Ludwig van Beethoven moved to Vienna from his family's home in Bonn in 1792, arriving on about 10th November (his alcoholic father died in Bonn about five weeks later). He had visited the city before, in April 1787 – probably at the expense of Count Waldstein – ostensibly to study with Mozart, who was busy at the time with Don Giovanni, and worried about the health of his own father (Leopold Mozart died on 28 May 1787). In fact Beethoven's visit was cut short after only a few weeks by news of his mother's failing health; he travelled back home to Bonn (at that time a two-week journey), and his mother died of tuberculosis on 17 July at the age of just 40. Such was the fragile nature of life at the end of the 18th Century.
Beethoven lived in many different houses in and around Vienna, sometimes staying only a few weeks, sometimes returning to the same apartment several times. Today only two or three of them remain, and are open as museums. Perhaps his closest approach to a permanent home was his fourth-floor apartment in the 'Pasqualati House', on the Mölkerbastei – part of the fortifications that used to surround the city – to the north-west of the centre, where Beethoven lived several times between 1804 and 1815. The house was owned by Baron Johann Pasqualati, a music lover and pianist, who liked Beethoven and sometimes advised him on his chaotic financial affairs. It was quite new at the time, having being completed in 1798. When Beethoven moved out, Pasqualati left the rooms empty rather than renting them, in the knowledge that the composer would almost certainly return.
There is now a museum of sorts on the fourth floor of the Pasqualati House; only a few rooms, and Beethoven actually lived in the apartment next door, but looking out in the same direction. The view now is across the busy Dr-Karl-Lueger-Ring to the university, but when Beethoven was there he could see to the mountains in the distance. The display is simple, with a few paintings and facsimiles of manuscripts, and a piano of the period with five pedals, but it's interesting and good to get an impression of how Beethoven lived. The stairway up to the fourth floor is rather nice and looks original.
From the city centre I headed further north-west to Heiligenstadt, in Beethoven's time a village well outside the city walls but now a pleasant suburb near the end of the U4 U-bahn line. He actually lived in six different addresses in Heiligenstadt at various times, and it was here, in 1802, that he wrote the Heiligenstädter Testament ['Heiligenstadt Testament'], addressed to his two brothers and expressing his despair at his increasing deafness. At Probusgasse 6 there are two Beethoven museums: one across the courtyard, run by Wien Museum, where he actually rented rooms; the other over the archway, run by the Beethoven Society, with many portraits, documents and illustrations of the day, and a Streicher piano.
Beethoven used a large number of different pianos during his lifetime as the design of the instrument rapidly developed, but tended to favour the Viennese instruments, and particularly those by his friends Andreas and Nannette Streicher – Nannette was the daughter of the noted piano and organ builder Johann Andreas Stein, and as manager of the Streicher factory was herself one of Vienna's leading piano builders, as well as being an excellent pianist. Her husband is sometimes referred to now as Johann Streicher; in fact he was Johann Andreas Streicher (coincidence!) but I believe was always known as Andreas – and that is the name on the Streicher family tombstone. Their son was Johann Baptist Streicher; he successfully took over the workshop after the death of both his parents in 1833.
At the end of Probusgasse in Heiligenstadt is Pfarrplatz, and another of Beethoven's houses (not open to the public), which has a small statue of St Florian – the patron saint of firefighters – embedded in its corner. Almost next door is the church of St Jakob, with a colourful painted statue outside. Leaving the centre of Heiligenstadt, I followed the road and paths north for about 750 metres to find the Beethoven-Ruhe [statue] near the path though the woods where Beethoven used to enjoy his country walks – now of course it's tarmaced, there are houses nearby, and it's called 'Beethovengang'. Then to the nearby region (previously the village) of Grinzing, to find the grave of Gustav Mahler in Grinzinger Friedhof [Grinzing cemetery].