Classic Exclusive Quartet, Vienna

As we arrived at St Anne’s Church (which is about five minutes walk from Stephansplatz in the very centre of the city) we were handed a printed sheet, telling us the program for the night.

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There were going to be the four movements of KV 387 (the ‘Spring’ quartet) by Mozart, then the four that make up Opus 18 No 4 by Beethoven.

At the bottom of the page was printed ‘It is not common to applaud between the movements.’ I was so pleased to see that; a few days earlier we’d been at the performance of the Spanish Riding School and the crowd had applauded loudly far too often. It breaks the flow of the performance, I find, however well meaning it might be. The well dressed lady in front of us was just finishing her Burger King take out meal as we sat down.

“Phew, lucky the leaflet said that at the bottom,” I said to Lamia, “she’s the type to applaud at the drop of the hat if nothing had been said…”

We heard the quartet tuning up in one of the rooms to the left of the altar and, realizing that we had a few minutes free, took the opportunity to have a look at the church interior. It’s brightly painted in the Baroque style with the frescos of Daniel Gran, the topics of which are the Glory of St. Anne, the Glory of the Virgin Mary and the Glory of the new born Christ Child, and the altarpiece is flanked by blue marble pillars and red marble inlays with plenty of gold framing the frescos.

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Despite Vienna shivering in the depth of winter, the inside of the church was warm. Soon four girls appeared with violin and cello. We’d arrived quite late – just five minutes before the performance was due to start – so we had seats at the back. This was a shame as I think it’s nice to see the faces of the players during a performance, there’s such visible emotion at times. Still, it was our fault, we should’ve arrived earlier, and we advise you to do so if you’d like to see the performers as well as listen to them.

The quartet played faultlessly, with feeling. At times I found that the music became a soundtrack as my eyes wandered over the baroque splendour.

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The performance was perhaps more for those who know their classical music, as opposed to those who just want a general overview of the better known music to come out of Vienna. I really wanted to enjoy the evening to the maximum, as some inner sense told me that this was a superb performance by talented artists, and I did get great pleasure from the performance although I also felt that I would’ve enjoyed it more had I cultivated a far greater understanding of classical music before our trip. That’s true of Vienna as a whole though, I think; the more you know about ‘High Art’ the more you’re going to appreciate your visit; it’s a city that repays those with refined tastes, for sure.

There was an encore, Bach’s ‘Air on a G String’, during which the church lights glowed into life to eventually illuminate the entire roof frescos. Wonderful. 

To discover more about this performance, please visit http://www.classicexclusive.com

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