BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO: Thursday, May 8, 1823

Today is a holiday, Ascension Day. Schindler brings Nephew Karl for his visit, even though on Sunday May 4 Karl had asked not to have a visit since he has oral examinations tomorrow, May 9; perhaps his studying for his exams has gone well enough that he feels he can take the day off.

Housekeeper Barbara Holzmann says that a tub of water costs 5 kr. She needs 6 tubs to do the wash, or 30 kr. She buys it at the piped fountain. The water is free, but the charge is to carry it. She would carry the water for doing the cooking, but she can’t carry the amount needed for the wash.

Karl approves of the linens that his Uncle Johann bought, though he doesn’t want to go next door to see him. Not long after, Johann comes to visit Ludwig. Johann’s cook is ill again. Starting tomorrow, he will go to restaurants until she is healthy, since his wife Therese does not look after household matters.

Karl notes that Holzmann was not able to get any good veal for dinner, so she bought lamb instead. Johann thinks she should hire a washerwoman.

Ludwig’s eye infection is still bothering him. Johann tells him not to wash them too much. Dr. Smetana is also an eye doctor. Ludwig and Johann argue a bit about whether it’s better to wash the eyes or just leave them exposed to air.

Karl points out that one of the pretty girls looking out of the window is the granddaughter of Holzmann.

Johann, Schindler and Ludwig discuss conducting. Johann thinks it is not difficult to conduct, and would be quite proficient now if he had started six years ago. Karl writes that Johann says he would give half his property if he were able to judge when the orchestra is wrong in a concert. Now he wants to learn to play piano. [Ludwig had given Johann his Erard piano to take to Gneixendorf.] Schindler [probably mocking] says Johann wants to conduct all of Ludwig’s symphonies. Karl notes that he is able to recognize what key a piece is being played in on the floor above him. He relates a prank he pulled on Johann, who claimed that he could tell whenever Karl made a mistake. So Karl played, and made no mistake and Johann claimed that he heard a mistake.

Ludwig invites Schindler to stay for dinner, but he is eating dinner in the evening. Schindler would like to get the corrected proofs for the Diabelli Variations to return them to the publisher. He then departs.

Karl notes that lettuce was too expensive, so Holzmann got radicchio instead. He mentions that he heard a kitchen maid at Blöchlinger’s say that she would like to be a corpse; a week later she was buried.

Johann says that crown prince Ferdinand lived at the Imperial Palace near Hetzendorf. That village is far enough outside the city that Ludwig should not be disturbed. Since it is 87 degrees Fahrenheit today, it is too warm to go out there, and the carriages cost too much.

The Variations will probably be out in around three weeks, since the engraving and corrections still need to be done.

There is discussion of copying of a work, which may either be one of the subscription copies for the Missa Solemnis or a copy of the Diabelli Variations. Johann wants to have Wenzel Rampl make a copy, since Schlemmer has no time. Whoever copies it, it needs to be finished in two days’ time.

Johann offers to take Karl home to Blöchlinger’s. Karl asks if he can borrow one volume of Collin’s Tragedies; he promises to return it on Sunday when he visits.

Conversation Book 32, 33r-38v.