BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, July 14, 1823 (approximately)

Beethoven would like Archduke Rudolph to sign a testimonial for the Missa Solemnis. In Conversation Book 35, 41r-42v, Beethoven makes several attempts at how to start the language off:

In that I attest to you that I have already possessed the grand Mass for some time, I allow you to make available to the public the Mass written for me, the possession of which I for some time….

I attest that I have possessed your Mass for some time and have allowed to make it available to the public

have allowed you to make available to the public the grand Mass, which I have already possessed for some time

Beethoven also jots down the thought that dealing “with worldly matters was always difficult for me.” This latter is part of the cover letter to the Archduke.

After arranging his thoughts, Beethoven prepares a fair copy of the letter tomorrow and sends it to the Archduke.

Beethoven writes an undated note to Schindler sometime about now, Brandenburg Letter 1692, Anderson Letter 1199. He asks what about Schlemmer? If Johann needs anything he should have Schindler bring a letter to Ludwig. [It’s unclear whether Beethoven is asking about copyist Wenzel Schlemmer’s progress on the copies of the Missa Solemnis, whether he is asking about Schlemmer’s health (Schlemmer is in poor health and will in fact die within the next few weeks) or whether Schlemmer might be an alternative for delivering such a letter since he had been visiting Beethoven frequently.] There’s a cryptic reference, “They say I’m not well because of the carpenter, but then they come right away to me because of the box.” [This probably relates to Schindler’s equally vague July 13 question as to whether Beethoven has been to the carpenter yet. Perhaps this is a reference to the people of Vienna thinking Beethoven is mad because of his constant moving?] It’s all a matter of diplomacy, Beethoven says, and he will see whether he can get some money.

The original of this letter is in the Berlin Staatsbibliothek (aut. 36,41).

The Archduke himself is writing several letters today on behalf of Beethoven. The first is to his brother, Grand Duke Ferdinand III of Tuscany in Florence, and the other is to his brother-in-law Prince Anton of Saxony, in Dresden. In both of these letters, Rudolph asks them to subscribe to Beethoven’s Mass. Beethoven had already written to Ferdinand III in February, but had received no reply. “This church piece, written with great diligence and art, by one of our greatest German composers, would certainly be a good addition to your collection.”

Brandenburg Letters 1699 and 1700. The letter to Ferdinand III is held by the Frankfurt City and University Library (Slg. Manskopf); the letter to Prince Anton is not known to survive.

S.A. Steiner advertises in today’s Wiener Zeitung at p.651 a new work by Carl Czerny, Die Schiffende, on a poem by Hölty for solo voice and pianoforte. The flowery description follows:

“The popular and ingenious composer, Herr Carl Czerny, who has already delivered many excellent things for the pianoforte, now for the first time has tried his hand at the composition genre of the song with the above poem. He did so in such a perfect way that this modest attempt by no means seems as if it were his first, but rather the artistic product of a master who has routinely written in this field. Not only has the poet’s meaning been understood with a purely poetical heart, reproduced in tones, the voice leading is so truly declamatory and melodic, the accompaniment so sensual, the style so thoroughly noble, and the words dominating, that the publishers are confident in advance that they have given music lovers everywhere great pleasure by publishing this work.”

The same poem had also been set by Schubert in about 1815, D.990D, but his setting is today lost.