BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, June 15, 1822

Leipzig publisher Carl Friedrich Peters writes a response to Beethoven’s letter of June 5 today. The letter is quite long, and following is only a short summary. Peters expresses his disappointment in Steiner attempting to steal Beethoven’s business for himself. There are a number of types of works Peters would particularly like to commission: a piano quartet, a piano trio, a concert overture for large orchestra, songs with piano accompaniment, and small solo pieces for piano.

Of the items that Beethoven listed in his letter, Peters is most interested in the Missa Solemnis, and he accepts Beethoven’s offer of 1,000 gulden C.M. for the mass, together with the piano reduction. So that is the third time Beethoven has sold the piece. While the mass is unlikely to be profitable, he is accepting it for Beethoven’s sake and also to keep a Christian Mass from falling “into the hands of a Jew, and especially such a Jew.” Peters does ask that Beethoven keep confidential the amount he is willing to pay for the Mass, lest everyone else think they are entitled to such lavish fees.

Of the other items that Beethoven listed, Peters will also take the songs with piano accompaniment, the bagatelles for piano solo, and the four military marches with Turkish elements. While he would very much like to acquire the string quartet that Beethoven said was available [and did not even exist in sketch form yet], 50 ducats was too high a price for him. Discussion of the publication of Beethoven’s complete works will be left for another letter.

Brandenburg Letter 1469, Albrecht, Letters to Beethoven 290. This letter was not mailed until Monday, June 17, based on the Leipzig postmark of that date. The original for many years was known only from transcriptions by Nohl and Thayer. When last seen in 1867, the letter was in the possession of nephew Karl’s widow Caroline, in Vienna. Today the letter is in two pieces; the first part, which contains the greater portion of the text, is in the Vienna Stadt- und Landesbibliothek (I.N. 161 673), while the second part is held by the Bonn Beethovenhaus H.C. Bodmer Br 285, which can be seen here:

Upon receipt, Beethoven scrawls a number of notes in pencil on the letter, including a draft response to Peters as well as a draft letter to the Breitkopf & Härtel firm. We will cover them in July.

According to the Brünner Zeitung of June 27, 1822, Archduke Rudolph, heading towards Vienna, stops for the evening at Tobitschau (today Tovačov in the Czech Republic) where he was attended by a large crowd of the public, military and numerous clergy, by whom he was reverently received. The Cardinal was present in preparation for the consecration of the town parish church tomorrow morning.

Photo of Tovačov Castle (completed 1492) by Vlach Pavel, CC BY-SA 4.0.

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