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Zentralfriedhof Wien: Where the Great Composers Go to Decompose ^ | March 7th, 2008 | | | Blair Sanderson

Posted on 03/28/2008 2:49:08 PM PDT by Borges

No cemetery in the world boasts more graves of great classical composers and other famous musicians than the massive Central Cemetery in Vienna (Zentralfriedhof Wien), which is the biggest of almost 50 cemeteries in the city. The burial ground, which was opened in 1874, is Europe’s largest in number of interred, holding the remains of over three million people, and the second largest in area. Of course, notables in politics, science, literature, and the arts receive their due among the most visited sites, grouped in the Ehrengräber (Honorary Graves). However, the most celebrated tenants of all are the many musicians, who make this place a natural tourist attraction for Austria’s music capital.

Group 32 A in the cemetery is the location of the most illustrious composers and has been a popular destination for music lovers since the late 19th century. Johannes Brahms (May 7, 1833 – April 3, 1897), Plot No. 26

By the time of Johannes Brahms’ death, the Zentralfriedhof had been well-established as the final resting place of Vienna’s elite, so his original grave is located at this site, without any of the strange post-mortem relocations suffered by some of his famous neighbors.

Johann Strauss II (October 25, 1825 – June 3, 1899), Plot No. 27

Next to Brahms’ grave is the plot of his close friend and fellow composer, Johann Strauss, Jr., the author of The Beautiful Blue Danube, which Brahms wished he had written. As one of Vienna’s most honored sons, he was buried with his third wife, Adele, between Brahms and Schubert.

Franz Peter Schubert (January 31, 1797 – November 19, 1828), Plot No. 28

At Schubert’s final request, the composer of the “Unfinished” Symphony was buried on the outskirts of Vienna in Währinger Cemetery, two plots away from Beethoven’s grave. But on October 13, 1863, Schubert’s remains were exhumed along with Beethoven’s, and both composers’ skeletons were examined, placed in fresh coffins, and reburied next to each other.

Ludwig van Beethoven (December 16, 1770 – March 26, 1827), Plot No. 29

When the Währinger Cemetery was closed in 1888, Beethoven and Schubert were re-exhumed on June 22 of that year, moved to their present resting place in the Zentralfriedhof, and given suitably impressive monuments. (At this second exhumation, composer and curiosity-seeker Anton Bruckner was present, and from his own report, he lost a lens from his pince-nez, which he assumed must have fallen among Beethoven’s bones!)

Christoph Willibald Gluck (July 2, 1714 - November 15, 1787), Plot No. 49

Though Gluck made his career in Paris as a composer of operas, he retired in Vienna, where he succumbed to a stroke at 73. His remains were originally buried at Matzleinsdorfer Friedhof in Vienna, but were moved to Zentralfriedhof in 1923 to be placed among Vienna’s most honored musicians.

Also included in Group 32 A are the graves of Johann Strauss I (Plot No. 15), Eduard Strauss (Plot 42), Josef Strauss (Plot No. 44), Franz von Suppé (Plot No. 31), and Hugo Wolf (Plot No. 10)

But these famous musical residents are by no means the only composers memorialized at Zentralfriedhof.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (January 27, 1756 – December 5, 1791), Plot 55

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s body is irretrievably lost, buried in an unmarked grave in Vienna’s St. Marx Cemetery, but there is an impressive marker commemorating him at the Central Cemetery.

Antonio Salieri (August 18, 1750 – May 7, 1825) Group O, grave 54

Fans of the film Amadeus may note with interest that Mozart’s rival, Antonio Salieri, is inhumed here, though his marker is not quite as impressive as the monument to Mozart. Salieri had previously been buried in Matzleinsdorfer Friedhof, but like his students Beethoven and Schubert, he eventually found a place at the Zentralfriedhof.

Arnold Schoenberg (September 13, 1874 – July 13, 1951), Group 32 C, Number 21A

One of the most distinctive sculptures looms over Arnold Schoenberg’s resting place, a massive cube-like monument that is as modernist in appearance as the composer’s music sounded. This stone was sculpted by Fritz Wotruba, designer of Vienna’s abstract Church of the Holy Trinity, who is also buried in this cemetery.

Located in other sections of the Zentralfriedhof are such noteworthy composers as Alexander von Zemlinsky (October 14, 1871 – March 15, 1942), Hans Rott (August 1, 1858 - June 25, 1884), Hans Pfitzner (May 5, 1869 – May 22, 1949), Robert Stolz (August 25, 1880 – June 27, 1975), Franz Schmidt (December 22, 1874 – February 11, 1939), Egon Wellesz (October 21, 1885 – November 9, 1974), Carl Czerny (February 21, 1791 – July 15, 1857), Karl Goldmark (May 18, 1830 - January 02, 1915), Johann Ritter von Herbeck (December 25, 1831 - October 28, 1877), Josef Lanner (April 12, 1801 – April 14, 1843), Carl Millöcker (April 29, 1842 – December 31, 1899) and György Ligeti (May 28, 1923 – June 12, 2006), who is one of the most famous modern composers to be laid to rest here (above left).

Composers are not the only musical celebrities buried here. Conductor and waltz king Willi Boskovsky; pop star and singer of “Rock Me, Amadeus,” Falco (given name Johann “Hans” Hölzel); Viennese music critic and arch-defender of Brahms, Eduard Hanslick; soprano Lotte Lehmann; German heldentenor Max Lorenz; jazz musician Franz Georg “Fatty George” Pressler; dramatic soprano Leonie Rysanek; music theorist Simon Sechter; and 19th century vocal star, Johann Michael Vogl; all await Judgment Day at the Zentralfriedhof.

As you gaze upon the pictures and listen to the excerpts, you might recall the haunting words of this famous but grim Memento Mori:

I was once the same as ye, Yet as I am, so shall ye be.

Wouldn’t be nice, though, to be as well-remembered as these musicians are, in such pleasant surroundings?

Requiescant in pace.

TOPICS: Music/Entertainment

1 posted on 03/28/2008 2:49:09 PM PDT by Borges
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To: .30Carbine; 1rudeboy; 2nd Bn, 11th Mar; 31R1O; ADemocratNoMore; afraidfortherepublic; Andyman; ...

Classical Music PING

2 posted on 03/28/2008 2:50:59 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

An Austrian-Swiss relative once told me that the Zentralfriedhof in Wien was half as big as Zurich, but twice as much fun! :-)

3 posted on 03/28/2008 3:11:32 PM PDT by Dragonfly
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To: Borges

Thank you!

4 posted on 03/28/2008 4:08:20 PM PDT by jammer
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To: Borges
You meant: "Wouldn't it be nice?"
5 posted on 03/28/2008 4:22:00 PM PDT by Misterioso
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To: Borges
Praise Him for his mighty acts. Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet. Praise Him with the psaltery and the harp. Praise Him with timbrel and dance.

Praise Him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise Him upon the loud cymbals. Praise Him upon the high sounding cymbals.

Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.

(Psalm 150)

Rest in peace, makers of beautiful sounds.


6 posted on 03/28/2008 6:23:28 PM PDT by MinuteGal (I Love My Country More Than I Dislike McCain,.....Sincerely, A FRedhead)
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To: Borges
I'm not sure,
but without Jim Morrison...

I don't think any cemetery really has much draw.
7 posted on 03/28/2008 6:23:35 PM PDT by billorites (Freepo ergo sum)
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To: Borges; sitetest

Here’s where they stuck le tombeau de Mahler:

8 posted on 03/29/2008 1:07:42 AM PDT by Argh
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To: Borges

This is beautiful, thanks for posting. Shall we organize a FR-Classical Music field trip? I think I must go to Vienna. Should be cheap flights about now.

9 posted on 03/29/2008 8:50:25 AM PDT by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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