BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Friday, November 14, 1823 (approximately)

Either this morning, or possibly late yesterday, Count Moritz Lichnowsky comes by Beethoven’s apartment in Vienna for a visit. Lichnowsky observes that the Italian opera will be coming back in April. German opera seems to be finished if Beethoven does not compose Melusine to Grillparzer’s libretto. Everyone is saying that. After the utter failure of Weber’s Euryanthe, many of the opera patrons sent the books back. Der Freischütz, which was enormously popular, is actually not an opera.

Lichnowsky offers to be of assistance to Beethoven in whatever way he can. Beethoven has not yet, to Lichnowsky’s surprise, attended one of the Schuppanzigh Quartet concerts yet. Lichnowsky has to go but promises he’ll come again in a few days. [One of the Schuppanzigh concerts is taking place at noon today, so that may be where Lichnowsky is going.]

Later this afternoon, Uncle Ludwig and Karl go grocery shopping. Karl describes the difference between a baker (Bäcker) and a bread-seller (Brotsitzer); the latter buys bread in large quantities from a baker at a discount and resells it.

Uncle Ludwig would like some partridges, but the maid says that the cheapest ones were 1 fl. 54 kr. for a large one, and 1 fl. 15 kr. for a small one, and even then they had no meat on them. Karl has made arrangements for finding a new housekeeper. They make do with a pound of wild pig, which comes to 1 florin exactly.

Karl thinks that the Kohlmarkt [the grocer Zum grünen Fassel] is better than the Kamehl [grocery and wine shop Zum schwarzen Kameel, the wine restaurant of which Beethoven frequently visited, and is still there.] Uncle Ludwig says that he has heard otherwise, and that the wine at the Kohlmarkt was adulterated. Karl disagrees; they have tried both and the Kohlmarkt is better. The fact someone complained about the waiter serving adulterated wine “was only a roguish trick by the waiter” who brought in a totally different bottle. If he had looked at the seal, he would not have been deceived.

Uncle Ludwig says that they drink a great deal of wine in Italy. Karl notes that it may be far less expensive there. Ludwig asks what part of Italy Karl would like to go to; his response it Pavia since he would like to study there. They have a clergyman there who could verify that Karl is still alive so the pension from his father could be collected.

Beethoven notes down the name of Joseph Hauffen, dressmaker in the conversation book. [This probably relates to standard dress for the female servants.]

Karl and Uncle Ludwig stop mid-to-late afternoon at a coffeehouse. Karl gives an example of the low character of some of the other Philosophy “gentlemen.” An overcoat was hanging at the entrance to the lecture hall, and is gone. One student walked off with it and the perpetrator is still being sought.

Karl needs to go to Mayer’s book shop [apparently to inquire about the subscription to the Collected Works of Schiller]. After he leaves, Uncle Ludwig continues reading the newspapers. He jots down a note about Viennese water, which can be had in crates of six for 5 fl. 30 kr. Pfann’s Spa also has curative and drinking waters that can be had in a heated bath in Untermeidling. Reservations can be had. Beethoven makes a reminder to pay the physician. [Editor Theodore Albrecht suggests that this may be the doctor that examined the maid about November 1.]

Beethoven also copies down ads for chemical lighters and matches, candles, soap and the book Multiplication in its Most Complete Form. [Beethoven never mastered multiplication, though Karl has already made several efforts at teaching him.]

Karl rejoins his uncle at the coffeehouse. He observes that by Imperial decree, students may no longer go into coffeehouses, but he figures that as long as he is with Uncle Ludwig that he would immediately have a defense.

Uncle Ludwig continues making notes of the ads in the Intelligenzblatt, including a toilet that removes all odor, the prevention of smoke and fire damage, and for drying out wet walls without odor. [The night chamber pots remained a thorny subject with the servants, who generally did not want to deal with them.]

Conversation Book 45, 17v-23r.

The fourth Schuppanzigh Quartet lunchtime concert is held at the Musikverein today. Once again there is no Beethoven on the program, only Haydn, George Onslow, and Mozart.

In today’s Wiener Zeitung S.A. Steiner & Co. announces a newly-published work for piano is in hand by Beethoven’s former student, Carl Czerny. This is the Variations in a Easy Style for the Pianoforte on the popular final song from the magical farce The Fairy from France, Czerny’s op.52. Steiner also offers a new edition of Czerny’s opus 1, Variations Concertant for violin and piano.