BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO: Friday, February 27, 1827

Beethoven turns to today’s shopping list, which includes sugar, spice, wine, macaroni and tooth powder, all of which will be needed for dinner with Caspar Bauer today.

Beethoven wastes a fair portion of the morning today, attempting to wait on Archduke Rudolph, newly returned to Vienna. Beethoven goes to the Hofburg in the morning to ask the Archduke’s servant, Franz Joseph Zips, to let Rudolph know that the composer called and was pleased that His Imperial Highness had returned to Vienna. But neither the Archduke nor Zips was at the usual residence. So Beethoven poked around trying to see where they might be. Failing in finding anyone he can trust to leave a message with, Beethoven writes the Archduke a note about his adventures, and promises he will call again tomorrow. Beethoven asks when he would like to resume his “musical intellectual exercises.”

Beethoven is embarrassed that he has not written before, but he wanted to wait until the Missa Solemnis could be sent to the Archduke. But then the copy ended up having a horrible number of mistakes, so every part had to be rechecked and recopied. Beethoven sends with the note scores of his recent works [most likely the Overture to The Consecration of the House, op.124, the aria with chorus Wo sich die Pulse, WoO 98, and the Gratulations-Menuett, WoO 3. These three works are noted in the Archduke’s catalogue as having been added to his collection in 1823.] Beethoven says the Mass is now being bound and he looks forward to being able to hand it over. Brandenburg Letter 1586, Anderson Letter 1146. The original is hoarded in the collection of the Gesellschaft der Musikfeinde and thus inaccessible (A 84/124).

Beethoven does his shopping and returns home. Unfortunately, Schindler arrives with the news that Bauer will be unable to make it for dinner.

The ability of Beethoven to become a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music depends upon the permission of the Emperor, which has not yet been given. Schindler suggests that if the newspapers were to announce the honor granted to Beethoven, that might force the Emperor’s hand somewhat to give official permission.

There is some discussion of the musicians that Schindler works with. Franz Gläser often has astonishingly fast tempi; Allegro is often Allegro molto; Allegro molto is Presto as a rule, “and he has absolutely no concept of an Adagio.” Hensler brought him over to the Theater in the Josephstadt from the old theater, as if he were leftover furniture. In yesterday’s operetta [Der hölzerne Säbel, composed by Schirer, with libretto by Kotzebue], it was a disaster as he had Blumenfeld the falsettist sing. But Blumenfeld wasn’t able to sing and thus had a chorus member stand next to him and sing. “The whole thing went to its grave.”

Brother Johann briefly stops by and checks out Beethoven’s new patented ear trumpet. He will a deliver the letter to Hensler [presumably taking Schindler’s side in his disputes at the theater with Gläser. This letter however is not known to survive, and its exact contents are a mystery].

Schindler suggests that Franz Hermann von Hermannsthal, who is working on an adaptation of The Ruins of Athens, op.113, be allowed to come visit tomorrow morning. Then Beethoven can see the progress that is being made and see if he approves.

Beethoven goes to visit Karl at Blöchlinger’s Institute. Karl heard of the diploma from the Swedish Academy yesterday, and was quite proud. Blöchlinger says that it’s good that people in the North hold Beethoven in high esteem; in southern regions they just inflict nonsense. There has been a kerfuffle recently because Karl made some remarks about Latin and Greek professor at the Salzburg Lyceum Johann Niederstätter (1789-1849), and they have been written down at the police station, presumably by Metternich’s network of spies. [Niederstätter had lived in Vienna until 1821, and he probably taught part time at Blöchlinger’s, which would be the most likely way for him to be known to Karl.] Blöchlinger asks whether Beethoven has been visited recently by head censor Johann Baptist Rupprecht, as he had been some time ago. “Through this goddamned story, I myself have come under suspicion,” says Blöchlinger. Karl interjects that he made no complaint about Niederstätter; he just described him as very free and open. Blöchlinger cannot write to Niederstätter to warn him, because the letter will almost certainly be opened and read. Blöchlinger begs that these pages of the Conversation Book by destroyed. [Beethoven obviously did not comply.] Any attempts to intervene with the police will only increase suspicion and bring whomever intervenes into the spotlight as well. Again, Blöchlinger asks if he may tear out the pages, a sign of his (probably justified) paranoia about Metternich’s police state.

Beethoven then heads to Cajetan Giannatasio del Rio’s school, where Karl once studied. On the way, he stops at a coffee shop and reads today’s Wiener Zeitung, making a note of the location of the Directorship of the General Pension Institution for Widows and Orphans. [Beethoven appears to still be considering the generous move of renouncing his half of sister-in-law Johanna’s pension, given her serious illness.]

At Giannatasio del Rio’s, Beethoven asks if he knows Niederstätter. Giannatasio del Rio does; he applied there for a position but he didn’t like him and he hired someone else. In general, though he thought he was fit for the study o philology. Giannatasio del Rio doesn’t like Johanna either, since he calls her Queen of the Night [after Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte] and that it’s good Karl is out of her influence. He mentions that Beethoven’s brother Johann tried to buy part of the building where he lives. He apparently is thinking of selling his apothecary shop and moving to Vienna permanently.

Giannatasio del Rio gossips a bit about Johann Bihler, a “Doctor of Pharmeutics” who gets three pensions and also works as a tutor to the children of Archduke Carl (1771-1847), the Emperor’s brother. Even so, he barely gets along even with so many students. As a matter off convenience, Giannatasio’s daughter Fanny [who kept a diary of her encounters with Beethoven, and was quite infatuated with him] is living at his place for the winter. In the summer, they go off to Hütteldorf, near Schönbrunn. He congratulates Beethoven on the Swedish Academy, but asks whether the Emperor needs to approve it. Finally, he asks about what Beethoven is writing for the Musik-Verein. He is still waiting on Joseph Carl Bernard to finish the libretto to Der Sieg des Kreuzes [Beethoven was paid 400 florins back in August, 1819 for the work, which has not begin nearly four years later.] Giannatasio del Rio laughs that Bernard should finish it; he doesn’t work very hard as editor of the Wiener Zeitung.

Conversation Book 23v-33v.