Vienna: City of Greatest Composers

Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss and of course the city-favourite Mozart! They all became the most sought after musicians in Vienna, they all died in Vienna and after their death, they were recognized as the greatest in the history of music. So it’s only fair that the City gave them the highest honour, posthumously, by putting them together in one of the world’s largest and famous cemetery.

And since I was in Vienna last week, I took the opportunity to visit their resting place at the Zentralfriedhof. I may not have seen them in their lifetime, but I already feel honored to be able to see and touch their graves!

 

Ludwig van Beethoven – Bonn, Germany
Baptised 17 December 1770– 26 March 1827
He moved to Vienna in 1792 and lived there until his death at the age of 57.

Beethoven became deaf at nearly the height of his career but he managed to keep playing the piano by listening to its vibrations.

Beethoven – Symphony No.9 (Ode to Joy)

 

Franz Schubert, Vienna, Austria
January 31, 1797 – November 19, 1828
With only a short life of 31 years, he ranked among the greatest composers of the early Romantic era, becoming one of the most frequently performed composers of the early nineteenth century.

Ave Maria – Schubert

 

Johannes Brahms – Hamburg, Germany
May 7, 1833 – April 3, 1897
Brahms made his first visit to Vienna at the age of 27, held a number of posts in the Musical field and even directed the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for three seasons.

It was said that he seemed to fall in love easily and had strings of relationships but he never married.

Johannes Brahms – Waltz Opus 39 Nr. 15 For Violin

 

Johann Strauss II – St Ulrich, Austria
October 25, 1825 – June 3, 1899
The famous composer of The Blue Danube died in Vienna, at the age of 73. At the time of his death, he was still composing his ballet, Aschenbrödel.

The Blue Danube – 2013 New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Salzburg, Austria
27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791
Already a child prodigy at the age six, Mozart enthralled the imperial family with a command performance at Schönbrunn Palace.

When he died at the age of 35, he had already composed over 600 works. It was only immediately after his death that his fame rose substantially.
Although he is not buried in this cemetery, the City put up this memorial as the central point of all the other musicians’ resting place.

Mozart – Serenade in G major, K. 525 ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’ – I. Allegro

 

The tombs of some of the World’s greatest musicians can be found in one spot at the Zentralfriedhof (Vienna Central Cemetery)

The sign

Day 4 – Day trip to St Moritz

It’s the Montecarlo of the Swiss Alps.

Royalties, World leaders, the rich and famous – the vast majority of them have one thing in common: they have gone on a winter skiing holiday in St Moritz!

But believe it or not. you don’t have to be in any of the above categories to experience the world’s most glamorous resort.

A day trip will do, some Swiss Francs for the cable car ride that will take you to a higher spot so you can enjoy the most amazing view of the glaciers, the lakes, the greeneries and the alpine flowers, a bit of window-shopping in the High Street, a slice of Sacher cake and a cup of coffee to complete the package and, voila! you have done St Moritz without digging dip into your pocket.

And with the help of your camera, you could take home a souvenir of that experience in the form of photographs!

Here are some of mine.

Arriving at the train station of St Moritz, you will be greeted by this stunning scenery of glacier mountains!

If you have pre-booked your hotel where you will be picked up by a car as grandiose as this, then you must be rolling in money!

We are not, but we are equally happy taking this bus going to town.  And with our Swiss Pass, it’s just a matter of Hopping On and Hopping Off!

You’d think you are lost in Italy as soon as you see this Italian-looking church tower on the way,
but no worries, St Moritz is close to the Italian border so you can see some influence of its neighbouring country.

 

Even the name of this square – Piazza di Scoula is in Italian. That building is the St Moritz library.

The  St Moritz Protestant Church is a major landmark

 

The town center is also a luxury shopping area

 Clients are assured of comfort in St Moritz

Window-shopping can become an amazing experience in this town of the well-heeled!

 

 

When you are tired window-shopping, you can take the cable car to go up a higher ground.

A mindblowing landscape up there!

I was tempted to sing “The Hills are Alive..” but this is only Switzerland

In the summer, St Moritz is a walker’s paradise..but be careful though as the footpath is very steep!
(As you can see on the right, a lady has already slipped!)

 

And before we said adieu to this glamorous town, we had to taste their pastry and coffee, at least!

 

Day 3 – Amidst the Glacier

Previous:  Day 2 – A view to a Kill

 

 

If you don’t know how to ski, or you are not rich enough to afford a helicopter ride up to the glaciers, don’t fret. Switzerland makes sure that you get the chance to experience that glacier feeling, thanks to the Swiss engineers from the 19th century who built tunnels, railways, funiculars and cable cars that enable milliions of tourists to reach these highest points of the Swiss Alps in this modern day and age.

This is our ride to the 10,000 feet high Schiltorn mountain which was made famous by James Bond’s “On her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

The area is a walker’s paradise. This is a group of Japanese tourists on a Walking Holiday.

 

Up close and personal with the waterfalls, seen from the cable car

Voila, the glacier!

 

 

That is a skiing path that starts from where we are standing.

Postcard snow beauty

The cable car amidst the clouds

View from the revolving restaurant

 

The filming of James Bond on the Schiltorn has made it so famous


The famous terrace of the Bond film

and naturally, everything about James Bond is everywhere in this building.
You can even take home a piece of the 007 phenomenon, like a photo of Bond kissing errr…you, for example.
I took this shot from a TV screen showing the photos of visitors making it with James…

 

Descending to flat land, our hotel is the big one on the corner


Time for a drink

Previous:  Day 2 – A view to a Kill