Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Flash mob in Odessa fish market: As international tension rises again in Ukraine, Beethoven and Schiller's "Ode to Joy"

From an off-topic post on Diane Ravitch's education blog today:

This is not an April Fools’ joke.

Russian troops are massed on the borders of Ukraine.

People are shopping in the fish market in Odessa, going about their daily life.

Then a flash mob appears.

What do you think they do?

Her link is to a recent item on Andrew Sullivan's blog The Dish, which embeds a YouTube clip of the flash mob. (It's also embedded below on Hogfiddle.)

Ravitch asks:

Why do these notes always speak of hope? Why do they stir us so?

Why do we hear this music and think of a better world?

Here's the original YouTube video:

Official (Официальное) - Flash mob (Флешмоб): Odessa (Одесса) Musicians Privoz (Музыканты Привоз). Published on Mar 24, 2014. Flash mob: Odessa Musicians for Peace and Brotherhood. / Флешмоб: Одесские Музыканты за Мир и Братство. (Официальное Видео). В флешмобе 22. 03. 2014 года на Одесском привозе приняли участие Национальный одесский филармонический оркестр и хор Одесского национального академического театра оперы и балета. Хормейстер Л. Бутенко, дирижер Хобарт Эрл. (Official Video). Saturday, March 22, 2014, 10:29 am. Odessa Fish Market ('Privoz'). Members of the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra and Odessa Opera Chorus, Hobart Earle, conductor, perform music from Beethoven's 9th symphony.

A reader of Sullivan's blog gives this background:

As World War I got underway, Romain Rolland and Hermann Hesse, two Swiss writers, appealed to their war-frenzied friends in France and Germany citing the lede to the choral movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony: O Freunde, nicht diese Töne! sondern laßt uns angenehmere anstimmen! (Friends, not these sounds! Let us rather make more pleasant, more joyous notes). And last Saturday, in Odessa, a Russian-speaking city of Ukraine, one of the cultural treasure-houses of Europe, the city that gave us Anna Akhmatova and Issak Babel, Sviatoslav Richter, David Oistrakh, Nathan Milshtein and Emil Gilels, performers from the Philharmonic flash mobbed a performance of the last bars of the symphony at the Odessa fish market. …

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