Thursday 30 August 2007

Beethoven in Heiligenstadt

Am Pfarrplatz 2
Ludwig van Beethoven
lived here during the summer of 1817.

Am Pfarrplatz 2
Statue of St. Florian and
memorial plaque recalling Beethoven's sojourn
in this house.

Heiligenstadt's Pfarrplatz
The house on Pfarrplatz 2, to the left,
is home to a well-known Heurigen,
the „Mayer am Pfarrplatz“.
Their website (click here to get there)
is well worth a visit
(yes, they do offer an english version
and the music may sound familiar

This photo was taken on Pfarrplatz,
with my back to Probusgasse.
While it may seem a bit confusing,
with all those locality names,
the Kahlenberger Strasse residence in Nussdorf
is only a short walk along Eroica-Gasse away
from the Heiligenstadt Pfarrplatz.
Grinzing, Nussdorf and Heiligenstadt were small villages
at the outskirts of Vienna
at Beethoven's time.
They have since become incorporated
into the city of Vienna.
Infact, they aren only a short streetcar ride
away from the Inner City's Ringstrasse.

Probusgasse 6
(Herrengasse in Beethoven's time)

Probusgasse 6
Courtyard with staircase
leading up to Beethoven's apartment.

Probusgasse 6
Another view of the courtyard

Probusgasse 6
Looking out the gardenside windows,
Beethoven had a view of the bell tower of the nearby church.
On the morning of the 6th of October, 1802,
looking out one of these windows,
he saw the bells moving in the belfry,
yet couldn't hear them.
In his despair, he wrote a letter, addressed to his brothers.

This moving testimony to his suffering
has become known as
The "Heiligenstädter Testament":

"It reflects his despair over his increasing deafness and his desire to overcome his physical and emotional ailments in order to complete his artistic destiny. Beethoven kept the document hidden among his private papers for the rest of his life, and probably never showed it to anyone." *

*) Quoted from Wikipedia.


  1. Great photos, Merisi.

    I couldn't imagine the horror that Beethoven felt upon losing his hearing and what determination to continue his "artistic destiny." I like that.

  2. Poor Beethoven. I have never understood how he could have written that amazing music without being able to hear it.

  3. So many PFs and PRs...
    How do we pronounce those?
    Poor PFBeethoven...

  4. PS
    With pictures like this, there is no good reason to come to Wien.
    You bring it to us, served up on a silver pflatter :)

  5. Bruce:
    Thank you, Bruce! :-)
    Everytime I read that Heiligenstadt letter, I am at the verge of tears and my heart goes out to this tortured artist.

    Lorenzo, reading a good Beethoven bio will bring you his music even closer, I dare say.

    Carol, none of the letters in all those PFs and PRs are silent. ;-)
    I venture to think that Beethoven didn't mind those PFs and PRs, he loved the Viennese countryside. I have read that its softly ondulating scenery was a great influence on his music. Driving up from the valley below to the town of Orvieto in Italy one day, Beethoven's Seventh Symphony was playing on the radio. Scenery and music seemed like one.

    I hope the Viennese Tourist Board is not putting out a "Wanted!" poster for me and pulling me of the internet connection. :-)))

  6. Thanks for posting the photos of Beethoven's apartment. That brought back happy memories for me, as I visited these places in the photos. I love Beethoven's music and find the story of his life both fascinating and tear inducing.


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