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Beethoven in Vienna – 2019 and 2020 Anniversary Tips

Beethoven in Vienna. With the Beethoven 2020 anniversary approaching fast, classical music fans should make space for him in their trip plans. Where did Beethoven spend most of his life? While Mozart spent just 10 years in Wien, Beethoven lived there for 35 years. Almost two thirds of his life!  Becoming Viennese by choice, Beethoven’s nationality was actually German.

When I grew up in Baden – one of Beethoven’s favorite country dwellings – and lived in Vienna I had little idea about this privilege. (Who cares about a ‘Beethoven hiking path’ when on a school trip?) To help you with your trip planning I have pulled together this Beethoven in Vienna guide of key things to do and see.

Beethoven Haus Vienna

Beethoven in Vienna: PasqualatihausBeethoven in Vienna. Whereas there is more than one Beethoven residence in Vienna, the Pasqualatihaus is the most well known. Located on an upper level just behind a city wall bastion, his top floor apartment boasted five rooms and a grand view of the University of Vienna. It was here that he worked on top compositions like his only full opera Fidelio and piano hit For Elise. For a restless tenant like Beethoven, who moved constantly and rented several flats at the same time, keeping the Pasqualatihaus for 11 years meant commitment.

Inside, the Beethoven exhibition limits itself to a few paintings, drawings, and original music sheets, amidst a piano and some audio stations for listening to Beethoven music. As many other small historic attractions, Beethoven’s flat is only accessible via a narrow staircase.

Address: Mölker Bastei 8, 1010 Vienna

Opening Times: Tuesday to Sunday and public holiday: 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm; 24th and 31st December 10.00 am to 1.00 pm; closed on 1st January, 1st May, 25th December and all public holidays falling on a Monday;

Eroica Haus in Döbling

Beethoven in Vienna: EroicahausBeethoven in Vienna. In the green leafy outskirts of Döbling you will find another famous Beethoven residence: the Eroica House. The house itself is one of the typical suburban townhouses, with thick walls, almost square windows and a courtyard.

There, Beethoven created his monumental Eroica symphony, first dedicated to Napoleon, as well as the Waldstein sonata and a ‘triple concert’ for violin, cello and piano. As with the exhibtion at Pasqualatihaus, don’t expect too much. In any case, Beethoven fans should pass by, for example during the Beethoven Vistas And Wine Walk. You will definitely get an impression of the site that must have inspired Beethoven to compose revolutionary pieces.

Address: Döblinger Hauptstrasse 92, 1190 Vienna 

Opening Times: temporarily closed

Beethoven Frieze

Beethoven in Vienna: Beethoven Frieze, detailBeethoven in Vienna. ‘If I drew Beethoven’s 9th Symphony what would it look like?’ Art Nouveau genius Gustav Klimt responded at the turn of the 19th century with a monumental wall painting. Covering three walls and 34 meters, the Beethoven frieze uses mythological and allegorical creatures to visualise the human desire for happiness over the hostile powers of disease, death and lust. In particular, I love how Klimt visualises Beethoven’s line ‘this kiss to the whole world’ in the symphony’s final choir piece ‘Ode to Joy’ – see for yourself!

Address: Vienna Secession, Friedrichstrasse 12, 1010 Vienna

Opening Times: Tuesday to Sunday 10.00 am to 6.00 pm

Beethoven Museum Vienna

Beethoven in Vienna: Beethoven Museum, HeiligenstadtBeethoven in Vienna. Definitely Vienna’s best permanent Beethoven exhibition hides just where Beethoven once hid: in a baker’s house in the leafy outskirts of Döbling’s Heiligenstadt area. Since Heiligenstadt was well known for its healing springs Beethoven’s physician recommended for him to relieve his bad hearing there.

Suffering physically and mentally as a deaf composer and musician, Beethoven increasingly isolated himself while continuing to write the most breathtaking music.

Beethoven in Vienna: art and music installation, Beethoven MuseumAt the museum, the two most outstanding installations for me were a rack of 18th-century oil paintings depicting Viennese landscapes: whenever you pulled out one of them a different section of Beethoven’s magical Pastorale symphony would start to play!

The other was a bone resonator device, similar to what Beethoven himself used to help his hearing. Beethoven used a wooden staff that he held against the piano housing while placing the other end of it between his teeth, using the bone conduction system to hear. Equally heartbreaking was it to read his famous Heiligenstadt testament, where he fully revealed the extent of his suffering.

Listen to the first movement of the Pastorale here:

Address: Probusgasse 6, 1190 Vienna

Opening Times: Tuesday to Sunday and public holiday: 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm; 24th and 31st December 10.00 am to 1.00 pm; closed on 1st January, 1st May, 25th December and all public holidays falling on a Monday;

Beethoven In Vienna: Insider Tips

Beethoven in Vienna: Beethovenhaus, Mayer am PfarrplatzBeethoven in Vienna. Dine at lovely restaurant Ludwig Van at another of Beethoven’s former rental apartments, in Laimgrubengasse 22 in the sixth district. Among other works, he composed parts of his famous 9th Symphony there, as well as the Missa Solemnis.

Just a few hundred meters from the Beethoven Museum, visit Mayer am Pfarrplatz (photo), a charming wine tavern and restaurant, where Beethoven lived for a short time. This is also the drop off point of the lovely Beethoven Vistas And Wine Walk.

If you are generally interested in classical music, visit the House of Music, a fun interactive museum that also hosts a room just dedicated to Beethoven.

Beethoven Monument

Beethoven in Vienna: monument BeethovenplatzBeethoven in Vienna. Half turning away, a wild mane supporting defiant looks, the long flowing coat covering the inner genius: Not far from Wiener Konzerthaus, Vienna’s Beethoven memorial revives the top composer, just as he really was. In fact, a prominent Beethoven fan made the statue possible: Composer Franz Liszt donated the proceeds of his last public concerts to fill the memorial fund’s gap.

More than 50 years after his death, the bronze Beethoven statue was erected and now sits at Beethoven square, surrounding by bronze genii and little angels.

Address: Beethovenplatz, 1010 Vienna

Beethoven in Mödling

Beethoven in Vienna: Hafnerhaus in MoedlingBeethoven in Vienna. Because  he loved nature Beethoven spent many summers in the Vienna Woods, in the towns of Mödling and Baden bei Wien. Probably the key local pilgrimage site for Beethoven fans is the Hafner Haus in Mödling. Just before you enter the historic pedestrian area, the Renaissance building hosts a small exhibition in the three-room-flat that Beethoven used during the summer of 1819, and likely 1818. The courtyard boats beautiful arcades and two gothic bays.

Apart from the pianoforte sonata Beethoven also worked on the Missa Solemnis there. Though not displaying much original furniture you get a good impression of Beethoven’s time there.

Address: Hauptstrasse 79, 2340 Mödling

Opening Times: Monday morning, or upon request (call +43 (0)2236 24 159)

Vienna Unwrapped logoInsider Tip: Although the Beethoven Hiking Path is 71 km in total, get a flavour of it by walking along Steinbruchweg in the Vienna Woods (best with a tour guide).

Beethoven in Baden bei Wien

Beethoven in Vienna: Beethovenhaus Baden, Vienna Woods

Beethoven in Vienna. Most spectacularly, Beethoven’s summer residence in Baden transforms Beethoven’s 9th symphony into a multimedia experience: On the ground floor, four giant screens pull off the symphony’s fourth movement: the first screen shows a line moving across the musical score as the music continues; the second displays the musical instruments while the third shows the orchestra in action. Finally, the fourth screen provides relevant information about the piece.  The upper floors display more about the composer’s everyday life.

Following a local campaign to enable the restoration of Beethoven’s original pianoforte you can join its revival premiere on 24th November 2019 at the Congress Casino. After that the pianoforte will support the exhibition ‘Myth Ludwig Van’ at the nearby Kaiserhaus (Emperor’s  House) in Baden between 9th November 2019 to 20th December 2020.

Address: Rathausgasse 10, 2500 Baden

Opening Times: Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays: 10.00 am to 6.00 pm; on 24th and 31st December open from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm.

Beethoven Grave Site

Beethoven in Vienna: grave, Central CemeteryBeethoven in Vienna. When Beethoven died in Heiligenstadt in 1826 Vienna mourned. Schools closed and about 20,000 people attended his funeral at the local cemetery in Währing. More than 60 years later, his remains were transferred to a grave of honor at the Central Cemetery in Vienna.

There, located on a little square, you can see a replica of his original tombstone in Währing (see photo), along with a Mozart memorial and Schubert’s grave.

Location: Central Cemetery Vienna, group 32 A (between Gate 2 and the cemetery church)

Beethoven 2020 Concerts in Vienna

Beethoven in Vienna: string trioBeethoven in Vienna. From piano recitals to grand symphonies, Beethoven music is a regular happening in Vienna. For example, each year, the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra performs Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on New Year’s Eve. Here are a few key events you should watch out for:

Symphony no 9 (including ‘Ode to Joy’): 1st January 2020

Piano sonata for piano forte (‘Hammerklaviersonate’): 15th January 2020

Opera ‘Egmont’ (world premiere, commissioned by Theater an der Wien): 17th to 26th February 2020

Opera ‘Fidelio’: 16th to 27th March 2020

Harp quartet and trio for strings, with world famous violinist Anne Sofie Mutter: 22nd March

Free open air concerts: Festival of Joy (including sing-along ‘Ode to Joy’) 8th May 2020 at Heldenplatz, and simultaneous concert Bonn – Vienna, 15th May 2020;

Symphony no 3 (‘Eroica’), oveture to ‘Egmont’, concert for piano and orchestra no. 5: 5th and 7th June 2020

To find out which other Beethoven music is on during your trip to Vienna access this Beethoven concert calendar.

Beethoven Maestro Masterclass

Beethoven in Vienna. When I was small I listened to a ‘Beethoven for children’ record that explained his music using examples. 35 years later I came to know Austrian conductor and pianist Christoph Campestrini, who explores Beethoven’s legacy for (grown up) music fans on an entirely different level.

Ludwig van Beethoven – The Story of a Musical Giant

Beethoven in Vienna: Austrian conductor Christoph Campestrini

Since the internationally active Maestro plays and conducts Beethoven on a regular basis he deeply connects with this genius.
 
In his Maestro Masterclass Ludwig van Beethoven – The Story of a Musical Giant Campestrini explores the legacy of Beethoven as a composer, thinker and humanist for private clients and small tour groups.
 
During the 90-min exclusive sessions you will find out what distinguished Beethoven from all previous composers, how he re-defined all genres of the classical canon and how he transformed music from entertainment to a universal message of brotherhood. Maestro Campestrini will present an insight into Beethoven`s life and music including examples of his work on the piano.
 
Luckily for amateur music fans like me the Maestro conveys his passion while adapting to his audience’s level of musical knowledge. And since Beethoven’s language is music, the Maestro lets him ‘speak’ on the piano throughout his musical exploration.
 
‘What makes Beethoven stand out
is that he re-defined all genres of the
classical canon. Like no other composer
before, he transformed music from
entertainment to a universal
message of brotherhood.’
Maestro Campestrini
 
When Maestro Campestrini is in town, arrange an exclusive private music experience with him: just email me for further details on barbara.cacao(at)vienna-unwrapped.com
 
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