BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, May 6, 1820

Conversation Book # 13, pages 34r through 40r.

Today is once again full of preparations for the move to Mödling for the summer. Beethoven is actually making arrangements for two households, for he has also rented a room in the Allegasse outside Vienna for when he visits the city (which he will do over the summer on a more or less weekly basis, for shopping and business). He makes a long shopping list (part of which from page 34r is attached, demonstrating the heroism of the editors deciphering page after page of this kind of scribble). Conversation Book 13 34rThe list includes candles, ink, more little notebooks (probably the conversation books, or possibly pocket sketchbooks), a nutmeg grater, a dozen plates and mustard spoons, a dining table and kitchen table, a dozen towels and a dish rack, and lemons for the fish luncheon Beethoven is giving for his friends tomorrow, among other things.

A little before 4 PM Beethoven is at the coffeehouse waiting for his friend Franz Oliva; as he reads the newspapers he notes advertisements for two books of interest: one of Explanatory Notes on Homer, and an illustrated book of singing birds.

Oliva arrives as appointed, having struck out again with finding the priest at home (as he will mention on Monday, May 8). The pair continue shopping. While Beethoven has enough wooden pails to act as toilets, Oliva suggests that he would be better off with copper ones. Oliva declares the mattresses that were take for mending on May 3 as good as new. The woman selling fish is unsure whether she can find fish of the required size for the luncheon party tomorrow, but she will keep trying.

After shopping, Beethoven and Oliva stop at another coffeehouse and read more newspapers. Among other ads, Beethoven notes the availability of a nine-room apartment with parquet floors in the Augustiner Building, two buildings south of St. Roch’s Church (see attached for an old photo of the Augustiner Building, no longer standing). Beethoven would end up living there from early 1821 through summer of 1822.Augustiner apartment house on Rochusgasse

Afterwards, they visit the fish merchant again, and she tells Oliva she will use her influence to get Beethoven a housekeeper.