At the end of the 19th century Vienna was undisputedly the music capital of Europe.
Let the other countries quietly snatch the riches of the earth under their nails, the German neighbouring empire should unite and plunge into the feverish frenzy of an industrialisation that swept away everything old. Here in Vienna one remained with the traditional and it was the art and the beautiful life which had the greatest importance for the people.
This thinking went through all layers. Even the smallest citizen did not only look for a good glass of wine at “his wine bar”, but also demanded beautiful music. Every Viennese knew which military band played best, where there were the most beautiful songs and who performed at the Volksoper in the evening.
Besides the Italians, the Viennese were the most musical people of their time. The songs sounded in all the streets, washerwomen hummed the most beautiful melodies for their work, musicians played from their works when the windows were open and the smile of a famous opera singer was more than a king’s greeting.
Only in this air could a Schubert raise his voice, only here could a H. Wolf dream of Spain or a J. Brahms resurrect Viennese Classicism once again.
And probably only here could one of the most light-footed and refreshing genres in music history emerge: the operetta.