A Classical Journey through ViennaMarch 14, 2016 10:17 am
Vienna is synonymous with Classical music and a look at its history will reveal that the three pillars of the Classical period were Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) who all lived and worked in Vienna during their most illustrious years. As a reaction to the more restrained Rococo period which preceeded the Classical style, these three composers and musicians challenged and pushed the boundaries of instrumental forms and chamber music. Their innovations would go on to shape Classical music into what we know today and leave an indelible legacy on Viennese culture.
One of the great Classical composers, Ludwig van Beethoven worked on and created some of his most famous symphonies in the fourth floor apartment of Pasqualati House, in central Vienna. Here he lived for eight years, writing some of his most celebrated works, such as the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th symphonies, as well as his Fidelio opera.
Vienna’s famous imperial summer residence, Schönbrunn Palace, hosted many of the seasonal court events and imperial celebrations during the 18th century. One such event was a private concert for Empress Maria Theresa held in the Mirror room, in which a young Mozart, at the tender age of six, gave his first ever performance.
This museum is dedicated to Mozart and his life and works in Vienna between the years 1784-1787. Not only was it once Mozart’s old apartment, but it was where he composed many of his significant works. Anyone who is a fan of Mozart and wants to learn more about the musical prodigy should make sure they pay a visit.
Just around the corner from Mozarthaus is another significant building related to Wolfgang Amadeus’ life in Vienna. St Stephen’s Cathedral, the iconic 14th century Romanesque Gothic cathedral, was the setting for his marriage to Constanze on the 4th August 1782. There are notable influences of her musical background on his later compositions such as the last movement of the 41st Symphony or the opera The Magic Flute.
Visit Haydn’s former Viennese residence at Haydngasse 19. To mark the 200th anniversary of his death, the restored museum is a fascinating look into the last years of his life against the socio- and political environment of the early 1800s when he lived in Vienna. It’s a good place to give you context alongside his Classical contemporaries, Mozart and Beethoven.
Around years after the Classical movement, Johann Strauß was a Viennese name on everyone’s lips in the music world. He lived in Praterstraße for seven years, when in 1867 he composed the unofficial national anthem, The Blue Danube. Here you can see personal artefacts, instruments and furniture from this Austrian composer.
Franz Schubert was born and died in Vienna and whilst he enjoyed relative fame during his time as a composer, it was more posthumously that the world appreciated his talents. He composed over six hundred secular works, including symphonies, operas and chamber and piano music – all before he died at the tender age of 31. At his birthplace, you can learn more about his humble beginnings through personal artefacts and documents on display.
To round up your appreciation of the music to have come out of Vienna in the 18th and 19th centuries, a visit to the House of Music is a must. Journey through the city’s harmonious history. Through interactive installations, exhibitions and a Children’s area, get the whole family involved in learning about Vienna’s musical legacy.
Vienna State Opera
There’s no better place to appreciate the culture of Classical music than at the Vienna State Opera, one of the most popular opera houses in the world. The opening premiere on 25th May 1869 was Mozart’s Don Giovanni, performed in front of Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth (Sisi). Later, in 1945 after the Opera House was rebuilt after bomb damage, the Wiener Mozart-Ensemble was formed which toured the world with class-act performances.