BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, August 16, 1823

Beethoven, settled in at the Coppersmith’s House in Baden, writes to Nephew Karl. Uncle Ludwig says he didn’t want to write until he felt better, which is still not the case. He had catarrh and a cold when he came here. He fears the thread of life will soon be cut, or even worse, gnawed through. His abdomen still bothers him, despite medicine and diet. It is only today that he has been able to serve his Muse at all. But he encourages Karl to work hard in the preparations for his examinations.

Ludwig tells Karl to just send his laundry to Baden, since he will be joining his uncle before long. The address is “at the coppersmith’s.” He should wear his gray trousers at home, “as my dear son you are also very dear.” He asks Karl let him know as soon as he receives this letter. He will also send a few lines to “that contemptible thing” Schindler, but he does not want to have any direct contact. He wishes he could write what he thinks and feels as quickly as it occurs to him. “For today, I wish my dear Karl would know my love and that the great cares I take have been worth it, and how to appreciate it. Although I am, as you know, certainly undemanding, there are still so many aspects from which one can recognize and feel the noble sentiments for improvement. I embrace you with my heart, your faithful and true father.”

One can imagine Karl laughing at the utter and complete lack of self-awareness contained in this last paragraph from his demanding and temperamental guardian.

Brandenburg Letter 1729, Anderson Letter 1230. The letter is held by the Bonn Beethovenhaus, (H.C. Bodmer Collection Br 17), and can be seen here:

The instructions for Schindler will be sent in a week, on August 23.