BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, November 3, 1820 (approximately)

Beethoven is worn down by his failure to sell the Missa Solemnis elsewhere. He is resigned to music publisher Nikolaus Simrock’s refusal to pay the full asking price for the work in gold louis d’or, but rather in friedrichs d’or, which makes for a substantial discount. He writes to his friend Franz Brentano in Frankfurt, who has acted as go-between for him and Simrock. Beethoven asks Brentano to tell the Bonn publisher that he accepts Simrock’s terms for the Mass, and he will be satisfied with the lesser payment. [Beethoven at least now is nearing a complete first draft of the Mass.]

But unbeknownst to Beethoven, Simrock, having heard nothing from him in over a month, already withdrew the deposited funds on October 21.

Beethoven’s letter to Brentano is not known to survive, but its contents are known from later correspondence.