BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, March 1, 1823

Beethoven makes a note to invite clarinetist Joseph Friedlowsky (1777-159) to dinner. [Beethoven had written solos for him in several major pieces, including the Fourth Symphony.] A short but undated letter to Friedlowsky asking him to come to his apartment with others from the orchestra may have been written today. Brandenburg Letter 1597, Anderson Letter 1108. The original of that letter is held by the Bonn Beethovenhaus, H.C. Bodmer Colection Br 122.

Later in the morning, Schindler reports that Haydn’s Creation is being performed at a private concert for the Emperor soon. Attorney Bach has spoken to Steiner, but Schindler does not know yet what the result of that discussion was. Schindler brags that he knows all of Beethoven’s violin sonatas from memory. He practiced up to nine hours per day for two years to get the concertmaster position at the Josephstadt.

Schindler suggests Beethoven might want to hear Weigl’s opera today. “One has not heard anything so bad in this theater for several years.” [This second performance would be the last.]

Schindler writes a subscription solicitation letter in the standard form for Beethoven, addressed to King Louis XVIII of France. Brandenburg Letter 1599. Schindler also acts as secretary for Beethoven to write the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm and King Carl XIV Johan thanking them for the honoe of the invitation to join the Academy. Beethoven reminds the King that they met in Vienna in 1798 when he was known as Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, and suggests that he might wish to subscribe to the Missa Solemnis, information about which is enclosed. He hopes that the King’s son, the Prince Royal, will take an interest in music, and offers to dedicate a work to him. The mails to Sweden are quite slow; the Royal Academy doesn’t receive their letter until April 25. The letter to Royal Swedish Academy is Brandenburg Letter 1600 and is held in the Academy’s library. The letter to the King is Brandenburg Letter 1601, and is in the Bernadotte Family Archive.

For some reason, the Grand Duke of Tuscany is insistent on knowing what key the Missa Solemnis is in before he subscribes. Schindler wants to confirm the key for Ambassador Odelga. Beethoven replies that the key is D major. Schindler goes out to run errands for Beethoven, including visiting the violin maker. Beethoven only needs one bow, not two, in order to save on expenses.

Beethoven probably begins giving lessons to Archduke Rudolph today in the late morning and early afternoon; his pattern in the past had been to give one lesson on Saturdays and one mid-week. But now the Archduke, apparently aware that he is only in Vienna for a few weeks, requires a three-hour lesson from Beethoven every day. This will obviously crimp his available time.

Conversation Book 25, 42v (Berlin Staatsbibliothek)

Later in a coffee shop Beethoven makes notes of several advertisements of interest: the book The True Art of Cooking, or The Latest Tested and Complete Pest Cookbook, 2nd edition; a new type of carriage, and waterproof boots and shoes. He also makes a note of rolls made of the finest flour.

On leaf 42v he writes a sketch for an unidentified work, seen in the attached photo (courtesty Berlin Staatsbibliothek). Gustav Nottebohm suggested that this sketch was meant for a proposed third Mass in C-sharp minor, described in desk sketchbook Artaria 201 as a “New Mass with wind instruments and organ.” The short sketch here is catalogued as Biamonti 771.

Conversation Book 25, 38v-42v.