Symphonisches Schrammelquintett Wien

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Wienerlied Music and Song

The traditional Wienerlied is preoccupied with typically Viennese topics such as love, death, wine and, of course, the city itself. An expression of the quintessentially Viennese, it reveals a deep insight into the Viennese soul, even to people who do not understand the Viennese dialect used in the lyrics.

Wienerlieder at Festivals

The best way for anyone looking to explore the genre is to jump in at the deep end at a live show, where audiences can experience the musicians up close in often intimate venues. A number of festivals  provide a platform for Viennese sounds, melodies and rhythms as well as bringing together top musicians and ensembles who add a fresh chapter of their own to the evolution of Viennese music each year:

Wienerlied Concerts Throughout the Year

Authentic Viennese music can be heard on the first Monday of the month at the Liebhartstaler Bockkeller (home of the Vienna Folk Music Society) in the 16th district, Ottakring. During the first half of the evening, the Neue Wiener Concert Schrammeln roll out favorite and rediscovered Viennese instrumental works, before opening up the floor to guest musicians. (Program and info: www.wvlw.at)

Top-drawer Wienerlied music is also the order of the day every Tuesday at the Hengl-Haselbrunner Heuriger wine tavern (www.hengl-haselbrunner.at, www.wienerliedkunst.at), which is also the home of singer Agnes Palmisano (interview), who transports the nostalgic wine-inspired Wienerlied of yesteryear into the present with characteristic nuance. She is also a leading expert on “Wiener Dudler” singing and an established performer of this very Viennese take on yodeling. A mixed form of yodel and coloratura singing that originated in the 19th century, it has earned itself a place on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage in Austria.

How such a dudler sounds can be heard in the song "Hob mi gean" ("Hab mich gern" ("Like me"); Palmisano/Zrost, featuring Daniel Fuchsberger and Andreas Teufel). Palmisano characterizes it thus: “Humor, irony, melancholy, poetry, and deep love all in a song and then a dudler sprinkled on top.“

Hob mi gean

Wienerlied von Agnes Palmisano

Hob mi gean - Wienerlied by Agnes Palmisano, featuring Daniel Fuchsberger, Andreas Teufel

Agnes Palmisano and the Wienerlied:

“Wienerlied? Viennese Song? Songs from Vienna, inexorably connected with the people who live here and what moves them, in terms of the themes they address, the music, and the lyrics. With a generous dash of humor and fatalism. In an unbroken tradition that dates back more than 200 years. This all comes together to create a very special atmosphere.

For me, the essence of Wienerlieder comes from the language, the music follows the heartbeat and not the metronome, meaning that sometimes it speeds up, sometimes it slows down, and, on occasion, even stops. And Dudler singing? For me, Dudler begins at the point I can't find any more words and pure emotion just bursts out of me."

Playlist to listen to

In addition to providing this fitting description of the Wienerlied and the dudler, Agnes Palmisano has also compiled a playlist of twelve Wienerlieder, from old to new, from traditional to bursting the boundaries of the genre:


Giants of the Wienerlied Scene

A fresh crop of creative, young Viennese chanteurs and chanteuses are taking the genre – which originated around 1800 – forward in a contemporary and highly individualistic style: flirting with various other styles including jazz, blues and pop to defy conventional classification boundaries. An overview of some of the movers and shakers on the Viennese music scene:

artists such as André Heller and Roland Neuwirth paved the way, and now others have picked up the creative baton with their take on Viennese soul – such as acoustic duo Die Strottern and local band 5/8erl in Ehr’n. Die Divinerinnen – a group of seven top musicians – found a new sound for traditional Schrammelmusik. Voodoo Jürgens’ trademark is humorously dark lyrics executed in Viennese dialect, while der Nino aus Wien’s melancholic poetic sound adds a whole new dimension. Wiener Lied composer Ernst Molden is hardwired into the city’s musical DNA. Like many others of his ilk, classically trained musician Felix Kramer offers up emotionally-charged Viennese sounds. Norbert Schneider is as brilliant as he is impossible to pigeonhole. Wiener Blond, a double act, have given the classic Wienerlied a contemporary shot in the arm with beatboxing, loops and pop. Cheeky rockers Wanda and glam poppers Bilderbuch have long been packing out arenas at home and abroad with their music.

Other exceptionally gifted musicians include the accordionist Otto Lechner and button accordion virtuoso Walther Soyka, who can often be found performing in a trio featuring zither aficionado Karl Stirner with Martina Rittmannsberger on the fiddle. The Wiener Symphoniker also has a Viennese music ensemble: the Symphonic Schrammel Quintet Vienna.

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