Waltz in D, WoO 85 (mp3)
Author: Armando Orlandi
This is the second of two waltzes that Beethoven wrote. Published in 1825 by Mueller in Vienna, it is far daintier (and shorter) than the Waltz WoO 84.
Beethoven´s relationship with his servants varied from bad to very bad. For example, Beethoven once remarked that his new housekeeper had quite changed after he had thrown a pile of books at her head. "Probably something of the contents chanced to penetrate into her brain or evil heart," he added grimly [Hamburger, p.163]. Another example is the following incident, which is related to the present waltz, WoO 85.
In 1825 a musical amateur (probably the actor Karl Friedrich Mueller, see Anderson) published a series of waltzes, which proved to be so succesful that he dared ask Beethoven to write something by way of supplement to his publication. Beethoven agreed, and told him to come back in four weeks. However, the man fell ill, and asked his mother to go to the composer's house and receive the new music, and express his thanks. But Beethoven's housekeeper would not let the mother in, saying that 'the master was again off his head'. At that moment Beethoven's head appeared at the door. 'Hide yourself,' said the housekeeper to the lady, pushing her in a dark room, 'you cannot speak with him today.' So the mother had to leave without the music.
A few days later Beethoven sent the music, with the following letter :
'Dear Sir ! Your mother not long ago was sent away through the stupidity of my housekeeper, without anyone having told me a word of her coming here. I have rebuked this unbecoming behaviour, for she was not even shown into my room; the incivility and rudeness of these people whom I am so unfortunate as to have about me, is known to everyone. I therefore beg to apologise.
There is no need to take Beethoven's account of the incident at face value; his head appearing at the door (which door? the front door, or the door of his study?) suggests that he was at least aware of something going on when the lady called. Whatever it was that exactly happened, afterwards Beethoven felt that he could blame it on his housekeeper.
As for the music, Willem deemed it necessary to add an E to the harmony of the first beat of bar 4 (left hand).