BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Friday, February 7, 1823

It should be noted that the entries in the conversation books 22 and 23 covering the dates February 6-8 are jumbled, but we follow the hypothetical arrangement used by the German editors and repeated in the English edition.

Beethoven makes a note that he needs some cloth for the floor, probably to cover a reed mat. He also makes a note to write to the King of Sweden and ask him about a dedication. Beethoven makes a note to send a solicitation letter to the Society of Art in Frankfurt as well. He apparently does not feel up to meeting with Count Gallenberg today [whether because of illness, or because he was still irked that Gallenberg was successful in marrying Julie Guicciardi, whereas Beethoven as a commoner was out of the question], since Schindler meets Gallenberg without him. Schindler suggests that Gallenberg probably would like a request in writing from Beethoven before arranging the effort to copy an entire opera score.

Schindler stops by, having visited the Prussian ambassador as well as Gallenberg. Since they only have one copy of Fidelio in the music archive, he will have it copied. He asked how Beethoven was doing, and wondered why he allows so few people to visit him. Schindler also saw the ambassador from Darmstadt, who greatly admires Beethoven. He will forward the subscription solicitation on tomorrow, but he warned that the grand duke is sick and suffering much with his foot, so a reply may not be so quick in coming. Schindler is flattered that the ambassador gave him many compliments as if he himself were Beethoven. [Schindler will spend the rest of his life basking in this kind of reflected glory.]

The bank shares have risen again today; the bank publicly announced that they would lend 700 florins per share against them, and today their exchange rate is up to 870 florins.

The Kärntnertor Theater is continuing to ask whether Beethoven would be interested in setting to music the libretto to Queen Wanda by Zacharias Werner, but he has not looked at it. Schindler dismisses it, saying one can judge how bad it is from the first page. He suggests Beethoven just tell them he read the first page and it already exhausted him.

Beethoven would like to make Karl apply himself harder to his studies; Schindler warns that will likely only make the boy defensive. Karl has already taken his examinations, and he didn’t neglect anything. He can learn by experience from being around Uncle Ludwig, even if he is not learning from books while with his uncle. In practical life, once cannot learn too early that where nothing must be proven a priori, but everything a posteriori.

Editor Joseph Carl Bernard mentions that he told Schindler to be very careful about getting the correct names and titles of the addresses for the subscription project. The people he is writing to are all too ready to take offense at such a thing. Schindler, clearly annoyed at Bernard’s intrusion, adds that he will append every possible title for Prince von Fürstenberg when he writes. Tomorrow afternoon, he will also write to Carl Keller; then Beethoven can write to the Prince himself, which “will excite a hundred times more interest.”

Domenico Artaria has a complaint about brother Johann offering Beethoven’s works in Paris. Beethoven affirms that he knows nothing about it or the Pacini publishing house. [Johann had written to Antonio Pacini on December 27, offering various works to Pacini, and it seems that word of this got back to Artaria, who felt he should be getting first consideration for new works.] Schindler asks whether any manuscripts are missing [implying that Johann might have stolen them.] Artaria has also mentioned something about 150 florins being due to Beethoven.

Beethoven writes a short note to the Artaria music firm today and has Schindler hand deliver it. Schindler says he will take it and come right back. In the letter, Beethoven tries to make light and jokes, “I notice you wanted to bribe me; that’s an honor that has happened now for the first time in my life, but you honor yourselves in doing so.”

In the letter Beethoven dodges the issue that brother Johann has been marketing his pieces in Paris; he is ignorant about the matter. Johann knows nothing about music, so he may have made some mistake. in any event, he asks Artaria to tell Schindler everything. Brandenburg Letter 1557, Anderson Letter 1112.

While Schindler is gone, copyist Wenzel Rampl stops by on his way home. His wife has been sick with rheumatic coughing. [Rampl’s wife was much older than he was.]

On Schindler’s return, he says that there are three works in question that Artaria is upset about: the Bagatelles op.119, the Trio WoO 28, and the Overture to the Consecration of the House (which Beethoven had just offered to the Philharmonic Society in London on an exclusive basis). But Pacini only wants the first two items, and will give 500 francs for them. Johann was at Artaria’s today already. [Artaria likely also contacted Johann about the issue, since he would not be likely to be in a music shop otherwise.] Johann told him that until you hear from London, he won’t sell the Overture to anyone else. Schindler tells Beethoven that a French franc is worth about 1 florin 10 kr. Artaria is clearly unhappy and was very offended that Beethoven joked about the 150 florins. In any event, Artaria wants to settle it all up.

They then have extensive discussions, probably influenced by Bernard’s remark earlier today, about how to address the letters to Prince Anton von Radziwill of the Duchy of Posen, to Goethe in his role as Privy Councillor in Weiner, and Carl Keller.

Later that evening, Moritz Lichnowsky stops by to visit Beethoven. He is still trying to interest Beethoven in setting Marianne Neumann’s libretto on Alfred the Great. He says it is supposed to be very beautiful and expects to receive a copy in a few days. There is supposed to be great spectacle, with a scene set on a bridge over the Thames, and opening with over 100 soldiers searching for the king by torchlight.

He notes that Beethoven’s great friend and supporter violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh will be returning to Vienna soon after his tour of Russia. Lichnowsky suggests that his presence would certainly make any Akademie concert of the Mass a special occasion. He also asks whether the work on the Ninth Symphony has yet begun. [It has, but there is still a great deal to do.] If Beethoven were to write another opera, a large musical excerpt could be ready in time for the Akademie. [Very easy for Lichnowsky to say, compared to the years of struggle it took for Fidelio to be realized.]

Lichnowsky doesn’t like Brother Johann either. He says Ludwig should ask for his books and correspondence back from his brother. Everyone Johann deals with considers him a fool and calls him “the Chevalier.” What he doesn’t get into, his wife Therese does. The only value he has is that he carries the Beethoven name. Beethoven fills Lichnowsky in about the issue with Artaria, and he responds that “You should forbid him from engaging in business or correspondence in your name without your signature.” [In the December 27 letter to Pacini, Johann had said he handled his brother’s affairs, and he signed it, rather than Ludwig.] Lichnowsky says it is too bad about Maly [Amalie, Therese’s illegitimate daughter, who was accepted into the household as a stepdaughter], who has to depend upon Johann. In the marriage contract, she was neither acknowledged nor is there any provision for her. He suggests that not a kreuzer will remain for her.

Lichnowsky is impressed by Carl Czerny’s output. He has become quite a composer. Lichnowsky leaves, suggesting as they part that Karl could stay with Beethoven and make sure that none of his compositions wander off.

Conversation Book 23, 28v-46r.