BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, December 7, 1822

Today’s Vienna Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, Nr. 98 at 782 notes that Franz Gebauer, the leader and founder of the popular Concerts spirituels in the city, is still laid low with a major illness, probably from a journey that involved many hardships and bad air. “We are very reluctant to be without him in those musical entertainments.” On the positive side, Mr. Ferdinand von Piringer, who was assisting Gebauer as conductor, has recovered from a serious illness himself, and is expected to be completely healthy soon. This illness appears to have been due to overstrenuous occupation with the violin.

Both Gebauer and Piringer were good friends of Beethoven, and he would have read with interest about Gebauer’s failing health and Piringer’s recovery. Gebauer in particular had made a point of performing Beethoven’s symphonies, choral pieces, and other large scale works at a time when they had begun to be neglected. Would the commission for Consecration of the House and the revival of Fidelio have happened without Gebauer keeping Beethoven’s works in the public eye? Perhaps, but his Concerts spirituels certainly did not hurt this cause.