Salzburg is that rare thing, a tiny city with world-class standards in nearly everything the discerning visitor – and resident – would want. It is miraculous that such charm, and such grandeur, and, above all, such unparalleled weight of musical achievement, should be concentrated in so small a place.
A virtually independent city-state from its origins in the early Middle Ages until its absorption into the Habsburg Empire in the 19th century, Salzburg’s days of glory had all but slipped into the past by the time Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born there. He became the unwitting instigator, post-mortem, of Salzburg’s transformation from minor ecclesiastical seat to the world’s foremost city of music festivals – there are five of them. The Mozartwoche (Mozart Week) held in January every year celebrates Salzburg’s most famous son with musicians famed worldwide for their Mozart interpretations.
Our tour allows the concerts to be interspersed with a gentle programme of walks and visits to see some of the finest art and architecture in the city. But there is also plenty of free time to relax and gather energies for the performances, and for individual exploration.
The city has several fine museums, Mozart’s birthplace and later family home foremost among them. The city’s principal museum has been re-established in the Archbishop’s palace; the Panorama Museum with an 1829 painting of the city is not to be missed; the cliff-top Museum of Contemporary Art has a café with peerless views over the city.
Fly at c. 11.00am from London Heathrow to Salzburg (British Airways). Introductory lecture and dinner.
Morning walk through the heart of the old city with a local guide includes a church by the greatest master of Austrian Baroque, Fischer von Erlach, the late-Gothic Franciscan church and the mighty cathedral, the first major Baroque building north of the Alps. Afternoon Lieder recital at the Mozarteum with Sylvia Schwartz (soprano), Mauro Peter (tenor), Luca Pisaroni (bass baritone), Sir András Schiff (piano): Mozart, the complete Lieder. Dinner before an evening concert with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Robin Ticciati (cond.), Maria Celeng (Celidora), Linard Vrielink (Biondello), Thomas Atkins (Calandrino), Vuvu Mpofu (Lavina), Joelle Harvey (Auretta), Gyula Orendt (Chichibio): Mozart, L’oca del cairo, K.422.
Morning concert at the Mozarteum with the Hagen Quartet: Mozart, Quartet in G, K.387; Quartet in D minor, K.421; Quartet in E flat, K.428. Afternoon private guided tour of the Mozarteum’s Autograph Vault, containing original letters and manuscripts. Then a visit to the former Mozart family home. Evening concert at the Großes Festspielhaus with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Alain Altinoglu (cond.), Erin Morley (soprano), Karine Deshayes (mezzo soprano), Javier Camarena (tenor), Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass): Mozart, – ‘Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio!’, K.418; Vado, ma dove? oh Dei!’, K.583; ‘Se di lauri il crine adorno’ from ‘Mitridate, re di Ponto’, K.87; ‘Fuor del mar’ from ‘Idomeneo’, K.366; ‘Per questa bella mano’, K.612; ’Mentre ti lascio, oh figlia’ K.513; Great Mass in C minor, K.427.
Morning concert in the Rittersaal of the Residenz with Spunicunifait Quintet: Mozart, String quintet in C minor, K.406; String quintet in G minor, K.516. Afternoon visit to Mozart’s birthplace, now an excellent museum. Evening concert at the Großes Festspielhaus with Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim: Mozart, selected works for piano four hands.
Bad Ischl, Salzburg. Depart for an excursion through the ravishing landscapes of the Salzkammergut to Bad Ischl, with lunch here. Return to Salzburg for a free afternoon.. Evening concert at the Haus für Mozart with Collegium 1704, Vaclav Luks (cond.), Anna Lucia Richter (soprano), Anke Vondung (alto)Krystian Adam (tenor), Krešimir Stražanac (bass baritone), Alexander Krichel (fortepiano): Kyrie in D minor, K.341; Miserere, K.85; Exsultate, jubilate, K.165; Kyrie in F, K.33, Misericordias Domini, K.222; Piano Sonata in A minor, K.310; Coronation Mass in C, K.317; Ave verum corpus, K.618.
A second guided walk includes a visit to the 18th-century Mirabell Gardens. Afternoon concert at the Mozarteum with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Mitsuko Uchida (piano): Piano concerto in D, K.456; Ballet music from Idomeneo, K.367; Piano concerto in C, K.467. Dinner before an evening concert at the Großes Festspielhaus with the Vienna Philharmonic, Daniel Barenboim (cond. and piano): Mozart, Symphony No.33 in B, K.319, ‘Prague’; Symphony No.38 in D, K.504; Piano Concerto in C minor, K.491.
Free morning for independent exploration. The flight from Salzburg arrives at London Heathrow c. 5.30pm.
Music writer, lecturer and broadcaster for BBC Radio 3. He writes for BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone and has taught classes in Lieder history and interpretation at the Guildhall, Trinity College of Music and Birkbeck College. He read French and German at Cambridge and later studied Music at the Guildhall. His publications include Schubert: The Complete Song Texts and Pocket Guide to Haydn. Twitter: @wigmoresworld | Website: wigmoresworld.co.uk
Price, per person
Two sharing: £4,320 or £4,210 without flights. Single occupancy: £4,850 or £4,740 without flights.
Air travel (Euro Traveller) with British Airways (Airbus A319); accommodation as described below; breakfasts, 1 lunch and 4 dinners with wine; private coach for the airport transfers and excursion; all admissions to museums; tips for waiters, drivers and local guides; all state and airport taxes; the services of the lecturer and tour manager.
Tickets to 9 performances are included, costing c. £1,350 (to be confirmed in July 2020).
Hotel Bristol: 5-star family-run hotel, excellently located two minutes’ walk from the Mozarteum and just across the river from the Festspielhaus (600 metres). Single rooms are doubles for sole use.
There is a fair amount of walking within the old town centre where vehicular access is restricted. The tour is planned on the expectation that participants walk to and from the concert venues.
Between 10 and 22 participants.
Before booking, please refer to the FCDO website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting.
'This was for me the best Martin Randall Tour, and that’s saying a lot.'
'The balance of sightseeing and concerts was well thought out, and made for an educational and entertaining experience that was rich and satisfying.'
'Richard did a wonderful job of preparing us for the concerts. He was interesting and enjoyable company.'
'Richard Wigmore transformed the experience for me – giving depth to my shallow knowledge. There was no musical subject on which he was unable to converse; he made his expertise accessible with enormous fluency and enthusiasm. His lectures flashed by, full of insights and jokes in equal measure. He was always friendly, cheerful and approachable.'