Vienna: the musical capital of the world

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Vienna still lives up to its reputation as the musical capital of the world, with concert halls and opera houses resounding with glorious music throughout the year

For many centuries, Vienna was the glittering capital of a great empire. The sponsorship of the Habsburg dynasty and many of the aristocrats at the imperial court created an excellent (and often lucrative) environment for musicians and artists. It is thus not surprising that many great composers were attracted to the city – they came, stayed and wrote immortal music: Gluck, Beethoven and Brahms were born in other countries; Mozart, Haydn, Bruckner and Mahler hailed from within Austria. And the greatest truly Viennese opera ever composed, Der Rosenkavalier, was written by a Bavarian, Richard Strauss, who had never even lived in Vienna.

Viennese musical tradition has continued for centuries, from one great composer to the next, from Haydn to Mozart, from Mozart to Beethoven, from Beethoven to Schubert and onward far into the twentieth century. They may have stayed true to that tradition - yet each of them was completely unique.

This global capital of arts and music awaits with its characteristic charm, exciting events, and a fascinating blend of modernity and tradition, particularly during the winter months. At this time of year, bon vivants warm up in one of the cozy Viennese coffee houses. When it comes to intellectual exchange, taking a break from work and relaxation, these traditional Viennese institutions really cannot be replicated. A cup of Viennese coffee speaks volumes. Vienna is also famed for its sense of enjoyment that is present everywhere in any number of unique Viennese experiences.

Winter Dreams

Vienna has also established itself as a popular city break destination for Brits. In The Independent’s recent Winter Dreams competition in association with the Austrian National Tourist Office, readers were asked to tell us what their ideal winter dream in Austria would be. Many of the entries were of visiting Vienna. It was therefore no surprise that the winning entry was in the marvellous city.

On 22nd January, our winners Verity and Philip flew to Vienna and enjoyed the most romantic of city breaks. Neither of them had ever been to Vienna, but they had the time of their life. They stayed at the Hilton Hotel Stadtpark, enjoying dinner at the Vestibül and a visit to the Wiener Eistraum (Viennese Ice Dream). On Saturday they received dance lessons at the Dance School Svabek, then embarked on a street railway city tour. In the evening they donned evening attire and were taken by horse-drawn carriage to the Hofburg Ball where they danced the night away. On Sunday they enjoyed a guided city tour with coffee and cakes, returning home on Monday.

VEE & PHILIP'S AUSTRIAN WINTER FANTASY

Please help! My heart knows I can waltz - but my feet haven't learned how yet! Living in the Scottish Highlands we can do a wild Strip-the-Willow, but when it comes to THE most romantic dance of all, Philip and I just shuffle round, treading on each others' toes, blushing and humiliated. I long for a magical transformation. Oh, to be taught by an Austrian waltz maestro. To be whirled around a candlelit ballroom floor by Philip, to the strains of a Strauss waltz, as the snow falls outside...

Verity Walker and Philip Eley from the Black Isle, near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, couldn't believe their luck. They have both always longed to be able to dance properly and winning their winter dream of a trip to Vienna and dance lessons was beyond their wildest dreams. They had suggested Mr Svabek, their dance teacher, should be warned just how bad they are - but he turned out a patient man!

Philip manages the local medical surgery in Fortrose and will retire this year, while Verity runs the heritage consultancy Interpretaction which works in the UK and Europe. They have three children between them, William and Matilda (both 14) and Adelaide (7) who will stay with friends during the holiday. They are also both very active community volunteers, helping to run community events such as the Black Isle Gathering and the Black Isle Messiah musical event.

Whether you long for a romantic experience like Phillip & Vee or whether you fancy something a bit more upbeat and contemporary... Vienna has it all. Traditional Viennese shops and designer stores are located side-by-side with the emporiums which used to supply the imperial court. Cozy coffee houses and popular bars are the ideal place to while away the hours and relax after a shopping trip.

The Austrian capital is also out in front when it comes to nightlife with trendy bars and restaurants, discos, small clubs and beautiful open air locations during the summer months. The bars in the first district turn night into day with cool music and exotic cocktails. The thriving club scene has also been known to transform theaters and museums into pulsating late-night dance venues.

For more information about Vienna visit vienna.info .

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Lifeguards / Leisure Club Attendants - Seasonal Placement

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Exhibition Content Developer

    £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in South Kensington, this prestigi...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - major leisure brand

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Partner

    £25000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Partner is required to ...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn