The Toast of Vienna

I am not normally a huge fan of the waltz, but I don’t think my words can describe the kind of day I had today as well as this excerpt from the Vienna Philharmonic’s 2013 New Year’s Day concert:

Two Hour Cruise on the Danube

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Ancient ruin
Ancient ruin

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After a drive through the gorgeous Austrian countryside, we  arrived at the Town of Melk.

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Melk Benedictine Monastery

Melk has been a spiritual, cultural and intellectual center of the country for more than 1000 years, first as a castle for the Babenbergs, then from 1089 as a Benedictine monastery, founded by Margrave Leopold II.  Many famous visitors, such as the Dali Lama, have spent time here on retreat. The Benedictine monks are known for their liqueur, and I picked up a small bottle for Bonnie.

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The Marble Hall

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"I'm getting this crick in my neck."  "Me too, pass me the Aleve."
“I’m getting this crick in my neck.” “Me too, pass me the Aleve.”

The Library

The library of the Melk abbey consists of a total of twelve rooms containing about 1.888 manuscripts, 750 incunabula (printed works before 1500), 1700 works from the 16th, 4500 from the 17th, and 18.000 from the 18th century; together with the newer books, approximately 100.000 volumes in total. About 16.000 of these are found in this library room.   I downloaded these images.

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The Church

Smaller than many of the cathedrals I’ve seen, this Baroque jewel is no less beautiful.

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At the end of this fabulous day trip, I was deposited back downtown with enough time for dinner before my last Vienna concert. I had seen and read about The Palmery, a lovely conservatory on the back of the Palace. I was not disappointed, and the food, notwithstanding its very Viennese presentation, melted in my mouth.

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Mozart’s Requiem at Karlskirche

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The Monstrance of all monstrances

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Paintings and Frescoes

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The Concert

The first time I heard Mozart’s Requiem was many years ago at a Mozart Festival by the Toronto Symphony with the Ballet Jazz de Montreal at the Roy Thompson Hall. It left me in tears. He wrote it ostensibly for a patron’s wife’s requiem, but Mozart lay dying and I have little doubt that he wrote his last work as his own Requiem.  Producing a work of such uncomparable beauty when he was so ill is heart-breaking. The Requiem incorporates a choir and an orchestra of early instruments, some of them of Mozart’s own invention, with over 40 musicians.

Orchester 1756 (on period instruments)
Heinrich Biber Chorus
conductor: Konstantin Hiller

Here is a preview:

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Parting View of Vienna

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How many days in my life will be like this one, starting with a cruise on the Danube and ending with Mozart’s Requiem? It warranted a toast – and I cracked open Bonnie’s Benedictine, and raised a glass to Vienna, Mozart – and Bonnie!

Jan

3 thoughts on “The Toast of Vienna

  1. aaahhhh, adorable. cheers to you, vienna and volphie! I caved this evening and opened leslies expensive bottle of gwertz! xxx p.s. flex tomorrow?

  2. What a day you had,a high in every respect including topping it off withBonnie’s Benedictine. Mozart’s Requiem is so heart rending,to experience it in such surroundings must have been emotionally overwhelming.

    So many treasured memories for you and all of us lucky enough to be privileged to receive your blog. XO Joyce

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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