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Vienna, IV

August 22, 2011

Wednesday, August 17 – the Belvedere and beyond

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We knew that the Belvedere had a good selection of Schiele and Klimt, so in we went.

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Here’s the lobby or whatever, with its mix of old and new.

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Future art critics. In a room where everyone was gaping at Klimt’s “The Kiss”, they were honing their gaming skills.

In the afternoon we went to the Hofburg Imperial Palace, home of the Imperial apartments, the Spanish Riding School, and other remnants of the aristocracy. Peggy especially wanted to see the Schatzkammer, or Imperial Treasury.

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I’m generally not too crazy about this stuff, but this setting of the ewer and basin used for Imperial baptisms was nicely lit and caught my eye.

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Heavy the head that wears a crown. Especially this one.

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Peggy outside the entrance. In the passageway the air is redolent of Lippizaner stallion poo.

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We also purchased a pair of the ubiquitous Mozart balls, which we later ate.

Thursday, August 18

Today we had earmarked for a trip to the tony suburb of Hietzing, whose cemetary contained, or so I thought, the graves of Mahler and Alban Berg. At least I was right about Berg.

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Here is Berg’s apartment at 27 Trauttmannsdorfgasse. This, like the location of Mahler’s apartment, is not particularly well-documented.

And so on to the Hietzing Friedhof (cemetary). Imagine my utter dismay when I found that Mahler’s name was not among the famous people buried there. (Berg was, though.) Upon re-checking my sources, I saw that Gustav’s remains were in Grinzing, not Hietzing. Ah well, Hietzing, Grinzing, whatever. With some effort we found the grave of Helene and Alban Berg.

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While I don’t put too much stock in glorifying the resting places of the dead, I must say I was a little disappointed to see the final resting place of the composer of Wozzeck and Lulu.

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It was a simple oak cross, with the names of Berg and his wife attached. It was not very well kept up, and the wooden base of the cross was starting to decay.

From there we took a couple of undergrounds and a bus to get to Grinzing. With the kind help of two people we met in town we found the cemetary.

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…and there it was, just like I’d seen it in many books.

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One row over was the grave of his wife Alma. The triangular stone at the foot of the plot is for Manon Gropius, Alma’s daughter by her marriage to Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius. Manon died of polio at 18, and Berg dedicated his Violin Concerto to her, “to the memory of an angel.”

We then took bus A-38 to the top of its route for some impressive views of Vienna seen through the local vineyards.

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Then we descended into Grinzing, in search of heurigen, which Alyssa had admonished us not to neglect. Heurigen are eateries run by the local wineries, which sell German fare along with their wines. Grinzing is very much a tourist town but we found one, Heuriger Wiegel, that seemed a little off the beaten track.

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The wine was great, and so was the food, and we fell into converstaion with some of the regular customers.

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The folks behind us were interested in my sketches, and they shared an order of a local dessert with us.

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The food, wine and conversation could not have been more pleasant, and it will have to be an exceptional day to top this one.

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5 Comments
  1. Vladimir Ibanez permalink

    Amazing, I’ve been following your trip and Wow, These are wonderful picturesque places. I’ve seen Vienna only on the travel channel but I’m sure that there is no comparison to being there. Please keep the pictures coming.

    Vladimir Ibanez

  2. Nice! I´m reading Thomas Bernhard´s “Der Untergeher” (in Finnish!) and I found same places (Hietzing, Grinzing) that are mentioned in Konstantin Floros´ book about Alban Berg and Hanna Fuchs… So I found your blog – thank you for the pictures. I hope I will be able to travel there some day.

    • Glad you enjoyed the pictures and hope you can get to Vienna some day. We loved it and plan to return. In the meantime you’ve given me a couple of books to look up. Thanks for your comment.

  3. One more book to read, or actually two: Elias Canetti writes intensively about life in Vienna in 1920 – 30´s in his memoirs (“The Torch in My Ear”, “The Play of the Eyes”, written originally in German). Canetti was a close friend of Anna Mahler. He gives rather different kind of description of Anna´s mother Alma Mahler than Alban Berg in his letters to Hanna Fuchs.

    • I’ll have to check this out. Most of my knowledge of turn–of-the-century comes from biographies of Klimt and Schiele, and it was quite a kick to come upon the Secession building by surprise.

      As a Finn, you may know that Sibelius spent some time in Vienna, but I didn’t, so we were surprised to see a plaque commemorating his residence. It’s in the August 26 post, under Vienna: Last Two Days.

      I’d be interested to read Canetti’s impressions of Alma. It’s generally agreed that, regarding her life with Mahler, she is an unreliable narrator, to put it nicely.

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