As you look at the historic brick kiln in the Augarten porcelain museum, the sweet tones of the piano may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Yet this building once hosted the likes of Mozart and Beethoven.
- Restored tract whose history dates back to the 17th century
- Venue for Morgenkonzerte (morning concerts) held in the late 18th and early 19th centuries
- Now home to the Augarten porcelain manufactury
The word Auen means wetland meadows in German, and anything prefixed by Au- implies an association with that landscape. Today’s Augarten Park is all sculpted trees and cut grass, but the area once served as a hunting reserve for the likes of Emperor Matthias, the Archduke of Austria back in the early 17th century.
A later Habsburg, Ferdinand III, built a Lustschloss there, known as the Alte Favorita.
A Lustschloss was a kind of palace retreat for fun and games, though the aristocratic fun ended rather suddenly with the arrival of Ottoman troops, who weren’t there so much to play ball as to throw them out of cannons. The invaders destroyed the palace in 1683.
The Lustschloss never rose from the ashes of war, but another Emperor – Joseph I – did (re)build one tract, a long hall or Saal, around 1705.
This Saal eventually found use as a popular event location, particularly in the late 18th century. It’s greatest fame came through the so-called morning concerts (German: Morgenkonzerte), when the absence of dedicated concert halls like today’s Musikverein or Konzerthaus meant impresarios made use of any available space, spreading music throughout the city.
Mozart performed his Piano Concerto No. 10 in the Saal on May 26, 1782, when there was also a rendition of his Paris Symphony. Nor was he the last famous composer to wave a baton or instrument in earnest at this location.
Beethoven premiered his Violin Sonata No. 9 (known as the Kreutzer Sonata) at a Morgenkonzert there in 1803, and Schubert took his song “The Nightingale” to the Saal in 1824.
Today, the famous Wiener Porzellanmanufaktur Augarten (the makers of Augarten porcelain) occupy the premises. The Saal houses, for example, an Augarten store, the Porcelain Museum, and the Café Restaurant Augarten. The building was fully renovated between 2008 and 2011, and largely returned to its former glory.
How to get to the Augarten Saal
See the article on the Porcelain Museum for directions.
Address: Obere Augartenstraße 1, 1020 Vienna