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Sons of Vienna

Saturdays and Wednesdays


April will see the world premiere of the six-part series Sons of Vienna, which portrays various extraordinary composers, all of them active in the cultural city of Vienna and without a doubt deserving the label of genius. The series features classical greats from the Viennese school like Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, but also the melodious Franz Schubert, the waltzing Strauss dynasty, and covers the two-sided friendship between Schumann and Brahms! Tune in every Saturday and Wednesday evening to learn more about these legendary composers. 

Saturday, April 6 at 19:20 & Wednesday April 10 at 19:15 | Sons of Vienna: Part 1 - Papa & Wolfgang

The six-part series Sons of Vienna explores stories through the eyes of musicians, professors and musicologists. It portrays extraordinary composers who were active in the cultural city of Vienna and deserve the label of genius. In Papa & Wolfgang (Part 1) we follow the lives and work of “Papa” Josef Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In 18th century Vienna, a dynasty was born from the unbreakable bond between these two extraordinary men of music. It was a bond forged from respect and friendship. Learn how their individual skills and imagination grew and flourished; how their friendship and mutual respect took their music to places then unimagined; how their joy of life and living molded Vienna’s unique musical culture. Their story is told against the background of their time.

Saturday, April 13 at 19:25 & Wednesday April 17 at 19:05 | Sons of Vienna: Part 2 - A Lion’s Roar

In A Lion’s Roar (Part 2) we follow the life and work of Ludwig van Beethoven. More has been written about Beethoven than any other composer, yet he remains a man of mystery. In early adulthood he moved from Bonn to Vienna to study with Haydn. Within a year he had established himself as Vienna’s finest piano virtuoso. He admired Haydn and Mozart and learned much from them, yet his music was so unlike what came before. With Ludwig we always feel like a storm is just around the corner. His emotions would quickly erupt, like when he tried to break a chair over the head of his patron Prince Lichnowsky. It was Beethoven who built the creative bridge from the Classical Period to the Romantic Period, all while living in Vienna.

Saturday, April 20 at 19:20 & Wednesday April 24 at 19:25 | Sons of Vienna:  Part 3 - Man About Town

In Man About Town (Part 3) we follow the life and work of Franz Schubert, born in Vienna in 1797. For a composer of such joyful melody there is a sad side to his story. The evenings of dancing, music and banter may have been called Schubertiades, but the man himself was only ever a guest. He was not the darling of society as he’s sometimes portrayed. He lived and loved amongst a tight circle of mostly male friends who adored him and, as much as they could, protected him. But alas, they were not enough. In his mid-twenties he was stricken by disease and didn’t live to see his 32nd birthday. Schubert was a man of grace and charm, a man of limitless energy and creativity, yet his life ended before he could pay proper tribute to his greatest hero, Beethoven.

Saturday, April 27 at 19:05 & Wednesday, May 1 | Sons of Vienna: Part 4 - Cherchez la Femme

In Cherchez la Femme (Part 4) we follow the lives and works of Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms. Both were born into well-to-do families and unlike Mozart, the vaudeville-style tour as a child prodigy was refused for the young Brahms. As Brahms grew to maturity, his nights were in dance halls and Inns. Schumann was the son of an intellectual, with little interest in music. Schumann’s crippling mental condition certainly had a strong role in his death. Was Schumann’s mental anguish heightened by the ever-deepening relationship between his wife Clara and his friend Brahms? Although Brahms died a bachelor, he considered Clara his true love. How much did the relationship of these two gifted composers, their mutual respect, and their rivalry, help inspire the threads and patterns of the fabric of classical music?


Saturday, May 4 at 19:30 & Wednesday May 8 at 19:05 | Sons of Vienna: Part 5 - Dynasty of Dance

In A Dynasty of Dance (Part 5) we follow the lives and work of the Strauss dynasty. Johann Strauss, an orphan at seven and bookbinder until his mid-twenties, introduced the first dance craze the world had ever seen. He fathered three composers: Johann II “The Waltz King,” and Josef and Eduard. Strauss Sr. tried to discourage his sons from following in his footsteps. He and Johann II fought continually until the father’s death. Are Johann II’s later works a form of filial remorse? Strauss’ music is often dismissed as “light music,” but no one can deny the popularity of the Viennese Waltz, even today. The magical city of Vienna became the birthplace of yet one more important musical contribution.

Saturday, May 11 at 19:25 & Wednesday, May 15 at 19:10 | Sons of Vienna: Part 6 - Life Against the Odds

In Life Against the Odds (Part 6), we follow the life and work of Gustav Mahler. Anti-Semitism haunted the composer, but he did little to improve this situation. A womanizer, he fought enormous opposition from all sides when he married his wife Alma who, like Mahler, proved to be unfaithful. Reoccurring ill health may have led to his histrionics and lack of patience. As a conductor he was cordially loathed by musicians and patrons alike. Yet he still managed to bring a well-documented mastery that kept him steadily employed. Why were his compositions so unappreciated during his lifetime yet widely performed and praised today? Was it his reputation as a volatile conductor that forced his compositions into the shadows? Was it his antisocial behavior or simply anti-Semitism?