But capital of the Galactic Empire?
The thought occurred to me while watching the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s concert on PBS (viewable here). Host Julie Andrews, about a quarter hour into the broadcast notes that Franz Joseph reigned 68 years, five more than Queen Victoria. The images shift to black and white footage of the old monarch’s funeral in 1916, in the middle of World War I. Then Andrews says that Josef Strauss, brother of the Waltz King “expertly captures the fading empire with the ethereal harmonies of his most famous waltz, ‘The Music of the Spheres’.”
I thought of planets revolving and orbiting the sun, which orbits the center of the galaxy. If ever there were a parallel human activity, it is couples whirling around a ballroom floor. And nobody does it better than the Viennese.
As “Music of the Spheres” continued, the cameras showed close-ups of the Musikverein’s massive chandeliers, each with hundreds of thumbnail-sized pieces of cut glass. Probably from the former crown land of Bohemia. Come to think of it, Johannes Kepler devised his laws of planetary motion in Prague, then the seat of the Empire. How appropriate!
Next week: Freya Stark’s Winter in Arabia