church St. Peter in Vienna
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Hidden Classical Music In Vienna: Mozart Off-Path

As you would expect classical music in Vienna echoes from every corner. But how do you know your chosen performance pays off? If the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra gave daily public concerts at EUR 50 a ticket the choice would be easy. But then I wouldn’t have been where I was and would never have discovered what I did.

The Venue

church St. Peter in ViennaClassical music in Vienna. St. Peter’s is well known for its baroque splendour: red and white marble columns, carved pulpits plated with gold, marble angels, monumental size oil paintings, colourful frescoes, Persian carpets and crystal chandeliers. In the crypta underneath, simplicity reigns. Apart from vaulted ceilings there is not much to distract your mind.

The concert I was going to listen to took place in the main church.  Unusually for a Friday after Christmas, the baroque building in the Vienna city centre filled its benches with a steady stream of visitors. 

The Music

Vienna secret classical music treat: Church St. Peter

Classical music in Vienna. Two violins, a viola and a violoncello sat on the Persian carpet in front of the altar. After a short while, four musicians showed up. As it would show, this simple quartet was to serve up the best of Austrian, German and Italian composers. To be fair, a lot of classical music pieces just require a few instruments rather than a full blown orchestra. And compared to a 70-people sinfonie orchestra many listeners connect much better to the music.

To begin with, the quartet performed well known classics like Mozart’s Little Night Music, Haydn’s Serenadenquartett and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Gradually the musicians introduced lesser known pieces such as Schubert’s Death and the Girl and Beethoven’s String Quartet in C-Minor. At that stage I felt my horizon of classical music suddenly expanded.

Given we were in a church the subsequent wild applause felt bold and epic. Clearly, most of the audience refused to accept the official end of the concert. Hence, the musicians appeased us with a slice each of Mozart’s sultry Hungarian Dances and Johann Strauss’ electrifying Pizzicato Polka.

The Musicians

Vienna secret classical music treat: MusiciansClassical music in Vienna. Though I’m not a food critic but I recognise great cooks when I taste their food. Actually, the same goes with musicians: the violinists and the cellist applied rare fervor to their music. The tunes exchanged the most beautiful dialogues and conversations. Every last note of each piece was allowed to float across the church while we listened after it.

Essentially, just four people created a universe dense in sound and motion (remind me what’s an orchestra for…?). I mused about Vienna, local life in Mozart’s and Schubert’s times, and the role of music and composers in shaping political power.

Later on I found out that the cellist, Thomas Auner, was a child prodigy. He had won numerous awards and now teaches at the Viennese Prayner Conservatory. Violinist Lukas Medlam is a British-Austrian master violinist, successful composer and graduated physicist. And what’s more: his works have been performed at Vienna’s most prestigious concert venues, Wiener Musikverein and Wiener Konzerthaus.

Vienna Secret Classical Music Treat: Book Tickets

Classical music in Vienna.  Every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday evening these concerts at Peterskirche. Tickets cost between EUR 19 and EUR 49. From time to time, the musical programme and musicians varies. Sometimes, the concerts also take place in the church crypt. Find out more and book tickets online.

NOTE: I was invited by Classic Ensemble Vienna. All opinions provided are strictly my own.

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