BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, August 30, 1823

Karl stays with Uncle Ludwig at his Vienna apartment in suburban Windmühle. The porter asks Karl to take two letters to Dr. Staudenheim, which suggests that Beethoven may be visiting his doctor today, although he does not appear in the conversation book; alternatively, Staudenheim may be in Baden and the letters are meant for him there. Karl also asks about how much cream needs to be purchased.

Karl’s farewell at Blöchlinger’s was difficult, as such things are; there were many people he treasured there. One of the pupils has a very poor mother, and it touched Karl deeply. “He was the dearest of all, and it was that that brought tears to my eyes. He gave me a kiss.” [Editor Theodore Albrecht suggests this was probably Joseph Niemitz and his mother Anna.]

Yesterday, when Karl had to run into the City, he saw Professor Pleugmackers, who was in very high spirits.

Karl discusses the hire of a new maid. Apparently as a test, he asks whether the maid should go shopping for something. A kitchen maid does not have to be a good cook. He thinks it is hard to take the young woman back because of her child. Karl believes one should reply to the young woman and make it a condition of her hire that she must get the cooking water herself, so that’s made certain. Holzmann is too easily confused due to her old age. “Now after such a long, useless search, I believe that one should not exchange the sparrow in the hand for the one on the roof, and first see how things go.” There is time to get a different maid, but that comes with risks. Since Karl will be living with Uncle Ludwig now, he can keep a closer eye on the servants for him.

There’s another woman, who does absolutely everything at Blöchlinger’s where she works, but she would want 20 florins per month. He thinks she is asking too much; she doesn’t get that much at Blöchlinger’s, and definitely doesn’t get breakfast there. Rather than giving an allowance for “bread-money” he thinks it would be better to just give them a large loaf every day. He can’t see how two people could possibly eat 1 fl. 32 kr. worth of bread per week. The male servant at Blöchlinger’s is good but he’s not the only servant in the world. The main point in his favor is his honesty, and Karl is certain of that because he has known him a long time. He argues with his uncle about whether the 20 florin charges he demands includes the boot money (Karl believes it does, and Ludwig thinks it’s in addition). Karl finally says if you want you can give him cast-off clothes.

Holzmann writes a brief entry in the conversation book that Graf is here, and the wagon driver says that Beethoven should indicate the day. [The German editors suggests that Conrad Graf may have loaned Beethoven a piano for his use in Baden; Theodore Albrecht indicates that Graf did not loan Beethoven a piano until 1826. Prior discussions in the conversation books indicate Beethoven intended to move his Broadwood to Baden rather than pay the exorbitant charges for a piano rental there, so this discussion seems to relate to that move of the piano.]

Conversation Book 39 37v-41v. This concludes Conversation Book 39; Book 40 appears to pick up tomorrow.

Today’s Vienna Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, Nr. 70 at 559-560, announces that violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh will be spending the winter in Vienna, and at the end of September will at popular request be renewing his series of quartet performances. This is surely good news for Beethoven, who liked Schuppanzigh a great deal.