BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TDOAY: Wednesday, July 2, 1823

Beethoven is having trouble with his landlord, Johann Ehlers, back in Vienna. Beethoven has learned that Ehlers is trying to rent out his apartment at Obere Pfargasse Nr. 60, where unpaid assistant Anton Schindler is housesitting, even though his lease runs through September 29th, and the rent has been paid through July 25. Not only that, but the landlord is complaining about water damage by the windows, and wants another 6 florins for light for the apartment.

Livid, Beethoven writes Schindler from Hetzendorf today, working himself into a lather as he writes. The housekeeper, Barbara Holzmann, had been ordered to see to the winter storm windows, and to find out whether they would fit to avoid rain coming in. But Beethoven did not see the rain had come in at all. Because he did not trust the landlord, who had threatened to come into the apartments, Beethoven had the bolt padlocked.

Beethoven wants Schindler to take the matter to the police. The landlord is also refusing to give Beethoven the receipt for the rent the quarter running from April 24 to July 25, and is now demanding the money for the lighting. Beethoven is further angered about “this abominable apartment” not having stove heating; the wretched general heating cost him at least 250 florins extra on top of the rent, merely to eke out a living during the winter he lived there.

“It was a deliberate deception, in that I was never able to see the the first floor [second floor American] but only the 2nd floor, so that the many adverse circumstances of it should remain unknown to me. I do not understand at all how it is possible that the government should tolerate so shameful a chimney, destructive of human health. You remember how the walls in your room [the room Schindler was living in as housesitter] looked from the smoke, and what an expense that was even to lessen the nuisance, let alone to remedy it.” [Beethoven had from the time he moved into the apartment had trouble with the chimney spewing smoke into the place.]

The main thing is that the landlord must be instructed to provide the receipt for the rental and take down the sign that the apartment is for rent. “I will under no circumstances be responsible for the costs of the wretched lighting. I was already paying too much to scrape by in this apartment. My eyes do not allow me to go into the City right now, otherwise I would go to the police myself.”

Brandenburg Letter 1687, Anderson Letter 1205. The original is in the Berlin Staatsbibliothek (aut. 36,13).

Schindler did as requested, and tomorrow will contact the Police Director, Franz Serenus Freiherr von Silber, and another police employee, Anton Ungermann, whom he knew. More on that tomorrow.

Art and music dealer Pietro Mechetti advertises the following works by Beethoven’s former pupil Ferdinand Ries in today’s Wiener Zeitung at 609:
Variations on a Moldavian Air for piano, op.105
Fantasy for piano on Schiller’s poem Resignation, op.109.
Grand Variations on a Spanish Dance op.111
Fifth Symphony, in both the original for orchestra, and arranged for Septet op.112
Introduction and Rondeau on a Russian dance for Piano and Cello, op.113, and
the newly-published Piano Sonata #47 op.114

Susan Kagan here performs the Allegro quasi presto finale to Ries’ sonata op.114: