The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Happy New Year to you from The Ear, from Beethoven and from Spain. | January 1, 2013

A REMINDER: The  annual “New Year’s Day Concert From Vienna” (below) with the Vienna Philharmonic under conductor Franz Welser-Most and with TV host Julie Andrews will air this morning on NPR (and Wisconsin Public Radio) at 10 a.m. this morning with the TV version airing tonight on PBS (and Wisconsin Public Television) at 7 p.m. For more information and links to a play list of Strauss family waltzes and polkas plus works by Verdi and Wagner and lots of background, visit:

Vienna Golden Hall

By Jacob Stockinger

Today, Jan. 1, 2013, is New Year’s Day.

The past year was not an easy year in so many ways.

Especially disappointing is the increasing polarization or partisanship one sees not only in the US but also around the world. I myself fear for the rise of right-wing fanaticism (often signaled by hatred of immigrants, a callousness toward social welfare and the oppression of minorities) in Greece and elsewhere because of economic situations. Economic strife often leads to war or other forms of strife and suffering. (Below is a CNN photo of an austerity protest riot in Greece.)

riot protest in Greece 2012

One can only  hope for much better in 2013.

So that makes this “flash mob” performance of Beethoven (below) all the more appropriate and moving. It certainly was an emotional experience for and for the very old friend who sent it on to me — as well as for the more than 8 million viewers so far on YouTube.

Beethoven big

It is the perfect piece – or, to be precise, the perfect excerpt of the perfect piece – in words and music — performed in a perfect way that was commissioned by Banco Sabadell in Barcelona to mark its 130th anniversary, I believe.

It is the “Ode to Joy” and finale from Beethoven’s famous Symphony No. 9 “Choral.”

What a great gift to all of us! So  pass it on. Link to it. Forward it. Facebook or Twitter it. But see that other people you know and care about experience this flash mob video.

It gives one hope – especially at a time when Spain, like so many other countries, in undergoing the trials, tribulations and testing of austerity.

Judge for yourself – be sure to look at the facial expressions of the children and the ordinary people who just pass by and stop to take it all in. You can see that great music connects and bonds.

And let us know what you think by leaving something in the COMMENTS section.

Happy New Year to you! May Peace, Joy and Prosperity be in abundance in 2013.


  1. Hi Jake, The “flash mob” why is it called that??) from Barcelona was wonderful. Both Kathy and I had tears of joy from watching it. Though it was not musically the best I have ever heard it was the most joyful “Ode to Joy” I have experienced. I have been sending it to everyone. Thank you so much! Daryl

    On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 12:00 AM, The Well-Tempered Ear wrote:

    > ** > welltemperedear posted: “A REMINDER: The annual “New Year’s > Day Concert From Vienna” (below) with the Vienna Philharmonic under > conductor Franz Welser-Most and with TV host Julie Andrews will air this > morning on NPR (and Wisconsin Public Radio) at 10 .a.m. this morning with > th”

    Comment by Daryl Sherman — January 4, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

  2. Amen!

    Comment by Margaret Irwin — January 1, 2013 @ 8:36 am

  3. Wonderful! Thanks so much for that. I am hoping for a better 2013 for us all.

    Comment by Michael Muckian — January 1, 2013 @ 8:28 am

  4. Thank you,Jacob. For providing me with a glorious beginning to the New Year.

    Comment by Moria Krueger — January 1, 2013 @ 7:44 am

  5. I couldn’t agree more and, as far I can see from a (still) wealthy European country, less prosperous times lie ahead. However, let’s hope our governments are able to regulate, compensate and rectify the downturn by mobilizing counter-forces and planning a recovery with new ideas and optimism.

    Comment by JG — January 1, 2013 @ 2:23 am

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