BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, January 26, 1824

Beethoven meets unpaid assistant Anton Schindler at a coffee house, probably The Black Camel, this afternoon. Schindler reports poet Franz Grillparzer sends his manifold greetings, and that he promises to visit one of these days. He has been badly taken aback by the Censor refusing to pass his play Ottokar. He feels lost both as a poet and official. He cannot accept mid-day dinner invitations since he can never leave the office before 3 o’clock.

Schindler says he assured Grillparzer that Beethoven would compose his libretto into an opera, which made him extremely glad. Grillparzer feared that he wouldn’t, and thus didn’t want to visit. [Beethoven probably was not pleased about Schindler making these kinds of commitments on his behalf, but he does not appear to say anything about it.]

The pair go to the nearby Haass bookstore, where Beethoven makes note of the book On Severe Afflictions of the Eyes, by Dr. Th. von Sömmering, 5th printing. This was of course a matter of concern to Beethoven, having lost much of 1823 to a persistent infection in both eyes.

Schindler says he has a proposal for Beethoven. Carl Czerny would like to get a circle of good singers together to perform the Mass in C, op.86, with the German text, accompanied by two pianos. He asks to borrow the Mass, which Herr Benedict Scholz translated into German last year. Beethoven says he no longer has that version, as it was sent to Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig. Schindler suggests Beethoven could write to ask for it back. [Beethoven is not known to have made this request, and Czerny’s project thus probably did not occur. This is the end of Schindler’s legitimate writing today, so Beethoven may have sent him on his way for his repeated presumptuousness.]

Back at Beethoven’s apartment, Karl comes by after his classes are over and sees Schindler has been talking to his uncle. “Gossiper,” he writes. Karl ran into Uncle Ludwig’s dear friend Nannette Streicher, who said she was surprised he did not come to the Schuppanzigh Quartet concert yesterday. [He had planned to do so, but apparently did not feel up to it when the time came.]

Karl asks his uncle what the reference letter [presumably for the departing temporary maid, discussed last night] should say.

[Finding a mostly-blank page, 10v, after Beethoven’s death, Schindler writes in some fraudulent entries about Bettina Brentano and Goethe.]

Karl says that at 25 florins per month, that would make 300 florins per year. Uncle Ludwig seems to remark that is quite a high salary, though she does not like the working conditions. Karl replies that the question is whether it would be any better at her new place. Ludwig asks why she wants to leave then. “She says that she doesn’t want to stay here any longer; it is worse here than in the prison.”

Conversation Book 54, 8v-10v.

Not to be outdone by Sauer & Leidesdorf’s subscription series of Rossini’s complete operas in piano transcription, Cappi & Diabelli today offers for sale solo piano and piano four hands versions of Rossini’s Donna de Lago and La Gazza ladra. Wiener Zeitung at 90, arranged by Anton Diabelli for piano four hands, without words.