How it began...
It was in the post-war years when the worst hardship had been averted that the Stanglwirt hosts sat down with friends for a “singalong” in the parlour, and hatched the plan to invite people to a singers' gathering at the Stanglwirt...
The Stanglwirt singers' gathering
The Gasthof Stangl inn is around 450 years old, and simple, unspoilt folk and family music have always been part of the furniture. Whether a lullaby lovingly sung at the crib, or a musical get-together in the parlour, the love of singing and making music has accompanied the Hauser family from birth, and there is a new highlight every year at the singers' and musicians' gathering in the Stanglwirt.
The popularity of the singers' gathering knows no bounds, thanks to its genuine desire to foster a culture of traditional folk music. The best singers and musicians from the entire Alpine region meet every year in the quaint rooms of the old Stangl inn.
How it all began
In 1948, the young Stanglwirt hostess Anna Hauser decided that it was time to brighten up the daily routine, so she got together with friends to plan an informal singers' gathering. The "Mayrhofener Trio" with Albin Moroder, Friedl Pramstraller and Max Egger, the "Saalfeldner Dreigesang" with Mitzi Herzog, Mali Fischbacher and Cilli Häusl, the "Kitzbüheler Nationalsängern" with Toni Praxmair and a group of locals from Kitzbühel, all sang at the first singers" gathering, along with the "Stangl Trio". The Stanglwirt hosts Anna and Lois, together with Alois's sister, formed a "two-women-one-man" team that is still regarded as a role model for many groups today.
From the very first singer's gathering, the priority was given to music for the fun of it. This was why the singers' gathering in the Stanglwirt was not like other singing competitions, as instead of awarding prizes, it put the focus on the presenter, Alois Käferböck, who duly announced all the groups.
The informal singers' gathering at the Stanglwirt was such an immediate success, that invitations to sing and make music at the Stangl inn were promptly sent out twice a year. More and more groups from neighbouring Bavaria also joined the singers' gathering. They had the bobsleigh world champion at the time, Anderl Oster, to thank for this, as in the fifties, he just happened to hear the Stanglwirt hosts making music in a wine bar in Innsbruck, and it made such an impression on him, he told people in Bavaria about the singers' gathering.
Also crucial to the success of the singers' gathering were the many different compères, such as Alois Käferböck, Fritz Bieler, Siegfried Wagner, Fritz Böck, Sepp Spachtholz, Lois Plattner and from 1957, the unique Sepp Landmann.
Sepp Landmann's famous saying which always marked the end of the event is not the only lasting memory. Sepp soon became more than just the face of the event. He contacted countless new groups and had a hand in shaping the singers' gatherings. He used humour as well as harsh criticism to defend traditional, unspoilt folk song, and was always helping his enthusiastic audience to distinguish authentic from kitsch, and the genuine article from something alien.
Is this the end of the song?
The far too early death of Stanglwirt hostess Anna Hauser in June 1964 was a great shock to the singer and musician community. But at the same time, it was quite clear to all these friends of folk music that the singers' gathering would continue into the future, as this would have been Anna Hauser's wish. Her son Balthasar (Hausal) promptly assembled a new Stanglwirt Trio, with Lanzen Moidi and Lisi Hofer. The hosts had always liked to join in with the singing at the Stanglwirt.
The singers' gathering continues
As a good friend to folk music, it was extremely important to the young “Hauser” to continue his mother Anna's legacy and keep on holding the singers' gathering at the Stanglwirt. He was a singer and musician himself and often travelled the Alpine region, always searching for new groups and singers. But the irresistible reputation of the singers' gathering always got there first. Because nowhere else in the Alpine region was there an event like the folk music festival at the Stanglwirt.
Nowadays, Stanglwirt hostess Magdalena Hauser puts her heart and soul into organising the Stanglwirt singers' gathering once a year in November. Along with traditional hospitality and a love of music, it is perhaps the very informality of the event that makes Stanglwirt such a popular venue for all friends of authentic folk music.