BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Friday, December 5, 1823

Beethoven gives himself an affirmation that he needs a housekeeper that cooks, which will satisfy their requirements. An applicant talks to Beethoven, and says she worked for Frau v. Frank. [She may be the one Karl said yesterday could write, but if so her writing is barely good enough to function.]

Brother Johann comes by to visit Ludwig. They talk about the proposed opera Melusine, which Johann appears to believe is well along rather than sitting unstarted. He knows of three new theaters, in Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg that would love to have it. The opera should thus not be published immediately, but instead be sold five or six times. It could be part of the Akademie in March. “This is absolutely necessary for your fame.” Schuppanzigh would be good as the concertmaster, but Ludwig should talk to him in advance about “what you are giving him.” [Johann appears to be aware that some of the violin parts in the Ninth and the Missa Solemnis-particularly the violin solo in the Benedictus of the Missa Solemnis-are quite difficult.] As far as the general publication of the Missa Solemnis, it would be best to also do that on a subscription basis, “since much could be made.”

[A page appears to be missing here, since Johann suddenly vanishes and Anton Schindler appears on the next page mid-sentence.]

Anton Schindler visits Beethoven’s apartment, either Friday afternoon or Saturday morning; the missing page complicates the dating. Schindler continues to have difficulties with Franz Gläser, conductor at the Josephstadt. The music Gläser composes is exhausting. Schindler says he had decided to do Beethoven Second Symphony in D, op.36, when a good occasion came along. “Now it did, and the Symphony was very well rehearsed with 12 violins, 4 violas, 3 contrabasses. [And presumably also 3 cellos. These section sizes represented a 50% increase in the size of the standard string orchestra at the Josephstadt.] I went to Hensler [the theater manager] and asked him to make note of it on the poster, so that the audience would be given notice of it. But he replied ‘No,’ and ‘No!’ and even so, it was done, in spite of Gläser’s attempt to prevent it, and we earned great applause.” [Editor Theodore Albrecht notes that there is no record of a performance of the symphony, but that Hensler’s one-act play Der Feldtrompeter, which was being revived about this time, would appropriately include the first movement of the symphony, with its prominent trumpet parts. That work was repeated Saturday, December 6, with the Beethoven symphony movement apparently again included. The performance pf the drama on February 15, 1824 will include Beethoven’s Consecration of the House Overture op.124 instead, and on May 4 with the Overture to Fidelio with its trumpet fanfares.]

Schindler says there is always a large audience at the dramas at the Theater. Hensler is surrounded by too many gossips, he thinks, and is too headstrong. “You would be astonished to hear how he speaks in public with Drechsler and also often with Gläser” Schindler thinks he is an entrepreneur only out of greed, rather than love. Beethoven notes he is already rich. Schindler agrees, and also he doesn’t have to care for anyone. Hensler’s daughter Josepha is married to a banker, Sigmund von Scheidlin, who is also rich.

Conversation Book 47, 40r-41r.