BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Friday, May 14, 1824

Today is a holiday, Norma Tag, and Karl probably is excused from classes today.

Beethoven makes an errand list:

Modejournal. “About the Akademie that I gave, I ask you at least to insert that it will be given again.” [This appears to be a proposed request to editor Johann Schickh for an announcement, though Ferdinand Piringer yesterday told Beethoven this had already been arranged with the Mode-Zeitung. Brandenburg Letter 1834; Albrecht Letter 365.]

  • Sammler [Newspaper]
  • Shoemaker
  • Locksmith
  • Bind the Mass [Karl had noted down the address of bookbinder Joseph Dell on May 11]
  • To Dietrichstein
  • Concerning Florence

Karl mentions that a woman [probably Henriette Sontag] has gone to Baden but will be back Monday, May 17. Brother Johann says that Joseph Blahetka wrote the review of the first Akademie, which appeared in Bäuerle’s Allgemeine Theater-Zeitung yesterday and was quoted at length in yesterday’s update.

At the poorhouse of St. Marx, Laurenz Novag is the physician there. “He is said to be a great mechanic, and has even invented his own water closet.”

Karl, probably seeing the note about the Modejournal above, reminds his Uncle that Piringer already took care of the announcements in all the journals. Piringer says Beethoven doesn’t need to raise any money. Steiner [to whom Beethoven still owes money, although he paid off several notes recently] can wait.

Karl thinks it would have been better to have had the Redoutensaal for the concert, because then all of the seats would have been available for sale by Beethoven. Duport proposed that Beethoven give him a third of the box office income, which was not unreasonable since he would have a lot of expenses. But Karl has doubts as to whether it would be so full for the second Akademie as it was in the Theater, if it is a nice day. So it would be better in the theater. Karl asks whether he is expected to sell the box seats out of Beethoven’s apartment.

They are out of wood, and only have wood shavings left. Karl asks, “You remember how cheap a basket of shavings used to cost? It was a few Groschen, and now it’s 48 kr.” The maid is cheating them, Karl thinks. Wood is to be delivered today.

Karl mentions that Brother Johann met someone [Schindler?] who showed him 6 kreutzers and said that was his entire property. He is now homeless, and Johann assumes that he is spending the night in some corner.

The woodcutter leaves half the wood there. As far as the debts, Steiner might show some forbearance, but the others are probably not going to be so patient.

The orchestral servant who received 8 florins loses 5 florins by paying others, while the other one has done nothing. So at the next Akademie, he should only be paid what he has earned.

A servant applicant will be coming tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock.

Karl mentions that he saw Carl Enk (1800-1885) yesterday. He like Karl is a student of philology at the University. He has moved in with a friend, until he can move in here with Karl. [Uncle Ludwig is expected to be out in the country.]

Later that day, Beethoven reads the newspapers at a coffee house. Still hoping for a large payment from the Akademies, he makes notes of a property in Hacking, on the River Wien, belonging to Prince Aloys von Kaunitz-Rittberg that is being sold for his debts. The expected value is 9,460 florins. Beethoven totals up the value of his property, including his precious bank shares, to see whether he might have sufficient money to be able to buy the property, which included a salon, 11 rooms, a large kitchen, a balcony, a garden and a farm building with stalls for up to 11 horses.

Karl, after running some errands, mentions that Nikolaus Zmeskall was carried by sedan chair to the first Akademie concert.

Beethoven makes another list:

Dr. Nichel: locked seats.

  • Underpants
  • Chicken
  • Bedclothes not yet back from Lise [Elise Strobl, Beethoven’s maid.]

Karl tried to place an advertisement, but the person who signed off the first time was sick. The other person there said either theater manager Louis Antoine Duport or Domenico Barbaja, who owned the Court theater lease, would need to sign. Perhaps they can get Duport to sign it by this evening. Haslinger can add the title page [probably to the bound version of the Missa Solemnis.]

Later in the day, Ferdinand Piringer comes to Beethoven’s apartment. Once again, the composer will need to spend several hours making calls on the nobility to personally invite them to the second Akademie. The plan is for him to go with Joseph Böhm. He doesn’t think extra concert posters will be necessary.

Karl mentions that a new Menagerie of an Italian woman, Madame Simonelli, has been announced again. She has set up business right next to the Aken Menagerie. She has priced her seats cheaper than Aken as well.

3000 florins always come in to the theater, Karl believes. If the concert can’t be held Tuesday, why not on Wednesday? Ludwig could take six or seven boxes that could be sold out of the apartment. Presumably Brother Johann will come. Uncle Ludwig doesn’t want to drive around with the invitations again, but Karl tells him he has to do it.

Uncle Ludwig is thinking of spending some time in Baden. Karl thinks now would be the time to do it,. If only it weren’t so far away. In a few weeks Uncle could be there, and it would be very beneficial for his health. Karl says he could surely gallop out on the express coach every week or two to visit. Uncle Ludwig asks how that coach is, and Karl finds it very pleasant. Going to Baden for a while would be a good diversion from all this business. If he comes out on a Sunday, they should visit their tavern in Gumpoldskirchen with its good wine. If Uncle Ludwig wants to go to Baden, they could drive out on Thursday, May 20, when Karl has more time, and they could look for an apartment there. Then on Monday [May 24], if the Akademie is finished, Ludwig can get out. Ludwig suggests Johann drive them, but Karl thinks he is too busy and can’t get away.

Karl suggests they go to the Menagerie now, since it is the feeding hour, and that will be very interesting. They take a drive to the Prater to see the Menagerie. On the way, Ludwig makes a note about the Schott publishing house’s offer for the Missa Solemnis and Ninth Symphony on four installments every six months. Beethoven writes down a possible counteroffer, with the Mass paid in full on delivery, and 600 florins for the Ninth Symphony in six months [since the Symphony cannot be published until next year.]

At the Menagerie, they are interested to see a white Arctic fox, and an animal which had just been discovered, a sloth bear. They also see a lioness, amongst other creatures.

In the carriage on the way home, Beethoven makes some more to-do lists:

  • Write to the newspaper writers.
    Palffy presto
    Czerny. [Beethoven probably intends to invite Carl Czerny to play the Piano Concerto Nr.5 at the Second Akademie.]
    Stereotype. The most beautiful.
    Sunday and Friday. Just leave behind…. [Editor Theodore Albrecht suggests that this may be a pun on Henriette Sontag’s name, as Sontag=Sunday.]
    Umlauf: As sorry as I am to be troublesome to you. [This appears to be the start of a proposed letter to conductor Michael Umlauf after the tumultuous dinner last Sunday.]
    The printed poem [An] die Freude [Probably a reminder to print more of the handouts for the second Akademie.]
    Beethoven makes a note that at the fermata, Umlauf should hold it out more before one begins. [There are several possibilities, but editor Albrecht suggests that the most logical would be be one in the Finale on “Gott” before the March begins.]

While at home, they likely receive a note from the Lithographic Institute requesting that they be allowed to have an artist make a drawing of Beethoven, which they could then offer in reproductions.

Karl mentions that “Of all the attempts that have been made to capture your likeness, the copper engraving is the most successful.” [This would be the 1814 engraving by Blasius Höfel, after the drawing by Louis Letronne.] Karl doesn’t think the large portrait ever looked like his Uncle. [This may be the 1804 portrait by Joseph Willibrord Mähler showing Beethoven holding a lyre with a Greek background.]

Reading the Intelligenzblatt in a coffeehouse, Beethoven makes a note of a new book at the Mörschner & Japser book dealer, Nine Hundred Wonders of the World, with copper engravings in a folder.

Beethoven also briefly starts a draft letter to publisher Sigmund Anton Steiner. Beethoven expects to pay the 70 florins owed immediately after the second Akademie, “since I really am down on my luck due to many expenses.” As far as the other debts, Beethoven’s attorney Johann Baptist Bach will make arrangements to repay either with compositions or with money.

Conversation Book 67, 22v-33r.

Hr. C.G. Feisiger gives a concert in the Leipzig Gewandhaus featuring Beethoven’s Symphony Nr.7 in A major today. According to the review, the concert was pleasant in many respects, and also better attended than usual. The symphony, the duet from Rossini’s Zelmira, etc. were “all excellent.” Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung Nr.26, June 24, 1824 at 422.

The Weigl Art and Music Shop, in cooperation with C. Lichtl’s Industrie-Comptoir in Pest, announces another new work by Carl Czerny in today’s Wiener Zeitung (Nr.111) at 471. This is the Introduction, Brilliant Variations and Rondo for piano quintet, with two horns and contrabass ad libitum, on the Marche favorite de Roland, Czerny’s op.59. The same variations are also available for piano solo.

The accompanying text, likely by Czerny himself, states, “Such compositions, with which the skilled player – without needing a full orchestra – may produce in larger circles and develop his artistry in a tasteful way, are by no means as common as our time requires, where virtuosity is on the rise, and the piano shows itself so versatile and brilliant.”

“The publisher flatters itself that in this work one will find a new contribution that fulfills all these conditions. The performing artist can produce a skillful and tasteful performance, and the talented student may gain new experiences from it, bringing his playing ever closer to perfection.”