by Kathy Kuddes on March 11th, 2016

Shopaholics in Salzburg

Today we are completely free until dinner to do as we wished.  Some of our group went to the Mozart birth house, others went to visit the music academy, aptly named The Mozarteum, but the majority of our group was anxious to get our souvenir and gift shopping concluded.  While not a comprehensive list of my favorite spots to spend your Euros, here are some of the local merchants who benefited from our free time:

Fürst Chocolates - While most Americans will know the Mozart balls in the bright red and gold wrapper, the original Mozartkugel have been made by hand by this family confectioner since 1884.  The center is a hazelnut, pistachio nougat, covered with fudge and hand dipped in milk chocolate.  There are small shops all around Salzburg and one large coffee shop where we took a stop from our shopping for a beverage and to purchase treats to take home.

Salzburg Salz -  Is a small specialty shop in Old Town that carries an incredible selection of "white gold" or salt, which gave this little village it's name and wealth.  You can buy a wide variety of table and cooking salts and a number of different fragrances of bath salts.  In addition to a number of vials as gifts for friends and co-workers, I bought a slab of Himalayan salt for cooking on our grill.

Steiff - This charming children's shop carries a variety of adorable clothes for smaller people, but they are especially known for their stuffed animals.  One of my fellow travelers bought a teddy bear, they had lots of bunnies and chicks for Easter, and I only got out of there free because the didn't have any Dachshunds in stock.  There was even a stuffed spider on the ceiling of the shop.

Augarten Wein Porcelain - While I have never spent a cent in this shop, it is always on my list of places to window shop.  They have been making high quality porcelain in Vienna since 1718.  They have a beautiful Mozart series with the score of one of his pieces on the rim of the cups and platters.  The gardens at the factory in Vienna were apparently one of his favorite places to visit.

We looked at many beautiful woolen scarves and sweater, purchased a few folk recordings and enjoyed more than one coffee.  We searched for a small jewelry shop we had visited two years ago looking for a sterling silver Edelweis necklace, but without success.  Perhaps another time!

Dinner at the Fortress

As this was the last official day of our tour, we came together as a group one last time for a beautiful meal at the Hohensalzburg Fortress that sits above the city.  Construction was begun on this location by decree of ​Archbishop Gebhard in 1077 and was expanded several times over the centuries.  It is accessed by way of a ​funicular that climbs the outer edge of the cliff.  The Panorama Restaurant provides the amazing views of the city you would expect from this height, in addition to delicious food.  We enjoyed three wonderful courses that included an herb soup that everyone raved over.  It was a lovely way to end the official visit to spend dinner together.  Tomorrow many of us will head home, others will linger for one more day in Munich.  All of us will be dreaming of our next opportunity to see this beautiful place!  

​Thank you for taking this virutal journey with us!

by Kathy Kuddes on March 10th, 2016

More Lessons

We took our morning bus to the Orff Institute again today.  Our first lesson was an instrumental lesson with Michel Widmer.  It was mostly an exploration of found objects as musical instruments.  We played with twigs and sticks of various sizes, boxes, tin cans, bottle caps and other objects to create a complex set of rhythmic textures.  It was a fun reminder that you don't need expensive instruments to create something meaningful.

Our final lesson was a creative movement class with Director Sonja Stibi.  We used broomsticks (without the broom) as a movement aid.  The lesson was a beautiful example of sequence and subtle transition from more structured activities into improvisational movement alone and with a partner that ended in a Taiwanese stick game.  (Video to come, I hope)

We had lunch at Merkur with Sonja and said our good-byes as Antonio & Nico arrived with the coach for our afternoon tour of the city. 

Old Town Salzburg

We began our tour on this afternoon at the Mirabellplatz Gardens where we joined the crowds of other tour groups to walk through the actual gardens.  AS the rest of the tour would be on foot, we said a fond "farewell" to our handsome driver Nico with a group photo. Yesterday we only stopped long enough to stand on the steps and sing Do, Re, Mi.  Today we got to walk through the pathways and see the beautiful winter garden.

From the South end of the gardens we walked toward the Salz River that runs through the center of town.  We passed by the famous Hotel Sacher where the torte of the same name is a signature dessert.  Right at the river we passed the former home of conductor Herbert von Karajan who was a native of Austria, but made his name as the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for 35 years.  There is a beautiful statue of him with his baton in front of the house.
We crossed the river just beyond this house via the "Lock Bridge."  Where couples have put their names on locks and left them on attached to the chain link of the bridge.  Just across the street on the other side of the river we arrived in the "Old Town" near our hotel.

 We walked down the narrow cobblestone streets until we came to the home where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756. ​This birth house is now a museum.  A number of folks elected to depart from the group at this point to visit the museum, but I stayed with Antonio and our small group of first time visitors to see parts of this beautiful and historic city another time. 

We walked on for a short bit for a quick visit to Mozart Square.  There is a large statue to this city's most famous son and just across the square is an apartment where he and Constanza lived with their children for a period of time.  Then we turned our attention to the beautiful domed cathedral.  It is one of those huge Gothic structures you see so often in European cities, with high vaulted ceilings. One unusual feature of the Dom Cathedral is that it has five organ manuals!  The one in the front right was played on by Mozart and his father.  There are now three matching manuals on each corner, and a large one in the balcony at the back of the sanctuary.  While there, we came upon a children's choir rehearsing a Missa Brevis for a performance the following Sunday. (see video below.)
A short distance beyond the Cathedral is St. Peter's Cemetery.  This beautiful resting place for the citizen's of Salzburg was founded in 1627.  It contains a small chapel, crowded grave sites that double as personal gardens, and elaborate gated crypts.  It is a tourist spot, not only because of it's beauty, but also because it was the inspiration for the cemetery created in the studio for "The Sound of Music."  The graves are tended by family of the deceased and include the final resting places of Mozart's sister and composer Michael Haydn.

The sun was dipping low as we left the cemetery so we stopped by a kiosk selling Gluehwein (mulled wine).  It is a warm concoction of deep red wine, spices & and hint of rum (the secret ingredient of this vendor).  It was delicious and warmed up for the walk about to our hotel at the end of the day.  The rest of the group met us in the lobby of the hotel to thank Antonio for his time and attention these two days.

After a short rest, a group of us went to dinner at an Italian restaurant in Old Town Salzburg.  The pasta was home made and the sauces were delicious.  It was a nice change for all the roasted meat and dumplings.  I can't speak for the rest of the group, but I sleep really soundly and was glad to know that we had a free day to follow on Friday to do as we wished at our own pace.

by Kathy Kuddes on March 9th, 2016

Tour & Classes at the Orff Institute

After breakfast at our hotel we caught a local bus for a short 15 minute trip to the Orff Institute.  The long block walk from the bus stop has a picture postcard view of the Alps and dead ends at the back of the Fromberg Palace.  This quaint yellow home is now the dormitory for the Orff Institute, but the front of it is recognizable as the villa of Captain von Trapp with the circular drive at the end of the long lane where Maria sang I Have Confidence as she skipped toward her new job as the nanny for the children in "The Sound of Music."  We walked around the building and took photos before reporting next door to the Institute for the morning's activities

We were greeted by Director Sonja Stibi, who gave us a short tour of the facilities, then she turned us over to Ari Glage (pictured below with Dr. Julie Scott) for our body percussion lesson.  We started with easy patterns and developed increasingly more difficult layers of rhythm.  Each was so carefully built upon itself that we were successful at every level, even those in our group who were not music educators.  

We took a short break for coffee or water and then went downstairs into one of the dance studios for a wonderful folk dance lesson with Andrea Ostertag.  She taught a set of folk dances from across Europe.  See the Videos of our class doing each dance below, thanks to Shawn Chou.

Branle de Champagne (France)

Sirdes (Armenia)


The Hills Are Alive!

Merkur is a local grocery chain that also has a small cafeteria.  There is one right at the bus stop near the Orff Institute, so we walked back down the block for lunch.  Afterward, Nico, our handsome coach driver appeared in front of the store with our Tour Guide, Antonio.  We climbed aboard and spent the afternoon on the iconic "Sound of Music" Tour seeing sights that featured prominently in the movie.

Most of the interiors were shot on a sound stage in Hollywood, but most of the exteriors were shot in and around Salzburg and the city has embraced it's connection and the interest visitors have in these locations.  This tour is complete with video clips and a sing-a-long to the favorites of the sound track.

Since we had already seen the Fromberg Palace in the morning, we started the tour at the Hellbrunn Palace where the gazebo now sits.  It is locked, so you can only stand outside for a quick photo. The Palace grounds are beautiful and the buildings have been restored, so they are worth a separate trip to see the whole grounds.  This tour only stops long enough for the gazebo photo.

The next photo stop was for the Nonnberg Abby.  Again, only the exterior entrance to the Abby was used in the movie, as it was a working nunnery then and continues to operate in that capacity today, so visitors to the inside are prohibited.

Next stop was the Mirabell Gardens.  This beautiful public park featured heavily in the Do, Re, Mi sequences.  Today we could only stand on the upper portion of the famous steps, above the gate, for our recreation of the scene with robust singing!

Afterward, we headed out of the city into the Lake District, about a half an hour from the center of Salzburg, through quaint Alpine villages, past the international headquarters of Red Bull, we stopped in the town of Mondsee (Moon Lake) and visited the church that was used for the wedding scene in "Sound of Music."  It is an ornate Baroque church with black marble and gold accents on the altarpieces.  Having taken the scenic route out there, we got on the highway to hurry back to Salzburg to make our dinner reservation with Mozart!

Dinner with Mozart

We make a quick change of clothes and headed through the Old Town to St. Peter's Keller for the Mozart Dinner.  As touristy as it sounds, the evening is really quick excellent!  All of the recipes are from the period.  We had great bread with a variety of spreads, a duck and watercress salad, roasted veal with tomato risotto and a wonderful dessert.  Between courses we were entertained by a string quintet and two singers (pictured below) who performed what can only be described as "Mozart's Greatest Hits."  The musicians were surprisingly good and performed on period instruments.  The group really enjoyed it and the singers really played up their operatic roles.  It was a fun way to end our first full day in Austria.

by Kathy Kuddes on March 8th, 2016

School Visit One

​​We began the day early this morning as we loaded our luggage on the coach and left Munich for the Bavarian Alps.  Our first stop was the little town of Andechs, Germany and the ​Carl Orff-Grundschule (Primary School) there.  We were treated to a sweet demonstration lesson with 2nd grade students taught by Frau Regina Schussel (pictured below with the children).  They began with a greeting song, followed by a action song with clapping, stamping & patching and another with a story about trumpets, drums & flutes playing off in the hills.

Following this lesson we were introduced to Isabel Erling (pictured below during her lesson) who studied at the Orff Institute and now teaches children in the after school program at this little school.  She lead us through a fun activity in which we did some vocal exploration, created a Spider Web and used it as a source for movement and musical improvisation.  She was young and fun and we enjoyed begin active music makers.

The Andechs Kloster 

​​Following the school visit, we climbed the big hill just behind the school to the Kloster of Andechs. The first stop was the chapel at very top of the hill where Carl Orff is buried in a beautiful side chapel. (Picture at the left is our tour director, Shawn Chou & Dr. Julie Scott at the grave.) He chose this location because it is the church he could see from his home across the Ammersee lake.

After we had paid our respects, we walked 1/3 of the way down the hill to the gift shop for a few mementos.  Then we continued down another 1/3 of the way to the brewery that has made this little Kloster famous and kept the Brothers in business for centuries for a mid-morning beer! Then back to the bus and on to the town of Diessen.

School Visit Two

​Properly called Dießen am Ammersee or "Deissen on Lake Ammer" this is a picture postcard of a town with close ties to Carl Orff.  At the Carl Orff Volkschule we saw a 2nd grade movement lesson. While the basic movement was improvised by the children, they had planned some of the signals ahead of time. One of the students "conducted" the group's movements with these signals and a small ensemble of instrumentalists accompanied with improvisations of their own.

This lesson was followed by a small 4th grade choir.  They began with vocal exploration to get the voices warmed up. This was followed by the singing of several traditional songs. They were so proud to share their singing with us today and it was fun to listen to them.  After the lessons we were invited to lunch in the school cafeteria. The students set two long tables with real cutlery and our schnitzel was served on real plates!

The Orff Museum

​Following our hearty lunch, the next stop was the Carl Orff Museum housed in building near  the center of town. This is a small museum is dedicated to Orff's life and work. The upper floor outlines his life and the dates of his large-scale compositions. The lower level is dedicated to the Schulwerk with a display of some of the first instruments from Studio 49 (pictured below with Kristin Moore).  This German manufacturer of classroom instruments was founded by Klaus Becker–Ehmck and named for the year 1949, when they began production of  these instruments to Orff's specifications following near total destruction in World War 2.

The Homestead

​The last big stop of the day was the highlight, at least for me. Because of Dr. Julie Scott's connections, we were invited to visit the offices of the Orff Foundation which is in the former home of Carl Orff and his 4th wife, Liselotte. It is a beautiful little farm (photos below) just outside the town where the composer lived and worked from 1955 until his death in 1982.

The house itself is undergoing a major restoration, which will be beautiful when finished. The Foundation offices are in the lower level of the outer building. The upper level is Orff's workshop (pictured above) which has been renovated and preserved as it was when Orff was working and composing there. The shelves are full of his books and scores, many of the early instruments, his pipes and rock collection are also on display. It was a powerful afternoon standing on the ground where Orff worked and lived. We were treated to coffee and delicious cake by the Foundation Director, Frau Hermann,  and then jumped back on the bus for our trip to Salzburg.

While not terribly far in miles, as the crow flies, the trip around the lake and into Salzburg takes about 2 hours.  On this evening, it took a bit longer due to traffic and the wintery weather mix that fell during our journey.  We arrived around 8:00 pm at the Hotel Elefant in Old Town Salzburg and after settling into our rooms, we gathered spontaneously in the hotel restaurant for dinner before bed.

by Kathy Kuddes on March 7th, 2016

The Orff Zentrum

​This morning was dedicated to our visit to the Orff Zentrum. This unassuming building at 16 KaulBachStrasse houses the official archives of Carl Orff. All of the original manuscripts are kept here and made available to researchers. The upper room is a large concert hall for performances and lectures. Dr. Thomas Rauch, director of the Zentrum (pictured here with Dr. Julie Scott from SMU), gave us a tour and talked about the history of the building.

In the 1960's the building was owned by the Bavarian State. After Orff's death in 1983, his widow began looking for a suitable location for this papers and went to the government looking for assistance. They agreed to give her one of several state owned buildings for this purpose. She chose this one without knowing the history.

In 1936 the Günther Schule was looking for a larger space, as the popularity of the Rhythm and Dance program Orff, Dorothee Günther and Guinild Keetman had created began to grow. They settled on this particular location on KaulBachStrasse and held classes there until the Nazi Governor closed it down unexpectedly in 1944 after watching the girls dancing and playing drums in the garden. A bomb fell on the building in 1945 and it burned to the group with all the books and instruments of the original Schule still in it. After the war, a wealthy gentleman bought the property and decided to use the original plans to reconstruct the building.

Frau Orff didn't know any of this, but she instinctively selected the former Günther Schule as the location for Orff's Archives, so a visit there is also a visit to the location of much of the early work of the Schulwerk.

On the Town

​The afternoon was free of group activities. A number of us returned to the Old Town and had lunch at Dallmayr Delicatessen, then the shopping began! Several of us went down the street a short distance to a small traditional dress shop that Julie and I have visited previously. The men looked at hats, I bought a gorgeous vest that I had been wishing for since my last trip here, and Kristin bought a traditional Dirndel (Bavarian dress & apron). We walked back through the Viktualienmarkt, a large outdoor food market with stall that specialize in fruits, meats, cheeses, flowers, jams and schnapps. Snacks for our long travel day tomorrow were purchased as well.

I had dinner with Matthias Funkhauser, the president of the German Kodaly Society, at the Augustiner Beerhall. The wild boar in mushroom sauce was amazing, as was the company and conversation. I have a new friend and colleague in this gentleman!

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