22 August 2012

Following the trail of Anton Bruckner in Austria (1) -- Overview

It has always been my dream to visit the monastery of St. Florian where Bruckner has lived and worked, and his sarcophagus placed under the organ in the stift.

When the opportunity arose, my wife and I joined the Bruckner tour organised by John Berky (www.abruckner.com) and Imperial Connection Beck OG, with the aim of tracing Anton Bruckner's trail in Austria. My thanks are due to John for coming up with the idea and then taking the trouble to draft the itinerary and making special arrangements for some unusual visits. 

The tour effectively started on 13 August from Vienna. I didn't add a new blog entry about this trip till today as internet access was limited during the trip and I had quite a bad jet-lag in the first few days.

In short we followed Bruckner's trail in roughly reversed chronological order: from Vienna to Linz and Enns, then St. Florian, Kronstorf, Steyr, Ansfelden (Bruckner's birthplace), Windhaag and Wilhering. On the last day on 21 August, we had a very brief visit to Klosterneuburg as well. It would be impractical to follow his trail in strict chronological order (reversed or not). The itinerary has covered most, if not all, of the important places where Bruckner has lived or worked. However I'm afraid it is not the intention of the tour to cover every trace of Bruckner in Austria in his lifetime, as there are simply too many trivial ones to cover if completeness is aimed.

As the title suggests, I'll describe this trip according to the chronological order of Bruckner's life, although it may mean reshuffling of the events in this tour, because I think it will be more logical and easier to follow. On the other hand, as "a picture speaks a thousand words", many photos will be posted.

The following list shows the periods of Bruckner's life in relation to his residence, tuition or work and it also gives a bird-eye's view of my photographic account of this trip in Austria:

1824-35     Ansfelden (1)
1835-36     Hörsching
1837          Ansfelden (2)
1837-40     St. Florian (1)
1840-41     Linz (1)
1841-43     Windhaag
1843-45     Kronstorf, Enns, Steyr
1845-55     St. Florian (2)
1855-68     Linz (2)
1868-96     Vienna
1896          St. Florian (resting place) 

This tour not only allows me to retrace the trail of Anton Bruckner, but also, more importantly, gives me a golden opportunity to meet many wonderful persons and become friends with them.

Books, a small bust and the fascimile of the autograph of the Finale of Symphony No. 9 became my pastime during the trip

04 August 2012

BBC Proms 2012 at the Royal Albert Hall

Daniel Barenboim brought us a Beethoven Symphonies cycle in the BBC Proms 2012, conducting the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra with which he had recorded a complete cycle for DG. When I listened to the recordings a couple of months ago, I felt a little disappointed with the Third Symphony, a rather lacklustre performance. However, on the night of 21 July, the Eroica was excellent, with captivating musical flow and momentum.

The following are a few pictures of the Royal Albert Hall at that time:

The full glory of the Royal Albert Hall during the day

The BBC Proms 2012 signage

Inside the RAH

Barenboim and the orchestra

A view of the RAH after the concert

The 2012 Summer Olympics is held in London. The Tower Bridge is decorated with the five Olympic rings as shown below.