One reason I live in Vienna …

29 May

… is the music. I was just (evening of Sunday, May 29) at a song recital with Florian Boesch and Malcolm Martineau (http://konzerthaus.at/programm/), a Liederabend in the grand old tradition of Liederabende. The program was almost exclusively Austrian (Schubert, Zemlinsky, and Krenek, with Schumann the only German) with some very Austrian / Viennese points, like the wanderer in Krenek’s “Reisebuch aus den österreichischen Alpen” (Travel Book from the Austrian Alps) fascinated by how the farmers in a barren mountain village are buried (half standing to save room) and only a few songs later lauding the wine from “Wien, Gumpoldskirchen, Krems, the Wachau, Baden, Soos, and Pfaffstätten”.

But it isn’t just the program and the quality of music-making on stage. It is also the audience. Although there were a number of foreigners in the audience it felt very much like an evening of Viennese “unter sich”–among themselves. The responses to the humor or pathos in the songs were immediate, the response of a knowledgeable, experienced audience. And when it came time for the encores the interaction had a certain intimacy, like the elderly gentleman in the front row who, after Boesch had finished a beautifully nuanced rendition of Schumann’s “Die Lotosblume,” breathed in reverence “Sehr schön” to which Boesch responded by looking pleased and saying, “Danke.”

A very Viennese evening.

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