Andrew Jezek, former Principal Violist with Klangforum Wien, is performing in the final Schubertiade of the year on December 4 alongside his wife Emma, who is the Assistant Principal 2nd violin with the SSO and renowned recital pianist Susanne Powell. Having grown up in Canberra, Andrew studied at the ANU's School of Music before leaving our shores to join one of the world's foremost contemporary music ensembles. He has very kindly shared a few of his impressions with the Sydney Schubert Society below & we look forward with much anticipation to hearing him in concert. Tickets available on the door or click HERE for online bookings, program and venue details.
Vienna, a city of opulence, grandeur, majestic parks, world-renowned concert halls, and the birthplace and final resting place for some of the world’s greatest classical composers. It was in this wonderful city, that I was privileged to live and work for over two decades following the completion of my viola studies at the Australian National University’s, School of Music.
I arrived in late October to an early and unexpected beginning to the winter season. Snow on the roof on the building opposite my first rental room was not what I had anticipated but it made for an exciting start my new life overseas.
It probably took until the beginning of summer in the following year before I made my first trip to the hills in the northwest of the city to take part in a local tradition and enjoy an afternoon at a Heuriger, a wine tavern that is only open in the growing season and serves the young wine from the vineyard with simple food. As I sat on the 37 tram from the city that heads up to the wine growing area, I passed Schubert’s birth house on Nussdorfer Strasse, a street I would later live on myself. While the house is of reasonable size, it is believed that up to sixteen families lived in the building at the time and Schubert was supposedly born in the kitchen of one of the tiny bedsit apartments.
Later, when I lived in the 3rd district of Vienna, just behind the Konzerthaus and only a five minute walk from the famous golden concert hall known as the Musikverein, I would cross the beautiful Stadtpark with it’s ponds and grand old trees. I’d try to avoid the hungry tourists surrounding the golden statue of Johann Strauss and would veer onto a pathway and pass the more austere statue of Schubert, gazing earnestly into the distance.
I often shopped at Vienna’s great outdoor food market, the Naschmarkt, and would walk along Kettenbrückengasse at the western end of the market, past the apartment where Schubert died in 1828. Schubert’s presence would continue to follow me for duration of my working life in Vienna.
It is in these final years that Schubert composed his Arpeggione sonata. This now extinct, six-stringed, fretted instrument was similar to a bowed guitar but held between the knees like a viola da gamba. The Apreggione was invented around 1823 by Viennese guitar maker Johann Georg Stauffer and Schubert was obviously so taken by the instrument that he wrote the sonata in the following year. Not published until 1871, this work has been arranged for the viola, cello, double bass, guitar, and even some woodwind instruments.