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Munich Germany
High End Society 2004 Show

Page 2



Our first night in Vienna was spent at the Schonbrunn Palace, the Emperor's 1300 room summer cottage, where all of the major Viennese composers played at one time or another, where we took in the tourist show of a small orchestra with soprano and tenor and several dancers, doing Mozart and Strauss (Johann, not Richard). While kitschy and relatively expensive, the playing again was first rate, and a lovely evening. The next morning, while walking the back alleys of Vienna, we sat for an hour in a small coffee shop listening to Viennese street singers and a gypsy group.

The first high point of our trip was attending the Vienna Symphony Orchestra's Saturday night concert in the Musik Verein, probably the best mid sized concert hall in the world for acoustics. Vienna is one of the few cities that can support two first class orchestras, the Philharmonic being the other one. While most Americans are familiar with that one, it is actually the Symphony that gives the greatest number of orchestral performances, the Philharmonic being the house orchestra for the Vienna Opera.

I had written them beforehand in beautiful Americanized German asking for good seats, as this was a subscription concert with limited availability. They must have appreciated an American writing in their own language, as our tickets were dead center on the floor, 16 rows back, in the hall's sweet spot. 



This night was the high point of a special Bruckner festival they were having, with George Pretre conducting the Ninth Symphony and Te Deum. This was the best concert I have ever been to, with the orchestra playing their hearts out for Pretre. After intermission, I found out why, as the head of the Musikverein gave Pretre, celebrating his 80th birthday, the Mozart Medal and honorary membership in the Musikverein, which is very seldom awarded. Even Von Karajan never received it.

The next several days were spent visiting friends in Austria, followed by the main reason for my visit to Europe (at least as far as the IRS is concerned), visiting the German High End Society Audio Show in Munich, Germany. This is the first year for the show in Munich, as it had previously been held in a hotel in Frankfurt. They had outgrown the facilities there, and found the M.O.C. Center in Munich to be an ideal place to be as it had both a large main hall for booths and silent demonstrations, and large rooms for live demos for those companies that could afford them.




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