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

Beethoven goes into Vienna for the weekend today. There are no conversations in Conversation Book 36 dating from today, so if he needed to talk to someone he probably used whatever paper was at hand. Based on the items on his list from yesterday that were crossed off, Beethoven does the following things today: He visits the shoemaker about Karl’s overshoes, and he goes to pick up the testimonials from Archduke Rudolph and to deliver his little canon, Grosse Dank, Hess 303. But the Archduke is in Baden right now. Although Beethoven does not cross it off, he also certainly gives notice to the landlord Franz Schilde, with whom he has been fighting for the last month and getting the police involved, of termination of his tenancy on September 29th.

Beethoven writes to Hans Heinrich von Könneritz in Dresden, forwarding letters to King Friedrich August, one to Prince Anton, and one of the testimonials from Archduke Rudolph regarding the quality of the Mass, in hopes of getting His Royal Highness the King of Saxony to subscribe. Beethoven complains about the high costs of copying, and the fact he has been in ill health for the last several years.

“Judge me kindly and not too harshly. I only live for art and to fulfill my duties as a human being.” He hopes that von Könneritz can soon advise him with a few words as soon as any result is heard.

Brandenburg Letter 1714, Anderson Letter 1212. The letter is not known to survive; the text was published by Moritz Fürstenau, Zwei noch unkeannte Briefe Beethovens in the Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, Neue Folge 1 (1863), p.621. Fürstenau’s source was the original in the royal musical archives in Dresden, which were destroyed in World War II in 1945.

Beethoven writes a short undated note to unpaid assistant Anton Schindler sometime between July 22 and 25, very likely after being rebuffed at the palace today, since he had meant to pick up the testimonials. He needs the original and certified copies of the Archduke’s testimonial. There are many things that need to be discussed. If Schindler would like to come to mid-afternoon dinner, that would work well.

Schindler writes a note on the letter that orchestral rehearsals at the Theater in the Josephstadt often ran until 2 p.m. From there to Hetzendorf was an hour’s brisk walk. Considering the warmth of summer at this time of day, plus the fact he often had to be back at the Theater for a performance by 7 p.m., he was unable to comply with such requests. “But Beethoven did not like to take these hindrances, or even the official duties of others, into account.”

Brandenburg Letter 1702, Anderson Letter 1333. Anderson follows Schindler’s dating of this letter to 1824, but since Beethoven asked for the testimonial from the Archduke on July 15, 1823, this letter most likely dates from about a week to ten days after that. The original of this letter is in the Berlin Staatsbibliothek (aut.36,16). Beethoven wrote the note in pencil, and Schindler has traced over it with ink. The signature “dixi” [Latin, “I said”] does not have visible pencil underneath it and may be a fabrication by Schindler.