On December 8,1895 twenty year old Paul Josef Martin Eisler sat at the piano on stage alongside the Soprano Belle of Vienna Opera, Antonie Schläger and together they gave what could have only been a stupendous concert. Ok, I am more than a little biased, but it had to have been amazing. Look at the venue! This hall seats just over 1,700 people and another 300 for the standing room space and defines a “glitter and gold” style. All music that comes from the musician’s breath, fingertips, instrument and vocal cords leaves that stage, reverbs with perfect acoustics,travels to each audience member and arrives as complete art. The entire physical surroundings work as a perfectly selected art frame to the generated sound at the performance moment, just as a golden ornate frame completes a canvas of a revered painting in a museum. Rarely has the sound of music had such a finishing touch as this room provides.
When I think of Paul’s December concert at Musikverein many questions come to mind. I wonder if his parents Sigmund and Fanni Eisler were in the audience that night. Just what did they think of their son as he crossed the stage? They had to be bursting with pride. I am practically nauseous with stage fright a century later just looking at the program and the venue. Did Mother Eisler battle her own nerves from the audience? Most likely his eleven year old sister “Mitzi” had to stay home that night. Did Paul share the backstage details the next afternoon with her?