BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, November 11, 1820

Publisher Adolph Martin Schlesinger writes to Beethoven from Berlin, responding to Beethoven’s letter of September 20, [in which he pled his own illness and Oliva’s slowness as the reasons why the 25 Scottish Songs had not yet been sent to Schlesinger.] He asks Beethoven what opus number should be assigned to the Scottish Songs, so presumably he has received the scores by now.

Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1847 photo)

Schlesinger suggests that the set be dedicated to the Crown Prince of Prussia (1795-1861), who later became King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. [Seen here in an 1847 photo. Friedrich Wilhelm was an important patron of the arts (he later supported Felix Mendelssohn), so the dedication would not just be a matter of royal flattery. In the end, Schlesinger will assign the dedication (apparently without Beethoven’s input) to Polish Prince Antoni Radziwill, also a patron of the arts. Radziwill hosted salons at his properties in Berlin and was later a great supporter of Frederic Chopin.]

Schlesinger also looks forward to receiving the promised piano sonatas.

The original letter is lost, but its date is known from the markings on Beethoven’s September 20 letter, and the contents can be determined from later correspondence.

Around this date (or possibly earlier) Archduke Rudolph leaves Vienna for Troppau, now Opava in the Czech Republic. Beethoven will be freed of the obligation of giving him lessons while the Archduke is away. We will discuss this matter further on November 15 when the Archduke reaches Troppau.