BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Friday, April 12, 1822

Tomorrow is the big premiere of Rossini’s Zelmira at the Kärntnertor Theatre. Rossini himself described the rehearsals and performances of Zelmira to Ferdinand Hiller as follows:

“During my stay in Vienna,” said Rossini, it had great success; but it requires such an excellent ensemble of singers, as I had with me there. I had uncommonly fine times there.

“The chorus was excellent. The orchestra, too, was very good; it only wanted power which possibly was accidental. Did you know Weigl?” [Joseph Weigl (1766-1846), composer and conductor at the Kärntnertor Theatre in Vienna. A theme by him was used in the finale of Beethoven’s Clarinet Trio op.11, and he set the libretto to Vestas Feuer after Beethoven abandoned his effort.]

Hiller answered, “I saw him for a moment in my earliest boyhood; he was then directing.”

“Very likely,” continued Rossini. “He knew that he had been described to me as one of my great enemies. To convince me of the contrary, he rehearsed Zelmira in the orchestra with a carefulness such as I had never known either in myself or others. I wanted sometimes to beg him not to be so very particular about it; but I had to confess that it went wonderfully.”

Dwight’s Journal of Music, vol. VIII nr.12 (December 22, 1855), p.89.