Orchestra surprises Polish town square with Grieg’s epically ominous ‘Hall of the Mountain King’

7 September 2021, 12:08

Orchestra descends on square to perform Grieg’s ominous ‘Hall of the Mountain King’
Orchestra descends on square to perform Grieg’s ominous ‘Hall of the Mountain King’. Picture: Bachusorchestra/YouTube

By Rosie Pentreath

A typical afternoon turns into a terrifying orchestral rumble in this quiet Polish town.

Take a picturesque Polish square, dot about the instruments of the orchestra, and watch them steadily emerge and sound, until together they create a magnificent cacophony.

That’s what passers-by experienced in the historic Polish town of Zielona Góra when BachUs Classic Orchestra musicians rocked up for an ominous performance of Grieg’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’.

Ominous isn’t exactly how it had started, though. A stately double bass had taken to the square to perform a solemn but very lovely rendition of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ from the Ninth Symphony. Shoppers, sightseers and errand-runners paused to watch, and take in the lovely, deep Beethoven chorale.

Read more: When 1000 classical musicians appeared in a shopping mall for a spine-tingling flashmob

But then loud brass announce themselves before the growing crowd can finish their round of applause.

And that’s where the mood changes. The double bassist switches to the ominous pizzicato of ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ by Grieg.

Gradually, more musicians emerge and fill out the orchestral belly of Grieg’s slightly terrifying piece of music, which is from the 1876 Peer Gynt Suite.

Stomping bassoons lead the charge, and shortly they’re joined by a team of pizzicato-loving violinists, stabs and flourishes from the woodwinds, and a percussion section lending their weight to create a rather terrifying frenzy by way of a finale.

It’s not every day you come across a classical flash mob that descends the day madly into the hall of a thunderous Mountain King. Phew, let us sit down and get our breath back a minute.