BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday, June 10, 1822

Beethoven is apparently still in Vienna, and he visits Johann. Conversation turns again to possible sale of a bank share, and Johann looks the current value up in today’s Wiener Zeitung as being 750 florins. The dividend from one of the shares will be 14 florins.

Discussion returns to the topic of operas. Ludwig apparently is interested in some kind of continuing income from them, but Johann responds that no, “One writes the opera and has his honorarium paid; then they can do what they want.” [Ludwig seems to be having trouble understanding how Rossini got rich from this practice, not taking into account the fact Rossini could knock out a popular opera in three weeks, as opposed to Beethoven’s laborious working and reworking of Leonore, later Fidelio, over a period of years.]

Perhaps today, or sometime in the next two days, Barbara Holzmann comes to be interviewed by Ludwig. Therese’s brother, Leopold Obermayer, a master baker, is also present. Therese says Holzmann “is very practical in domestic affairs and can cook very well.” Therese notes that she can make purchases well and loyally. She asks whether Holzmann should give an answer tomorrow.

Leopold provides some additional background. She is the mother of Johann Holzmann, municipal gilder, who owned the house next to Leopold’s at Kothgasse 61. Through bad business dealings, he had to sell that house, “and has now sunk so far that his mother must now become a servant. You can completely depend upon her, because I myself, if I buy a mill, want to take her as my housekeeper.” He notes she is also a cook, and would be happy to have a good situation as a servant to spend her remaining days well. Leopold suggests that they have coffee, unless Johann wants to wait.

[Barbara Holzmann’s deceased husband was a master goldsmith. She was probably about 66 or 67 when she started working for Beethoven. She was usually called “die Alte” (the old woman), but she was on occasion given various nicknames, such as “Frau Schnapps.” Nephew Karl disliked her and sought to get her replaced more than once, but she served Beethoven well and faithfully (on and off, as Beethoven would sometimes dismiss her and then find himself unable to manage without her and would bring her back again) for a comparatively very long time.]

Ludwig visits nephew Karl briefly, and also speaks with Joseph Czerny, one of Karl’s teachers, who says he is also moving to Döbling on Thursday. Czerny notes that Karl Peters, for whom Beethoven had written a letter of recommendation, is now a “real” court councilor, with a salary. Stopping for coffee, Beethoven makes a note in the conversation book (out of order, on leaf 21v, where it is the only comment) about a bathhouse in Atzgersdorf. The advertisement for this bathhouse appears several times in the Wiener Zeitung, but today is the last occurrence of that ad.

Beethoven visits Gerold’s bookshop on the Stephansplatz, then meets Johann, Therese and Karl at a restaurant where music is being played. Therese notes that an English doctor prescribes eating a different type of wild game every day as a cure for melancholy. There is some discussion of how much a professor needs to earn to survive; Karl notes that the Latin and Greek professor Johann Niederstätter in Salzburg makes 800 florins C.M. (2000 W.W.). Paul Pulay, a teacher at Blöchlinger’s institute has been pestering Karl about 26 groschen that are owed. “He reminds me about it very often.”

Karl notes that the cost for an oxcart to haul some of Beethoven’s belongings would be 6 kr. per hour, or 1 fl. 18kr. for 13 hours, which probably would be the anticipated time to travel to Döbling.

After dinner, Beethoven makes several notes to himself before returning to Döbling. One is about a book by Bernt of Lectures on the Means of Rescue in Apparent Death, a topic dear to Edgar Allan Poe. Beethoven makes a note to write to the directorship in Pest, possibly related to The Ruins of Athens score being reworked for the Theater in the remodeled Josephstadt in October. He may have sought copies of some of the score materials or parts.

Ludwig is apparently unimpressed with Barbara Holzmann at the moment, because Johann says that Therese will continue looking for a housekeeper for him.

Today’s Wiener Zeitung includes a new entry into Rossinimania, as Weigl’s music shop announces a set of variations for piano on a favorite theme from the opera Zelmira, written by Jérôme [Hieronymus] Payer as his op.82. The piece is dedicated to Mmme. Marie de Schmid, née Mendl. Weigl adds the following flowery description, rather unusual in these advertisements:

“Here a few words can probably be said about this recommendation. The theme is an aria motive taken from the famous [Giovanni] David, and given life by the inventor of sweet melodies; and the popular Mr. Hieronymus Payer, who appears in several musical disciplines with success, but excels in the composition of variations, has seen fit to put such graceful charm into this, his latest work, that the listener feels again at a performance of the illustrious singer. The outer decoration is appropriate to the inner value, and to a work dedicated to a lady.”

Artaria & Co. uses its exclusive rights with Rossini for what they’re worth, and announces its piano reduction of the opera Elisabeth, with text in both German and Italian, as well as the overture arranged for piano four hands.

The London Philharmonic Society this evening holds its eighth and final concert of the season. Prominently featured are the twin masterpieces of Mozart’s Symphony Nr 39 in E-Flat, and Beethoven’s Symphony Nr 5 in C minor. Also on the program are selections from Haydn’s The Creation. The concert concludes with a new piano concerto by Ignaz Moscheles (either Nr 2 in E-flat, or Nr 3 in G minor, which were both written about the same time), with the composer as soloist. Reported in the Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung of October 2, 1822, at col. 658.