Schloss Weinzierl Music Festival – The History of the Festival
Schloss Weinzierl, near Wieselburg, offers an authentic background for the SCHLOSS WEINZIERL MUSIC FESTIVAL. Located 70 miles west of Vienna, this palace has gone down in music history as the Birthplace of the String Quartet. More than 250 years ago, the young Joseph Haydn composed the first String Quartet here, creating a new musical form.
Baron Karl Joseph von Fürnberg had invited the young man as a musician and composer to his palace in Weinzierl. For one of his musical evenings, the host asked Haydn to write some music that could be played by the four musicians who were present (two violinists, one violist and a cellist). Therefore, Joseph Haydn composed – to order – the first string quartet, which was then performed immediately to an enthusiastic reception from the audience. Haydn was entering new musical territory, as the string quartet form had not existed up to that time.
The fact that the source of the highest chamber music discipline was not a consideration of music theory, but rather a practical question of instrumentation appears sensational in its simple logic.
Great composers from the Viennese classical period up to the present have challenged and measured themselves against the string quartet. Haydn himself, too, during the course of his composing career came back to the string quartet again and again, developing the form to perfection.
In the literature about Haydn, due respect is paid to the importance of Haydn's stay in Weinzierl for his career as a composer, for the emergence of "Wiener Klassik" and for the development of chamber music. The place itself, however, remained largely unknown: hardly anyone knew where Schloss Weinzierl was, or even whether it still existed.
But, like Sleeping Beauty, Schloss Weinzierl has awoken from its slumber. In the Haydn Commemorative Year 2009, the Altenberg Trio Wien founded the SCHLOSS WEINZIERL Music Festival. Every year around Ascension Day, the members of the Altenberg Trio invite prominent musicians from the international chamber music scene, who enjoy playing in a place that is so significant in music history, to Weinzierl to make music together.
In the spring of 2011, as Schloss Weinzierl shone afresh after years of careful restoration with "new, former splendor", a long-harbored dream of the Altenberg Trio became reality. It was to fill the ceremonial hall of Schloss Weinzierl once again with music in the spirit of its most famous guest and return it to the music-loving public.
The acoustics in the hall are excellent, while the palace and its garden offer a wonderful ambience to concertgoers and ideal working conditions for the artists.
The SCHLOSS WEINZIERL Music Festival always takes place in the period around Ascension Day. Naturally, the performance of chamber music by Joseph Haydn takes an important place in the program of the music festival.
In addition, works by other important composers are performed and put into context with Haydn's opus. Furthermore, in the true spirit of the great innovator and experimenter Joseph Haydn, contemporary music will be heard every time, as well.