mardi 18 mai 2010

A few days in Vienna

Back from an extended week-end in Vienna. No Concert or Opera performances to report but music is everywhere and we do recommend the Gustav Mahler und Wien exhibition at the Österreichisches theater museum.

We probably know a lot about Mahler and shedding new light can be difficult. Mahler's Czech influence was well represented and it was a pleasure to see that Hans Rott's picture was visible in the room devoted to Mahler's formative year (Who knows works by Rudolf Kryzyaznowski ?)

The Mahler exhibition was close to one devoted to Thomas Bernhard. Both suffered or fought Austria's conservatism  and were also revered by some circles. In art like in business or politics, it is good to have a clear designated enemy. If these were looking for one today, they should look no further than the mercantilisation of music in Vienna. At every monument, you find cheap concert peddlers dressed in 18th century clothes, trying to get you in some Wiener-Residence Orchestra or Wiener-Mozart-Ensemble. There are everywhere which  probably means that there is a public for this sort of thing and that they must be either tolerated or officially approved.

How did they said: Kleider machen Leute ?

Vienna has also a few museums - centers of interest which arehouses of famous people. Sissi's appartements are enjoyable as they give a good impression of who she was and what her life looked like. Best even is Freud house. A not to be missed visit which shows his encyclopedic knowledge and endless curiosity. One may have doubts as to his enduring legacy but not on his ability to probe.

These are at the opposite of Mozart's house which is not only really empty but hardly tries to make any statement on the composer. Walls are white, there is hardly any content and a video clip of Amadeus nor a few tunes from Magic Flute of Figaro are enough to give a sense of his status and position in Vienna.

While Gérard Mortier was the director of the Paris Opera, he did several lectures on Mozart which were brillant; He portrayed a Mozart at the opposite of either the devilish genius of Amadeus (a brillant movie nonetheless) or the boy genius. In other words, he fought the "Images d'Epinal" of Mozart and would have felt similarly cheated visiting this batiment.

Enclosed here is a picture taken at the first floor of Mozart's house. Was this as clean on his time ?

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