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Vienna’s Musikverein

Vienna's Musikverein

May 24, 2010 – Vienna, Austria

The Musikverein is a Neo Renaissance jewel in downtown Vienna.  Its name has a twofold meaning: the concert hall on Vienna’s Karlsplatz, and the society to which this building belongs, the Society of Music Lovers.

To me, the Musikverein is synonymous with the annual New Year’s Vienna Philharmonic concerts.  I’ve watched them each year on public television, and now I’m here to see this famous hall in person.

In 1870, three years after construction was begun, the people of Vienna rejoiced in the completion of this Greek style music hall, laying the keystone which reads: “This building is, and should remain, dedicated to the learning and mastery of the art of music: a work of art in itself, a home of music, a credit to the city and the empire.”.

At the opening concert the audience was not only impressed by the architecture, they also found the acoustics of the golden hall to be a phenomenal achievement.  Even today, the acoustics of this grand performance hall delights and amazes crowds from all over the world.

What is the secret of the golden sound in the golden hall?  The excellent acoustic qualities of the main concert hall are not the result of any architectural design strategy – scientific studies of acoustics were only systematically carried out decades later after the construction.  The golden sound in the golden hall is really just a stroke of luck.  An accidental placement of walls and a high ceiling results in nearly perfect acoustics.  The golden hall is a Mecca for acoustic scientists from all over the world.

Historically, the Musikverein has been home to both famous composers and conductors.  For three years, from 1872 to 1875, Brahms himself directed the Society of Music Lovers concerts in the golden hall.

In modern times, the Musikverein is home to the famous Vienna Philharmonic and some of the most famous conductors of the world have led this great orchestra here:  Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Claudio Abbado, and Riccardo Muti, to name only a few. They are all united by their love of the Musikverein.

Video from our visit:


Photos from our visit:

About Chris Disdero

Occupation: Software Engineer; Favorite Languages: C++ C# Objective-C; Favorite Challenge: Connecting complex programs together so that elements of one UI interoperate within the other UI; Passions: Learning new things. Photography. Electronic Music. Astronomy. Model Railroad Miniatures, Designing web sites; Favorite Getaway: San Juan Island; Personal Motto: “No matter where you go, there you are.” View all posts by Chris Disdero

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