BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, December 16, 1822

Happy Beethoven’s birthday! If past experience is any guide, Beethoven celebrates his 52nd birthday evening by inviting close friends over for a dinner of fish, plenty of wine, and a convivial time.

Meanwhile, Beethoven’s conduct with publishers is starting to wear thin. In a now-lost letter, Leipzig publisher Carl Friedrich Peters today writes to Beethoven, demanding that the promised works he paid for be sent to him, and questions whether they have even been completed. Peters also inquires about Beethoven’s negotiations with the publishers Diabelli and Leidesdorf, suspicious that he is being used to obtain a higher fee. [Peters had good reason for his suspicions, as we saw last week from the letter to Diabelli offering him the bagatelles op.119/1-6, at an increased price.] Finally, Peters repeats his desire for a piano quartet from Beethoven.

Although the letter itself is lost, its date is known from the registration mark on Beethoven’s letter to Peters of November 22, 1822, and the contents can be surmised from Beethoven’s reply of December 20.