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

Archduke Rudolph departs Vienna roughly about today, probably to be back in Olmütz for Easter Sunday. That is a relief to Beethoven, who has complained repeatedly about the three-hour marathon composition lessons that the Archduke has demanded every day.

Today, Good Friday, a benefit concert was held by Kapellmeister Gohr in Frankfurt am Main. The concert had three parts, the first of which is the Mozart Requiem. The second part included an aria by Mlle. Bamberger, who also performed an unidentified song by Beethoven. The concluding part was fragments of Haydn’s oratorio The Creation. While the reviewer did not consider these pieces to be a timely and simple celebration of the day, the unnamed reviewer did add that all of the pieces were given with complete roundness and solidity under the masterful management of Herr Guhrs. Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung of June 25, 1823 (Nr.26) at col. 413.

Meanwhile, in Strasbourg, Beethoven’s oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives, op.85, is performed as part of the Good Friday ceremonies. “Dem. Hardmeyer had taken on the part of the Seraph to conclude the performances. her soulful singing was particularly moving when she began the recitative “Erzittre Erde” and then the Cantabile in G major, “Preisst des Erlösers Güte.” Her deepest feeling seemed to unfold at the celebratory passage in the Allegro, “O Heil euch, ihr Erlössten, wenn ihr getreu in Leibe, in Glaub’ und Hoffnung seyd,” especially after the chorus has re-entered. The part of Christ was performed with dignity by one Liebhaber (Tenor), who has a pleasant voice. The part of Petrus (Bass) was sung by a dilettante, whose powerful voice was of good effect at its entrance in the Trio. The careful rehearsal of the choirs does Hrn. B. credit.” Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung Nr.41, for October 8, 1823, at 678-679.

“O Heil euch, ihr Erlössten” from Christus am Ölberge is here performed by the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Leif Segerstam:

Today’s Wiener Zeitung at 287 includes an advertisement from Artaria & Co. for a long list of arrangements of Rossini operas in vocal score with piano and other various formats. Hidden in the list of these operas is the vocal score for Fidelio by Beethoven for 25 florins, as well as a piano solo version for 8 florins.

On page 288 of today’s Wiener Zeitung, Mathias Artaria advertises a number of works, among them two new piano pieces by Beethoven’s former student, Ferdinand Ries. These are the Variations on a National Air by Moore for piano four hands [one of the two sets of variations making up Ries’ op.108 (1822); a copy of this publication was requested by Chopin in his earliest surviving letter to his parents, dated August 10, 1824], and an Air Militair by Henry R. Bishop, with Variations for piano, op.96/3 (1821).