photo & text by nacrowe
senior year of high school for me was pretty tumultuous.
9/11 happened at the beginning of the year and i was swiftly moved from being with my parents in the MIDDLE EAST to a relative in SACRAMENTO. it was complete change of scenery and to some extent a time i was just trying to get through as quickly as possible. during that time i became interested in the ART NOVEAU scene of VIENNA around the turn of the 20th century known as the VIENNA SECESSION which included painters like GUSTAV KLIMT and to a lesser extent EGON SCHIELE and OSKAR KOKOSCHKA. i also began reading work by contemporaries of the period like SIGMUND FREUD and listening to composer GUSTAV MAHLER.
im mentioning all this as a prelude as to why i visited my father in VIENNA during spring break of my senior year. it was a very cool trip since for whatever reason i was captivated at the time by the history of the place. we even went on a tour of post-WORLD WAR II locations used in the epic ORSON WELLES vehicle THE THIRD MAN (LONDON FILMS, 1949).
but the two highlights of that trip were related to WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART. they consisted of getting to witness 1) THE MAGIC FLUTE being performed at the VIENNA STATE OPERA as well as 2) hearing REQIUEM at ST. CHARLES CHURCH. i'll save the former for another entry.
ST. CHARLES CHURCH is an early 18th century BAROQUE catholic church that is located a short distant from where MOZART died in 1791. there is an intimate weekly performance of his haunting unfinished composition REQIUEM in this most ambient and fitting of venues. i always appreciated the composition because of its intense pathos which singularly conjures up the eruptive and deep suffering that come with the grieving process. the theater of such a composition in such a venue only amplified that sense of foreboding and was a singularly powerful experience, even for a slightly jaded teenager.
needless to say, if you ever find yourself in VIENNA for an extended period post-pandemic, it is worth your time to seek out this performance. even if you are not knowledgeably or even a fan of CLASSICAL MUSIC. its an experience that transcends genre and gives you a sense of the city and its history. thinking of it all now still gives me goosebumps.