So far in my life I have only been to Vienna once. It took me far too long to get around to it, and so when I finally got there I wanted to take in as many musical locations as possible.
The first place I’m going to tell you about really epitomises the idea of “walking in the composer’s footsteps”. We headed north on the tram to the outskirts of Vienna, with musical snacks (an Esterhazy torte from an Aida konditorei) to follow the composer’s walk along the Beethovengang.
This trail goes through nearby vineyards, and legend has it (well, according to the questionable source of Beethoven’s secretary Anton Schindler) that the babbling brook that runs alongside the trail was inspiration for ‘Scene by the brook’ in the Pastoral Symphony. Whether or not that’s true, it was a cute place to walk along and it’s surprising how quickly it felt like we’d left the city.
Walking up the ‘gang only took a few minutes, and we were soon where the sun was shining through on to the Beethoven monument. Back down the trail, we turned right on to the Eroicagasse which in turn led us to a small street, Probusgasse.
On this street are two of the places Beethoven lived in and around Vienna (there are many!)
Firstly we came to the inn Mayer Am Pfarrplatz. Beethoven lived and worked here in 1817, probably working on his Ninth Symphony and the Hammerklavier sonata during this time. It was, and is, a winery but there’s also a museum to Beethoven here.
Just further along Probusgasse is another Beethoven residency, where he lived 15 years before. In this house he composed some of his Second Symphony, but more famously this was where he wrote his famous Heiligenstadt Testament in October 1802. This letter to his brothers is drenched in despair, illustrating his diminishing hopes for a cure for his oncoming deafness. The testament/letter was only found after his death in 1827.
Another nearby Beethovenian place to visit is the Eroicahaus where he composed (you guessed it) the Eroica Symphony.
I’ve pinned this but I admit we didn’t visit because we were keen to head up on the bus to Kahlenburg, to get a spectacular view over Vienna and the Danube, and then back down to Grinzing (where Gustav Mahler is buried).
In Grinzing we tucked ourselves into a heuriger for the rest of the cozy summer evening (I think it was the Zum Berger) where we attempted to live like Vienna volk by tasting the buffet and this year’s wine. I think it’s not too far to imagine that not only were we following in composer’s footsteps, but also in their social habits!
Pins on this post
- Heiligenstadt House
- Mayer am Pfarrplatz
- Grinzing cemetary