Hungarian Rhapsody

Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody #2 is one of my favorite pieces (me and everyone else). I was reading about it last week and listening to some performances, including Horowitz (I like what he does starting at about 4:10) and Jung Lin (check out the section starting around 5:00). I also came across a reference to Friz Freleng’s Rhapsody in Rivets, a cartoon that sets the construction of the “umpire” state building to the melody, which I had to watch. Hungarian Rhapsody might be the #1 piece of classical music for cartoons, because Rhapsody in Rivets led me to (in chronological order), Mickey Mouse, an orchestra of animals, Bugs Bunny and a mouse, and Tom and Jerry — all of them playing Hungarian Rhapsody, and all sharing similar gags. Rhapsody in Rivets has some great visual interpretations of the music, like the guy running up and down the ladder (4:20, 4:50), the diggers (4:10), the hammerers (5:20), and the bricklayers (5:30, 6:15). The Mickey Mouse cartoon probably tops the list for surrealism, when the piano and stool boot Mickey off the stage and the piano starts playing itself with its front legs while the stool dances (starting around 1:35). And then of course there’s Victor Borge‘s take, which is sort of like a Tom and Jerry cartoon but with real people.