Old Burgtheater, Vienna

Vienna, with its location along the Danube River, became an important trading center. It began its life as a cultural center under Babenberg rule which lasted until 1246. After ensuing struggles for domination,the Habsburgs gained control and retained it for more than six hundred years. During the Renaissance, Vienna was a leader in science and fine arts, founded a university, and was a center of humanism. A golden age of music in the late 18th and early 19th century was ushered in by Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. Music would flourish again later in the century under Brahms, Bruckner, Hugo Wolf, and Mahler. Waltzes, and operetta became established as characteristic Viennese art forms with the music of Strauss, von Suppé, Lehàr and Kálmán. Art, architecture and furniture design also flourished. Rebellious artistic activity reached new heights in the early 20th century with such artists as Klimt, Kokoschka and Schiele,; architects such as Wagner, Loos and Hoffmann; composers such as Schoenberg, Berg and von Webern; and writers such as Schnitzler, con Hofmannstahl and Kraus.

The importance of Jews to Vienna’s culture is briefly but well described here

Vienna: Modernity in the Making

An introduction to Vienna by Rick Steves

Jewish Vienna and

Welcome to the Jewish Museum

Vienna Art Nouveau Tour

Vienna Modernism

Vienna and Opera

The Vienna State Opera

The Vienna Volksoper

Theater an der Wien

Burgtheater – the Imperial Court Theatre

Josefstadt Theatre – oldest still performing theatre in Vienna


For cultural and travel information, a very good website is


MAK The Museum of Applied Arts

The two images below were created by artist Hans Neumann in 1930 to advertise my grandfather’s store.

Six Museum Treasure Worth a Visit

Klimt at the Belvedere – “The Kiss” –

The Seductive Art of Gustave Klimt –

Klimt at the Leopold Museum –

Vienna 1900 – Klimt, Moser, Gerstl, Kokoshka –

The Women of Klimt/Schiele/Kokoschka

Egon Schiele and

Oskar Kokoschka

Richard Gerstl

The Vienna Secession Art Movement –

Viennese Modernism –

Josef Hoffmann and the Wiener Werkstätte –

The art works below were created by Austrian artist Béla Husserl who was born 26 January 1898, and died 1940 in Austria’s Hartheim Concentration Camp, a victim of Nazi euthanization, after having spent almost fourteen years as a patient in Vienna’s Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital. The images were provided to me by his niece, Susan Husserl Kapit.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser – painter and architect – and for a guide to his many unique buildings, ending with the most famous one in Vienna

Carol Moll, founding member of the Sezession movement

Wolfgang Suschitzky – photographer and documentary filmmaker – a video conversation and his photographs

Rosa Mayreder – freethinker, artist, author, musician and feminist


Music in Vienna –

The Third Man – movie trailer – an evocative film that captures the flavor of post-war Vienna

The Third Man theme on zither –

Wien, Wien Nur Du Allein sung by Richard Tauber

An old but excellent recording of Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, from Vienna – Karl Böhm conducting, and with English subtitles

Land des Lächelns (Land of Smiles) operetta by by Franz Lehar

Merry Widow, operetta by Franz Lehar, performed in English

Czardasfürstin, operetta by Emmerich Kálmán

Johan Strauss II – waltzes, polkas and operettas – by Halidon Music http://Strauss II – waltzes, polkas and operettas – by Halidon Music

Johann Strass – Radetzky March

Historical note on the Radetzky March:

The revolution which flared in Vienna on 13th March 1848 was not the only threat that year to the stability of the Habsburg monarchy. Following a series of military engagements during spring and early summer, on 25 July 1848 the 82-year-old Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial army, Johann Joseph Wenzel, Count Radetzky of Radetz (1766-1858), led his troops to decisive victory over Piedmontese forces at Custozza. With Radetzky’s army in pursuit the Italians withdrew to Milan, where Charles Albert endured a hostile demonstration before returning to Piedmont. On 6 August Radetzky entered Milan: three days later Austria and Piedmont concluded an armistice, with the latter agreeing to evacuate Lombardy and Venetia.

In Vienna itself, still gripped by revolution, this significant military event was greeted with rejoicing by those loyal to the Habsburg monarchy. One such loyalist was the enterprising Friedrich Pelikan, who functioned both as an official responsible for selling uncollected items from the government-owned pawnbrokers and as the owner of the ‘Café-Pavilion’ on the Vienna Wasserglacis (formerly situated between the present-day Weihburggasse and Johannesgasse in Vienna’s 1st district, this was cleared away in 1861). Together with the lighting specialist Carl Hirsch, Pelikan seized upon Radetzky’s victory to organise for the evening of 31 August 1848 in his ‘Café-Pavilion’ on the broad, green expanse of the Wasserglacis a “Grand Impressive Victory Festival, with Allegorical and Symbolic Representation and Exceptional Illuminations, in Honour of our Courageous Army in Italy, and for the Benefit of the Wounded Soldiers”. The handbills of 31 August advertising that day’s celebration also announced that “Imperial-Royal Court Ball Music Director Johann Strauss will conduct the music and will have the honour to perform, among several other piece, also a new march entitled ‘Radetzky-Marsch’, composed in honour of the great Commander-in-Chief and dedicated to the Imperial-Royal Army”. According to Strauss’s friend and fellow musician, Philipp Fahrbach senior (1815-85), the anticipated march was still not ready on the afternoon of 13 August. Nevertheless, with Fahrbach’s coercion and help, Strauss committed the new work to paper in just two hours. The success of the Radetzky-Marsch was evident from the first. The Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitzung, reporting on the first performance in its edition of 2 September, observed: “This imposing festival, which took place on the Wasserglacis the day before yesterday, 31 August, was one of the finest this year. […] Particularly the new ‘Radetzky-Marsch’ by Strauss was very well received, and upon tempestuous demand had to be repeated twice”.

Jascha Heifetz plays Melodie by Gluck

The Best of Haydn by Halidon Music

The Best of Mozart by Halidon Music

The Best of Beethoven by Halidon Music

The Best of Schubert by Halidon Music

The Best of Brahms by Halidon Music

Anton Bruckner, Symphony #4 Romantic,

Hugo Wolf – Penthesilea, Symphonic Poem

The Best of Gustave Mahler, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Schoenberg and Wittgenstein and the development of Viennese radicalism

HISTORICAL NOTE: The film about Ludwig Wittgenstein and Arnold Schonberg is about two men whose lives and ideas run parallel in the development of Viennese radicalism.
Both men emerged from the turmoil of the Habsburg Empire in its closing days with the idea of analyzing language and purging it of critical intent, believing that in the analysis and purification of language lies the greatest hope that we have. They never met and might never have fully understood one another. Due to the nature of their genius, they found themselves alone, each breaking new ground in the very frontiers of their respective disciplines. But their work springs from the same soil and shares a common ethical purpose, so that their ideas and methods echo and illuminate each other’s ideas to a remarkable degree.

A Film about composer Alban Berg

Anton von Webern Symphony op.21

Alma Schindler Mahler Gropius Werfel – composer, socialite, author, editor – and to hear her songs


Walzer Ballet New Year’s Concert 2011 Vienna – Mein Lebenslauf ist Lieb und Lust Joseph Strauß

Jean Georges Noverre (1727 – 1810) is called by some the Father of Modern Ballet because he advocated for and created ballets that were more than an interlude in an operatic or theatrical production. He argued and demonstrated that by using pantomime a ballet could tell a story.  There might be a choral accompaniment to the dancing, but he made singers stand offstage. Noverre was one of several choreographers working to institute reforms in ballet and establish it as a an independent art form. Noverre gained his title as father of modern ballet in part because he was the first to publish a widely disseminated treatise outlining his views and proposed reforms.* Also, in his productions, he tempered his reforms and included pleasing theatrical and dance moments that audiences appreciated. Like many choreographers and dancers in his time, he traveled about Europe working in Paris, London, Lyon, Stuttgart. In 1768, Empress Maria Theresa brought Noverre to Vienna to lead a Viennese ballet company. He stayed until 1774 and his work was quite successful there.
*Noverre’s Principles for ballet reform.

  1. Regarding the training of dancers, he emphasized that correctness in dance technique as laid down by Pierre Beauchamp and others must be tethered with sensitivity to the individual’s anatomy.
  2. Of prime concern, the pedagogical consideration of the dancer’s personality and style is prerequisite to artistic development.
  3. He stressed that the validity and sincerity of gestural expression within dramatic context, are of the utmost importance in creating a ballet.
  4. Noverre called for the logical development of plots that must be thematically integrated, and the omission of all superfluous solos and irrelevant dance.
  5. Noverre was adamant that music be appropriately suited to the dramatic development of the plot.
  6. He insisted that costumes, décor, and lighting be compatible with the introduction, plot, and climax of each act within the ballet.
  7. With the disappearance of masks in his own ballets, Noverre pronounced his advanced ideas on stage make-up for dancers. 

The above from: Carol Lee, Ballet in Western Culture, Routledge, 2002, p.111;
JenniferHomans, Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet, Random House, 2010, pp.84-89.



Stefan Zweig – writer – The movie trailer with English subtitles, and a very interesting review

Franz Werfel – writer, playwright and poet –

Robert Musil, philosophical writer –

Karl Kraus –  writer and journalist, known as a satirist, essayist, aphorist, playwright and poet –

Arthur Schnitzler – novelist, short-story writer, and playwright –

Hugo von Hofmannsthal – novelist, poet, dramatist, essayist, librettist –

Joseph Roth – journalist and novelist –

Thomas Bernhard – postwar novelist and playwright –

Felix Salten – writer and critic –

Ilsa Aichinger – novelist, poet, playwright –

Vicki Baum – novelist –

Rudolf Steiner

Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, economost, esotericist, and claimed clairvoyant. Schools based on his educational principles are known as Rudolf Steiner Schools or Waldorf Schools and are found worldwide.

A composite list of notable Viennese in the arts and sciences

The list will link you to further information: Hover over the names for a short description. Click on the name for the full link to the Wikipedia article.


Viennese Faces
Attending the Opera Ball 1965


Please note that I have included the Amazon link for the following books. If you would like to support local bookstores you can go to OR

A brilliant biographical graphic novel

A sobering account of the challenges returning Jews faced after the Holocaust.
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