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Steyr


Michaelerkirche and Tabor Tower, Steyr © 1995 Tomoko Yamamoto

Steyr is a small town with the old city still intact and is located on the eastern edge of Upper Austria. The town is located at the intersection of two rivers, Enns and Steyr. Johann Michael Vogl was born in this town. His birthplace is located outside the old town center (a view from Tabor on the right). Vogl went to study at the gymnasium at the Stift Kremsmünster which is an hour away by bus. After Kremsmünster Vogl went to Vienna to study law, but became a court opera singer.
Steyr from Tabor
Toward the end of his operatic career, he met Schubert in the spring of 1817. Schubert was 20 years old and Vogl was 50 at the time. Soon he was singing Schubert’s songs in Viennese salons. Vogl had a practice of spending his summer in his native town of Steyr, and in 1819 Vogl invited Schubert to spend the holiday with him. During this first visit to Steyr, Schubert composed the Quintet for piano and strings, "Forellenquintett". The piece was commisioned by Sylvester Paumgartner who played cello. Paumgartner loved the tune of the song, "Die Forelle" (Trout) so much that he suggested to Schubert to use the tune in the quintet.

There are two houses in the town square which are believed to be the places where Schubert and Vogl stayed. One is the Paumgartner house (Stadtplatz 16) and the other is the Schellmann house (Stadtplatz 34). The former, now a drug store, bears a commemorative plaque referring to Schubert’s writing the quintet. The Schellmann house is bigger, and one can walk into the courtyard which looks like as it did almost 200 years ago. When Schubert visited Steyr in 1819, there were seven or eight young women living there. Schubert mentions this fact in his letter to his brother, describing all the women to be pretty. The Paumgartners hosted many Schubertiades in their house during Schubert’s stay. Besides these house concerts, the people entertained themselves during the daytime by boat-riding excursions.


© 1996-2006 Tomoko Yamamoto
Last Update: October 20, 2013
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