BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, July 10, 1820

On this date, publisher Nikolaus Simrock writes a letter to Beethoven from Bonn [Brandenburg 1399] regarding the Variations on Folk Songs, for violin or flute and piano. Simrock intends to print the set in five volumes, with two variation cycles per booklet. Simrock inquires as to what opus number he should assign [they will ultimately be op.107], and whether Beethoven has a title in mind for the set. There is then a discussion about exchange rates and the best way to make payment of the fee. Simrock would prefer paying in Brabant Talers instead of ducats; louis d’or, Prussian friedrichs d’or and pistoles are other options that he considers more or less interchangeable. [Conversion of money was always an issue on the much-fragmented map of early 19th-century Europe; making matters worse, multiple different currencies were simultaneously in use just in Vienna at this time.]

Here is Rachel Barton Pine with Matthew Hagle performing op.107/1, Variations on the Tyrolean folksong I bin a Tiroler Bua.