Six of the best musical attractions

HOFBURG PALACE

You could probably skip the predictable boredom of the baroque state apartments in this sprawling imperial palace and head to the Historical Instrument Collection, which tells you about the evolution of musical instruments. The elegantly inlaid and decorated Renaissance and Baroque clavichords and lutes are wonderful, and you can admire pianos related to Schubert, Brahms, Liszt and Mahler. You can also play replica instruments. Meanwhile, the palace regularly hosts classical concerts and the dancing horses of the Spanish Riding School. The ethereal Vienna Boys Choir, founded in 1498, sings in the Hofburg Chapel. See www.wien.info

MOZART APARTMENT

Vienna, Austria - October 2021: Mozart's house (haus) in Vienna satmar12vienna six of the best Austrian music in Vienna;  text by Brian Johnston;  (istock image, reuse permitted, no syndication) cr: iStock iStock (reuse permitted, no syndication)

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Mozart lived in 11 different places in Vienna but was perhaps happiest at 5 Domgasse just behind the cathedral, where he wrote Figaro’s wedding and devotes himself to chamber music with his friend Haydn. Few things are original and the period furnishings seem too sophisticated for Mozart’s budget, but digital harpsichords and headphones allow you to listen to his classics while gazing up at the Baroque ceiling in the maestro’s bedroom. The exhibitions mainly focus on Mozart’s operas and the Vienna of his time. Elsewhere in the city, you can visit the residences of Beethoven, Schubert, Haydn and Strauss. See wienmuseum.at

STADTPARK

Monument to famous composer Johann Strauss at Stadtpark in spring, Vienna, Austria satmar12vienna six of the best Austrian music in Vienna;  text by Brian Johnston;  cr: iStock (reuse authorized, no syndication)

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This shady downtown oasis of lawns, flower beds and groves of trees offers relaxation after an overdose of history and culture, but music lovers will be even more delighted by its collection of statues and busts. Most eye-catching is a gilded statue of Johann Strauss the Younger playing the violin under a mossy stone archway, but the viewer will also find Schubert hidden under a tree, a grimacing bust of Lehar, and several others. Meanwhile, the Kursalon, an opulent former spa pavilion, hosts frivolous but entertaining concerts by Strauss and Mozart for those who prefer light classical music. See wien.gv.at; kursalonwien.at

STATE OPERA

Festive cityscape - view of the Vienna State Opera on Christmas Eve, Austria, December 2, 2019 satmar12vienna six of the best Austrian music in Vienna;  text by Brian Johnston;  cr: iStock (reuse authorized, no syndication)

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Bring ceremonial dress (the Viennese are dressed) for an evening in this sumptuous neo-Renaissance opera house rich in cornices, gilding and red carpets, and adorned with tapestries depicting scenes from The magic flute. It manages the largest opera and ballet repertoire in the world with a particular focus on Mozart, Wagner and 20th century operas, and it is all first class. You can also take guided tours focusing on architecture. The opera’s reputedly cheap standing tickets have been suspended due to COVID regulations, but seats are being offered instead at the usual bargain price of 10 euros. See wiener-staatsoper.at

HOUSE OF MUSIC

satmar12vienna six of the best music from vienna austria;  text by Brian Johnston;  cr: Alamy (image provided, one-time printing and online use, no archiving, no syndication, fees apply) 2G6AR98 Children interacting in the Haus der Musik museum

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This museum of sound and music is a delight for its playful, interactive yet educational exhibits that allow visitors to experiment with sound morphing, create a waltz by shaking dice, have their name inserted into a “Mozart” composition and conduct a virtual philharmonic orchestra. The kids will love it, but the Haus is also informative. It covers the lives of seven great composers, introduces musical concepts and draws connections between musical styles and historical periods. A section devoted to the history of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is installed in the apartment of its founder Otto Nicolai. See hausdermusik.com

CENTRAL CEMETERY

Beautiful central cemetery church in Vienna in autumn, Austria satmar12vienna six of the best music in vienna austria;  text by Brian Johnston;  cr: iStock (reuse authorized, no syndication)

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The Zentralfriedhof is the final resting place of some three million people, including quite a few decaying composers such as Beethoven, Brahms, Gluck, Salieri, the Strausses and (packaging the finest plot of the lot) Schubert. Mozart gets a memorial, although he was thrown into a pauper’s grave elsewhere. There are plenty of other reasons to visit this leafy, sprawling cemetery used by the Viennese for jogging and cycling, including fabulous architecture (Art Nouveau church, crazy Arabic-style crematorium) and lavish tombs. The fascinating Funeral Museum will delight the spooky, while a horse-drawn carriage ride proves that romance never dies. See www.wien.info

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