Rossini, surrounded by nobility, wealth and glamour, cannot forget the haunting image of the impoverished Beethoven, living in desperate circumstances in a dark and filthy apartment. At some time about now, Rossini comes up with the notion of raising a subscription from the people of Vienna to elevate Beethoven’s circumstances.
As Edmond Michotte relates Rossini telling the tale to Richard Wagner in 1860: “Having failed in my attempts to create an annual annuity for Beethoven, I did not, however, lose courage. I wanted to try to raise the necessary funds to buy him a house. I succeeded in obtaining some promises of subscription; but, adding mine, the end result was very mediocre. It was therefore also necessary to abandon this second project. I was generally answered: ‘You don’t know much about Beethoven. The day after he owns a house, he will sell it. He will never know how to adapt to a permanent residence, for he feels the need to change quarters every six months and to change servants every six weeks.’“