BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO: Monday, January 19, 1824

Schuppanzigh comes to visit Beethoven today in the late morning or early afternoon. Prince Radziwill is now in Posen, and Schuppanzigh thinks Beethoven should write directly to him. [Beethoven appears to be thinking of approaching Radziwill about a commission for a string quartet; never mind that he still owes Russian Prince Galitzin three quartets. Beethoven may also be considering selling the same quartets twice.] Beethoven could also write to Schuppanzigh’s sister-in-law, Josephine Schulz,a singer at the Royal Opera in Berlin and she would take it up right away. Beethoven asks whether that would be appropriate; Schuppanzigh tells him she would be very pleased if he said he remembers her. [She had sung Beethoven’s aria “Ah, Perfido!” op.65 at Beethoven’s Akademie concert on December 22, 1808.] Radzwill is very captivated by Beethoven, though sometimes he is short on cash. But Beethoven should do it, as this would be lucrative.

Talk turns to the proposed Collected Works of Beethoven to be published by Maximilian J. Leidesdorf. Schuppanzigh cautions that there needs to be a written contract. Beethoven is thinking that he would like a large sum up front. Schuppanzigh thinks that he could also get a deal that offers a lifetime revenue of 300 ducats per year. Beethoven is however not excited about the idea of composing new works for each volume, though that would certainly boost sales, since it would get in the way of his other work. Schuppanzigh doesn’t think that’s such a big problem; a short new piece every two months is all that’s required.

In any event, now that Beethoven is healthy, he could work a great deal, but the constant issues with domestic affairs takes up too much of Beethoven’s time. [Schuppanzigh is quite right about this, and moving several times per year doesn’t help matters either.]

Bar in B-flat written by Schuppanzigh, Heft 53, 17r,

Schuppanzigh notes that he played Beethoven’s String Trio in C minor, op.9/3 yesterday afternoon. “It pleased a great deal.” Schuppanzigh writes out one bar of music in common time in B-flat major, with the word “Menuett” written beneath it. [The editors were unable to identify the source of this bar.]

Schuppanzigh urges Beethoven to make a decision on the Akademie, since the singers have to have time to learn their parts. Beethoven says he has been thinking about writing to Duport, the theater manager at the Kärntnertor, about arranging the Akademie concert. Schuppanzigh is in agreement; if Beethoven does not get it settled, people will be gossiping all around the City. Beethoven frets about the reception of his new symphony, with its tradition-shattering finale, but Schuppanzigh assures him, “It is enough that it is newly composed by you.”

Schuppanzigh reminds Beethoven to write his sister-in-law, Madame Schulz, Royal Court Singer, Berlin, and then takes his leave.

Later that afternoon, around 2 p.m., Nephew Karl is interviewing housekeeper applicants yet again. The first one, Sophie Trion, is a widow who says she can cook everything up to fine pastries, gruel, etc. But Karl doesn’t believe her; she is from Saxony, where they don’t eat such things. She has been working as a cook for 15 years, she says.

A washerwoman also says she will do the laundry for 1 florin, 45 kreutzers, plus wine [about a third of a quart] at breakfast, mid-day dinner and bread.

Frau Josepha Schlemmer will be coming later today at 6 p.m., Karl announces to his uncle, with the copyist that she is using as a subcontractor to get the Missa Solemnis subscription copies finished.

Trion does a trial meal for midafternoon dinner, and Karl complains that the rice is not fully cooked.

After 6 p.m., Karl reports that Frau Schlemmer was happy, though the copyist is having a hard time with the work. Uncle Ludwig doesn’t want to haggle with the copyist, and Karl corrects him that he doesn’t need to do that, because Frau Schlemmer pays him.

Karl observes that Schuppanzigh doesn’t think he will get the concertmaster position at the Kärntnertor Theater. [He is correct in his assumption, at least for now, though he will finally get the position in 1828.]

The maid has abandoned her post. Karl saw her on the bridge with her suitcase. According to the temporary housekeeper, the maid found a position where she could start immediately, so she left. The housekeeper was surprised she took it, because the pay is terrible, only 6 florins per month [about half of what Beethoven was paying, which suggests she was very eager to leave Beethoven’s service.] Only now that she is gone, the housekeeper has seen fit to tell Karl the maid was always rummaging around and reading his books. [The maid soon returns, so the other position must not have worked out.]

That evening, Beethoven visits a coffee house, apparently by himself. He makes a note of an advertisement for a newly invented shaving razor, as well as a new patented razor strop. Potatoes of sundry varieties are available near the church Maria am Gestade.

Beethoven also starts a shopping list:

+Wine spirits.

Conversation Book 53, 16r-19v.

Sauer & Leidesdorf announces L’inganno felice, the seventh and latest in their subscription series of the Complete Operas of Rossini in piano solo reduction form, in today’s Wiener Zeitung at 63. For subscribers, the price is 6 florins W.W.; the retail price is 7 1/2 florins W.W.