IMBUED WITH QUALITY
David L Nelson on Vienna,
recommended by HOWARD SMITH
It's rare to feel confidence in the authority and value of a music-destination publication before one turns the first page. Here is an exception. This modest-sized book impressed me the instant I picked it up. For where a publisher displays such exacting production values -- the paper, the print, the half tone and colour illustrations (each feature positively imbued with quality), it's fair to assume the content will be of a matching standard.
And so it proves; American author David L Nelson is evidently besotted with Vienna and his straightforward, detailed, 'hands on' text shows how thoroughly he has studied his topic.
One soon discovers the guide is 'packed to the gunnels' with priceless information for the serious music-lover who finds her/himself in Austria's vibrant musical nerve centre; home to Germanic and Austro Hungarian composers, the Strauss dynasty, fin de siècle masters, and 'broad spectrum' 20th century musical activity.
Take for instance the musical 419 addresses (and their significance) peppered across nineteen of Vienna's 23 districts; a chronological listing of Mozart and Beethoven's numerous addresses in this city of masterworks, and the Who's who with 98 persons who contributed to the musical life of Vienna, many of them born within its confines. Priceless information indeed.
Copyright © 13 January 2007
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand