BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, January 20, 1823

Beethoven is having midday dinner at about 2 pm with assistant Anton Schindler. They are discussing the fact the new Royal Court and National Theater in Munich (built 1818) burned down completely. Nothing has been said about it in the newspapers, but reports have come only through letters. There was a water reservoir of 400 barrels on the roof, but the fire was in places that the water could not have reached. Schindler suggests that the cause may well have been arson.

Schindler chides Beethoven for having walked to the Josephstadt Theater yesterday in the terrible weather. Today it is even stormier and colder, and Beethoven should look after his health more in such weather.

Schindler is excited to find out that Beethoven’s Piano Quintet, op.16, will be performed later this month at a small private concert.”I hear that it is supposed to be something extraordinary. Quod credo [I believe that.]”

Schindler has apparently seen the libretto to Der Sieg des Kreuzes, an oratorio that is being written by Joseph Bernard, and warns Beethoven that it includes some harsh treatment of the Jews [one of the reasons that Beethoven will refuse to set it to music.]

Schindler notes that Beethoven’s friend, violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh, has left Lemberg [Lvov} to return to Russia.

The discussion turns to methods of getting subscriptions for the Missa Solemnis. Schindler has set up a meeting with Baron Friedrich Carl von Tettenborn (1778-1845), ambassador of the Archduchy of Baden to Austria, and Count Fredinand Stockhammer, the Imperial Chamberlain. Schindler mentions his personal connection to Tettenborn’s wife and Stockhammer, which they hope will assist in getting subscriptions to the Mass. They are to go see Tettenborn tomorrow at 10 AM; at 11 the ambassadors will be at a Requiem Mass for King Louis XVI, who had been executed during the French Revolution. Tettenborn already knows about the proposal, so the meeting is just to allow them to meet the composer and give a personal touch to the requests.

After dinner, Beethoven makes a note in a coffee house that there is a middle-aged widow available to work as a housekeeper in today’s Intelligenzblatt newspaper, nr. 15 at p.114. Schindler rejoins Beethoven, telling him that he has spoken to Countess Stockhammer and thanked her for being so kind as to speak on Beethoven’s behalf regarding the subscription plan. Within the next few days he will talk to Carl von Odelga, the ambassador from Tuscany about having the Grand Duke of Florence subscribe. The Duke “is buying works for the Church and, as far as I know, pays very well.” Selling five subscriptions at 50 ducats each will get Beethoven about 1000 florins, though the expenses of copying will need to be netted out of that. “It is absolutely unthinkable that more copies won’t go.”

Conversation Book 19, 3v-9v

At some point today, Beethoven encounters Baroness Cäcilie von Eskeles, wife of a prominent Viennese banker, and writes in her album a little piece on a text by Goethe from the last stanza of “Das Göttliche”, “Der edle Mensch sei hülfreich und gut,” now catalogued as WoO 151. Perhaps this was a goodwill memento designed to induce interest in a subscription to the Missa Solemnis. The little piece is performed here by Heidi Person:

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