The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: The discovery of Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony wins first prize from The Ear for The Best April Fools’ Day Story

April 9, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

On April 1, I posted a contest — the first one ever on The Well-Tempered Ear — to see who could come up with the best or most believable classical music story for April Fools Day.

I talked about how I am probably too sincere and gullible to be a fan of April Fools Day stories, be they on-line, in-print or on-the-air.

But I didn’t have to worry.

It turned out to be pretty popular, judging from the number of hits and comments.

Here is a link to that posting:

Now I am back home from being on the road and can announce the results.

Several readers sent in very good ideas, as you can see for yourself.

Among others — including Yo-Yo Ma turning to rock on a solid gold cello — the most credible entries included:

Bach Hits Broadway in Baroque Follies

PDQ Bach Was Real”

A piano that was rigged so it wouldn’t sound during an accompanying session proved to be a real-life April Fools’ practical joke or prank.

But the clear winner was Rita Stevens who said: “How about the discovery of a 10th Beethoven symphony?”

Well, great minds think alike.

Naomi Lewin, of NPR’s Weekend Edition, had a similar story, which was the April Fools Day story that was featured by Tom Huizenga on NPR’s outstanding classical music blog “Deceptive Cadence.”

In retrospect, the story about Beethoven (below, another make-believe in the form of a recreation by Getty Images) seems pretty obvious. But only one reader suggested it and she wins.

Let me just say that to add a touch of credibility, I might have suggested qualifying it just a bit: “Extensive Sketches for Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony Discovered.”

That way, Beethoven’s Tenth would be on par with sketches left for unfinished symphonies and other works by Schubert, Mahler and Bruckner among others. And those are for real!

Anyway, the promised prize of a book and a CD will be in the mail shortly.

Thanks to all of you for your help in suggesting entries and reading the post.

Maybe we’ll have to do another kind of contest soon.

Any suggestions?

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