's not like the concept of the Death of the Author hasn't been around since the seventies or anything.
Keep in mind, the fifth was not program music. Beethoven himself never stated his intent for his themes in the 5th. The story that it's about fate came from his assistant, not from the composer himself. Also the animators on the original depicted exactly what Pastoral's third and fourth were meant to convey - an outdoor party which gets interrupted by a thunderstorm.
So...Why did they cut out Clair de Lune?
Probably because it's a particular slow and tranquillizing scene in which nothing much happens, compared to all the other segments. Also, the "Nutcracker Suite" already showed scenes of nature by night, so Walt may have felt it was too much of the same.
Actually, because the distributor said the movie was too long and that a piece had to go. Disney felt that, indeed as the subject of Clair de Lune was already in "The Nutcracker Suite", Clair de Lune was the one that would feel the least "missing" if removed. But they'd have kept it without that distributor who could not recognize art when he saw it !
Something odd I noticed when watching various contributors of the That Guy with the Glasses site discussing "Fantasia". Both Doug Walker (The Nostalgia Critic), Paw (Paw Dugan) and Elisa (Vampire Reviews) all love the 1940 version of Fantasia and all praise "The Night Of Bald Mountain" sequence- understandably and rightly so- and.... for some strange reason the "Ave Maria" sequence? I've never heard anyone enjoying the "Ave Maria" scene, and certainly no children. As beautiful as the artwork and music during that scene is the sequence really is very slow, unexciting to watch and comes across as an anti-climax after watching the vivid and powerful "Night On Bald Mountain" sequence. Yet Doug seems to love it and Paw and Elisa even consider it better than the "Rite of Spring" sequence, which I really cannot understand at all. Everyone loves watching dinosaurs in action, especially children, and everyone must agree that the "Rite Of Spring" sequence really is a lot more entertaining to watch than the "Ave Maria" one. I assume the appreciation for the "Ave Maria" scene is motivated by the presenters' religious background? Or because they feel uncomfortable in praising "Night Of Bald Mountain" because it shows a large demon in Hell and just to clear their conscience praise "Ave Maria" as well?
Or maybe it's because it's entirely possible for people to enjoy two completely different pieces of music and animation for different reasons, especially when the two are presented as one coherent idea and part of what makes the experience is the contrast between them? As an example, when I was a kid and saw Hunchback of Notre Dame, all I remembered from the Heaven's Light/Hellfire sequence was the Hellfire part. It wasn't until I rewatched it when I was older that I not only remembered the Heaven's Light portion, but realized that they were supposed to be taken as one whole song, and now I think the two combined make possibly the single greatest musical piece ever made for a Disney film. Additionally, Doug, Paw, and Elisa are critics, their job is to give their opinions on something instead of just spouting out what everyone else thinks. And contrary to what you may believe, nobody must agree on anything, especially not something as subjective as which piece of music and animation is more enjoyable.
Nowhere in my text have I said that they should like any other piece in the film more. I also understand it's just their personal opinion and I respect that. As for the notion that many people see Night On Bald Mountain and Ave Maria as a whole, because they flow into each other: good point, but Doug, Paw and Elisa are adult enough to realize that these are separate segments and they have referred to them as such, so they are clearly not confused by that. No, Doug, Paw and Elisa have outright declared "Ave Maria" to be one of the highlights of the film and Paw and Elisa even felt it was much better than the "Rite of Spring" sequence. That is what is mind boggling to me. I mean, look at the Ave Maria sequence. It's beautiful, but essentially you're watching one animated cell, slowly moving to one side, all viewed from a distance. I know people who dislike the Toccata segment, which I can understand though I think it's impressive, but at least there you have exciting animation. The Ave Maria scene isn't animation at all for the most part. I just don't understand that, out of all the segments in that film, they seem to like such a boring scene without any action at all. Especially when compared to the Rite Of Spring, where you have lava streams, dinosaurs, earth quakes, an impressive evocation of the creation of the universe. Children love it, adults love it.
Because it's emotionally powerful, that's why. The subtlety is in fact an important part of why this sequence is so good - it's a really simple, calm and effective piece of limited animation in a film otherwise dominated by larger than life animation and amazing effects. The mood is extremely meditative and spiritual as a result, which fits the heavenly theme of the piece. Basically, there's a lot more to good animation than being really fluid, detailed and exaggerated, sometimes subtle changes in color and lighting can be even more powerful. Kind of like how Gregorian chant can be more emotionally powerful than pop music, even though it's technically simpler and more low-key.