BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Monday: March 25, 1822 (approximately):

Determined to meet Beethoven personally, Rossini seeks out the music publisher Domenico Artaria (1775-1842), whom he knows to be on good terms with the elder composer. Artaria agrees to make an introduction, and takes Rossini to Beethoven’s apartment. Recall that Beethoven last month described his lodgings as “remote” so this was not a particularly easy task.

Lithograph of Domenico Artaria by Robert Theer, after a painting by Jakob Schlesinger.

Edmond Michotte relates that, “Rossini had told me that … he had presented himself unannounced at the great composer’s quarters in the company of Artaria, the important publisher. He had been given the task of introducing Rossini because he had constant contact with Beethoven. Rossini waited in the street; Artaria came out to tell him that Beethoven, being very ill with a cold that had affected his eyes, and was not receiving anyone.”

Rossini, however, is not discouraged this easily. Rossini turns to Beethoven’s old teacher, Antonio Salieri, with whom he has dessert nearly every day while in Vienna. According to Rossini, Salieri “told me that indeed he sometimes saw Beethoven, but confessed to me that because of his touchy and whimsical character, what I asked for would not come very easily.” Salieri suggests that an even better option might be the Italian poet Giuseppe Carpani (1751-1825). Rossini said Salieri told him that “to satisfy my wish, he thought the best that he could do would be to address himself to Carpani, the Italian poet, who was persona grata with Beethoven and through whom he was almost certain to succeed.” Rossini trusted and relied upon Carpani, who had acted as Rossini’s principal publicist in Vienna. The two composers agree to meet with Carpani and have him prevail upon Beethoven to grant Rossini an audience.