Hohe Tauern Mountains

Hohe Tauern Mountains from Badgastein
© 1995 Tomoko Yamamoto
  1. Overview
  2. Schubert's works in Badgastein
  3. Ladislaus Pyrker, Archbishop of Venice
  4. Gastein Symphony and Great C Major Symphony

1. Overview

Badgastein is located in the valley of mountainous central Austria. This area is the southern part of Salzburgerland. Badgastein developed as a resort offering cure to the many with their thermal bath. Today in addition to thermal bath, skiing is the main attraction in the winter in Badgastein. The town is quite developed with high-rise hotels around the waterfalls which pass through the central part of the town. It is difficult to imagine the quaint atmosphere that must have been present at the time Schubert and Vogl visited.

The reasons for their visit were two-fold in that Vogl needed to take cure for his arthritis and they were to meet Ladislaus Pyrker, the Archbishop of Venice at the time, who was also a poet. Schubert had met him in Vienna and he was to compose two songs here in Badgastein setting Pyrker's poems. Their stays in Badgastein were recorded in the guest book of the hotel, Straubinger Hütte at the time, as Johann Ladislaus Pyrker, Patriarch von Venedig (September 3), Johann Michael Vogl, Court Opera Singer (September 4); Franz Schubert, Compositeur (September 4) left the hotel on the departure dates in parenthesis. The duration of their stays is estimated to be three weeks since they were traveling through Hallein, Golling, and Pass Lueg on August 13 or 14, 1825.

2. Schubert's Compositional Works in Badgastein

Schubert was quite productive while he was staying in Badgastein. Unlike the other places they visited such as Steyr, Gmunden, etc., here he must have been able to concentrate on composing since there was practically no one who was waiting for Schubert and Vogl to perform. According to "The Schubert Thematic Catalogue" by O. E. Deutsch, Schubert composed the following:

The present consensus, regarding the missing symphony that Schubert wrote in Badgastein, is that the missing symphony is his Great C-Major Symphony. I do not have a reference right now, but the most convincing argument for this is an analysis of the music paper Schubert used for the Great C-Major. If this current theory for Great C-Major Symphony that it was started in Gmunden and Badgastein proves to be correct, this 1825 travel of Schubert's becomes very important in his development as a composer.

As I have visited these places, Steyr, Kremsmuenster, Gmunden, and Badgastein more than once, I am convinced the sceneries must have remained with Schubert for the rest of his life. These places are completely different from his native Vienna. I myself have been quite impressed with the mountain scenery in Badgastein. It is true that the present resort has been built up too much, but I visited Nassfeld where old mountain cottages still stand without any modern buildings nearby (some cars next to the cottages remind you that you are in the 20th century) and I was able to see dainty Alpine flowers in bloom in August in the valley.

July 6, 2014 © 1997-99 Tomoko Yamamoto

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