Legend of a Musical City

Legend of a Musical City

Legend of a Musical City

Legend of a Musical City

Excerpt

As from the pages of an old chronicle, from its buildings one can read the history which shaped Vienna into a great musical city. Although it was since the beginning of the second half of the 19th century that Vienna developed into a modern city, there are still parts of it which either have not changed at all, or changed only unessentially. Right next to fashionable streets with modern houses and the noisy traffic of the new era, there are silent old streets which are so narrow that they are dark and shadowy. Many of these streets, where houses dating from the middle ages still stand, are very crooked. The old houses have low doors, and small, lightless courtyards. There are palaces whose pillars support balconies and mythological figures carved out of sandstone, over the heavy cornices. Through these same dim alleys went Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, and at night when all is still, one imagines he can still hear their echoing steps.

Thus the past is vividly alive in Vienna. Its musical history is bound to the present and does not lie dead in books. Walking through these streets, one realizes that here dwell contemporary musicians who are grandsons of the classical musicians of old.

Starting a musical stroll at St. Stephen's Cathedral, from whose open "Giant Door" comes the sound of the old organ, one remembers, perhaps that in its choir Haydn and Schubert sang as boys; and that on a stormy winter's day, at the south door, Mozart's shabby coffin was blessed. I saw Anton Bruck ner . . .

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