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HO HO WHO:The Piano Guys are famous for playing dramatic instrumentals while making rapturous facial expressions, often outdoors. They play “Ode to Joy to the World” inside Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City. Mormon pioneers completed construction on this place of worship in 1882. The Piano Guys are Mormons. They love doing mashups. And, fair warning: They played at Trump’s inauguration, which may present an issue for a significant number of D.C. readers. But ask The Piano Guys about it, and they will tell you, in so many words, that they did it in the spirit of peace on earth and good will toward men and women.
DOUBLE JOY:This mashup of “Joy to the World” and “Ode to Joy” (i.e. the final movement of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9” set to the words of “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee,” a poem by Henry van Dyke) has it all: a bell choir, a trumpet solo, and a multiracial, multigenerational chorus. It even has a few bonus bars of “I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In,” and I think we can all agree that America is suffering from a severe shortage of “I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In” remixes.Cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, who looks like a post-exorcism version of Mr. Bean, is an engaging musician and the star of “Ode to Joy to the World.” His face out-raptures everyone else’s.
DOUBLE CHEESE: Some people are going to call this video corny. It would be hard to dispute that criticism, but keep in mind that it’s significantly less corny than the time The Piano Guys played a mashup of Disney’s “Let It Go” with Antonio Vivaldi‘s “Winter” on bright-white instruments in an ice cave thing.
CHEER FACTOR: 8/10. If The Piano Guys were forced to limit themselves to one genre, it would, without a doubt, be the Christmas carol. So what if the “Ode to Joy to the World” is cloying and trite? It’s Christmas.