BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, July 21, 1823 (approximately)

Beethoven writes an undated note to unpaid assistant Anton Schindler. He asks Schindler to write the invitation [for subscription to the Missa Solemnis] neatly on the paper sent herewith; Karl is too busy to do it. Beethoven will have it picked up in the middle of the week. [The invitation is presumably that for the King of Saxony, which is dated July 23rd.]

Beethoven asks Schindler to look at Grillparzer’s apartment for him. Or maybe Beethoven will visit Grillparzer himself. As to the 50 gulden that Beethoven promised Schindler for his work on the subscription invitations, he can’t pay that right now, “and by the way, you’re partly to blame.” [What exactly Beethoven thinks Schindler did wrong or failed to do is unclear. This may just be Beethoven’s usual scapegoating.]

Beethoven closes in asking Schindler also to make an envelope for the invitation; Beethoven will close it himself after he signs the letter.

Brandenburg Letter 1709, Anderson Letter 1115. The original is held by the Berlin Staatsbibliothek (aut. 36,57). That page appears to have been used originally by Beethoven for a undated conversation with Nephew Karl, as it includes a computation about various invoices totaling a bit over 5 ducats, as well as some of Karl’s attempts at the letter. That suggests the conversation was on Sunday, July 20, since Karl had not visited Uncle Ludwig on the previous Sunday, and this letter was most likely sent either Sunday evening the 20th or Monday morning the 21st, due to the reference to “mid-week.”

Beethoven writes another undated letter to Franz Christian Kirchhoffer, accountant and go-between for Beethoven and Ferdinand Ries, sometime between the 21st and 26th of July, 1823. Beethoven asks whether it would be possible to send a parcel via the English embassy [presumably the score of the Missa Solemnis for Ries to find an English publisher.] He asks that Kirchhoffer make an inquiry and let Beethoven know by tomorrow. [Kirchhoffer apparently does as asked, but the Embassy refuses to have its courier act as a shipping agent for Beethoven. Kirchhoffer then looks for an alternative secure means to get the score to London.]

Beethoven and Nephew Karl expect Kirchhoffer for dinner on Sunday July 27. “The weather seems to be getting better again, and your presence will be very pleasant for both of us.” [There is no trace of Kirchhoffer in the conversation books covering this period, so he apparently did not come.]

Brandenburg Letter 1708a, Anderson Letter 1239. The original of the letter is held in a private collection, but was published in facsimile in Karl Geigy-Hagenbach, Album von Handscriften berühmter Persönlichkeiten vom Mittelalter bis zur Neuzeit [Album of Manuscripts by Famous Personalities from the Middle Ages to the Present Day] (Basel 1925), p.250.