BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, July 31, 1820 (approximately)

Kremsier Palace. Photo by Bjalek Michal, CC BY 3.0

Beethoven’s pupil and patron Archduke Rudolph returns to Vienna from his summer palace, the Kremsier in Moravia, where he has been since June 6. The exact date he returned is not mentioned in the Wiener Zeitung, which regularly kept track of the comings and goings of nobles and notables. But Beethoven in a letter of August 3, 1820, addressed to Rudolph in Vienna, will indicate surprise that the Archduke has returned. If he was not dissembling (and his surprise is consistent with the lack of any newspaper mention), this suggests that Rudolph returned to the city sometime after Beethoven’s last previous known trip to Vienna on July 23 and no later than August 2.

If Beethoven followed his usual pattern of going to the city about every week or so, that would put him there again on about the 30th. In that event, the Archduke most likely would have returned on either the 31st of July or 1st of August.

Regardless, the Archduke will soon want to resume his lessons, placing another demand on Beethoven’s time.