• Statue of Schubert, Stadtpark in Vienna

    Travelling through Austria like Schubert

    Franz Schubert was a son of Vienna. He was a city boy, party host, romantic poet, and sweet melody composer. Vienna was his main source of inspiration but ever so often, he left his native town for some Sommerfrische – literally, “summer fresh” – to enjoy Austria’s vivid landscape and summer idyll, as well as visit his friends and sponsors. You bet that wherever and with whomever he travelled, music abounded.

    by Marsa Kindl-Omuse and Marietta Steinhart

    Places in Vienna

    • Schubertpark in Vienna, original graves of Beethoven and Schubert
    • Schubert Church organ - Parish Lichtental, Vienna
    • Statue of Schubert, Stadtpark in Vienna
    • Jesuit Church in Vienna
    • Vienna City Library in the City Hall
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    • Stop 1: Schubert's Birthplace
      (Nußdorfer Straße 54, Vienna)

      This house in the 9th district in Vienna is where Schubert was born in a tiny little kitchen on January 31, 1797. It’s now the Schubert Geburtshaus museum and presents among others the famous contemporary portraits of Schubert by Wilhelm August Rieder, Moritz von Schwind and Leopold Kupelwieser, and Franz Schubert's trademark spectacles.

      Stop 2: Schubert’s Place of Death
      (Kettenbrückengasse 6, Vienna)

      Franz Schubert died on November 19, 1828, in his brother Ferdinand’s apartment in the house “Auf der neue Wieden N° 694.” He was only 31 years old. He had been suffering from unhealed syphilis, but the cause of death was probably typhus. The apartment is a small three-roomed museum with creaking wooden floors and whitewashed walls. You will find a real lock of Schubert’s hair, a piano from back then belonging to his brother, and reproductions of original sheet music, including “Taubenpost,” the last song he wrote.

      Stop 3: Währinger Schubertpark
      (Teschnergasse 31, Vienna)

      Schubert was buried next to Beethoven in the Währinger Ortsfriedhof, now a public park. He admired Beethoven tremendously, but his shy character hindered him from approaching his idol during his lifetime. Only in his death he succeeded to be close. In 1888 Schubert’s bones were transferred to a grave of honour in the Vienna Central Cemetery (group 32 A, number 28). The site of the original grave in the Schubertpark still features the headstone that reads, “The art of music here interred a rich possession, but still far fairer hopes.”

    • Stop 4: Lichtentaler Pfarrkirche / Schubertkirche
      (Marktgasse 40, Vienna)

      Schubert was baptised in this charming neighbourhood church, also known as the Schubertkirche. The composer went on to sing in the choir, play the organ (which you can still see) and compose several works for the church. They offer concerts throughout the year and a Schubert Festival.

      Stop 5: Stadtpark

      Vienna’s central city park displays a Schubert statue, erected in 1872. The figure shows Schubert sitting thoughtfully, musing, just waiting for the right inspiration. This is a noteworthy contrary to the large, gilded statue of the nearby Johann Strauss Jr. memorial.

      Stop 6: Dr.-Ignaz-Seipel-Platz

      Since Schubert had a very beautiful voice as a child, he became a court choirboy early on. At the age of eleven he entered the kaiserlich-königliches Stadtkonvikt (The Imperial-Royal City College), which lies on this beautiful old square. The court conductor Antonio Salieri, a famous peer of Mozart and teacher-to-be of Schubert, quickly recognized Schubert’s talent. The square also features Schubert’s school, the Jesuitenkirche (Jesuit church) and the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

      Stop 7: Wienbibliothek in Vienna's City Hall

      The Vienna City Library in Vienna’s City Hall is home to the Schubert Collection, the largest of its kind in the world. It currently comprises around 340 autographs of music, first editions of almost all compositions, numerous later editions, and personal documents, as well as extensive international literature on Schubert. It is a paradise for anyone interested in historic documents.

    More Places in Vienna and also Lower Austria

    • St. Stephen's Cathedral
    • Neue Burg, Vienna Hofburg
    • The Porcelain Manufactory Augarten
    • Franz Schubert (1797-1828), 1825 (w/c on paper) by Wilhelm August Rieder (1796-1880)
    • Central Cemetery
    • Schubertianer
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    • Stop 8: Zu den Drei Hacken
      (Singerstraße 28, Vienna)

      The legendary Wiener Gasthaus Zu den drei Hacken, not far from St. Stephen’s Cathedral, is somewhat of a Viennese institution. It is the very same one where Schubert used to eat, drink (preferably beer) and (presumably) compose in. The menu offers Austrian classics such as Grießnockerlsuppe (semonlina dumpling soup), Krautfleckerl, (pasta with cabbage) and Kaiserschmarrn (cut-up and sugared pancakes with raisins).

      Stop 9: Neue Burg
      (Heldenplatz, Vienna)

      The historic musical instrument collection housed in the Neue Burg wing of the Hofburg (Imperial Palace) displays a square piano that Schubert used when composing. During Schubert’s time, the first square pianos were invented as they were more inexpensive and smaller than the grand pianos for the upper class and promoted domestic music-making in smaller spaces. The perfect instrument for Schubert’s homey Schubertiaden with his friends. The historical musical instrument collection can be accessed via the Weltmuseum Wien.

      Stop 10: Augarten Park
      (Obere Augartenstraße, Vienna)

      Schubert performed “An die Nachtigall” in 1824 in the Augartensaal. There’s a plaque outside the building, which is now home to the Vienna Porcelain Manufactury and Museum. Founded in 1718, the Vienna Porcelain Manufactory is the second oldest in Europe, and now as then, porcelain is made and painted by hand. They even have their own Schubert porcelain collection. The park is also home to the Vienna Boys Choir with their own concert hall MuTh, as well as Vienna’s oldest baroque garden.

    • Stop 11: Das Dreimäderlhaus
      (Schreyvogelgasse 10, Vienna)

      The name Dreimäderlhaus goes back to the legend that Schubert is said to have had a romance with the three daughters of the glazier Franz Tschöll, Hannerl, Hederl and Heiderl, who lived here. It makes for a good story, but the tiny house, right next to the Pasqualati Haus where Ludwig van Beethoven lived for a few years, has no connection to the real Schubert. The story is based on the novel “Schwammerl” by Rudolf Hans Bartsch. This novel also served as a template for the Singspiel “Das Dreimäderlhaus” and two films. And when you’re already there, have some newly interpreted classics of Austrian cuisine at the Schubert Restaurant.

      Stop 12: Vienna Central Cemetery
      (Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, Vienna)

      In 1888, a few years after his death, his grave was moved from Währinger Ortsfriedhof (today the Schubertpark) to the Zentralfriedhof (Vienna Central Cemetery) to grave 28, group 32A in what is called the composer section. Beethoven lives at 29 and Johann Strauss II at 27. The Zentralfriedhof cemetery is very big, but this special section is easy to find. Enter at the main entrance (Tor 2) and simply walk straight ahead through the arcade. Schubert and many of his fellow composers reside just beyond, on the left.

      Stop 13: Atzenbrugg Castle
      (Atzenbrugg, Lower Austria) 

      Franz Schubert and his friends were regular guests at this medieval castle in Lower Austria, only about 30 minutes outside of Vienna. A museum dedicated to the composer was founded in 1986 and is located in the main wing. The park with its baroque garden pavilion (“Schubert's composing house”) invites for a stroll. And to this day, the castle offers intimate concerts and Schubertiaden.

    Places in Upper Austria

    • Linz - Old town
    • Stalzerhaus in Steyr
    • Lake castle Ort, lake Traunsee
    • Steyregg Castle
    • Gardens of Kremsmünster Abbey
    • St. Florian Abbey in Upper Austria
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    • Stop 14: Linz

      Schubert's first important circle of friends was formed in Linz, with the Spaun family at its centre. Those interested in literature and philosophy organized readings and social gatherings in this musical city along the Danube, which later would become famous as Schubertiaden

      Stop 15: Das Stalzerhaus
      (Stadtplatz 34, Steyr, Upper Austria)

      “In the house where I live, there are eight girls, almost all of them pretty. You see, one has more than enough to do,” a merry Schubert wrote in a letter to his brother, at Stadtplatz 34. The composer lived in this house in 1819 and probably again in 1823. It was in this historic old town, where Schubert, while on vacation, composed his famous “Forellenquintett.” The upbeat Piano Quintet clearly reflects the 22-year-old Schubert in his surroundings: summertime vacation in the countryside for a man who had spent his entire life in the city. Built on the banks of the River Steyr, the town is like an historic masterpiece with its medieval buildings, a 17th century fountain in the Stadtplatz, an 18th century Rathaus, and the restored Gothic Bummerlhaus.

      Stop 16: Gmunden
      (Salzkammergut, Upper Austria)

      East of Salzburg lies the Traunsee, a picturesque Alpine lake in the Salzkammergut region. At its head sits the charming summer town of Gmunden, where Schubert and his friend Michael Vogl stayed for some weeks here in 1825. “I am now back in Steyr, but I was in Gmunden for six weeks, the surroundings of which are truly heavenly...,” he wrote.

    • Stop 17: Steyregg Castle

      At the foot of Pfenning mountain, close to the Danube river, lies the medieval Steyregg Castle. Schubert's “Ellens dritter Gesang,” better known as “Ave Maria,” the piece based on Walter Scott's poem ”The Lady of the Lake,” is said to have first been performed at the castle of Countess Sophie Weissenwolff in the little Austrian town and dedicated to her, which led to her becoming known as “the lady of the lake” herself.

      Stop 18: Kremsmünster Abbey

      Two of his trips took Schubert to Kremsmünster Abbey (founded in 777 AD), where he loved to play the piano with P. Heinrich Hassak, major domo of the abbey. Many song transcripts, early prints and autographs have been preserved by this Benedictine Monastery and UNESCO site. The abbey church is an important example of Austria’s Baroque era, filled with delicate stucco, vibrant frescoes, and exquisite tapestries.

      Stop 19: St. Florian Abbey
      Franz Schubert’s works were often performed in this baroque monastery since one of his best friends and librettists, Johann Mayrhofer, was then a member of the community. Schubert wrote in 1825, “In Upper Austria I find my compositions everywhere, especially in the monasteries of St. Florian and Kremsmünster...”

    Places in Vorarlberg, Salzburg, Styria & Burgenland

    • Herrengasse in Graz
    • Schwarzenberg im Bregenzerwald
    • View of the city of Salzburg during Sprintime
    • Haydn Church in Eisenstadt
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    • Stop 20: Graz
      (Herrengasse 28, Styria)

      Franz Schubert visited the Pachler family in 1827, whose house at Herrengasse 28 was a cultural centre in Graz. Five years earlier „Der Erlkönig” (The Erlking) had its premiere here and thus triggered a Schubert-mania that was growing steadily. His stay was short, but he took home some of the songs and piano dances named after the city: the “Grazer Walzer” and the “Grazer Gallop.”

      Stop 21: Hohenems and Schwarzenberg

      During Franz Schubert’s lifetime he would give intimate house concerts for his friends, famously known as Schubertiaden. Today, this term also refers to concert series and festivals, such as the renowned Schubertiade Festival in Vorarlberg. With around 80 events and 35,000 visitors annually, it is the world’s most important event in honour of Schubert and takes place in Hohenems and Schwarzenberg.

    • Stop 22: Salzburg
      (Judengasse 8)

      Salzburg will always be Wolfgang Amadé Mozart’s town. The Austrian composer was born here, and his irrevocable footprints are everywhere. But a plaque donated by the Wiener Schubertbund in 1923 on the house at Judengasse 8 in the old town of Salzburg commemorates the visit of Franz Schubert, who stayed at the “Gasthof zum Mohren” during his stay in this UNESCO World Heritage-listed city. In a famous letter to his brother, he was very impressed with the beautiful squares, the “fabulous” and “magical” Untersberg, the Kapuzinerberg with its “enormous” wall, the Mönchsberg and the “heavenly” Salzburger Dom (Salzburg Cathedral).

      Stop 23: Joseph Haydn’s Grave

      (Eisenstadt, Burgenland)

      Not long before his own death, in 1828, Franz Schubert went on a three-day walking tour – some 35 miles each way – to Eisenstadt, with his brother Ferdinand, to dwell at the grave of the admired Joseph Haydn, the Austrian “Father of the Symphony.” People travel here every year to visit the Haydn Church, his baroque house, and his “Kuchlgartl” (a little herb garden).

    Travel through Austria like Schubert