All visitors will probably return from the capital of Austria with a package of Mozartkugels, the small, round sugar confection made of pistachio, marzipan, and nougat. It is covered with dark chocolate and created in 1890 by Salzburg confectioner Paul Fürst and named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Tourists will hardly search for a similar chocolate ball bundle highlighted with the image of Ludwig van Beethoven.
Mozart is no doubt the most identified composer with Austria, while Beethovan, born in Bonn Germany, takes a more minor status among the iconic musicians of this amazing country. However, Vienna has been left with exciting crumbs of its bread and butter music influence. In 2020 it celebrated the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth and in March 2027 more festivities are expected to mark 200 years to his disappearance. Recognized as one of the greatest composers, Vienna was the focal point of Beethoven’s life for more than 35 years. His footprints are enchanting in this amazing capital city.
The composer’s contribution to the reputation of Vienna as the classic music capital of the world is significant. Forever roaming, never settled or happy, Beethoven is thought to have lodged at numerous – some say 45, some say over 60 – different addresses in Vienna. Aged 22 he arrived in the city, living in it till his death at the age of 57.
From 1792 onwards it is believed that the composer lived permanently in Heiligenstadt, famous for its baths with a mineral-rich spring with healing qualities. Beethoven sought to cure, or at least alleviate, his hearing disorder. In his house – today a museum – he wrote to his brother a never sent letter expressing his despair over his worsening deafness. An impressive changing contemporary art creation catches the eye of the visitors. It is a montage of a picture of this Beethoven Museum and a painting by Julius Schmid of 1901. The installation reflects the question whether Beethoven really lived in this building or not? An enigma to this very day.
In the House of Music, Vienna’s interactive sound museum, one can observe Beethoven’s work and confront him and the greatest musicians of our time. A true Beethoven’s genius can also be experienced through digital music and virtual reality.
The Beethoven Frieze, a monumental fresco by Gustav Klimt, is on display in the famous Secession Building. Klimt was inspired by a statue of the composer by Max Klinger which also involves the composer’s music.
The Historic Café Frauenhuber is the oldest in Vienna, located in a building dated back in 1746. Mozart and Beethoven played their divine music.
In a building where the composer resided for a short while, Oliver Jauk operates his magical Ludvig Van restaurant. He offers a not to be missed unconventional gastronomy and an endless surprising Austrian wine selection, all inspired by unconventionality, just like the composer. We had the 5 course/5 wine dinner here and every course was just magical. Perfect tastes and an impeccable balance of flavors and ingredients. We appreciated Oliver’s fine offerings and the highlights were the – Shallot – shiitake, pecorino, Jerusalem artichoke – an unforgettable Chicken liver from the freewheeling chicken, apricot, cashew, tarragon and the Danube country lamb chick-pea, sweet pea, yogurt, mint and falafel. Yes! Falafel in a gourmet restaurant in Vienna.
We chose a totally renewed historical building of the elegant Beethoven hotel as our home. Close to the Opera House and the vibrant Vienna Naschmarkt, the best-known market with around 120 market stands and restaurants. This is a hotel for Viennese enthusiasts, reflecting endless magnificent aspects of the city’s heritage. Guests can be impressed by the pure elegance, a blend of class and modern hospitality.
“The building was inaugurated in 1902 for residents and only in 1954 it was transformed to a hotel by the widow of the owners, a family of carriages company”, says Barbara Ludwig, both owner and hotel’s General Manager. “In the 1970s bathrooms were added to each room. Owner Helene Jungreuthmeier’s grandson was an admirer of Beethoven music and he decided in the 1990s to name the hotel after his preferred composer. Over the years I knew one day I would own
this hotel and in 2009 I invested everything I had and made the Beethoven mine. Ever since the hotel was totally renovated into a unique boutique hotel with a theme. Each of the 6 floors and the 47 rooms has been decorated on a unique motif, reflecting an aspect of Viennese life. From the turn of the century writers of coffeehouses to the Beethoven era onto the Secession, every room tells a different story. Original fabrics in high-end reproductions and so many hand picked details make up the interior design. Each room reflects the life of an important historical figure. If you are a music lover then you are here in the right spot”, she says.
My room carried Koloman Moser’s name – an Austrian artist who exerted considerable influence on twentieth-century graphic art. It was totally renovated, comfortable and relaxing. I enjoyed the Viennese ambiance in the corridors, staircases and lounge. The Beethoven makes a statement at dawn. Breakfast is luxury level, elegant and enjoyable. With every bite I imagined not once going back in time to the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when Francis Joseph ruled.
The ground floor Ludwig Bar is the talk of the city, managed by vivacious award winning Isabella Lombardo. The design here is contemporary, young and instant. We tasted the hotel’s signature cocktail – the Ludwig. Its ingredients, Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva – a molasses based rum, homemade rich slightly nutty vanilla flavor of Tonka beans rich, tamarind syrup and lemon juice will send you sky-high to experience the true 2023 Vienna summer nights.
A hunt for Beethoven’s footprints in Vienna can continue for days. A never ending exploration, intriguing, delightful and unique. Another way for visitors to experience the classic music capital of the world.