January 15, 2015

style stories #10: Ein Wiener Mädel


January 15th, 1929 Elfi Feldigl was born. In Vienna. Rosa and Franz Feldigl brought her home to the small apartment behind the shop - eine Greislerei or small grocery store - street level in the 9th district. Elfi never had to wander too far, either to school, down the street a block away nor to piano lessons a little bit further near Kaiser Franz Josef Bahnhof. She got her love of music from her father Franz. He played the accordian. Not for any particular reason. He just did. For the pleasure. For the music. For the joy. He bought a concert piano one day. His wife wasn't happy (she was the practical one, the hard working one, the one who got up at 4AM to go to the markets for supplies - life didn't involve music) He perservered. My mom had piano lessons throughout her childhood into young adulthood. Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Bruckner. The piano would one day be her passage to America.

My mom was a typical Wiener Mädel whose young life was filled with music, dances, the theater and weekend trips to the countryside with her best friend Ingrid. My mom passed on her love of the three muses to me. I will be forever grateful for that. It's my mom's birthday today - she would have been 85 years old. Ich schick dir 1000 bussi liebste Mutti. xxx

By some magical serendipitous coincidence, I was listening to a classical radio station out of Portland late (or early, however you see that time of deep dark night). A rendition of Josef Strauss's Die Nasswaeldlerin by the Vienna Philharmonic came on. It was from the New Year's Day Concert 1996. Lorin Maazel, the conductor, played the lead violin as the Strauss brothers did back in 1863. I'd never heard it before but I knew it was for me to dedicate to my mom. She would have loved it. Because the music is Vienna. And she loved The Vienna of music and waltzes, balls and theater. Oh, and Guglhupf. My mom made the best Guglhupf. Luckily, she passed that on to me too. Happy Birthday Mutti!



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