Ten Thousand Voices

For a change of pace, here is a Japanese orchestra with an accompanying choir of 10,000 singers performing the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony:

From the notes accompanying the video:

The performance of “Daiku”, “The Ninth”, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with 10000 (amateur) chorus singers is a Japanese highlight every year in the end of December. Here is the last movement, recorded at the 2011 concert in Osaka, this year dedicated especially to the memory of the victims of the disastrous tsunami in March.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125
IV. Finale. Presto – Allegro assai – Allegro assai vivace (alla Marcia) – Andante maestoso – Adagio ma non troppo ma divoto – Allegro energico e sempre ben marcato – Allegro ma non tanto – Presto – Maestoso – Prestissimo (with Chorus on Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode an die Freude” / “Ode to Joy” / “歓喜に寄せて”)

Keiko Yokoyama, soprano
Masako Teshima, mezzo-soprano
Satoshi Nishimura, tenor
Eijiro Kai, baritone
Choir of the 10000 from Osaka and Sendai
Suntory Orchestra of the 10000
Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra
Yutaka Sado, conductor

Recorded at Osaka-Jo Hall, Osaka / Miyagi Gauin Joshi Daigaku Hall, Sendai, 2011

9 thoughts on “Ten Thousand Voices

  1. At least since the end of WWII, Japanese have been streaming to Vienna and other musical capitals of the West to absorb and import our music. They have excelled at it, even when they compete in the West. It is almost shocking that a culture like that of Japan can so fully embrace something so initially foreign to itself, because it sees a value not present in itself and adopts it.
    What a sad irony,that we take this for granted, while we blandly accept the new age of immigration–i.e., no more preferences for Europe–and watch as the work of ages is vandalized.
    What a terrible irony for the Japanese that they face a towering China with only the Obama administration to depend on.


  2. spinoneone, because when the EU is just a bad memory our great-great-great-great-etc grandchildren will still be listening to and marvelling at Beethoven and “Ode to Joy”.

  3. It is a very sad irony that the Chinese and the Japanese are now producing some fine classical musicians – although perhaps not with the same sensitive interpretation as Europeans according to somebody I know, whilst in Britain the vast majority of indigenous schoolchildren who have not been to private schools probably know nothing of their European cultural heritage. The music of Africa is – they are told – much more exciting that that of dead white European composers. They are taught nothing of the classical world of Greece and Rome. At primary school they have to be told all about the Chinese New Year and the Hindu and Muslim festivals even if there isn’t an oriental or Asian within miles of where they live. The Chinese have decided that it was Christianity which led to European domination – after all they are meant to have the same iqs as Europeans. But there is no place for Christianity in the majority of our educational establishments these days, banished in the name of multiculturalism so the majority are growing up Godless and individualistic. The Chinese and the Japanese must surely look on Europe aghast at what European politicians have done to the continent in the last 60 years. I just wish they would just tell the movers and shakers that they are totally misguided fools.

  4. @ Anonymous

    Why is it sad that Chinese and Japanese are producing such fine musicians? I find it exhilarating and their interpretation of the works a new look upon them.

    It is a shame that the music of Europeans are being ignored. I’m sorry but no African music can rival the tones and quality of an Mozart, Beethovan, or Duke Ellington.

  5. How come you never hear about the Cairo Symphony Orchestra or the Quatar Symphony Orchestra or even the Tehran Symphony Orchestra?

    Istanbul Symphony Orchestra?


  6. The soloists’ voices are flawless. The recordings I have all have voices being oversung or strained. These are full and natural, and their German is flawless, at least to my American ears.

    Thank you. This is one of the best recordings of this movement I have ever heard.

  7. One further note: The tempi (more than one tempo) were correct. There is a major tendency in the western world not to take Beethoven’s metronome markings seriously. He wrote things to be played much faster than most people realize and it makes a great difference in how it sounds and feels.

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