BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, August 4, 1823

As promised, piano maker Matthäus Andreas Stein stops by to visit Beethoven in the evening. They briefly discuss some simple modifications to the Broadwood piano to make it easier for Beethoven to hear.

But the immediate issue is Beethoven’s planned move to Baden shortly. The piano could be moved by carriage if it is treated carefully, but then it has to come back again. If Beethoven can rent a piano in Baden while he is there, it would probably be better. “I’m afraid that your piano also suffers from transport.” Stein says Beethoven should do what he believes best, and let him know if his services are needed.

Conversation Book 38, 14-1v.

Beethoven writes a followup undated letter to Schindler complaining about his landlord, saying that he can no longer live “amongst these Hottentots.” His stomach is bothering him badly, and he has had to take medicine for it. “Meanwhile, it is best that you come as early as possible, because it is so hot, the very best would be at 5 a.m. I will order the carriage to be ready at half past 5. [Copyist Wenzel] Schlemmer is dying, so go there. He may be concerned about the bill. I have written down 165 florins, but it may be 25 more than that. I only ask that tomorrow you be on time. You will get your 50 florins in a few days, after I apply what’s owed against them.”

Brandenburg Letter 1725, Anderson Letter 1219. The original is held by the Berlin Staatsbibliothek (aut.36,55). Schindler wrote an annotation on this letter that he never received the 50 florins, but that is untrue; they were, after deductions, sent to him by Karl later in August.

Beethoven also writes (most likely today) to Archduke Rudolph in Baden. “My eyes are really very bad, and I’m trying to drag myself to Baden tomorrow to find an apartment. Then in a few days I’ll move there completely. The city air is having a bad effect on my whole system, and I have injured myself by going to my doctors in the City twice. In Baden it will be easier to go to see Your Imperial Highness. I am heartbroken both on account of Y.I.H. as well as myself, since my activity is so very inhibited. There is something I want to tell you about the Variations, but it will be clearer to tell you orally.” [The Variations meant are probably the Archduke’s variations on the Cavatina “Sorte! secondami” from Rossini’s opera Zelmira, for clarinet and piano. The two doctors referenced are Dr. Jacob Staudenheim and Dr. Karl von Smetana.]

Brandenburg Letter 1726, Anderson Letter 1228. The original is held by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna (A 84/135).

In today’s Wiener Zeitung at 723, J.Riedl’s music shop advertises once again Beethoven’s 10 Russian, Scottish and Tyrolean Themes, Varied for Pianoforte and Flute op.107 (for 1 fl. 45 kr. W.W.), and his Sinfonia eroica op.55, arranged by an unknown person for piano four hands (a hefty 6 florins).

Also advertised by the firm of Sauer & Leidesdorf is the newest publication by Franz Schubert, a set of four poems with piano accompaniment, his op.23. These four poems are today catalogued separately, and comprise the following: Die Liebe hat gelogen (Platen), today catalogued as D.751; Selige Welt (Senn) D.743; Schwanengesang (Senn) D.744; and Schatzgräber Begehr (Schober) D.761.

Anja Harteros here sings Schwanengesang, op.23/3, D.744: