BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, February 3, 1823

Beethoven and Schindler meet at a coffee house or restaurant; in order to keep what they are saying at least somewhat confidential, Schindler suggests that Beethoven speak in French. He has good news from attorney Bach, who says that Beethoven can get 500 florins more for the second bank share. He is making arrangements for the shares to act as security for a loan and not to be lost to him. He would like to know Beethoven’s opinion by tomorrow.

Carl Maria von Weber does not have a score of Fidelio for the upcoming production of the opera in Dresden, and has asked Beethoven for a copy. Beethoven doesn’t have one either, but suggests Steiner has one. [The opera would not be published until 1826.] Schindler says he will do what he can to expedite it. He will talk tomorrow to Count Wenzel Gallenberg, supervisor of the Kärntnertor Theater’s music library. [Gallenberg was coincidentally married to Julie, sometimes called Giuletta, Guicciardi, at one time a popular candidate for Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved.] Schindler suggests a charge to Dresden of 40 ducats; they already have agreed to pay 30, and they won’t bother about another 10 to get a copy of the score.

Schindler also says he will spend tomorrow following up with the various embassies that they have written to see whether any other actions need to be taken to facilitate the Missa Solemnis subscriptions being approved. One of Beethoven’s creditors, tailor Joseph Lind has a note from an Englishman who wants compositions from Beethoven; the Englishman was very enthusiastic and kept saying, “One God, One Beethoven.”

Schindler goes to run errands for Beethoven, including a trip to visit nephew Karl at Blöchlinger’s Institute. Meanwhile, Moritz Lichnowsky stops by Beethoven’s apartment for a visit. He again promotes the idea of Voltaire’s Joan of Arc as a suitable libretto for Beethoven to set as an opera.

Schindler returns, saying the letter carrier would like a New Year’s tip of 14 kr. Karl sends his greetings and would like to visit but has very much to do before Wednesday, February 5.

Schindler stopped by the music publishing house of Sauer & Leidesdorf, and there saw some lithographed music that to his eye was indistinguishable from engraved music, done both in Paris and Leipzig. Schindler says he will bring an example tomorrow. No decision need be made now as to whether the score should be lithographed; they need to wait about four weeks to see whether enough of the German Courts accept the subscription to make such an endeavor worthwhile. But Schindler thinks it would in any event be a good idea to write soon to Goethe in Weimar to get his support; if that earns another 50 ducats from the Weimar Court, then these few lines in a letter would be effort well spent. Schindler lists off some of the many Courts to which he has already written. Schindler notes that the subscription model was successfully used for the edition of Mozart’s works. [In modern terms, this model served as a primitive Kickstarter.]

Later in the evening, copyist Wenzel Rampl visit Beethoven with questions about the score of the Missa Solemnis that he is copying. In particular, the beginning of the Credo is giving him trouble and he needs clarifications to continue with Beethoven’s many revisions to the work. [These entries might be from tomorrow morning, but Rampl typically called upon Beethoven in the evening, after he had finished copying for the day.]

Conversation Book 22, 30v-38v.

On this date in Vienna, Rossini premieres his new opera, Semiramide, with his wife Isabella Colbran in the starring role. This is his last opera in Italian; the balance of his operas will be written in French.