Garden at La Mortella, Ischia

There are also several museums in or attached to hotels and taverns, now or historically. The Brahms commemoration at Portschach is at SchloS Leonstain, a hotel with a view across the Worthersee. The Kienzl museum at Waizenkirchen, near Linz, is in the inn where he was born. Angel Barrios was born in a tavern in Granada and his museum stands on its rebuilt site in the Alhambra. One of Grieg’s composing huts lies in the grounds of a hotel in the Hardanger region. Similarly, two of Mahler’s composing huts were built for him in the grounds of the hotels where he spent his summers, and the hotels, in Steinbach am Attersee and Dobbiaco (formerly Toblach), are still there, nurturing in their way his association. He had been born in a coaching inn, in Kalisstes, and his childhood was spent in the family inn in Jihlava; the building on the latter site, much restored, contains a museum to his youth in the town. From inn to vineyard: Beethoven’s last journey from Vienna, in 1826, was to his brother Johann’s house at Gneixendorf, now a Beethoven memorial and still centre of a vineyard, where you can buy wines from the vines, or rather their progeny, that supplied the wine he drank.

Lastly, there are memorials in more sombre circumstances. Four of the Jewish Czech composers who passed through Terezm en route to their deaths at Auschwitz are the subject of commemorative displays in the section devoted to music in the Magdeburg Barracks at the Terezm memorial: Haas, Klein, Krasa and Ullmann.

Garden at La Mortella, Ischia Photo Gallery

Composers and others

Many museums commemorate a family rather than, or in conjunction with, a famous composer – two, even without commemoration of the composers themselves: the little museum attached to the local court at St Gilgen commemorates Mozart’s mother in the house where she was born as well as his sister, who lived there later, while the museum at Ehrenbreitstein, on the Rhine near Koblenz, commemorates Beethoven’s mother, not in her own right but because of her son. From the other end of Beethoven’s life, the Gneixendorf house touches on his relationship with his nephew and, in the event crucially, or fatally, with his brother Johann. Several museums, where there is no other musician or other kind of artistic collaborator in the family, cast light on family relationships and help supply context for the composer’s life. Berlioz’s family background, for example, is sharply illuminated at his birthplace at La Cote-Saint-Andre, near Grenoble, as too is Rimsky-Korsakov’s to his at Tikhvin; so is Tchaikovsky’s relation to his sister at Kamenka and Dvorak’s to his sister-in-law Josefina at her mansion in Vysoka Pnbrami. In some museums music rubs shoulders with the other arts: the Nottara house in Bucharest commemorates the actor father as much as the composer and violinist son, and in the Wildgans house in Modling it is the poet father, Anton, who is primarily remembered rather than Friedrich.

But many more commemorate musical families, which of course includes the Bachs, for the cottage bakery in the village of Wechmar where the family is first recorded is the ‘Bach-Stammhaus’, the root of the fruitful family tree -although, surprisingly, there is no museum that sets a context for J.S. Bach and his sons. Often it is brothers who are conjointly remembered: the two Haydns at their birthplace at Rohrau, between Vienna and Bratislava, the Bendas at Benatky nad Jizerou, the Wranitzkys at Nova Rise, the Schuberts (it was in Ferdinand’s flat that Franz died) in Vienna, the Petrauskas brothers (composer and tenor) in Kaunas, the three Budriunas brothers in Pabirze, northern Lithuania, and the Tchaikovskys at Klin – for Modest, though not a musician, was his brother’s librettist and biographer, and creator of the museum. One museum celebrates four brothers, the Latvian family Jurjans, at Ergji. A loose fit into this category of family museums is the one at Tescani-Bacasu, in Romania, where in the mansion that belonged to the family of Enescu’s wife there are displays dedicated to both Enescu and her cousin Mihail Jora.

Several of these family museums are given over to father and son. Mozart’s father is commemorated on his own at his birthplace in Augsburg, and then at Salzburg, in particular at the Wohnhaus which devotes rooms specifically to him and to Mozart’s sister Nannerl (also remembered with her mother at St Gilgen). There are several father-son museums: to the Muresianus, in Brasov, celebrating the contributions of several family members other than the musicians, both called Jacob Muresianu, to Romanian culture; to the Ipavec family in Sentjur, central Slovenia, where two brothers and the son of one of them are commemorated; and in south-east Hungary the displays in the museum to Ferenc Erkel also reflect the music of three of his four sons (the fourth was among Bartok’s teachers). The Kapp family, at Suure-Jaani in Estonia, does better still, with a father, his two sons, and their two sons.

There are several man-and-wife museums. All three of the Schumann museums embody some commemoration of Robert’s wife, Clara, most of all (curiously) his birthplace at Zwickau, where two of the rooms are devoted to her exclusively. In the Verdi museum in the Barezzi house in Busseto both his marriages – to Margherita Barezzi and to Giuseppina Strepponi – are commemorated, and at Sant’Agata Strepponi’s original room is lovingly preserved. The Wagner museum at Lucerne, Haus Tribschen, reflects Cosima’s centrality in his life – this is where she was serenaded with the Siegfried Idyll -and her presence is felt too in Bayreuth, where she is buried alongside her husband. But perhaps the most remarkable of husband-wife museums is the Nielsen one at Odense: Marie Anne Nielsen was a sculptor, and here her work is presented alongside that of her husband.

The museums Tchaikovsky shares with Madame von Meck and Pushkin have already been mentioned. Chopin shares several of his museums with women. Three of his amorous attachments are recorded: in the house in Skierniewice of his supposed first love, Konstancja Gladowska; in the Dum Chopin at Marianske Laznes in the Czech Republic, where he spent time with Maria Wodzinska; and at Valldemossa, where he stayed with George Sand (in reciprocation, Chopin is cursorily noted both in her house museum in Nohant and in the municipal museum to her at La Chatre, in the Indre departement). A number of women composers associated with men commemorated by museums are – with the honourable exception of Clara Schumann – only fleetingly mentioned as composers themselves: there is little to indicate the creative capacities of the Dussek ladies, Fanny Mendelssohn, Nadezhda Nikolayevna Purgold, Alma Mahler or Imogen Holst.

A number of museums commemorate not only a composer but someone or something else too: it may be another composer or group of composers, or a musical genre, or a local person of eminence, or even something quite apart from music. Among the two-composer museums are two in Vienna: the Haydn museum, in which one room is assigned to Brahms, and the house which once belonged to Emanuel Schikaneder (Mozart’s Zauberflote librettist and first Papageno, and himself a composer in a small way) and later to Lehar, fitted out as a Lehar museum but with some Schikaneder items. The Muresianus share their accommodation in Brasov with Dima, the Bendas with Smetana at Benatky. At Meiningen, along with Reger and Brahms – for this is a museum celebrating the traditions of the once-famous Meiningen orchestra – the clarinettist Richard Muhlfeld and the conductor Hans von Bulow are commemorated. In several museums there is a modest gesture towards a second composer: Georg Benda is noted in the Schutz museum at Bad Kostritz, near Dresden, where he had retired and died; Manfroce, another local composer, who died young, is commemorated in the Cilea museum at Palmi; Muzio, Verdi’s sole pupil, is accorded a corner of the Verdi museum in the Casa Barezzi in Busseto. In the museum to Donizetti generous space is accorded to his mentor, Simon Mayr, who was also an important figure in Bergamo. Some such secondary displays are, at least by intention, temporary: the Lithuanian composer Simkus moved in with the Petrauskas brothers in Kaunas, pending the reconstruction of his own memorial house, and in an outbuilding of the Tchaikovsky museum at Klin there is a substantial Taneyev display, to move in due course to the Taneyev family house nearby.

Among the museums with larger musical counterthemes is the Wagner house at Bayreuth, which also celebrates the history of the Bayreuth Festival, and the Spohr display in Kassel, which broadens into a museum of the history of violin playing; and there are two museums that celebrate male-voice ensembles – in Klagenfurt, to Koschat and the Carinthian partsong, and in Schnait, near Stuttgart, to Silcher, which is also the central commemoration of the 19th-century Sangerbund movement in Germany. Singing traditions underlie the Casa Muzicii at Lugoj, in Romania, which houses memorial displays to three composers (Barbu, Brediceanu and Vidu), and the commemoration of Gerbic at Cerknica in Slovenia. Another multiple museum is the Handel-Haus at Halle, which, uniquely, is also a museum to the musical history of the region, with displays on eminent local composers (Scheidt, W.F. Bach, Reichardt, Turk, Franz and Loewe). Equally, the Melngailis museum near Vidrizsi serves the revival of Latvian folksong.

Several museums, predominantly those run in association with local authorities anxious to foster education, celebrate a composer in parallel with a quite different theme. The cottage of Joseph Parry in Merthyr Tydfil is a museum equally to his musical career and to the living conditions of ironworkers in Victorian times. At Cheltenham, the Holst birthplace museum serves too as a museum to Victorian middle-class domestic life. In the Latvian town of Ergli the museum to the Jurjsns brothers is partly a museum to the rural way of life in the middle and late 19th century, and in Vidrizi, nearby, the museum to Melangailis serves to illuminate life in the farming community. So does the museum to Tobias, at Kaina on the Estonian island of Hiiumaa. The Jindrich museum at Domazlice, in the south-west corner of the Czech Republic, with his formidable collection, is almost primarily a museum of local folk art, and the Weill commemoration at Dessau, in one of the Meisterhauser of the Bauhaus, is devoted equally to music and architecture. The Paderewski museum in Warsaw commemorates Polish emigration to the United States. Sometimes two museums are adjacent but unrelated in subject matter, as with the slightly incongruous conjunction of a doll museum with the Werner Egk museum at Donauworth.

A number of museums scarcely touch on the actual music composed by their subjects, usually with good reason. The museum in Bath to William Herschel is understandably more concerned with his attainments as an astronomer (he discovered Uranus) than as a composer, and in the same city there is no reference whatever in the William Beckford museum to his compositions, admittedly unimportant compared with his achievements as writer and art collector. Outstanding practical musicians who were only secondarily composers are honoured primarily for their success as performers –

Toscanini, at his house and his study in Parma, the violinists Ysaye in Liege and Sarasate in Pamplona, the singer Prejac at Veliki Tabor (Croatia), and in some degree the cellist Casals, although the museum that was his house at Sant Salvador, near Barcelona, lays some stress on his compositions designed to promote world peace. Paderewski is celebrated more as pianist and statesman than as composer, Bellman more as poet and actor, Noel Coward more as actor and playwright and Edith Piaf more as chanteuse. Some museums even to great composers favour ‘life’ to the exclusion of‘works’; if that could be said of the Verdi ‘birthplace’ at Roncole, at least there are several other Verdi museums close by.

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