BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Friday, December 15, 1820

Regular readers will recall that Beethoven’s faithful friend and unpaid assistant, Franz Oliva, is going with his employer, banker/sheep’s wool wholesaler Joseph Biedermann, to Moscow later this month to handle business there, for an expected period of approximately three months. On this date, Oliva applies for his passport to Moscow with the City of Vienna authorities. Later documents indicate that Biedermann himself also obtained a passport to Moscow from another source at about this time, so the business must have been of some importance.

As a side note, Oliva’s passport application states that he was called up for military service on August 8, 1813 (then aged 26), and he was deemed unfit to serve on grounds of having a cataract on his right eye.