Sunday was a full day of musical magic and at times mayhem. Firstly the old part of Vienna city is literally over-run with handsome young men all dressed as Mozart look alikes! As in Prague, they are spruking tickets to an evening of classical music and opera – the programme inevitably has works by Mozart, Strauss and Haydn. Not much Beethoven.
What do they look like? Think the movie “Amadeus”! Wig, bright costume with waistcoat and tails! What set them apart from the genuine article is that to a man they were wearing Ray Ban sunglasses, Nike runners, had an iPhone in one hand, a glossy brochure in the other and a cigarette in the corner of the mouth.
I accidentally walked past a sign which stated there was a Beethoven museum close by. It was an apartment on the fourth floor and it was extremely difficult to fathom how to gain entry. Indeed one had to push the bell at the front door of the block whereupon the door was unlocked and one then entered what was obviously mostly private dwellings. One’s frustration was magnified by an aging, irritable middle aged man with bad hair coloring (jet black) on a comb over, watching a movie on a portable DVD player. He was completely out of character for my Immortal Beloved and I suspect he would have been not out of place at a gothic convention. I am not alluding to architecture. The least I expected was twin set and pearls – or if it was a woman ….
Beethoven did not get along very well with his landlords as he was continuously playing music. He was constantly finding landlords who were supportive. From 1804 to 1825 he stayed in Baden 15 times taking lodgings in at least 8 different houses as a consequence.
In my efforts at learning the Recorder, my routine is a daily practice in the hotel room and having to cope with the banging on the walls from the room next door, I can only emphasize with poor Beethoven. Some people have no appreciation of genius.
I now practice in the bathroom with the door closed.
The museum was a little underwhelming, the more so when in a state of supplication, I asked the Visigoth, breathlessly if Beethoven actually lived here? Without looking away from his DVD, he said “NO”! At first I thought he was trying to irritated and upset me! He was I can assure you most successful if this was his purpose. It turns out that Beethoven actually lived in apartment 4 directly opposite! Near enough is not good enough for me. I contemplated ringing the doorbell of Herr Helmut Wizzenburgermiedrer, the occupant of apartment 4.
I now realize that all manuscripts, furniture and paraphernalia in these small museums are reproductions, the originals usually in the National museum or archives. Similarly the piano was labeled “Beethoven piano” in large type but beneath it in minute lettering “a piano from the same era as Beethoven would have owned”.
I left mildly disappointed passing the front desk. Under my breath I muttered “fuck off” hoping that his English was poor and that he assumed I said “Fur Elise”.
If I could not actually be in his apartment at least I was floating on air knowing that I was genuinely walking in Beethoven’s footsteps.
The piano “of a type that Beethoven would have played”. Sigh.
It has FIVE foot peddles. People have pontificated on what medical condition Beerhoven had to cause his grumpy behaviour and early onset deafness! Whatever syndrome it was, includes 3 extra legs!
Beethoven lived on this street.
I return home content!