The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music doesn’t need a concert hall to reach you – and just maybe has more meaning outside the concert hall or studio | December 24, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

It is Christmas Eve, when the expected joins the unexpected – going all the way back to the very first one.

So here is an early Christmas gift that gave shoppers in a mall a wonderful holiday surprise and treat.

Others like it too, apparently, judging from the fact that it has gone viral with tens of millions of viewers.

It has been called a Random Act of Culture. I call it Random Handel.

I suspect that that tells us that we are all just waiting to be ambushed by more beauty. So never underestimate the power of street musicians and buskers to move us.

Here is the popular YouTube posting of the event in a food court. If you have already seen it, see it again and tell me it doesn’t move you. And if you haven’t seen it – well, enjoy it and pass it along:

Hallelujah, indeed. It has already inspired copy-cat acts – in this case a good thing.

http://www.masslive.com/hampfrank/republican/index.ssf?/base/news-30/1292664218256570.xml&coll=1

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/12/20/132210453/flash-is-the-key-to-a-joyful-mobs-success

But if you want to try one yourself, be forewarned: Setting up a “flash mob” act of music or random culture can be problematic:

http://www.npr.org/2010/12/20/132205587/planning-a-flash-mob-better-keep-it-quiet

Still, here’s hoping the new year will see more classical music in more unusual and unexpected places.

Here is a link to a piece about reviving old holiday music:

http://www.npr.org/2010/12/16/132113887/misfit-tunes-little-known-holiday-music

And, finally, here is one of my musical favorites for the season from J.S. Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio,” which Wisconsin Public Radio will broadcast on its entirety on Christmas Day this Sunday at noon.

Have you heard a flash mob or random act performance?

Have you taken part in one?

What was it like? What did you think of it?

The Ear wants to hear.


Posted in Classical music

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