BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Friday, February 28, 1823

Mortiz Lichnowsky visits Beethoven, along with Schindler and tenor William Ehlers in the afternoon. If Beethoven is done with the libretto for Alfred the Great, then Johann should return it to the author with apologies. Schindler suggests that Blöchlinger’s letter to Niederstätter warning him that he is under observation based on Karl’s comments could be delivered by handing it to an acquaintance in Salzburg so it doesn’t pass through the mails. He will make inquiries. But it’s important not to say that it is secret, just that it’s a note to be given to Niederstätter. The government interprets every word in the most convenient manner to support its intrigues.

Lichnowsky asks to borrow a score [probably piano sonata op.111] to play through for a couple days. Ehlers says that his traveling company is winding up its business affairs, and they will likely travel to Pressburg [Bratislava] tonight or tomorrow morning. He would like to be there tomorrow evening.

After Lichnowsky and Ehlers leave, Schindler turns to the letter Beethoven has drafted to King Karl XIV Johan of Sweden. Schindler points out that he should refer to the king as “Votre Majesté.” Schindler will take the letter and rewrite it for Beethoven’s signature tomorrow. Schindler has ordered the material for the special support vest for Beethoven from Schoberlechner’s, with a ribbon tie to adjust it. The flannel will be cheaper there than getting it from tailor Lind.

The discussion turns back to Niederstätter. This might be inquired about through Franz Brentano and his commercial connections most easily. Grocer Heinrich Seelig also has merchant friends in Salzburg; Schindler suggests approaching him about forwarding the letter, without knowing its contents.

Schindler visited Attorney Johann Baptist Bach today, and he will speak personally with Steiner. He believes Beethoven’s position regarding the unpublished works is both correct and legal, and he will see to it that it is taken care of.

As it turns out, S.A. Steiner & Co. today advertises several Beethoven works in the Wiener Zeitung 195-196. First is Meeresstille, und glückliche Fahrt, op.112, on Goethe’s poems, offered as full score, as orchestral and vocal parts, and as vocal score with piano. While the full score had been offered in May of 1822 and a dedication copy sent to Goethe by Beethoven in that month, this is the first advertisement we are aware of for the parts and the piano reduction (not by Beethoven).

Steiner also offers for sale the Overture to The Ruins of Athens, op.113, in full score, parts, a piano reduction and a version for piano four hands (neither of the piano versions being by Beethoven). This was the first publication of the work, which had been in Steiner’s hands for nearly a decade at this point. This sudden publication may well have been prompted by Attorney Bach suggesting to Steiner that he has legal responsibility to Beethoven for not publishing his works that had been delivered long ago, as had been discussed in the legal consultation over dinner on January 26.

With regard to the diplomas from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, it would be fine if Beethoven wrote to the king of Sweden, but he should not ask for an honorarium. The Swedish ambassador says he will surely take it, especially in light of the fact Beethoven met the King when he visited Vienna over 20 years ago. The secretary of the French legation says that the King is royally generous, and the matter of any honorarium should be left up to him and not requested under these circumstances. Schindler suggests that a repeat performance of Der glorreiche Augenblick, op.136, written for the Congress of Vienna, would be an appropriate way to acknowledge these honors. If Beethoven likes, Schindler will subtly suggest such a performance to the Musik-Verein. Schindler asks for the diplomas, and he will show them to Joseph Anton von Pilat (1782-1865), editor of the Österreichischer Beobachter, to see if they can get word of them published.

Finally, Beethoven suggests letting Weber decide whether to pay 30 or 40 ducats for the performance of Fidelio in Dresden. Schindler says that he should pick whichever one we wants to receive and ask for it directly. Weber will certainly opt to pay only 30, given the choice.

Sometime about now, Beethoven writes several letters, one to Pilat and one to Bernard, and forwards them to Schindler with instructions to deliver them. Beethoven is unsure whether he should be described as an honorary member or a foreign member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music; he pays no attention to such things. He also suggests that Bernard may have some ideas about the head censor Johann Baptist Rupprecht, whom Beethoven believes to be behind Karl getting into trouble for saying things about Niederstätter. Brandenburg Letters 1587-1589; Anderson Letters 1216-1218 [dated to July, 1823] Beethoven had set Rupprecht’s poem Merkenstein to music twice, as op.100 and WoO 144. Matthias Goerne sings the latter version of the song, with accompaniment by Alexander Schmalcz, here: