BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, May 3, 1823

Today, Ludwig and Brother Johann are getting ready to take a drive to Hetzendorf to visit the summer apartment. Johann says that he mailed the letter to Pacini yesterday (May 2), and that he will send the letter to Carl Lissner in St. Petersburg later today. He confirms that the replies are all to go directly to Ludwig, not to him.

Ludwig, as usual is panicking about money. Johann suggests that the best way to make money would be to write an opera. But at the same time, he says that it is most pressing to finish the Ninth Symphony, which London is waiting for, so he shouldn’t do anything else in the meantime. Johann, handling Ludwig’s money for him, asks where he can pick up the 40 ducats that Dresden paid for use of the score of Fidelio in the recent performances. He can give Ludwig 250 florins right now.

In Hetzendorf, Johann is mostly satisfied. There is a room for washing, two bedsteads, enough furniture. The main problems are that it won’t be finished for three weeks, and everyone needs to come in through the kitchen. They will need to get a kettle for the housekeeper, though, which will probably cost 8 or 9 florins.

They return to Vienna, and in the afternoon Beethoven at a coffee house makes notes from the newspapers about apartments for the fall. He also writes a reminder to ask Dr. Smetana about Karl’s chest. He also makes a note about something unspecified that Johann has done, calling it “outrageous, dishonorable conduct,” but acknowledges that “he is still as much a Beethoven as I am.” He also makes a shopping list, including writing pens that can be filled with ink and carried in the pocket, which can be had for 2 to 4 florins.

Schindler joins Beethoven at the coffee house. He’s looking for Johann. Baron Müller, the agent for the landlord in Hetzendorf will come to see Ludwig tomorrow to conclude the rental, either at 8 o’clock or 12 o’clock. For some reason, Schindler is “full of apprehension and anxiety.”

Conversation Book 31, 35v-40r.

Today’s Vienna AMZ at 287-288 includes an announcement of violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh’s return to Vienna. “Experience teaches that most artists who have established their celebrity in Vienna amidst the artistic life that flourishes here, and have left their home town as prompted by a call from abroad, usually will be unable to resist the lively urge to return to the walls of the emperors and return at least once to drink from the living spring where the Genius of the Arts, especially the Art of Music, is preserved with eternal freshness.”

“Herr Schuppanzigh, whose great and real talent in executing the best works of the newer composers, like the enjoyment of many a genius, since he knew to recognize the stamp of originality like a true connoisseur. Only several successful performances can bring out the recognition of the world. This is particularly true with how he made a great contribution to the valuation of the works of the great Beethoven. It is also understandable that his previous stay in a somewhat colder musical climate [Schuppanzigh had spent some years in Russia] had to have awakened in him the longing to spend time in art-loving Vienna and reenter the circle of his numerous patrons and friends, with so much zeal and love for the finest pleasures.”

“But he will spend his short stay in Vienna, as we understand, also to hold an academy, in which not only the most interesting works of music will be performed, but also the most excellent artists and dilettantes from whose combined effort we can surely expect and excellent production. We are convinced that the many patrons and friends of the named artist will not let this event pass. The Academy will be held on Sunday at noon, in the Provincial Hall.”

Schuppanzigh had formed the first professional string quartet in 1808, and was very close to Beethoven, who often made cruel jokes about his obesity.