Vienna – world capital of music
Vienna is more closely identified with music than almost any other city in the world. Whether listening to Mozart’s Magic Flute, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony or Viennese waltzes, happy are those who forget their worries and surrender to the lilting rhythm dictated by the lovely landscape and the rippling waves of the Danube. Life is so easy! And the Viennese have a heart of gold! What remains of these popular images on closer examination? We prefer not to go into the question of the Viennese heart of gold, but one thing can already be stated: the aim of the Enlightenment, to touch all human beings through art, to find a language that goes straight to the heart of all, was achieved with conspicuous success by the Viennese Classical composers. First came Gluck, who was wholly absorbed by this endeavour, then Haydn, who still remained close to the people even in his learned oratorio The Creation, Mozart, whose Papageno is loved by everyone, and Beethoven, whose ‘Ode to Joy’, written at no.5 Ungargasse, is the most famous musical work of all time. Whether this is due to the proximity of alpine folk music, to the Enlightenment or to the Viennese musical soul, it is undoubtedly true that music plays a very special and popular role in Vienna and is understood almost worldwide.
Cities gained increasing importance from the fourteenth century onwards. Research has shown that medieval Vienna already enjoyed a rich musical life, which affected large sections of the population, and has established how music too, like the other crafts, was strictly regulated. In Vienna it was the Brotherhood of St Nicholas, an association of musicians based in the Michaelerkirche (St Michael’s Church), that fixed the rules of the city’s musical life, supervised training and standards, and ensured morality was respected. Foreign musicians had to pay it their dues. Students at the University of Vienna, founded in 1365, had the privilege of earning some extra income by singing in the streets, but were allowed to perform only hymns. They too were strictly controlled, and obscene songs or those critical of authority incurred penalties.
Helga UTZ (translation: Charles Johnston), extract from the 24-page booklet included with the recording.
Music performance sites in Vienna. Viennese classical music (Theater an der Wien / Alt Burgtheater / Mozart Haus / Haydn Haus)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Die Zauberflöte K.620, Ouvertüre, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, dir. René Jacobs
Joseph Haydn, The Creation Dritter Teil / Part Three, Julia Kleiter, soprano (Eva) / Maximilian Schmitt, tenor (Uriel)
Johannes Weisser, bass (Adam), RIAS Kammerchor / Freiburger Barockorchester, cond. René Jacobs
Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Concerto no.3 in C minor op.37, Paul Lewis, piano ; BBC Symphony Orchestra, Jiří Bělohlávek
Vienna: Salons and Hausmusik
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart : Ten Variations on ‘Unser dummer Pöbel meint’ in G major K455, Andreas Staier, fortepiano
String Quartet no.19 in C major K465, « Dissonances », Cuarteto Casals
Ludwig van Beethoven, An die ferne Geliebte op.98 (Alois Jeitteles), Dietrich Henschel, Michael Schäfer
Franz Schubert, Der Tanz D.826 (Kolumban Schnitzer von Meerau), Die Geselligkeit (Lebenslust) D.609 (Johann Karl Unger)
Marlis Petersen, soprano / Anke Vondung, mezzo-soprano / Werner Güra, tenor / Konrad Jarnot, bass / Christoph Berner, fortepiano Rönisch
An den Mond D.259 (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) / Heidenröslein D.257 (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe), Werner Güra ; Christoph Berner
Die Forelle D.550 (Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart), Matthias Goerne, Andreas Haefliger
Johann Adam Delsenbach, Vienna, view from the Leopoldstaedter bank towards the town centre, 1740, oil on canvas, The History of Vienna Museum, AKG Images
Christian Ludwig Seehas, Joseph Haydn, 1783, oil on canvas, Schwerin, Gemäldegalerie, akg-images
Joseph Lange, Mozart at the keyboard, 1789, oil on canvas, unfinished. Salzburg, Mozart Museum, akg-images
A. Mozart, Die Zauberflote, “Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja…”, Papagneo’s entrance (Act. I, scene 2), Mozart’s autograph score, 1791. Vienna, Austrian National Library, akg-images
Willibrord Joseph Mähler, Ludwig van Beethoven, 1804, oil on canvas, The History of Vienna Museum, akg-images
Julius Schmid, A Schubert evening in a Vienna town house, 1897, oil on canvas, Vienna, Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde akg-images/Erich Lessing
Cover: Equestrian monument of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), Vienna, Heldenplatz, New Hofburg. akg-images/Jürgen Raible