Cultural Vienna

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 https://www.virtualvienna.net/the-city-its-people/jewish-vienna/jewish-intellectuals-artists/

Vienna: Modernity in the Making https://www.bl.uk/20th-century-literature/articles/vienna-modernity-in-the-making

An introduction to Vienna by Rick Steves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfT7P9Vdq7o

Jewish Vienna https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_YNWzdqyG8&t=11s and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_YNWzdqyG8

Welcome to the Jewish Museum https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LP97q8S_ncE

Vienna Art Nouveau Tour https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZFJoiNw7KA

Vienna Modernism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1ZQDm6X190

Vienna and Opera http://www.visitingvienna.com/activities/opera-in-vienna/

The Vienna State Opera https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_State_Opera

The Vienna Volksoper https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_Volksoper

Theater an der Wien https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theater_an_der_Wien

Burgtheater – the Imperial Court Theatre https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burgtheater

Josefstadt Theatre – oldest still performing theatre in Vienna https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theater_in_der_Josefstadt

For cultural and travel information, a very good website is https://www.vienna-unwrapped.com

Art

MAK The Museum of Applied Arts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyHy0rgV4Zg

A 1920 advertising poster by Hans Neumann for my grandfather’s store in Vienna
A 1920 advertising poster by Hans Neumann for my grandfather’s store

Six Museum Treasure Worth a Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5iT37qILBA

Klimt at the Belvedere – “The Kiss” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7V5izRLTK74

The Seductive Art of Gustave Klimt – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8J36pYKD508

Klimt at the Leopold Museum – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ltzjk0GvwjU

Vienna 1900 – Klimt, Moser, Gerstl, Kokoshka –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6OtPb-zT0E

The Women of Klimt/Schiele/Kokoschka https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Prtm6h3e8CE

Egon Schiele https://www.wikiart.org/en/egon-schiele and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNS6xAW-iWM

Oskar Kokoschka https://www.wikiart.org/en/oskar-kokoschka

Richard Gerstl https://www.wikiart.org/en/richard-gerstl

The Vienna Secession Art Movement – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9dQmirHPKY

Viennese Modernism – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiPGOa8KU_E

Josef Hoffmann and the Wiener Werkstätte – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He94o5

Street scene by Austrian artist, Béla Husserl, whose art is also on the cover of “All That Lingers ‘
http://belahusserl.blogspot.com/2013/05/bela-husserl-had-short-life.html

Friedensreich Hundertwasser – painter and architect – https://www.wikiart.org/en/friedensreich-hundertwasser and for a guide to his many unique buildings, ending with the most famous one in Vienna https://www.touropia.com/hundertwasser-architecture/

Carol Moll, founding member of the Sezession movement http://www.artnet.com/artists/carl-moll/

Wolfgang Suschitzky – photographer and documentary filmmaker – a video conversation https://www.webofstories.com/play/wolfgang.suschitzky/1 and his photographs https://www.nationalgalleries.org/search/artist/wolfgang-suschitzky

Rosa Mayreder – freethinker, artist, author, musician and feminist https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Mayreder

Music

Music in Vienna – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDhNtbYA6Kc

The Third Man – movie trailer – an evocative film that captures the flavor of post-war Vienna https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9yyDEDGlr0&list=PL2kvfuvvBkNfHnQiFjpZxGaM9UxDumD0_

The Third Man theme on zither – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oEsWi88Qv0https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oEsWi88Qv0

Wien, Wien Nur Du Allein sung by Richard Tauber https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGqgoLx6Oyc

An old but excellent recording of Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, from Vienna – Karl Böhm conducting, and with English subtitles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY2Mw0LMz-E

Land des Lächelns (Land of Smiles) operetta by by Franz Lehar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBNOMhC-7Lw

Merry Widow, operetta by Franz Lehar, performed in English https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pUtRjDx2k8

Czardasfürstin, operetta by Emmerich Kálmán https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=070a_VWTW5w&list=RD070a_VWTW5w&start_radio=1&t=125

Johan Strauss II – waltzes, polkas and operettas – by Halidon Music http://Strauss II – waltzes, polkas and operettas – by Halidon Music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI3fTby-dko

Johann Strass – Radetzky March https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlbQrm6zIYo

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tenI_FyFeZ0

The Best of Haydn by Halidon Music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmZF3kBZQ6E

The Best of Mozart by Halidon Music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb0UmrCXxVA

The Best of Beethoven by Halidon Music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-fFHeTX70Q

The Best of Schubert by Halidon Music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiChxN0T2kA

The Best of Brahms by Halidon Music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKrxesI3ziE

Anton Bruckner, Symphony #4 Romantic, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gljRZ-3BlcM

Hugo Wolf – Penthesilea, Symphonic Poem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8bVy5ikLbU

The Best of Gustave Mahler, Chicago Symphony Orchestra https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPLiEsp4yQU

Schoenberg and Wittgenstein and the development of Viennese radicalism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRI_ZSh6iF4

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCHEwV0BnJM

Anton von Webern Symphony op.21 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBf2K4S4Nmk

Alma Schindler Mahler Gropius Werfel – composer, socialite, author, editor – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alma_Mahler and to hear her songs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0uh-MPPiDg

Ballet

Walzer Ballet New Year’s Concert 2011 Vienna – Mein Lebenslauf ist Lieb und Lust Joseph Strauß https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwkvwuQFgU4&list=PLtYWcEev9gQoZ7r26YN4BL_cq8LBw7cdv

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.

Literature

SEE BELOW (after photos) FOR BOOKS YOU CAN ORDER

Stefan Zweig – writer – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefan_Zweig The movie trailer with English subtitles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPxz2OQeDh0, and a very interesting review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqJZperQy0A

Franz Werfel – writer, playwright and poet – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Werfel

Robert Musil, philosophical writer – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Musil

Karl Kraus –  writer and journalist, known as a satirist, essayist, aphorist, playwright and poet –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Kraus_(writer)

Arthur Schnitzler – novelist, short-story writer, and playwright – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Schnitzler

Hugo von Hofmannsthal – novelist, poet, dramatist, essayist, librettist – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_von_Hofmannsthal

Joseph Roth – journalist and novelist – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Roth

Thomas Bernhard – postwar novelist and playwright – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Bernhard

Felix Salten – writer and critic – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Salten

Ilsa Aichinger – novelist, poet, playwright – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilse_Aichinger

Vicki Baum – novelist – https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/baum-vicki

Rudolf Steiner

Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, economost, esotericist, and claimed clairvoyant. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Steiner. Schools based on his educational principles are known as Rudolf Steiner Schools or Waldorf Schools and are found worldwide. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldorf_education

A composite list of notable Viennese in the arts and sciences

The list will link you to further information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_from_Vienna Hover over the names for a short description. Click on the name for the full link to the Wikipedia article.

Photos

Viennese Faces
Attending the Opera Ball 1965

Books

Please note that I have included the Amazone link for the following books. If you would like to support local bookstores you can go to http://Bookshop.org OR http://IndieBound.org

https://www.amazon.com/Tragic-Fate-Ethics-Battle-Nazi-Looted/dp/1634257332/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1587649095&sr=1-1
https://www.amazon.com/Gustav-Klimt-Paintings-Tobias-Natter/dp/3836562901/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=Klimt+Taschen&qid=1587649487&s=books&sr=1-4
https://www.amazon.com/Klimts-Women-Mr-Tobias-Natter/dp/0300087969/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Klimt%27s+Women&qid=1587649645&s=books&sr=1-2
available on Amazon.co.uk
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