My daughter, Kelly, lives and works in Vienna, Austria. Austria is a beautiful, clean country located in central Europe. In between Austria’s 2 largest cities, Vienna (east) and Salzburg (west) is some pretty fabulous mountain(Alps)-lake country. Many Americans associate Austria with the musical film classic The Sound of Music, which premiered in 1965. It starred Julie Andrews and was set in and around Salzburg.
Kelly had the opportunity to study abroad as a college student. As a music major, she fell in love with Vienna. Turns out there was also a young man, but that’s another story. I’ve been lucky to visit Kelly and get to know Vienna in the process. Austria has a rich musical history being the birthplace of Mozart and Haydn. Many great classical composers(musicians) lived and worked in Vienna including Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Schubert, Schonberg, and Strauss.
Within an easy bus ride, Kelly and I toured the Vienna Woods. This is a forested area on the western edge of the city. It has gentle rolling hills with many walking trails. In 2005, the area was designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Whether visiting the lake country, the Alps, or just walking along the forest trails, your appreciation of nature improves and you along with it. It’s easy to see what must have inspired so many musical compositions.
As Kelly and I walked deeper into the forest, the sites and sounds of the modern city fade. There, I’m aware of how overloaded my senses can get as just a normal part of ones life in modern society. Away from it all, my senses begin to tone down as I’m standing in a grove surrounded by trees with leaves the color of sunsets, listening to bird calls, hearing the cicadas, distant thunder, wind rustling and then the pitter-patter of rain drops.
Going back in history, to the 18th century, Vivaldi wrote his classical masterpiece The Four Seasons. This beautiful piece of music includes 4 concertos, one for each season: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Inspired, no doubt, by the beauty and sounds of nature Vivaldi used notes and musical instruments to represent flowing creeks, singing birds and barking dogs. As a moment of purpose, Kelly chose to play an arrangement for flute from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. I wonder if Vivaldi took for granted that pristine natural areas would always be available for escaping city life.
Today, I’ve passed globe 19 to Kelly. Appreciating nature’s beauty, just as we did on our walk through the woods, was possible because people acted in a way to preserve it. Hopefully, children of all ages will come to experience nature in such a way that they still see and hear what beauty inspired Vivaldi, and others, to translate wonder into musical notes, preserved for generations.