Before being the Haus der Musik, the building was actually used for several different reasons, including an imperial foundry, a pawn shop and auction house and Archduke Charles’ palace from 1805 (who’s statue can be found on
). Most notably, however, Otto Nicolai lived in this palace from 1841 until 1847. Explore the photos to learn more! Heldenplatz
The museum his organized by floors. The first floor gives an overview of the founding of the Vienna Philharmonic. The second floor is the Sonosphere. There are a lot of cool experiments with sounds that can be done on that floor. There’s even an exhibit that shows what it’s like to be in the womb! This floor is very educational and fun; a great place for school field trips! The third floor leads the visitor through the lives of some of the famous “Viennese” composers. I put Viennese in quotes because, as you will see, most of the composers were not actually born in Vienna. Personally, the third floor was my favorite. Finally, there’s a fourth floor that offers a couple more games to engage the guest with music.
Special thanks to the
, which guides you nicely throughout the Museum. Haus der Musik app
Once you go up the Musical Stairs, the museum leads to a hall detailing the history of the State Opera and its composers.
One of my favorite parts of the museum was this listening station on the first floor. Classical music is usually characterized as boring and repetitive by the masses today. This station shows how contemporary artists have been inspired by that music and turned it into "exciting" music for our generation. When testing it out with a friend, be sure to remember that while you can't hear yourself talk because of the headphones, you might actually not be as quiet as you think 😉
The first floor is filled with fun musical games such as the Piano Steps and the Waltz Dice Game. The Waltz Dice Game was actually inspired by a game between Mozart and Joseph Hadyn where they too would leave it up to chance to string random melodies along and see what happens.
Otto Nicolai was a composer originally from Germany. He became the conductor of the Court Opera in 1841. A year later, he organized a "Grand Concert", which is considered the beginning of the Philharmonic. Since 1946, the Vienna Philharmonic also performs an annual New Year's Concert.
While I did not see the Vienna Philharmonic perform, I did go to a beautiful
at Palais Schönborn (not to be confused with Schloß Schönbrunn). Even if you are not a particular fan of classical music, going to one of the classical concerts is an absolute must in my book!
Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was born in lower Austria into a very poor family. He moved into the attic of a house in Vienna when he was but a boy to develop his singing. The family living below him helped him become Court Musical Director. Late in his career, Haydn performed two concert tours in England, where they loved him very much and paid him very well. While he never decided to settle down there, he brought back a parrot that was rumored to have been able to say "Papa Haydn". The stuffed parrot now hangs in this room. Additionally, because of his trips to England, he was finally able to buy a home. His fourth and final home is located in the sixth district 6 and can be toured today. Find out more about the
Franz Schubert (1797- 1828) is the first "authentically" Viennese composer of this exposition as well as the first of the Romantic Era. He was born to a teacher in 1797. Because of the high cost of living, the family could only afford an apartment with two rooms: one for the family and one for the classroom. While Schubert composed more than 1000 pieces, he didn't own a piano until the last six months of his life. He usually composed the pieces in his head and went to a friend's house if he needed to test a melody. Like Mozart and many others of their time, Schubert died young of disease. In fact, of his 13 siblings, only four survived into adulthood (five including him).
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) like Mozart had a habit of constantly moving. While Mozart averaged about one residence per year for the 11 years that he lived in Vienna, Beethoven averaged two residences per year for the 35 years that he lived in the city. In Beethoven's case though, it was most likely because he wasn't quite the most considerate of neighbors. It is said that when he would get worked up, he would pour a cold bucket of water on his head. He was also hard of hearing most of his life and eventually went deaf for the last nine years of his life. Because of this, he would bang loudly on his piano and would still be able to hear it only barely. Nevertheless, he continued to compose beautiful pieces, even though he couldn't actually hear them anymore. While he did not have any luck in the love department, he wrote a couple pieces to some of his mistresses. One of the pieces is known today by any little girl with a musical jewelry box:
The Virtual Conductor Room is another one of the ways that the museum seeks to engage the visitor in learning about classical music.