BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Friday, July 4, 1823

Beethoven, enraged by the news from Schindler yesterday, starts drafting a letter to his ailing brother Johann, probably from Hetzendorf, scolding him about his wife Therese’s infidelities as reported to him by Schindler. “Now you have gotten into a nice mess. I have been informed about everything that Schindler has observed at your place; he is useful to me at least, so that I can find out about you and also help you.” He invites Johann to come stay with him and leave behind his unfaithful wife and her illegitimate daughter. Ludwig wants nothing from Johann, he just fears how terrible it would be if the very ill Johann were to “give up the ghost while in their hands.” But he warns, “If you want to come, then come alone, because I don’t want her.”

Ludwig also suggests that it is a mistake to consult Dr. Saxinger about Johann’s health instead of Ludwig’s physician, Dr. Smetana. [Saxinger is related to Therese by marriage to her sister Agnes, and thus in Ludwig’s view is not to be trusted.]

In other news, Ludwig brings Johann up to date about the subscriptions. The Czar of Russia has agreed to subscribe to the Missa Solemnis [per Nikolai Galitzin’s letter of June 2], and Prince Galitzin will subscribe personally, as well as some others. Prince Radziwill has asked to be sent a subscription invitation, so all the efforts to get subscriptions are finally beginning to bear fruit.

Ludwig repeats that Johann should come out to Hetzendorf and stay there, and later live with him and Karl all the time. “How could you live happier than with an excellent young man like Karl and like me, your brother? Truly you would have bliss on earth.”

Brandenburg Letter 1689. The final letter was forwarded to Schindler to deliver to Johann within the next day or two, but the letter itself does not survive. Presumably it was fairly close to the text in the draft.

Ludwig begins drafting a letter possibly either to the police in Vienna or attorney Johann Baptist Bach, saying how shameful Therese is, leading her daughter to stand hidden guard to watch over her lust. [Schindler adds a note in the margin: “This happened often.” There is also an earlier witness to her unsavory character, which is necessary since Johann is timid and weak. Whether this letter was ever sent is unknown. Brandenburg Letter 1691.

Beethoven also writes to unpaid assistant Anton Schindler about the troubles with his Vienna landlord. He gives his regards and thanks to the director of police and Commissioner von Ungermann. [The police interview of the landlord was scheduled for 5 p.m. today.] Beethoven will pay the six gulden the landlord is demanding for the light, but only after the landlord takes down the “for rent” sign and gives the receipt for the second quarter’s rent to the police. “In the future, he should behave like a civilized man.” He asks that the police resolve this quickly, because he will have something more important for them to deal with them after, which suggests he was intending to have the police get directly involved in Brother Johann’s personal affairs.

Brandenburg Letter 1695, Anderson Letter 1186. The original is held by the St. Petersburg State Public Library, “M.E. Saltykow-Schtschedrin” (F.124, P.L. Vaksel, op.1 No.188).

Beethoven also makes a note that he needs matches. Conversation Book 35, 5r-7v

According to the Brünner Zeitung of July 10, Archduke Rudolph, Cardinal and Archbishop of Ölmutz, having recovered his health, and accompanied by his chief steward, lieutenant field marshal Count von Laurentin, this evening moved into the apartment prepared for him in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna.