BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, November 18, 1820

This is the deadline for Beethoven to borrow against his bank shares with the current coupon, which has a dividend due in early January. Oliva had made reference to this deadline in a September 9th conversation book entry. From subsequent correspondence, it appears that sometime between late October and now Oliva was successful in brokering a short-term loan of 150 gulden for Beethoven, who pledged one of his precious bank shares as security. The lender has taken possession of the bank share. Repayment is due around December 20, 1820.

Since his sources of money have essentially dried up over the last few months, other than his annuity, Beethoven is facing some hard times. He truly had to be desperate to consider borrowing against one of these shares, which he was carefully earmarking for nephew Karl’s inheritance.

Beethoven is still not even finished with a first draft of the Missa Solemnis, although at least he and Simrock have awkwardly more or less backed into an agreement on the fee. Beethoven also needs to complete the Piano Sonata op.109 for Schlesinger so he can get paid for that. We assume that Beethoven’s days are spent primarily on these two works, since they offer the most immediate prospects for payment. The sonata at least is very close to finished, and Beethoven probably begins preparing a fair copy of it for Schlesinger about now. Possibly to save time, or money, or both, Beethoven writes out this copy himself, rather than giving it to one of his usual copyists.

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