BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Saturday, October 7, 1820 (approximately)

Given his established pattern for Saturdays, Beethoven probably gives the Archduke a composition lesson today.

Because of the missing conversation books, it’s not entirely clear precisely when Beethoven finally settles on an apartment to rent for the fall. However, as Oliva warned him, he has missed the rental season that began September 29, and is left with nothing but the dregs on the market. I suspect that he rents his next apartment without Oliva’s assistance (that is, after Oliva’s departure for Leipzig in early October), because as it turns out the apartment will be far too small for Beethoven’s needs. In August and September, Oliva had cautioned Beethoven repeatedly about focusing too much on the cost of rental, and not enough on what he actually needed for his home and his work. Beethoven, left to his own devices, seems not to have heeded that advice.

So at some point around this date, he settles in some desperation for a small place just outside the City walls, on the west side, at Zu den zwei Wachsstocken, 8 Kaiserstrasse, Altlerchenfeld (no longer standing, but located at what is now 57 Josefstädterstrasse). Beethoven had already noted down this apartment on August 25, and apparently visited and rejected it. This may be one of the apartments that Oliva dismissed as “stifling.”

The former home of the Blöchlinger Institute, where Karl studied in 1820, at current 39 Josefstädterstrasse

However, one very attractive feature about this apartment is that it is quite close to Blöchlinger’s Institute, located at what is now 39 Josefstädterstrasse (presently housing the Institute for Advanced Studies, seen here in a recent photo), so he will be able to keep a closer eye on nephew Karl and his education while he lives at this place.

Beethoven thus will begin making arrangements to move from Mödling back to Vienna, with the target date being Thursday, October 26, 1820. The preparations for moving back will be chaotic and problematic, which is consistent with a brief window of time between the rooms being leased and moving day.