What did French composer Paul Dukas have in common with that famous cartoon mouse?

In 1940 Disney released Fantasia, a film of eight animated segments set to some of the greatest classical works of all time. You’re listening to one of them, Paul Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, performed here by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

It’s an example of a tone poem, an orchestral piece based on a work of literature. This one’s based on Johann Goethe’s ballad Der Zauberlehring, and follows the same story line: The apprentice uses spells to do his chores, and is eventually bailed out by the Sorcerer when he loses control.

Much like Mickey as the wizard’s assistant, Dukas had his own destructive streak. An extreme perfectionist, he destroyed much of his own work.

Set your own chores aside and watch a clip from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.