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Notes from Salzburg

August 30, 2011

I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Salzburg, primarily to attend its famous summer Festival. To me, it seemed most people were there to be seen rather than knowing anything substantial about the music. The champagne served at the Festival Halls (there are three, all housed within a single complex) is the Möet & Chandon NV at €13 per glass, pale with dominant notes of citrus, lime and floral fragrance underscored with brazen minerality and cutting acidity at the edges. Lacks the balance of a Bollinger.

I made a day trip to Steinbach-am-Attersee in search of Gustav Mahler’s composing hut by the lake, where he had written his Second and Third symphonies. For sure it’s there, extremely well-conserved within the grounds of the Hotel Fottinger where he had stayed between 1893-6. I had lunch there, washed down with a glass of 2010 Weingut Wilhelm Brundlmayer Riesling “Kamptaler Terrassen”, possessing substantial notes of melons, green apples and citrus supported by understated sweetness without any hollowness, slightly minty towards the finish. A lovely counterpoint to the heat of summer.

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