BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, July 5, 1823

Beethoven goes into the City today and will stay for at least three days. His first stop is to visit Brother Johann in his sickbed. Ludwig manages to control his temper, aware that the doctor has cautioned strictly against irritations for his brother. Johann does not write in the Conversation Book, so it seems Ludwig did nearly all of the talking, and it may have been a short visit.

The next call is at Wenzel Schlemmer’s copying shop. He mentions that Archduke Rudolph returned yesterday, though he had also heard he returned two days ago. Schindler had told him several times that he would come and he never did. So Schlemmer told him he would only deal with Herr v. Beethoven directly. Schindler asked whether Schlemmer was finished with the Credo of the Missa Solemnis. He had only just brought the trombone parts. He had them at home. Schlemmer gave them back, and thought that Beethoven would look them over to see whether they were correct. He also returned the originals, which Schindler should have at his house.

[Schindler finds several blank pages amongst Schlemmer’s comments, and after Beethoven’s death concocts a fictional conversation about the metronome markings of the Seventh Symphony and performance practice of the Pathétique Sonata op.13. These fake conversations were written in part to bolster his argument that Beethoven’s works were generally performed too fast.]

Beethoven makes a note in the Conversation Book that he is 58 fl. short from being able to redeem his bank share. He notes the dividend was payable on July 1, in the amount of 28 gulden, so he missed out on that income.

Uncle Ludwig meets up with Nephew Karl, and they discuss the situation with Brother Johann. “Your brother is really to be pitied now. Entirely along among these beasts, poorly cared for, he looks like Death.” Schindler was just there and says the daughter, Amalie, is very unwilling to help. If Johann wants something, she growls when she hands it to him. Karl is glad he wasn’t there himself because he probably would have attacked her. But Johann was happy that Karl came to visit him, and he appreciated Ludwig coming and behaving well. Karl probably will go to see him again tomorrow.

Karl believes it is past time to throw Therese and Amalie out. “The girl saw me; the mother was still sleeping. The woman left yesterday at 12 and did not return until late in the evening. She is doing that all the time now.” Therese told Johann to his face that he should expect nothing from her during his illness. Karl doesn’t think it a good idea for Uncle Ludwig to go there very often, though. “I know that you couldn’t refrain from thrashing them, if you saw how they treat him.” But then they would just treat him worse.

Bookkeeper Franz Christian Kirchhoffer stopped by Blöchlinger’s Institute. He said Prince Nikolai Galitzin, Beethoven’s newest patron, is now in Karlsbad and he can be written to there.

Today’s dinner is bouillon soup with dumplings, beef with small gherkins, green beans with puff pastry, preserves and leg of veal with lettuce salad. But there’s nothing to drink but rose water.

In the lower margin of Conversation Book 35, 14r, an unknown hand writes “Today is Saturday and I must have money again.” Below a line, the same hand writes the response, “Es muss sein” (It must be). According to the always unreliable Schindler, this was the origin of the themes of the finale of the string quartet op.135; housekeeper Barbara Holzmann asked for the household money, Beethoven asked “Muss es sein?” (Must it be?) and she responded that it must be. However, the German and English editors of the Conversation Books all agree that this is not Holzmann’s handwriting. While this might be one of Beethoven’s other servants making the request, Holzmann typically handled the household finances so it is entirely possible if not probable this is a fraudulent entry engineered by Schindler, who falsified other entries concerning this theme, concocted to support his fanciful story.

Conversation Book 35, 8r-14r.

Today at the Musik-Verein Herr Ignaz Schuppanzigh gives his fourth subscription concert. On the program are a quartet by Haydn in E-flat major, one by Beethoven in C minor [op.18/4 (1799)], and a String Quintet by Mozart in D major [Nr.5 (1790)]. The Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung correspondent notes that the tempo of the first movement of the Beethoven quartet “should have been a little quicker.” AMZ of September 17 (Nr. 38) at 618.

The Cleveland Quartet here plays Beethoven’s Quartet op.18/4 in C minor:

Schuppanzigh’s fifth subscription concert, held on July 10th, did not include a Beethoven quartet.