I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream
I know you, that look in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
And I know it’s true that visions are seldom all they seem
But if I know you, I know what you’ll do
You’ll love me at once, the way you did once upon a dream
~Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Sleeping Beauty is one of Disney’s most iconic princess films. This Disney story is an adaptation of Charles Perrault’s fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty”, as well as the Brothers Grimm’s retelling of the story, “Little Briar Rose”. Although it was released in December 1959, it was in production for years longer than other Disney films. Altogether, the film itself took 8 years to complete.
“Story work began in 1951, voices were recorded in 1952, the actual animation took place between 1953 and 1958, and the stereophonic score was recorded in 1957. The movie was finally released one to two years later, in 1959,” writes the IMDB profile of Sleeping Beauty.
That long amount of work paid off in the terms of awards. Sleeping Beauty won an Academy Award in 1960 for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture. Beyond that, the film was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack Album, Original Cast — Motion Picture or Television (1959) Saturn Award for Best DVD Classic Film Release (2009), Satellite Awards for Best Overall Blu-Ray Disc and Best Youth DVD (2008), Young Artist Awards for Best Musical Entertainment Featuring Youth (1980). There’s a reason that all but one of those previously mentioned awards are specifically for the music within the film. The soundtrack is beautiful. It includes gorgeous songs such as “Hail to the Princess Aurora”, “One Gift”, “I Wonder”, “Once Upon a Dream”, “The Skumps Song”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Sleeping Beauty Ballet”, “Sing a Smiling Song”, The majority of the songs had music by George Bruns and lyrics by Tom Adair. However, there were several other musicians that had a musical hand in the creation of the Sleeping Beauty soundtrack; Erdman Penner, Winston Hibler, Ted Sears, Sammy Fain, Jack Lawrence, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. All together these musicians create a splendid soundtrack that harmonized with this magical Disney film.
“Tchaikovsky always fascinates me because he was dramatic, he had humour he had these luscious melodies. he could move from mood to mood seamlessly. It was absolutely fantastic,” Explains Mary Costa.
As a fun fact, most of the musical score of the film is based upon Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Sleeping Beauty” (pyashaya krasavitsa) is composed of a prologue and three acts. First performed in 1890, this is the second of his three ballets. his first composition was “Swan Lake”. Ivan Vsevolozhsky, Director of the Imperial Theaters in St. Petersburg at the time, approached Tchaikovsky to write an adaptation of Undine. Later, it was decided that Charles Perrault’s La Belle Au Bois Dormant would make a better adaptation into a ballet form with the Brother’s Grimm version is the inspiration for the ballet scenario.
In an interview with Mary Costa, the voice of Sleeping Beauty admits that “I think if these two people, Tchaikovsky and Walt Disney had met today, they would be great friends. Because each had such a myriad of colours in their mind in which to create.”
Second only to Dumbo (who doesn’t speak at all), Aurora had the least lines of any Disney Movie lead. The princess spoke less than 20 lines in the whole film. As the voice of Princess Aurora, Mary Costa became entwined with the character.
In an interview with DvDizzy, Mary Costa explains that even though Aurora is silent during most of the movie, she shares physical mannerisms from the actress, “I think you’ll be amused by this – my mother lived to be 101. In her late nineties, I was living in Florida and I took her to a small theatre to see Sleeping Beauty. It was packed and we were right in the middle. In the middle of the scene in the middle of the woods, she all of a sudden said, ‘Oh, Mary! That looks just like you!’, And I had to put my hand over her mouth. I got so tickled, but nobody knew who we were, they were all so into the scene.”
She continues to explain why the mannerisms are the same, “I think that there was a lot of me in that character because Marc Davis came in every time I was recording and sketched me. Because my father always spoke with his hands, I never could sing or do a line without using my hands. So I see a lot of myself in that film. I truly do.”
Regardless of the lack of lines, when the audience does hear her voice especially for the songs she sings, it’s majestic. Trying to decide which specific song to highlight is almost as difficult as the fairy godmother’s trying to decide whether Aurora’s dress should be pink or blue.
The scenes where the two fairies couldn’t agree on whether the dress should be pink or blue is inspired by the filmmaker’s own indecision on the dress’s colour. The iconic song of Sleeping Beauty is “Once Upon a Dream” is the focus of our article. Enjoy these amazing covers!
Philip Serino‘s cover of “Once Upon a Dream” combines his deep soothing vocals with gorgeous piano accompaniment.
Portland Choir & Orchestra and Grammy-nominated Jenny Oaks Baker bring forth a powerful orchestral cover.
Jess Anderson‘s cover of “Once Upon a Dream” is a beautiful and energetic rendition of the soft Disney song.
Patrick Moon Bird‘s Lofi Remix of “Once Upon a Dream” is perfect when you want an upbeat rendition with a great beat.