Salzburg is that rare thing, a tiny city with world-class standards in nearly everything the discerning visitor – and resident – would want. It is miraculous that such charm, and such grandeur, and, above all, such unparalleled weight of musical achievement, should be concentrated in so small a place.
A virtually independent city-state from its origins in the early Middle Ages until its absorption into the Habsburg Empire in the 19th century, Salzburg’s days of glory had all but slipped into the past by the time Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born there. He became the unwitting instigator, post-mortem, of Salzburg’s transformation from minor ecclesiastical seat to the world’s foremost city of music festivals – there are five of them. The Mozartwoche (Mozart Week) held in January every year celebrates Salzburg’s most famous son with musicians famed worldwide for their Mozart interpretations.
Our tour allows the concerts to be interspersed with a gentle programme of walks and visits to see some of the finest art and architecture in the city. But there is also plenty of free time to relax and gather energies for the performances, and for individual exploration.
The city has several fine museums, Mozart’s birthplace and later family home foremost among them. The city’s principal museum has been re-established in the Archbishop’s palace; the Panorama Museum with an 1829 painting of the city is not to be missed; the cliff-top Museum of Contemporary Art has a café with peerless views over the city.
Fly at c. 12.30pm from London Heathrow to Salzburg (British Airways). Introductory lecture and dinner.
Morning walk through the heart of the old city with a local guide includes a church by the greatest master of Austrian Baroque, Fischer von Erlach, the late-Gothic Franciscan church and the mighty cathedral, the first major Baroque building north of the Alps. Afternoon opera at the Felsenreitschule: Don Giovanni performed by Cappella Andrea Barca, Bachchor Salzburg, Sir András Schiff (cond.), Rolando Villazὁn, Johannes Kammler (Don Giovanni), José Coco Loza (Il Commendatore, Masetto), Sylvia Schwartz (Donna Anna), Julian Prégardien (Don Ottavio), Magdalena Kožená (Donna Elvira), Maurizio Muraro (Leporello), Julia Lezhneva (Zerlina).
Begin with a private guided tour of the Mozarteum’s Autograph Vault, containing original letters and manuscripts. Then a visit to the former Mozart family home. Evening concert at the Mozarteum with Camerata Salzburg, Ton Koopman (cond.), Daniel Ottensamer (clarinet), Riccardo Terzo (bassoon): Symphony No. 20 in D, K 133; Bassoon Concerto in B-flat, K 191; Masonic Funeral Music in C minor, K 477; Clarinet Concerto in A, K 622.
Bad Ischl, Salzburg. Depart for an excursion through the ravishing landscapes of the Salzkammergut to Bad Ischl, with lunch here. Return to Salzburg for a free afternoon. Evening concert at the Mozarteum with Le Concert des Nations, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Jordi Savall (cond.): Symphony No. 36 in C, K 425, ‘Linz’; Mass in C minor, K 427.
Morning concert at the Mozarteum with the University Mozarteum Symphony Orchestra, Ion Marin (cond.): Cassation in G, K 63, ‘Final Musik’; Symphony No. 25 in G-minor, K 183. Afternoon visit to Mozart’s birthplace, now an excellent museum. Evening concert at the Großes Festspielhaus with the Vienna Philharmonic, Daniel Barenboim (cond. and piano): Symphony No.39 in E-flat, K 543; Symphony No.40 in G minor, K 550; Symphony No. 41 in C, K 551, ‘Jupiter’.
Morning concert at the Mozarteum with Camerata Salzburg, Renaud Capuçon (cond. and violin): Violin Concerto No. 1 in B-flat, K 207; Violin Concerto No. 2 in D, K 211; Violin Concerto No. 3 in G, K 216; Violin Concerto No. 4 in D, K 218; Violin Concerto No. 5 in A, K 219. A second guided walk includes a visit to the 18th-century Mirabell Gardens. Evening concert at the Mozarteum with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Andrès Orozco-Estrada (cond.), Seong-Jin Cho (piano): Symphony No. 29 in A, K 201; Concerto for piano and Orchestra in D minor, K 466; Symphony No. 38 in D, K 504, ‘Prague’.
Free morning for independent exploration. The flight from Salzburg arrives at London Heathrow c. 4.30pm.
Price, per person
Two sharing: £4,320 or £4,160 without flights. Single occupancy: £4,920 or £4,760 without flights.
Air travel (Euro Traveller) with British Airways (Airbus A319); accommodation as described below; breakfasts, 1 lunch and 4 dinners with wine; private coach for the airport transfers and excursion; all admissions to museums; tips for waiters, drivers and local guides; all state and airport taxes; the services of the lecturer and tour manager.
Tickets to 7 performances are included, costing c. £900. Tickets are in a mixture of 1st, 2nd and 3rd category.
Hotel Bristol: 5-star family-run hotel, excellently located two minutes’ walk from the Mozarteum and just across the river from the Festspielhaus (600 metres). Single rooms are doubles for sole use.
There is a fair amount of walking within the old town centre where vehicular access is restricted. The tour is planned on the expectation that participants walk to and from the concert venues.
Are you fit enough to join the tour?
Between 10 and 22 participants.
Before booking, please refer to the FCDO website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting.
'This was for me the best Martin Randall Tour, and that’s saying a lot.'
'The balance of sightseeing and concerts was well thought out, and made for an educational and entertaining experience that was rich and satisfying.'
'Richard did a wonderful job of preparing us for the concerts. He was interesting and enjoyable company.'
'Richard Wigmore transformed the experience for me – giving depth to my shallow knowledge. There was no musical subject on which he was unable to converse; he made his expertise accessible with enormous fluency and enthusiasm. His lectures flashed by, full of insights and jokes in equal measure. He was always friendly, cheerful and approachable.'