BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Friday, April 25, 1823

About noon, Anton Schindler visits Beethoven. Brother Johann would like to have the contract with Diabelli back; he knows someone else who is interested in both the Missa Solemnis and the Diabelli Variations. Schindler warns that this will probably make Diabelli unhappy, since he does not trust Johann.

Schindler has not been able to go to Hetzendorf to view the apartment yet; it was too rainy. Later this afternoon he will go. He doesn’t want to delay because the apartment will be lost.

Beethoven’s eye is bothering him, and has become infected. Schindler looks at it, and says that everything looks scratched. Beethoven rubs it all the time, so it is no wonder that it is irritated. Schindler expects it will become well again of itself, and he does not need to worry about it. [Schindler is very mistaken.]

Painter Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793-1865) spends an hour sketching Beethoven seated by a window in preparation for making a portrait, which had been commissioned in January by the publisher Breitkopf & Haertel in Leipzig. According to Schindler (who apparently was there) Beethoven is agitated and preoccupied with work he should be doing and gets rid of Waldmüller as quickly as he can.

Frau Holzmann puts the meat for midday dinner on the fire to cook. She also makes macaroni and cheese, Beethoven’s favorite dish, to help calm him. The pair are joined by Baron Müller, the rental agent for Baron Prónay’s country house in Hetzendorf. He says it would be difficult to divide the apartment; it needs to be taken as a whole. If there are more rooms than Beethoven needs, he could sublease a single room, but it’s not practical to divide it up. The price is quite inexpensive, in Schindler’s opinion.

Müller leaves, and brother Johann arrives. He is not looking forward to returning to his estate in Gneixendorf. Johann is going to Schönbrunn this afternoon, so Schindler will go with him as Hetzendorf is directly south of Schönbrunn. The apartment has a separate room for the servants. Johann suggests Lichnowsky also come along to look at the apartment right away. Müller wants an answer in two or three days, so haste is required. Being near the City for at least three months is necessary; Baden is too far.

Schindler does some mathematics trying to figure out how much has been received; unlike Beethoven he is able to do multiplication, but he initially comes up with the wrong answer so his multiplication skills are not very good.

Schindler says he has written to Ries in London about the Diabelli Variations; Attorney Bach looked the letter over before he sent it. It is high time to send them to London. Johann fears Diabelli will not give the manuscript back to have an additional copy made for Ries. Diabelli intends to issue them in three weeks, so it may already be too late. It is essential to get the manuscript back. Schindler and Johann put a 50 ducat bet on whether he will do it; Ludwig acts as witness. It needs to be sent to London before Diabelli publishes it. [Diabelli does give the manuscript back to be copied, and the copy for Ries is completed by the end of the month.]

The dedication on the work, at least in England, should be to Harriet Ries, who is supposed to be very beautiful. It can be called “Variations, with two cobbler’s patches, dedicated to Madame Ries.” [The theme by Diabelli has previously been called a “cobbler’s patch” or Schusterfleck by Beethoven; the second could be either the restatement at the end, or the quotation from “Notte e giorno faticar” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni.]

Johann opines that violinist Ignaz Schuppzanigh is well to do, and that he doesn’t really care whether he gets a position here. [Johann is probably wrong about this. Schuppanzigh was persistently trying to obtain a position, and at his death in 1830 he had very little of value other than his Amati violin.]

Baron Berhnard von Eskeles (1753-1839) talked to Johann this morning. He said Ignaz Moscheles has written about Ludwig. He sent a yard-long concert flyer, which included Beethoven’s Christ on the Mount of Olives, op.85.

Ludwig, Johann and Schindler all go to Hetzendorf in the late afternoon. Embarrassingly, they first go to the wrong house and ask to be shown around. They find the proper house, and Schindler is ipressed for only 500 florins. The other one they looked at, the landlord wanted 600 florins. Schindler quotes Mignon’s song from Wilhelm Meister, “Kennst du das Land wo die Citronen blüh’n” (Do you know the land where the lemon trees bloom), in reference to Baron Prónay’s greenhouse of rare plants.

Conversation Book 30, 45r-51v.

After they return, Beethoven writes to Ferdinand Ries in London. To explain the delay in not having written previously, he complains about the 2 1/2 to 3 hour lessons that the Cardinal Archduke Rudolph wanted nearly every day for four weeks. “With such lessons, one is barely able to think the next day, much less to write letters.”

Beethoven unfortunately has to write to ask that the promised money be sent soon, because he’s in need. Now his eyes are hurting him too. He promises the symphony will come shortly; it is only these problems that are to blame for the delay. In a few weeks, Ries will receive a set of 33 variations, dedicated to Ries’ wife Harriet.

Ambassador Bauer has the score to the Battle of Vittoria [Wellington’s Victory op.91], which the Prince Regent, now the King, did not recognize or even cover the copying costs for nearly ten years ago. He asks that Ries do whatever he can on this matter. The Sonata in C Minor [op.111] should be engraved as soon as possible; the publisher will have the first rights to that. The Sonata in A-flat [op.110] still has only appeared in editions full of mistakes, so the publisher in England can describe it as the first correct edition.

Brandenburg Letter 1637a. The first portion of this letter is lost and is known only from the portions contained in Wegeler-Ries. The last page is in the autograph collection of the Bonn University Library. Coincidentally, the English edition of the Sonata #32 op.111 is entered at Stationer’s Hall by Muzio Clementi on this date.