BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, June 8, 1822 (approximately)

Ludwig is with brother Johann and his wife Therese this morning. Pinched for money, Beethoven apparently is once again considering a sale of one of his bank shares. Therese and Johann look up the current value in today’s Wiener Zeitung, and it is 745 florins per share as of yesterday.

Beethoven apparently complains about the air in Vienna, and Therese suggests that he come to visit them in Gneixendorf, where there is a splendid view and very healthy air.

Most of the time, Therese uses the formal “Sie” when addressing Ludwig. However, in today’s entry she slips up and uses the familiar “du.” Ludwig apparently commented harshly upon this familiarity, because she never again addresses him directly in this conversation book.

Beethoven asks about whether the housekeeper can begin in two weeks. Therese responds that she can be there at most in five weeks. She is here identified as Barbara Holzmann (1755-1831), from a reference to her son, a gilder named Johann Holzmann (1773-1822). Barbara Holzmann would become one of Beethoven’s longest-maintained servants, acting as his cook on and off for nearly four years, far outstripping the usual servants that lasted less than six weeks.

Brother Johann, already spending the 10,000 florins that were requested from C.F. Peters for the publication of Beethoven’s complete works, suggests that they could be used to buy a country estate or a house. Ludwig is invited to lunch tomorrow; Therese mentions that she now has a fine cook.

Conversation Book 17, 14r (SBB/SPK)

Johann mentions that there was a gentleman asking about Ludwig’s address, in order to send it to Pressburg. There is some discussion of the theatrical works Beethoven had done about ten years ago, the King Stephan Overture and The Ruins of Athens, for the German Theater at Pest. Beethoven apparently had done that work at a reduced fee as a favor to Count Brunsvik. Johann suggests that was a great loss. However, Ludwig will rework The Ruins of Athens for The Consecration of the House, op.124, thereby recovering more funds. Editor Ted Albrecht suggests that it is possible that Beethoven has just received the commission for that work, which will be premiered in October, which would explain why that topic has come up now.

Johann suggests that they emphasize to Peters that the works offered would need to be published soon. He is confident (without any visible basis) that Peters will plan to publish all of Ludwig’s works together.

Conversation Book 17, leaves 12r through 13v, 15r. Page 14r contains additional pencil sketches for the Consecration of the House Overture, op.124. These sketches were apparently already in the book when this conversation took place, since Johann writes around them, skipping over that page.