Based on original post by Chase Jarvis on January 8, 2013
There’s one thing about classical music that I’ve always believed: it is far better to see it performed than to hear a recording of it. While this is true for just about all kinds of music, the multi-layered nature of classical compositions (especially pieces that call for large orchestras) make in-person performances even more appealing.
And when those performances occur in public spaces, the experience is all the more radical. Breaking out of the confines of concert halls with perfect acoustics and controlled environments and moving into the chaos that is a flashmob — here are six of my favorite classical hit-and-run performances from all over the world.
Ode to Joy in Catalonia
One hundred people from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, the Lieder, Amics de l’Òpera and Coral Belles Arts choirs came together in a square in Catalonia, Spain, to perform Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. It was beautifully filmed and as far as flashmobs go, this performance ranks up there with the best of them.
Peer Gynt on a Metro
The Copenhagen Philharmonic surprised metro passengers with a performance of Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt in a fairly crowded compartment. The looks of sheer pleasure on many of the passengers’ faces are just as entrancing as the music.
The CPHPHIL strikes again
The Copenhagen Philharmonic apparently likes this sort of “art in the public sphere” thing. Here they are again, with a performance of Ravel’s Bolero.
Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi in Indy
Lest you think all good things only happen in Europe, we present a string company from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, rendering a masterful performance of pieces from Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi in the Keystone Fashion Mall in Indianapolis. Classical music in the Midwest? For. The. Win.
The Canadians Handel Business Too
North of the border, our Canadian cousins got a nice surprise when a bunch of vocalists popped up in a mall food court and belted out Handel’s Hallelujah chorus.
… and back to Europe
Those Europeans may not have all the classical flashmobs, but they seem to have some of the best. This list comes to a close in Vienna, Austria, where Solistinnen, Chor und Orchester der Volksoper Wien renders an absolutely stunning performance at the Westbahnhof Wien. Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana has been performed many times before, but I doubt those performances had dancers who went undercover as janitors or rail officials.
Do you have a favorite performance you’d like to share? Sound off in the comments below!