One of my favorites, Beethoven’s 9th symphony is his final complete symphony. Composed between 1822 and 1824, it is considered to be his finest and some even think that it is the greatest composition in the Western classical music canon. In the final movement of the choral symphony, the chorus sings the words to Friedrich Schiller’s poem “An die Freude” (composed 1785). Beethoven conducted the symphony when it premiered. He was totally deaf by that time and so he had to see the ovation that followed, rather than hear it.
Here’s an enjoyable flash mob performance of the “Ode to Joy” in Sabadell, Spain, on 19th May, 2012. I love the way it begins. A very young girl steps up to put some money in the hat lying in front of a man with a double bass. Evidently the Bank of Sabadell sponsored the event. Certainly it is a corporate — and therefore professionally produced and recorded — event. But the responses of the public is spontaneous and genuine. Note the obvious fun the kids are having (see around 4:30 time stamp.) I get goosebumps in the final minute of the performance. The energy of the piece is palpable.
Now put on your headphones, crank up the volume and enjoy!
Addendum: Another flashmob version of the same. This one is in Nürnberg in 2014. It is a more tight performance. Naturally, Germans!