BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, January 31, 1824

Brother Johann visits Beethoven in the early afternoon. He would like to go shopping with Nephew Karl for Ludwig. Johann reports Count Moritz Lichnowsky was at his place, and intends to come visit Ludwig.

Count Neipperg has apparently responded to Beethoven’s letter of December 22, 1823 [which we have speculated included an invitation to subscribe to the Missa Solemnis.] Johann suggests that Ludwig should write to Neipperg right away and Lichnowsky can send the letter to him.

Johann and Karl depart to take care of Ludwig’s shopping.

Schindler joins Ludwig for dinner at a restaurant. Afterwards, Schindler reminds him that Beethoven stuck a gulden note in his pocket, and he fears he might forget it.

Afterwards, Johann and Karl meet Beethoven back at his apartment. Johann suggests that Ludwig send word to Grillparzer to come and visit; if he wants, Johann can deliver that message. Johann says he saw Friedrich August Kanne, editor of the Vienna Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, today. He also sends his greetings and promises to visit soon. [Publication of the Vienna AMZ was suspended during January and February, 1824, and will resume publication in March.]

Schuppanzigh has apparently not brought any word from Heinrich Bethmann, the Berlin theater director, about the payment for use of the Consecration of the House overture in Berlin. [This news was of particular interest to Johann, who now owned that work as payment for a loan to Ludwig.]

Johann suggests that they go to the Theater in the Josephstadt. Ludwig asks whether Karl wants to go, but he is leaving before then. Ludwig suggests that they go instead tomorrow, but Karl’s occupied then too. In any event, on Sundays they only present popular spectacles. But the theater is only a half hour’s walk away. [Ludwig does not appear to accept Johann’s invitation, since there are no further discussions in the conversation book for this date.]

Conversation Book 54, 25v-26r.

Regular readers of our column will be familiar with Professor Theodore Albrecht, whose ongoing series of the English language editions of the conversation books are the framework that this feature is built upon, with his kind permission and assistance. Prof. Albrecht has a new book on the premiere of the Ninth Symphony forthcoming on February 20, 2024 from Boydell & Brewer press.

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