BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, December 8, 1823

Karl is off from classes today, since it is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Karl is dissatisfied with the amount of sugar the maid puts in the coffee; he suggests that they get a scale so she gets it precisely right.

Ignaz Schuppanzigh appears to drop by Beethoven’s apartment for a moment, though he has Karl write in the Conversation Book for him. He tells Beethoven to think about giving Henning the music for Consecration of the House. Schuppanzigh will give his opinion later. The work only has seven numbers. Beethoven had said he wanted a sum of money all at once [presumably for the Akademie concert], but Schuppanzigh thinks that would be disadvantageous to Beethoven; people don’t have enough money and he’d be better off taking a share of the proceeds.

Schuppanzigh leaves, and Karl notifies his uncle that Brother Johann will be picking them up with his carriage this afternoon.

Beethoven writes a memorandum to himself: “At the end, the trombones, along with the horn quartet could cease, and open the introduction.” [Editor Ted Albrecht notes that this memo probably relates to the Finale of the Ninth Symphony, where the horns, trumpets and timpani play, and then the trombones introduce the theme of “Seid, umschlungen, Millionen.” It could, however, conceivably relate to The Ruins of Athens. reworked as Consecration of the House, which also has a prominent horn quartet, since that work has just been the subject of discussion.]

Mid-day, Nannette Bauer, the applicant for the housekeeper position comes with her testimonial. She had worked for a Hungarian nobleman who always wanted roasts. She can come back, if this isn’t a good time. She could do her cooking trial tomorrow. Karl says, “She is making faces and told me a short time ago that a cook came to apply, but added that if Bauer wanted it, she need only enter, because ‘I’m getting out of here.'”

She has made a salad with vinegar. Karl thinks she wants to act like the lady of the house and is already getting capricious; he thinks she may have talked to the previous one. Karl suggests telling her that since she has demonstrated how she cooks, they want to propose a trial with another woman, and they’ll let her know. She departs, and Karl is surprised that she didn’t ask for her testimonial letter back.

Uncle Ludwig bemoans how much money he still owes publisher Sigmund A. Steiner. Karl thinks his uncle should take him to court “because he deserves it; he has swindled you enough.” Ludwig has already tried that with his attorney Johann Baptist Bach, but he doesn’t think that it would go anywhere. Karl implies that the attorneys are conspiring together.

Talk turns to Brother Johann and his wife Therese. Karl thinks they are headed for a complete separation. Johann is convinced of it too, he believes. “Probably he still found her attractive up to now, though; all of that has ceased now, for she is becoming old.” Ludwig notes that his brother is not as big a tightwad as he had been, which is probably due to escaping her influence. Karl agrees, “For a long time he has not been as much a skinflint as before.”

Karl is still thinking about the Erlauer red wine from last night, which the waiter or sommelier had promised was especially good.

Karl thinks that Uncle Ludwig should send the score to Consecration of the House to Johann, and not give it out further, and let him deal with Henning. Or Schuppanzigh, who has set the whole thing up could do it. If he sends Schuppanzigh with a receipt, that would be fine, but it’s good that they understand the as-yet-unpublished work should not be spread around any further.

Johann is not sure what to think of the Saxon Court; Greisinger of the Saxon Embassy said they would not be taking a subscription to the Missa Solemnis, but he has then heard differently. [Due to Archduke Rudolph interceding, the Saxon King decided to subscribe after all, though Johann seems to be unclear on this.]

Ludwig and Karl appear to go to a coffeehouse. They meet a doctor who says that he wants to cure Beethoven’s deafness. Everyone is talking about the forthcoming opera from Beethoven. Uncle Ludwig is upset as usual about his deafness preventing public appearances. [He probably recalls the disastrous rehearsal of the Fidelio revival last fall.] Karl insists, “absolutely no-one speaks of your deafness; you will see this for yourself when you give an Akademie.” Karl notes the chestnuts there are old.

Returning to Beethoven’s apartment that evening, they meet Brother Johann. He will come for dinner on Thursday. Tomorrow, Johann will pick Ludwig up with his carriage at 12:30. Johann’s latest idea for the Missa Solemnis is to let M.J. Leidesdorf publish a limited edition of 200 copies of the Mass, which Beethoven could then sell for 5 ducats per copy, which would bring in another 1,000 ducats. Copies could be sent to Germany, France, England and Russia, just as Galitzin had suggested. Johann says he will visit Leidesdorf to make the proposal.

After Johann departs, Karl reminds his uncle that Schuppanzigh will need the corrected copies tomorrow at 8:30; he won’t be available after that, and Henning also won’t be available after 9.

Karl thinks that the idea of Leidesdorf’s printing the limited edition would be excellent. Engraving would cost four to five thousand florins, and the paper would be a couple of thousand more. Selling the results would give substantially more profit than selling the rights for only 1,000 florins.

Karl notes that he had to pay 24 kr. for a pound of rice for the cooking tryout, because the maid got the rice without paying for it, so he had to cover the expense.

Conversation Book 48, 6r-10v.

Beethoven’s Egmont Overture is performed this evening in Munich as the finale of the third of the concert series there, according to the Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung of January 22, 1824 (Nr.4) at 65.

The Egmont Overture is here performed live in 1975 by Herbert von Karajan, conducting the Berlin Philharmonic: