BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Friday, March 5, 1824

While running errands today, Beethoven makes note of a poster advertising an apartment available at the Augustiners.

Conversation Book 57, 29v. (Berlin Staatsbibliothek)

This is followed by some notes for the Finale of the Ninth Symphony, indicating that work is still ongoing in some parts of this complex composition, with part of “Seid umschlungen.” Conversation Book 57, 29v. These notes are written in the bass clef, and appear to have “Freudig” written beneath them.

Karl and Ludwig do some financial computations. The next housekeeper applicant shows up for an interview. Karl describes her as fat, sluggish, and if he is not mistaken, pregnant. She is turned away since they were looking for widows.

Karl mentions there was recently an advertisement in the Wiener Zeitung for a housekeeper, for 200 florins per year. But the Beethovens pay far more that that [more like 300 florins.] Karl asks what his uncle would like for mid-day dinner.

Apparently reading a newspaper advertisement, Karl mentions there is a new wine dealer. His least expensive wine is 28 kreutzers, and the best 1 florin W.W. That seems relatively cheap, so Karl thinks they might as well try it. If it isn’t even good enough for table wine, it would still be good enough for the servants.

At dinner or just after, Karl continues his report on the concerts yesterday. After the Concert spirituel in the afternoon, he went to another concert in the small hall at the Musikverein. [This program included works by Mayseder, Rossini, Czerny, Schubert and Pechatschek.] Brother Johann wants to acquire taste. Ludwig asks how that is going, and Karl laughs that Johann “always cries Bravo!” At the Schuppanzigh concert [February 29], he was so loudly appreciative during the music that he had to be shushed. Ludwig observes that at least this keeps Johann busy. Karl says Johann himself says he has “nothing to do all day long.”

Karl asks whether Uncle Ludwig remembers meeting the woman who played violin and clarinet, whose husband was an oboist, he thinks, who had toured Russia. Well, she was at the Concert spirituel, but very plainly clothed in the same overcoat he had seen her in before. Karl thinks her name is Pfeiffer. [Karl is close. She is Caroline Schleicher (1794-1873); her oboist husband was Ernest Krähmer (1795-1837). They will be giving a concert in this same hall on Sunday, March 7. Ernest probably was in the orchestra for this concert, since his wife seems to have been in the audience by herself.]

Karl observes that housekeeper Barbara Holzmann has cleaned up and is ready to leave, probably around 4 p.m. [This is the last mention of Holzmann for a while, so her current stint with the Beethovens appears to end again sometime between March 5 and March 8, when a housekeeper is referenced but not identified as the “old woman,” as is typical when Holzmann is meant.]

Beethoven makes a shopping list:
6 handkerchiefs.
1 pair of foot warmers.

Later in the day, after running errands including visiting a shoemaker, Karl and Uncle Ludwig read the newspapers at a coffee house. Karl is interested in seeing the menagerie advertised in the Wiener Zeitung, with lions, tigers and more. He asks his uncle whether he has already seen a crocodile. [Karl and Ludwig do visit the wild animals, but not until Friday, May 14, 1824.]

Karl likes the mustard here better than the French ones; they are expensive and there is nothing to them. The shoemaker’s bill for a pair of upper leathers, remaking a pair of boots, and adding a pair of heels, comes to 15 florins all told. Karl thinks he does good work. Schindler had told the shoemaker to make the boots quite large, but the shoemaker doesn’t know why.

Ludwig makes some notes of advertisements in the newspaper, including silver writing pens for travelers, as well as writing a second time about C. Güntersberg’s 2 volume set Der fertige Orgelspieler [The Finished Organist], and 7 Festive Chorales for organ with brass by Fleck. [Beethoven seems to still be thinking about writing some church music, or possibly an organ part for the Missa Solemnis.]

Karl continues that when it comes to a conductor for the Akademie concert, Ferdinand Piringer is surely very good, but he’s not in Schuppanzigh’s class. In any event, it would be unfair to Schuppanzigh to neglect him, since he has taken the most pains for Uncle Ludwig, and also spurred other people on.

Conversation Book 57, 29v-34r.