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Vienna, VIII

August 26, 2011

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Above, just a part of the forces Mahler martialed for his Eighth Symphony, but I get ahead of myself…

Thursday, August 25

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Today we returned to the Kunsthistorisches museum to finish our survey of the painting gallery. On the way we again went through the Museumsquartier plaza, to find that the Ikea couches had returned to their lingonberry home, and the sturdy Playskool plastic benches had resumed their place. You think, “plastic benches, ugh”, but there’s nothing as accommodating in front of any US museum I’ve seen.

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A view of the cafe on Floor 1 (as opposed to Floor 0, the ground floor) of the Kunsthistorisches museum. Sumptuous, everywhere you look.

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Gallery fatigue claims another victim. I can’t count the times I felt like doing the same thing. There’s something exhausting about walking slowly through big room after big room, and the couches placed strategically in the larger galleries are a godsend.

The second half of our museum tour was dedicated to the painters of southern Europe: Titian, Caravaggio, Velazquez, Gentileschi – Italians heavily represented, of course, and many fine pictures by artists I don’t know at all. Imagine my surprise and delight to find, smack dab in the middle of these gentlemen, the missing Breugels. All of his best-known canvases in one room; the Peasant Dance, the winter scenes, the Wedding Feast, Childrens’ Games, and the amazing Tower of Babel. That one picture would have been enough to make my day.

There was much more, of course, and we definitely finished the tour on an up note. Then we dropped by the Naschmarkt to pick up some Chili hummus and Wasabi hummus to snack on, before our return to the…

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Rathaus Film Festival!

Tonight’s performance was the Mahler Eighth, conducted by…

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Mariss Jansons, leading the…

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Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, not to mention…

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…at least four separate choirs and eight soloists. It was a splendid performance of a work that, due to its personnel requirements, is understandably rarely played. When it is, though, the effect is overwhelming. A terrific way to top off our Vienna tour.

After the concert we retired to the food area to the rear for refreshments, and then back to the apartment.

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On the right is the Ottakringer beer booth. These women tirelessly filled glass after glass of some dozen or so different varieties of beer, and we salute them.

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