Sunday, November 11, 2007

Getting into the Musikverein, Vienna

It's a piece of cake! What do you mean 'you need to book months ahead and it costs a fortune!'? Absolutely not.

Well, sometimes it does - you just need to pick your concerts...

On Wednesday afternoon I landed in Vienna, and on the way to the Cafe Landtmann I read one of those dirt cheap (actually free) Austrian papers, and spotted the name 'Poppe' under 'Musikverein - even the dirt cheap papers say what's on at the Musikverein, that's Kulture!

'Poppe who?' you'll ask? If you are in the music business, it's worth knowing about him. He's the rising star of German music making, having won lots of prizes and awards. I've talked about him before, seeing as he is also my music-and-maths teacher's son. We were scandalised when young Enno appeared a good long time after his sisters, and what a name 'Enno'....This photo by Mark Nyffeler could be a photo of Dad, especially with all that wonderful hair (Mum's colour, I think) - though young Enno looks as if he could do with a good square meal.

So I thought 'oh well, I really can't be bothered', went off to Landtmann and had my Wiener Wuerstl and my Kaiserschmarrn (the Wuerstl allow for this), looked at my watch...it was early, flight to Tbilisi not till after 10....so off I shot to the Musikverein. I bought my 19 Euro ticket at 19.29 - concert started at 19.30. Seating was unlimited, so I could sit wherever I liked. Brilliant or what?

Then I discovered that Poppe's piece, an Austrian premiere, was right at the end of the concert, after Georg Friedrich Ha....as, and Luciano Berio. I had to leave at the interval. Haas' piece was interesting; for full orchestra plus piano, much into tone colours. Starting with the pianist hitting a note, for 1.5 minutes the note was handed round the band, sounding different from each instrument, and then the next note....the pace picked up. Occasionally the pianist had some playing to do, too - it was interesting and colourful. Not too much life about it, though.

This was followed by a piece by Berio involving a harp soloist, two other harps, and some fiddles placed right at the back of the orchestra. I wish I could remember more about it; I know that I did not die of boredom, and it was not shocking either, so it must have been all right. And if I had had a programme, I could tell you much more about it....