BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Friday, March 26, 1824

Unpaid assistant Anton Schindler comes by Beethoven’s apartment in the early afternoon. He asks Beethoven for the fair copy of the Andante [third movement of the Ninth] so he can deliver it to copyist Peter Gläser to extract parts from; he has promised it to him by 5 p.m. He would also like the string section parts that Maschek did, if Beethoven is finished with them. Beethoven has completed the proofreading on them, so he gives the score and the string parts for further copying. Schindler brings with him the first violin part of the Credo, which Gläser has copied out for proofreading.

Beethoven apparently tells Schindler that copyist Paul Maschek should be dropping off the fair copy of the Finale to the Ninth Symphony, and two of the vocal parts tomorrow. Schindler will come back to take the two solo parts tomorrow, so he asks that Beethoven proofread them tonight. Beethoven resists, and Schindler says he just wants him to proofread the parts, so he can take them tomorrow. Schindler leaves.

Karl has just come from Steiner’s music shop, perhaps on his way from classes. He spoke to Steiner about his Uncle Johann. It turns out Steiner knows the Gneixendorf area well, and Johann’s estate is worth 12,000 florins C.M. at most. Steiner wanted to know whether Schindler was still coming here to the apartment. Beethoven asks Karl what he told Steiner; Karl simply answers, “the truth.”

Karl then displays his interest in languages and similar sounding words as he writes out in calligraphy the words, “säen, sähen, seyn, sehn.” He then lists a number of well-known people associated with the theater, all from days gone by: English actor and impresario David Garrick (1717-1779); Clairon, the stage name of actress Claire Joseph Lerys (1723-1803); and German actor/playwright August William Iffland (1759-1814).

Karl returns to the topic of Steiner, observing he pays 600 florins for 4 rooms. Uncle Ludwig thinks Steiner probably overpays. Karl agrees; the same tobacco Uncle Ludwig buys for 1 florin C.M., Steiner buys for 1 1/2 florins.

The housekeeper is unwell. Karl suggests that they should go get dinner elsewhere, since she can’t go shopping. Uncle Ludwig asks what Karl would like, and he suggests carp or pike.

Ludwig makes a note in the conversation book that he has to remember to have the fair copy of the Masses sewn into binding as soon as the trombone parts are added. He also needs to buy string and pepper. Karl suggests they take care of the shopping while they’re out getting dinner since it won’t take long.

Over dinner and coffee, Ludwig reads the newspaper advertisements as usual and makes note of a summer place in Heiligenstadt with a bath. He thinks it would be best if he went there to have an apartment that faced the mountains to the north.

Probably having looked over the fair copy of the Scherzo to the Ninth symphony earlier, Nephew Karl jokes that, “The timpanist will think to himself: ‘He [Beethoven] owes me a mid-day dinner!'” Whether Uncle Ludwig is amused is not recorded, as he continues to copy advertisements regarding apartments for summer residences in Heiligenstadt and Neuwaldegg.

Back at the apartment, Karl mentions that Carl Enk (1800-1885) is free and has already been absolved academically. [He graduated in Philosophy from the University of Graz in 1820 and became a law student in Vienna in 1821-1822. Enk appears to have been taking lectures in Philology at the University without having registered or paid for them. Karl will mention him several more times.] Enk’s goal is to become a Professor of Philology, an interest that Karl shares. “We have an inclination.”

Beethoven makes a note that he needs vinegar as well. [After Beethoven’s death, Schindler fills the rest of page 30v with fraudulent entries about the recitatives in the Finale of the Ninth. Editor Theodore Albrecht suggests that in this instance they may have accurately reflected actual discussions he had with Beethoven. Basically, Schindler is astonished that all of the contrabasses are to play together for the recitative. That would be fine in strict tempo, but doing it in a singing style would require quite a lot of rehearsal. If old Anton Grams were still alive and in charge of the basses, it would be one thing, since he could get the other basses to do whatever he wanted. Beethoven has himself expressed similar admiration for Grams, who led the basses in Fidelio, and the Fifth and Eighth Symphonies, all of which had passages that were written specifically for his talents.]

Karl mentions that at the Burgtheater they are performing Friedrich Schiller’s Don Carlos “if one could even call it that.” He had seen their performance of it last year, and thinks Schiller would not recognize it as his own work. They cut it terribly, omitting some roles completely, or turning Father Domingo into the courtier Antonio Perez.

A woman [possibly the ill servant] asks for some wine.

[Schindler here at 31r adds still more fraudulent entries. The historical record is badly spoiled by the ego of this miscreant.]

Conversation Book 60, 26v-31r.

In Munich today, violinist Bernhard Molique (1802-1869) and flutist Theobald Böhm (1794-1881) give a concert. Böhm made major improvements in his instrument, and was a noted virtuoso and composer. On the lengthy program is a performance of Beethoven’s Adelaide, op.46, performed by tenor Friedrich Samuel Gestäcker (1788-1825). Berliner Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung of June 23, 1824 (Nr.25) at 219. Gestäcker was already suffering from the lung disease that would kill him in the next year.