In the footsteps of Marx: Travelogue of a memorable journey

(Completed on October 5, 2003. Updated and more photos included on January 26, 2004.)

In late July 2003, my friend Martin Rucker (to whom I will always be indebted for his help) and I made a trip together to Austria in order to visit all those places where Joseph Marx -who has been one of the main subjects of my life for three years- spent most of his life.

The trip turned out to be a great adventure, not only since we were to

This travelogue was made to share all these wonderful experiences with the reader of the page.


Arrival in Austria and a stop in the romantic village Pürgg

01: A first view from the car window to the foothills of the Alps while we're already reveling in anticipation of what lies ahead of us
02: Can a photo ever capture the peaceful atmosphere and endless range of this valley?
03: Here we can see the region of the lakes "Wolfgangssee" and "Mondsee"...
04: Welcome to "The Joy of Painting" with Bob Ross

05: Having a holiday home in this area wouldn't be the worst thing
06: After having spent an evening with Prof. Wolfgang Suppan (in Pürgg), who is certainly the best-known among Marx's Styrian students, I'm literally overwhelmed at sight of a mile-high rock called "Grimming" that can be seen from the balcony of my hotel room
07: Landscapes such as these are known to be utterly inspiring...
08: ...which is demonstrated at its best in Marx's tuneful and gorgeous music

* * *

Since we had to meet a couple of people, there was barely enough time to see much of the city of Graz but there was still a little bit of time to...

09: ... visit the City Park of Graz where Marx looks at us with a special kind of melancholy, which reminds me of the saying that...
10: ... blissful happiness, which was the main source of his music, and unfulfilled longing are so often two sides of the same medal. Hardly have I photographed his intense facial expression, when the camera conks out. Do you believe in coincidence?
11: Soon after I have a new camera, we decide to go to the street "Joseph-Marx-Straße" that I had come across in the Internet
12: Although we are in a quiet district of Graz where idyllic streets such as this one are no rare thing...

13: ...we eventually agree that this street is worthy of him...
14: I wonder who might have been responsible for the decision to call just this street after his name
15: Unfortunately there is no time left to make the necessary investigation on this case...
16: ...but one last picture of another street sign that I happily discovered in the very last second should be alright

Many more photos of the "Joseph-Marx-Street" are available here.

Incredibly, during our two and a half days in Graz, we had missed the opportunity to visit the house where Joseph Marx was born! Therefore, I am very grateful to Mr. Alexander Wenzel (University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz) for the following three photographs that he shot especially for this website (with special thanks to Mrs. Dr. Helga Kaudel):

It was in this very house (Rechbauerstr. 15, Graz) that Joseph Marx first saw the light of day
A commemorative tablet at the wall of this house: "In this house Joseph Marx was born on May 11, 1882. Dedicated by the Musikverein für Steiermark to the Styrian composer on the occasion of his 65th birthday."
Another commemorative tablet that can be found in the lobby of the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz, Palais Meran, Leonhardstr. 15

And now we were about to visit one of the most important destinations of our trip: the venerable "Villa Hansa" in the small village Grambach (near Graz) where Marx spent almost half of his life and wrote the major part of his works (including the Autumn Symphony that can be heard when opening this page), and where he would welcome a lot of renowned and unknown people from far and near. Not only did we meet the house's owner, there was also a special guest waiting for us......

17: How long had I been dreaming about seeing this one with my own eyes...
18: Barely a couple of minutes later, we are standing in front a big old wooden cottage. It appears to me like in a fairy tale...
19: ...and miraculously the camera managed to produce a faithful reflection of a magic sight
20: This sign tells us: We have arrived.

21: Enchanted nooks, shimmering sunshine, the chirping of crickets and rustling of the woods... Exactly how I had pictured it
22: Walking down the garden, one can see a big bell on the roof
23: In former times, the bell was tolled to announce the news
24: Then an interesting fountain sculpture catches my eye: a kind of "frog concert" with a conductor, panpipe and bagpipes...

25: I wonder if I could reveal the secret of this mysterious frog orchestra from this position...
26: ...or maybe better from over here? However, much more important seems to be...
27: ... a tiny little kitten cautiously watching me, this strange human being who, obviously having gone into raptures, walks up and down with a camera in his hands
28: We go into the house and are now on the balcony that runs round three sides of the house

29: Here, I take a picture of an 81-year-old jovial lady: Mrs. Katharina Findner who was one of Marx's and Anna Hansa's house-maids from 1938 to 1943!
30: On that occasion I also ask the owner of the house, Mrs. Ellison, if she could pose for a photo, to be used in this gallery that had been cunningly planned for a long time...
31: Over there on the left, we can see flourishing green trees all over. Formerly, there were just a handful of houses in the village
32: We go up the creaking stairs and enter the certainly most important room of the whole house: It was in this very room...

33: ...that Joseph Marx wrote almost all of his works! The former house-maid (whom he called "Katterl") tells us a good many stories of former times... Till late into the night, "the Professor" would compose on a piano that was standing by the wall on the right side where you can now see the lamp.
34: Still enjoying the almost mystical atmosphere of this room, I do not miss the chance to take a picture from exactly the same window from which Marx himself had shot a photo in World War 2
35: Now we're back downstairs in the dining and music room where an old painting of this house catches our eye
36: This is Marx's and Anna's dining table. Right here, I am now about to spend almost two hours sitting on the very chair that has not always had it easy under the heavy weight of the Maestro

37: This ancient, dignified instrument is not the very piano that had been played by Marx himself (unfortunately we couldn't trace his piano) but, at any rate, this one was made by the family of the composer Robert Stolz more than a hundred years ago, Mrs. Ellison says
38: Before we have to leave, we take a look at Marx's and Anna's living room and learn that a considerable part of the house's furniture that was used by them is still here
39: After a moving farewell from the ladies and the house that -clearly perceptible for everyone- gives off a special kind of strength and profundity, I take this picture in the beginning dusk...
40: Down in the garden of the traditional restaurant Landhaus Hammerl that was frequently visited by Marx and his guests, I succeed in taking a very last photograph of the "Hansa House" of which I also provided two frontal pictures that were taken in the 1940s

Original photograph (shot by Joseph Marx!) in front of the house in 1940: Here we see the house-maid Katharina Findner and the house's cook "Hanni" who, incredibly, was 85 years old when this picture was shot

* * *

In Vienna, we first visited a house in the street "Traungasse" where Marx had been spending many months a year for a period of almost 50 years; then we met some people who have kindly been helping me during my research for this website, and afterwards we went for a walk through the impressive scenes of a metropolis...

41: Some frontal photos of this house in the "Traungasse" can be found here
42: Hofburg
43: Josefsplatz
44: Vienna's cathedral Stefansdom

45: Being a coach-man must be
an exhausting business, I guess...
47: Vienna's shopping district

* * *

The evening before we were to leave Austria, we went to the Central Cemetary of Vienna where we came across numerous well-known names until we finally faced Joseph Marx's grave...

48: Franz Schubert
49: Ludwig van Beethoven
50: Johannes Brahms
51: Johann Strauss

52: Franz Schmidt
53: Hugo Wolf
54: Joseph Marx's grave of honor.
More pictures of this grave can be found here

* * *

The day of our return...

55: ...led us to the shore of an idyllic lake at the Autobahn...
56: ...and rewarded us with a view from the car window
to the outermost foothills of the Alps...

...and this is how an unforgettable journey to Joseph Marx's native land came to an end!

I wish to thank all those who brightened up our days in Austria.

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