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2.110332 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - AUSTRIA: Viennese Vineyards / Steyr / Gmunden (NTSC)

A Musical Visit to Viennese Vineyards, the Salzkammergut, Steyr and Gmunden
With music by Franz Schubert



Grinzing, Baden, Gumpoldskirchen

Vienna has a long connection with wine. Among particular celebrations of the surrounding area is the Heurigen, the welcome given to the new vintage, for sale where traditional inns display a green bough outside. Grinzing, a short drive from the centre of Vienna, is surrounded by vineyards and devoted principally to the new wine, grown by the proprietors themselves. The buildings of the old village are highly characteristic.

Further to the south of Vienna lies Baden, the largest spa town in Austria, with its medicinal waters and good wine, the former exploited by the Romans. The main square is bounded by the early 19th century Rathaus, by the Kaiserhaus, the former summer residence of the Emperor Franz I, and by the Frauenkirche. There is a plague monument, erected in the early 18th century.

Some five miles away, on the way back to the city, is the village of Gumpoldskirchen, a name well known to wine lovers and a centre of the Heurigen. The Rathaus here was built in 1559 and there is a much restored castle.

Music Schubert: Quintet in A major, D. 667, ‘Trout’ – I. Allegro vivace

In March 1817 Schubert met the distinguished singer Michael Vogl at his friend Schober’s. A friend and colleague of Mozart’s pupil Süssmayr, Vogl had long been known to Schubert by reputation. He was to become a close friend of the composer and an important interpreter of his songs. In the summer of 1819 Vogl and Schubert, as dissimilar in appearance as in age, set out to spend some weeks in Vogl’s native district of Steyr. It was there that Schubert started work on the Piano Quintet in A major, known, from the theme of the fourth movement, as The Trout, taking its melody from Schubert’s song of that name. The new work was intended for Sylvester Paumgartner, manager of the Steyr iron-works, and an amateur cellist and local patron of music. It was scored, at Paumgartner’s request, for the same forces as a quintet by Hummel, violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano. The first movement has a characteristic principal melody, reminding us of Schubert's genius as a creator of songs, and leads through typically remoter keys during its progress.


Salzkammergut Landscape

The Salzkammergut, or Salt Chamber Estate, was gradually acquired by the Emperors as a crown property and source of revenue. It is now divided between the provinces of Salzburg, Styria and Upper Austria, but largely lies in this last. It is known for the beauty of its natural scenery, lakes, waterfalls, valleys and mountains.

Music Schubert: Quintet in A major, D. 667, ‘Trout’ – II. Andante

The second movement, in the key of F major, in which the piano announces the first melody, leads to two other thematic elements in the more distant keys of F sharp minor and D major and to further harmonic complexity in deceptively simple guise.


Town Scenes, Steyr

The town of Steyr has a particular connection with Schubert’s Trout Quintet, conceived during his visit to the town in 1819. It has iron-works that date back a thousand years, an important adjunct to earlier warfare. Built on the banks of the River Steyr, the town has fine medieval buildings, with a 17th century fountain in the Stadtplatz, an 18th century Rathaus and the restored Gothic Bummerlhaus. There is an old nativity scene, the Steyrer Kripperl (Steyr Crib), now in the museum, but its fame reflected in the town itself, which is not far from Christkindl, believed by children to be the home of Father Christmas, to whom they address annual requests.

Music Schubert: Quintet in A major, D. 667, ‘Trout’ – III. Scherzo: Presto

The third movement Scherzo of the quintet, in A major, frames a contrasting D major Trio.


Tyrol Landscape, Steyr

Schubert himself took much pleasure in the countryside round Steyr, by the banks of the River Steyr or the wider River Enns, which it joins.

Music Schubert: Quintet in A major, D. 667, ‘Trout’ – IV. Theme and Variations: Andantino

Moving now to D major, the theme of Schubert’s song Die Forelle (The Trout) is heard, played by the strings, to be followed by five variations. In the first of these the theme is heard from the piano, followed in the second by the viola, then the cello. The fourth variation is in a dramatic D minor, followed by a fifth variation in B flat major. The final part of the movement brings the theme back in the violin and in D major once more.


Steyrtalbahn (Steyr Valley Railway)

The beauty of the countryside can be enjoyed from the steam train that follows a single track by the banks of the Steyr.

Music Schubert: Quintet in A major, D.667, ‘Trout’: V. Allegro giusto

The last movement re-establishes the key of A major, adding a second theme that has reminiscences of The Trout. There is no central development, but thematic material is discussed in passing, providing a conclusion in the same happy mood with which the work had begun.



East of Salzburg lies the Traunsee, a lake fed by the River Traun, and at its head is the summer resort of Gmunden, divided by the river. The town was at one time the administrative centre for the Salzkammergut. Schubert and his friend Michael Vogl stayed for some weeks in Gmunden in 1825 and Schubert intended to return in 1828, but was prevented by the illness that led to his death in the winter of the same year. There are historical buildings, including the old Rathaus, built largely in the 16th century with a frontage added a century later.

Music Schubert: Trio in E flat major, D. 897, ‘Notturno’

The Trio in E flat major, given the title Notturno after Schubert’s death, was seemingly written in 1828 and perhaps intended as the slow movement of a piano trio. It was not published until 1846, and its general mood is suggested in its adopted title.

Keith Anderson

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