BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, July 19, 1823 (approximately)

Beethoven at his apartment in Hetzendorf makes some notes to himself. Tomorrow morning he needs to deal with the housekeeper and after breakfast go to visit Karl. He also writes a cryptic note “Paper-tomorrow-the housekeeper.” He also notes “2 types of subscription,” which may relate to his interest in subscribing to the Wiener Zeitschrift, or the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, edited by F.A. Kanne, who visited Beethoven the other day.

Beethoven also notes that he should have von Könneritz, the general director of the Dresden Court Theater, speak to Prince Anton and deliver the Missa Solemnis subscription invitation to him. Beethoven had written to von Könneritz on the 17th, and will do so again on the 25th.

Later in the day, wholesaler Martin Gottlieb Deetz (1769-1842) visits Beethoven in Hetzendorf, introducing himself. He understands that sometimes Beethoven goes to Teplitz; Deetz would be happy to let him use his carriage on the way there. He hears that Beethoven is working on a new opera, which would make him very happy. [This was the wrong thing to say to Beethoven, who has been pestered endlessly about a new opera.] He very much liked the concert by the Schuppanzigh Quartet. Deetz’s children’s music teacher is also a great admirer of Beethoven.

Then Deetz makes a comment that sparks Beethoven’s interest. He is acquainted with Prince Radziwill, who always speaks about his enthusiasm for Beethoven. Beethoven tells him that the Prince and the King of Prussia have subscribed to the Missa Solemnis, and Deetz offers to take the score to him to Berlin. He also knows Karl Ernst von Witzleben (1783-1837) who is adjutant general to the Prussian king, as well as a violinist who influences the musical tastes of the King. “Witzleben, the king’s wing adjutant, is a great music lover, and it would be best if you were able to correspond with him about music, since Prince Radziwill is in Berlin only during the winter months.” He notes Radziwill has composed Faust by Goethe. With all the business, Deetz thinks Beethoven should get a secretary.

Portrait of 12-year-old Felix Mendelssohn by Carl Joseph Begas (1821).

Just before he goes, Deetz mentions a young Felix Mendelssohn. “Mendelssohn, 12 years old, shows very much promise.” Beethoven asks whether he is related to well-known philosopher and banker Moses Mendelssohn; Deetz replies, “Grandson.” [Mendelssohn, born in 1809, was actually 14, but Beethoven had also had a few years shaved off his age to make him seem more of a prodigy.] Deetz takes his leave, wishing, “May God still grant you a long life!”

Conversation Book 35, 46v-49v.

In today’s Wiener Zeitung at 672, J. Riedl’s Art Shop repeats its advertisement for Beethoven’s 10 Themes from Russian, Scottish and Tyrolean Songs, Varied for Piano and Flute, op.107, and the piano four hands arrangement (not by Beethoven) of the Third Symphony, “Eroica” op.55.