Classical music, Vienna
A hasty translation, before going further: a “dunny” is the plain unvarnished Australian vernacular name for a toilet. Now, in Australia, one sure way to have people look at you very strangely would be to take a camera into the dunny with ‘intent to photograph’! Chances are you’d get yourself arrested, if someone didn’t first take a swing at you! VTer Globetrott knows his city well: he also has a very dry sense of humour, so I’m unsure whether he was simply pointing me toward one of Vienna’s more unlikely sights or testing my resolve as a keen VTer! Either way, this has to rank among the stranger VT tip projects I’ve undertaken..
In the main photo, you see the entry to the “Opera Toilets”, at the metro across the road from the Staatsoper. As befits the locale, these must be among the most ‘cultural dunnies’ in the world. Dare you look at photo 2 to see what’s inside the ‘gents’ that makes it so?
I’ve listed this tip under “Off the beaten path” because at least half the VT members are precluded from going for a recital! Oh, well, the other half of the facility is in that category for me….. though, as you’ll read from the poster in photo 3 it seems the “ladies room” also is specially fitted for performances! You’ll also notice on the poster photograph that the gents’ fittings were originally equipped with large lips – Globetrott advised that these were removed following protests.
The Kursalon Hübner Vienna is an imperial institution of the music, in the middle of a musical city.
The King of the waltz played his beautiful compositions and gave many concerts in the Viennese Kursalon that had been erected in the middle of the 19th century in the again aimed city park.
In an elegant ambience of the cafe restaurant "Johann", in the Kursalon of the City Park, sounds daily, from the midday until the midnight, operettas, and unforgettable waltzes.
The parlour orchestra Alt-Wien (Old Vienna) plays every day, in the summer, beautiful Strauss melodies, on the terrace and in the park pavilion in front of the Kursalon.
For many Viennese, but also for tourists from Austria and from the unmitigated world, this music place is a lovely attraction, and, an agreeable possibility, to spend an unforgettable time, there.
A recuperation-whole stroll on the miraculous avenues of the City Park, the admiration of the many monuments and the artworks, and afterwards a delicious snack in the Café Restaurant "Johann", hearing the magic Strauss waltz sounds, all this belongs to the Kursalon Vienna.
Mozarthaus is the name of a newly restored building just a few meters behind the Stephansdom. It was there, where Mozart lived the last 3 years of his life 1784 bis 1787 and where he had died. He had quit a large appartment there with a total of 6 rooms and a kitchen, you will learn about his friends, his financiers, his problems with money...
It is a museum nowadays and shows several exhibits of the time when Mozart had lived, but in fact those are not his things, it should give you the impression, what it looked like.
The very best part of the building is in my opinion an ornate room with a lovely ceiling, all covered with reliefs made of painted stucco-works - see my 3rd picture !
Of course there is a large Mozart-souvenir-shop there as well and when you enter the house a lift will take you up on the 3rd floor and while walking through the museum, you will walk back over the stairs through the museum.
St. Mark's Cemetery is a wonderfully obscure and slightly overgrown place just five stops from Schwartzenberg Platz on tram 71. It's claim to fame is that Mozart was buried here in a mass grave in 1793 - but it would be worth a detour even withold Wolfie. With its extensive decaying Biedermeyer gravesites, It's a handsome and relatively well-preserved example of 19th century cemetery design, and aesthetic enough to stimulate delightful melancholy in even the most unimaginative visitors.
Established in 1862, this park was first one outside the former city walls. The sculpted vegetation, with one of Vienna’s most photogenic monuments, the gilded Johan-Strauss-Denkmal provides a soothing counterpoint to the nearby Bahnhof Wien-Mitte (railroad station).
It looks a bit like in Hollywood - but here in Vienna it's not for movie-stars but for famous Musicians and composers - you will see them all over Graben - Kärntner Strasse - Stephansplatz and on the large square in front of the Opera .
In Mariahilfer-Strasse you will see similar "Stars of fame", including foot- and handprints by most of the famous austrian Skiing-stars.
Watch out for them when walking through the city of Vienna / Wien !!
As the city of classical music there are many concerts halls, ensembles and orchestras. This is the Wiener Walzer house, behind it there is the city park very nice place to hang around and enjoy the warm sunny days.
In downtown Vienna you can find many street musicians who are really excellent. Many of them are really professional, and they often play violin in duo o trio. Listening to them is very pleasant, and of course free. If you can, give them a tip and be generous, they deserve it!
Located vis a vis of the city hall, this nice baroq building is often passed by without recognising it. You should take your time to walk into the foyer. It's amazing! The baroq style goes through all the rooms and even the furniture is from this epoq.
It would be great if you could find the time to watch a play there....
Franz Schubert was born in this modest house in 1797, and now it is a cute little museum which is well-off the regular tourist track. The Schubert family moved from the house in 1801, so it's not tremendously important in the composer's life, but it is still kind of neat to see his brother's piano and his own famous spectacles. There are few exhibits, but I found it very pleasant to stand for a while at the "music stations" on the first floor and listen (via headphones) to recordings of his great music. In the summer time, the "Schubert Geburthaus" is occasionally used for _live_ concerts; it would be wonderful to hear a performance of the Trout Quartet here!
It was in the nineteenth century that the Viennese developed their extravagant taste for funerals and elaborabe memorials - a taste which is certainly much in evidence around the city. In the 1840s, Mozart's widow had tried unsuccessfully to remember where his corpse had been placed in the mass grave. Nonetheless, in 1859 a marker was placed "symbolically" in the middle of the pauper's area in order to designate the "final resting place" of the composer. Some might say that it is ironic that the Viennese never showed much interest in Wolfgang Amadeus while he was still alive, but it does seem to fit a general pattern! So often it's the case that the best career move for an artistic genius is to die.
THE MUSIC MILE
You can see this stars of Musicians on the street, with a drawing of the artist, signatire and birth/death dates. This Hall of Fame goes from Stephansplatz to the Theater an der Wien, through the Opera.
For you Mozart fans out there, there are at least 3 places that you must see while in Vienna--his statute, Figaro Haus and Mozart's grave. He was buried in a common grave in St. Marxer Friedhof (St. Mark's Cemetery), though no one knows for sure where. His grave is beautifully maintained, the flowers must have just been planted. There is an unfinished column and an angel looking sadly down upon his grave, mourning the loss of such a God-given talent, whose life ended way too soon--it was indeed memorable and almost brings a tear to your eye.
As a Freemason, I was fortunate enough to be able to visit their Masonic Lodge while in Vienna (some 40+ Lodges meet in the same building at 3 Rauhensteingasse). Ironically, the 4 story Lodge Building is located literally across the street from where Mozart (one of Freemasonry's most famous Masons) died. As a visiting brother, and Senior Warden of my home Lodge, they couldn't have been nicer or treated me with more respect. Luckily, one of their Lodges, Sarastro Lodge speaks English during their meetings, so it was especially meaningful for me. If there are any Freemasons out there, who would like some more information concerning visiting foreign Lodges, let me know, as I'd be glad to lend what ever assistance I can.
The spa town of Baden is lovely and there are several nice places for a drink of something to eat. We of course had to go there because of it was a place Beethoven visited and where he lived for some time in his search for a cure for his deafness. On our first visit we found a lovely little coffee shop in a side street where Beethoven had actually been to drink. That was a real thrill for us. So on our next visit we planned to go again - only to find the place had been knocked down and modern buildings put up!
You really must visit the Beethoven house where the composer lived and wrote his fantastic 9th symphony. The plaque in the photo is on the house where Beethoven lived. The little museum is on the upper floor where the great composer lived. As you enter the rooms there is a coat and hat (just like the ones Beethoven is wearing on the statue of him in Heiligenstadt.... makes you think he is still living in the house and has just popped out for a walk!
Although the museum is small you do get a right feeling about this wonderful composer and his life, he went to Baden in the hope of being cured from his deafness which he dared not tell anyone about. He thought it was impossible, as a composer, to say "I am deaf".