Blue Danube - Gone Chopin, Bach Soon
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2011 Blue Danube Tour
Gone Chopin, Bach Soon

Essential items for planning our 2011 tour

Our 2011 tour started in the school recorder club. We joined as a family project, hoping to learn some music together but you never know where these things will lead. First to the embarrassment of being outplayed by six year olds. Then to the social death that comes from having to perform in the school end of term concert, in front of a hall full of school kids and their parents. Then to conversations at home about what fun music making can be, about the great Romantic composers and about how small and pannier friendly recorders are. And then there was that hilarious conversation about much fun it would be to get on our bikes with our recorders and whistle our way around Europe visiting the homes of great composers.

Family playing recorders
The family recorder ensemble in rehearsal Ijmuiden beach

Make a list of the great Romantic composers yourself and you’ll quickly realise you’ve got to start such a journey in Germany or Austria. With Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Shumann, Haydn, Mozart, Mahler, Strauss and Schubert. Add to that a couple of salient cycling facts; that the only place you can take a tandem on a long distance train to in Europe is Munich; and that the Danube cycle path runs (downhill) through Germany to Austria and Hungary. Then before you know it, you are planning the rest of your route around some C19th catchy tunes, and eminent ancient music makers; Liszt in Hungary, Janacek and Hummel in Slovakia, then for a great finale, Chopin in Poland.

Recorder arrangement of Blue Danube
Arrangement of Blue Danube for four recorders - waterproofed for road use

But no self respecting recorder playing family can embark on a music tour of Europe without being able to pick out a few tunes. So to kick off the trip, we decided we'd try to teach ourselves a four recorder arrangement of the Blue Danube along the way. So that's what we did. We started in Munich and waltzed towards the Danube. Once we'd got a Handel on Germany , there was no turning Bach as we headed on through Austria to Vienna and Budapest. Then when we'd had our fill of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies we turned North across Slovakia, crossed the Low Tatras and then the High Tatras to make our way into Poland for a little Chopin, finishing in Krakow. A total of 1805km of musically inspired madness.

Our route took our recorders through Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland

When we shared our plans with others some called it a classic tour but then they hadn't heard us play. But if you take time to dig deeper into the postings below you will hear us. And hear how our attempts at creating a little family harmony developed as the journey progressed. For better or for worse.

We blogged and tweeted on the road so if you’d like to join in our virtual journey, why not take a look at our tweets and blogs. You can find us on Twitter, subscribe to our blog or hook up with us on Facebook.

From this page you can read more about our journey from the blog postings we wrote as we rode across Central Europe on this pedal powered musical extravaganza.

You can also view our route, look at some of the video we shot of our music making, see some pictures from the tour or even buy resources so you can do a similar tour yourself.


See and explore our route on Google Maps

View Blue Danube Tour Map in a larger map

Let us inspire you with a talk about this trip

Like us to come talk with you about our musical adventure?
Download an outline of our talks here. Then contact us to set something up.

Our stories from the tour
(from our blog)

Composing a classical Central European Bike Tour - 5th July 2011, England
Little, overlooked, important - 15th July 2011, England

Mind the Gap - July 20th 2011, Amsterdam to Munich
Whirldwind Munich - July 20th 2011, Munich
Going somewhere at the Kinder Museum - July 20th 2011, Munich
Beethoven and bust - July 22nd 2011, Munich
Mangled in Munich - July 23rd 2011, Munich
Would you like music with that muffin sir? - July 24th 2011, Munich
I didn't know the pope was a munchkin - July 25th, Freising
More a mondeo sort of family - July 26th, Dingolfing
All mixed up in Passau - July 27th, Passau

To a land far far away - July 28th 2011, Jochenstein
What do machines dream of? July 29th 2011, Linz
Recorder club on tour - August 1st 2011
Distinctly unblue Danube - August 2nd 2011
Princess in the tower - August 3rd 2011, Durnstein
Miniature magic - 4th August 2011, Vienna
A roll of the musical dice - 5th August 2011, Vienna
Girl's night in - 6th August 2011, Vienna
Who pays the ferryman pays the price - 7th August 2011, Petronella
Practice makes perfect - 8th August 2011

Turning up the heat in Bratislava - August 9th 2011, Bratislava
Unfinished Symphony - August 10th 2011

Really cycle touring - August 11th 2011, Esztergom
Hungarian Rhapsody - August 12th 2011, Budapest
The Buda on the Hill - August 13th 2011, Budapest
A Local view - August 14th 2011, Budapest
The Railway children - 16th August 2011, Budapest

Slovakia (again)
Mood music - 18th August 2011, Banska Stiavnica
Counting Tatras - 21st August 2011, Low Tatras
A splash of sunny yellow in Tatralandia - 22nd August 2011, Liptovsky Mikulas
One cool picnic - 23rd August 2011, High Tatras
Loony tunes - 25th August 2011, Strbske Pleso
A bowl of honeymoon goulash - August 26th 2011, Tatra Lominica

She'll be coming around the mountains - 28th August 2011, Zakopane
I'm sure that chicken just played the Blue Danube - 31st August 2011, near Krakow
Geocache city - 2nd September 2011, Krakow


View some videos of this trip from our YouTube Channel



Take a look at some pictures on PicasaWeb



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