Header Kultursommer Wien 2021 Strottern Haus Atzgersdorf c stadt wien marketing Gmb H Judith Stehlik 4

09.08.2021

We Live Life to the Full and Laugh at the Devil!

The Kultursommer Wien is delivering art throughout the city. Performances are even taking place in 25 old people’s homes, although the garden and courtyard concerts are reserved for the residents of each of the “Häuser zum Leben”.

An exception was made for BAK-magazin: We attended a concert of Wienerlieder – traditional Viennese songs – in the Third District – and were really impressed. The atmosphere was fantastic, people rocked and sang along. And the requests from the audience were particularly well received.

The audience at Strottern Haus in Atzgersdorf
Photo: Stadt Wien Marketing GmbH/Judith Stehlik

Veronika is already sitting in the audience during the soundcheck. She’s put her Almdudler down on her walking frame: “The music’s really beautiful,” says the sprightly 69-year-old resident of the Maria Jacobi old people’s home in the Third District: “It’s here that I started liking concerts.” Her friend Rosa, who’s taken her place in the first row, right in front of the stage, can only confirm this: “I’ll sing along. I know the words because I can remember lots of Wienerlieder from the wine gardens.”

The Kultursommer Wien is enabling a little of this wine garden atmosphere to fill the old people’s home. These so-called garden and courtyard concerts, which are reserved for residents, are taking place in 25 “Häuser zum Leben”, right across the city. This one officially starts at 14:30, but the duo Stickler & Koschelu, who are Wienerlieder specialists, are already warming up

Knowing 1,000 Wienerlieder by heart

“The audience is full of experts, who often have unusual requests,” explain the two musicians. Fortunately, the experienced duo has a huge repertoire of classics that they can call on at any time. Rudi Koschelu (counter guitar and vocals), a true Wienerlied institution, knows around 1,000 by heart. He and the considerably younger Marie-Theres Stickler (accordion and vocals) represent two generations, who are united by their love of the Wienerlied.

Of course both can also yodel and whistle. They usually play between the tables in wine gardens but this time there’s a small improvised stage. The weather is holding up, the sunshades in the green courtyard are open. The mood is relaxed, hugos are being served for refreshment. And there are little bowls of glass noodle salad and beef, just like one usually only finds in a posh wine garden.

Wienerlieder
Photo: Stadt Wien Marketing GmbH/Judith Stehlik

A classic: A Beserlpark in Hernals

The song “Heut' war die alte Zeit bei mir” (Today, I was with the old times), a suggestion from the audience, is particularly well received. It was written by the Ottakring musician Richard Czapek. What a coincidence: The lady, who requested the song, is the cousin of the legendary Wienerlied composer, who wrote such numbers as “A klaner Beserlpark da draußen in Hernals” (A little park out there in Hernals). After the concert, the musicians chat with the relative.

But we’re at home in Erdberg!

Of course, here in the Third District one shouldn’t only sing about Hernals and Ottakring, where many well-known Wienerlieder are set, including the famous “Hergott aus Sta” (God of stone), a classic written by Karl Hodina that conjures up the good old days. Naturally, this song has to feature this afternoon. But then we see once again that true experts are sitting in the audience. For the next request is really unusual: “In Erdberg is a Gasserl” (There’s a little street in Erdberg). The song includes the wonderful lines: “Mir san von an geweihten Grund’ / leb’n flott, und schlägt die letzte Stund’ / drum lach’ ich selbst den Teufel aus’ / in Erdberg san ma z’haus!”(We’re on sacred ground / living life to the full and the last hour sounds / that’s why I even laugh at the devil / we’re at home in Erdberg)

The audience claps during the song and, when it’s over, the applause is deafening. Even the noted Wienerlied expert Rudi Koschelu has to admit: “I think that I played that song today for the very first time”. The 40 minutes are over quickly. Veronika shouts “encore” and infects the others with her enthusiasm. During the last song, people are yodelling for all they’re worth.

They’re really cool, these concerts in the old people’s homes. When it comes to atmosphere and euphoria the oldies can easily keep up with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Thanks for the invitation!