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 manufactory
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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 back in the early 17th century. One of Matthias’s successors (Ferdinand III) built a Lustschloss at the location.
A Lustschloss was a kind of palatial recreational retreat, though the aristocratic fun ended rather suddenly with the arrival of Ottoman troops. They weren’t there so much to play ball as to throw them out of cannons; the invaders destroyed the palace in 1683.
Ferdinand’s Lustschloss never rose from the ashes of war, but Emperor Joseph I (re)built 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. Its greatest fame came through the so-called morning concerts (German: Morgenkonzerte).
Mozart performed his Piano Concerto No. 10 in the Saal on May 26, 1782, which also featured a rendition of his Paris Symphony. Nor was he the last famous composer to wave a baton or instrument in earnest at this location.
A plaque on an outside wall commemorates the former presence of these musical greats.
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 Sperling. Fully renovations between 2008 and 2011 largely returned the building to its former glory.
The Sperling continues a long-standing gastronomic tradition for the location.
Back in 1834, for example, the Wiener Theaterzeitung newspaper praised the fixed menu available in the Augarten Saal. The writer noted the “fine company” to be found there and the “pleasant music” that accompanied the food.
How to get to the Augarten Saal
See the article on the Porcelain Museum for directions.
Address: Obere Augartenstraße 1, 1020 Vienna