One of the best in Austria, Vienna State Opera showcasing its stage wings.
Europe’s influence on art has been of paramount importance. It has only burgeoned over time so much so that each country has carved a niche for itself in specific genres. Austria for one has left an indelible mark on western classical music. Sitting proudly on a musical pedestal in central Europe offering lessons in classical music one dramatic symphony at a time.
HOME TO ICONIC COMPOSERS
Austria’s run on the cultural treadmill dates back to the 16th century. It was around this time that legendary composers like Johann Strauss II, Franz Schubert, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Gustav Mahler, Joseph Haydn, Anton Bruckner and Arnold Schoenberg took over to show the world how it’s done. Viennese classical era represented a diverse and comprehensive musical journey that still numbs the soul of many. Home to these musical prodigies, Austria’s cultural rise marks a passionate and an enduring love affair with classical music.
Any discussion or a written piece on classical music would be incomplete without Austrian prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A popular synonym for classical music, Mozart hailed from Salzburg aka the stage of the world. He was lauded for the powerful effect his soporific symphonies painted with multiple shades of volume had on people then, and even today. During his lifetime, he’d composed over 600 works in symphonic, operatic, choral, chamber and concertante music. Once an inspiration to another legendary musician Ludwig van Beethoven, his work continues to influence western art music.
BEETHOVEN THOUGHT IT WAS BEST TO MOVE HERE
Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820 (wikipedia)
As long as we are talking about classical musicians, Beethoven is one German name that has successfully made its way to the list of Austrian composers partly because he thought it was best to move to the capital of classical music. Settled in Vienna at 21, Beethoven trained in composition under the guidance of Joseph Haydn. His contribution to classical music marked a crucial transition between classicism and romanticism. Beethoven’s work was visceral in nature that led him to compose 9 symphonies, 5 piano concerts, 1 violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets and one opera during his lifetime.
IMPRESSIVE LEGACY OF PERFORMING ARTS — THEATRES & OPERAS
The Weiner Symphoniker is one of Europe’s most prestigious ensembles with 128 members.
The theatre is one of the most spiritually resonant of all performing arts. It is where you relinquish your inhibitions and dare to put your emotions on display. Even though theatre finds its roots back to the city of Athens, Austria has mastered the art of representing this genre on a global scale. The tradition marked a significant beginning in 1762 when Mozart was invited to perform at Schönbrunn Palace for the Habsburg family. Several other immortal compositions are regularly played at State Opera House, Volksoper theatre — the only theatre in Vienna dedicated to the genre of operetta, Musikverein, Weiner Konzerthaus and more.
Operas are theatre’s melodramatic, highbrow cousins. Originated in Italy, Austria’s need for a musical counterpart to match its dramatic arts was fulfilled with the rise of opera. Opera is a way of life in Austria where concerts go beyond their aesthetically architectural appeal. Witness some of the best compositions ever written by the likes of Beethoven and Strauss II.
HOUSES THE WORLD FAMOUS, VIENNA BOYS’ CHOIR
Palais Augarten is the home and rehearsal space of the Vienna Boys’ Choir.
Since its inception in 1498, Vienna Boys’ Choir serve as the national symbol of Austria. It is a 500-year-old choir of boy sopranos and altos that performs over 300 concerts annually before almost 500,000 people. Their touring groups are divided into 4 groups named after Austrian composers Bruckner, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert. Classical musicians Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven have sung and drafted compositions for the choir group, which is internationally celebrated for their ‘angelic’ voice.
BIRTHPLACE OF WALTZ
The King of Waltz, Johann Strauss at Stadtpark in Vienna, Austria.
Waltz back a couple of centuries into the world of imperial Vienna. What you call the Viennese waltz is the original form of waltz that emerged in the second half of the 18th century. It is the oldest of the existing ballroom dances. Austria’s classical musical genius, Johann Strauss II composed over 500 waltzes during his lifetime and was famously referred to as ‘’The Waltz King’’. His compositions including ‘’The Blue Danube’’ and ‘’Tales from the Vienna woods’’ resonates across the streets of imperial Vienna.