My Austria trip is probably one of the most memorable travels of my life. I was 17 back in 2008 and I traveled by myself for the first time. Also I was very excited to visit Austria, since Wien traditionally has been the center of classical music. I went to eight different concerts during the trip, and a few of them still remains as my all-time favorite concerts. If someone asks me now in year 2015, why I want to travel around the world, then I would tell them it all started with this 10-day journey.
My parents and I took a flight to Milan from Boston. Then we took another flight to Wien. The weather was a little rainy. We took S2 to Wien Mitte Station and checked in at the hotel. It wasn’t my first time in Europe, but I was very surprised by the antique buildings that were preserved until modern days. I guess I finally went over the age limit of appreciating all those antique architectures. Cities outside of Europe seem rather manufactured and buildings that are hundreds of years old are usually taken cared by curators not by everyday people.
Lunch at Kaerntner Street
We walked to the Kaerntner Street to have light lunch at Ristorante Venezia 1º Piano. The street was beautiful and alive. Even Macdonald’s look very sophisticated inside the street.
House of Music
Then we went to visit Haus der Musik. It educated the visitors with history, science and technology of music and sound. I got to learn about the various lives of composers, different kinds of instruments, and cutting-edge information on the science of sound. There was also a fun program where I conduct the screen orchestra, and it will play Eine Kleine Nachtmusik based on the tempo I give. I really want to visit this place again and spend some quality time when I get a chance to visit Wien again.
Dinner near Musikverein
In the evening, we went to the famous Musikverein to pick up my Wien Philharmonic Orchestra concert ticket. I was really excited :D! We went to a cafe nearby to have dinner. Musikverein was amazing. Its sophisticated beauty made my experience even more special. I think I was the only young man inside the house.
Wien Philharmonic Orchestra
C. Debussy – Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune
M. Ravel – Concert for Piano & Orchestra G-dur
A. Honegger – 3rd Symphony
Debussy’s started with a flute, exchanging its motive with an oboe. The motive developed as the piece went on. It kept the fantastic, mysterious ambiance throughout the piece.
Ravel’s Piano Concerto with pianist Nelson Goerner was a goosebump-perfect performance. Encore! The first movement had a set of contrasts in dynamics, between instruments, and piano techniques. The second movement was beauuutiful. The pianist used his entire body to perform and the whole orchestra had one voice. The third movement was just breathtaking. I don’t know how he does it, but the pianist kept his lightness throughout this Presto piece like a master.
Honegger’s 3rd Symphony was like a journey from hell to heaven. The first movement reminded me of hell. The surname of the movement was Dies Irae and I could see why. I was so impressed by the conductor, how he maintained all these going. The second movement has cellos cleansing all the madness, but polyphony and harmony went back and forth. The third movement started with an apocalyptic turmoil once again, but the cello sings out a note, to bring a powerful turnover to the piece. With a violin’s high note, finally, Dona Nobils Pacem.