BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sunday, April 18, 1824

Brother Johann comes to visit this Easter Sunday afternoon. He has reached an agreement with his wife Therese. She has given back the marriage contract and provided security money, and promised that if she ever again takes a lover, he will have the right to pursue the matter without further dispute. Ludwig suggests that Johann just divorce her now and be done with it, but Johann says he can’t since his finances are currently unstable and he doesn’t know whether he might meet with misfortune.

Johann reports that Anton Steinbüchel, the Director of the Imperial Coin and Antiquities Collection, would like to see the gold medal from the French King. He [presumably Steinbüchel] told Johann that if Court Opera manager Louis Duport doesn’t want the proposed opera Melusine, there are plenty of other theaters that would pay a great deal for it. Ludwig should set to work on it soon. Ludwig is interested to know which theaters he has in mind. One of these days, Johann will go see him again.

Nephew Karl [writing for Johann] adds that there are 10-12 reputable families all of whom want to see the medal.

Johann has a proposal for his brother to spend the four months of summer on his estate. There, Ludwig would have four or five large beautiful rooms with high ceilings. Everything is well-appointed, and they have poultry, oxen, cows, rabbits, etc. His wife Therese would be treated as a housekeeper and wouldn’t bother him. The surrounding region is superb, and it wouldn’t cost a penny. There is a bath, and Ludwig would have his own bath room. If Ludwig doesn’t want it, then he will rent it out. Ludwig doesn’t want to be near Therese. Johann says he would hardly see her at all. She would take care of the housekeeping, “since she has been tamed; also, she has promised to conduct herself in a most orderly way.” Ludwig still doesn’t like the idea, even though Johann assures him that “The women [Therese and her daughter Amalie] are now under control.”

Ludwig still doesn’t want to come. Johann accuses him of refusing just to be contrary, because it costs him nothing. His main sticking point is that Therese will be there. Johann answers, If she isn’t there, then who is to arrange for the housekeeping, the washing, and who is to put up with our moods?

Giving up, Johann says that when Ludwig has time, they should put together something for the Leipzig publisher Heinrich Probst, who has agreed to publish the various works Johann now owns as repayment for a loan. [Consecration of the House Overture, op.124; Opferlied, op.121b; Bundeslied, op.122; Six Bagatelles for piano, op.126; and the arietta Der Kuss, op.128.]

Johann tells Ludwig that he should send the Lieder that he had copied to the Justice Councilor in Berlin [Ludewig Krause, who assisted in getting Prince Radziwill to subscribe to the Missa Solemnis] for his wife, along with the Mass. The exchange for the 50 ducats fee can be made at the Geymüller’s bank. The exchange rate is currently 4 florins 38 kr. C.M. per ducat [so the current exchange rate for the 50 ducat subscription would be 231 florins, 40 kreutzers C.M.]

Johann invites Ludwig and Karl to his apartment tomorrow for Easter Monday dinner of good ham and pastry. Ludwig declines.

Karl [possibly still writing for Johann] mentions that there is a new Rossini opera, Edoardo e Cristina, premiering at the Kärntnertor Theater on May 2. [Caroline Unger will be in the cast. The opera had previously been performed in Vienna, but in a German translation that was not successful.] Unger is singing tonight at the benefit concert. The girl [likely meaning Unger] had a tooth pulled yesterday.

Ludwig is annoyed that Louis Antoine Duport would not allow the Akademie to be performed in the evening. The Large Redoutensaal is still not an option next Sunday afternoon, a week from today, as there is a charity concert of the Damenverein. [Ladies’ Society]. Ludwig asks how much the tickets are. Johann says they are 3 florins below, and 4 florins above.

Sometime after Johann departs, unpaid assistant Anton Schindler comes to Beethoven’s apartment, probably in the evening. He thinks that there is now nothing standing in the way of the Akademie concert, except getting everyone together for rehearsal, and that’s flexible so there shouldn’t be any difficulties.

Beethoven appears to be leaning again towards using the large Redoutensaal for his concert. Schindler will try to get word tomorrow from Duport about that possibility. Domenico Barbaja, who actually holds the lease to the Kärntertor and related facilities such as the Redoutensaal, will be arriving on the 25th of the month, so if Duport is difficult they can go to him, and Unger assures Schindler that Barbaja will approve it without further ado. Beethoven would like the concert to be in the evening rather than mid-day, and Schindler agrees that evenings are and remain best for grand musical concerts.

Ludwig mentions Johann’s offer to come stay with him. Schindler sees some positive. If Therese can be a penitent Magdalena, then Beethoven can forgive both her and her daughter.

Ludwig complains about how the expensive wines seem to be adulterated too often. Schindler explains the paradox that the cheaper the wine, the fresher and probably better, since the cheap wines sell the fastest and thus remain pure. That’s not the case with the expensive wines.

Karl interjects that it’s a splendid thing to have a Herr Brother who smokes meats!

Schindler rummages through the copied parts for the concert, and cannot find the first parts for the Credo. If he had them, he would have collated them long ago. He went through the Kyrie and Agnus Dei, and did not find them there. Peter Gläser will need to recopy them.

Beethoven complains about Peter Gläser’s copying, especially his desire to put the text cues in for the winds. Schindler says Gläser has never copied anything of this scale with text. When he copies opera parts, he puts those text cue underlays in, and it’s necessary so he has instructed his copyists to do that as well. Schindler believes that the old man [possibly copyist Paul Maschek, who is about 15 years older than Gläser, though Karl had thought Gläser was 80 years of age] had them corrected, because he promised to do so.

Schindler says he heard part of the rehearsal yesterday for this evening’s concert. The overture to Fidelio was included in it, and the new hornists made some audible blunders. [The new hornist, Elias Lewy from Switzerland, had been brought on as of January 1; the previous low hornist Friedrich Hradetzky, for whom Beethoven had written the horn solo in the Overture, had been dismissed that same month. Lewy may have been trying to sightread that solo.] Every minute they get more foreigners in the Kärntnertor orchestra. [The quality of the orchestra had severely declined in recent years.] They are frequently hiring new pupils from the Prague Conservatory, and they’re also at the Josephstadt theater.

Schindler asks whether Bernard has sent his new text of the Mass to Beethoven. [He seems not to have done so.]

Schindler observes that Karl storms and blusters and roars. He has too much hot blood and “much of the temperament of his good Uncle.”

Conversation Book 62, 17r-23v.

Beethoven writes an undated letter to copyist Peter Gläser, possibly this afternoon, complaining about how he has written the text for the vocal parts. They are written exactly how he did not want them, as if it were intentional. He asks Gläser to copy it again, precisely as it is written, and to stick as closely as possible to how the words are placed under the notes. It is not a matter of indifference where the consonants are to be placed. When vowels are stretched, the consonants must be placed after the end of the stretched vowel. The fair copy of the full score has already been corrected to reflect this treatment of vowels and consonants. In particular, while two vowels may be together, that should be avoided with the consonants in the stretched notes. He asks that Gläser continue copying; Beethoven doesn’t need the score of the Missa Solemnis back yet as he has the copy Wenzel Schlemmer made for him, which is much better than that done by Maschek.

Beethoven also sends the second movement of the Ninth Symphony, so that the Coda can be added in properly. It has not been changed, but it was an oversight to have it as it was. [The original version ended 10 bars before the present ending.] Beethoven remarks that he is of the same opinion as the great Haydn, Mozart, and Cherubini, who never hesitated to delete, shorten or lengthen as needed. Beethoven closes by urging Gläser to follow his instructions regarding the consonants and vowels so this work does not need to be done a third or fourth time. Beethoven will not deviate from his method of writing the lengthened vowels, and is convinced of the correctness of doing so.

Brandenburg Letter 1814; Anderson Letter 1275. The dating is based on Beethoven expressing to Schindler his dissatisfaction with how Gläser has presented the text in Conversation Book 62, 22v, 23r, likely on April 18. The fair copy of the coda to the second movement of the Ninth, with the additional ten bars that form the current conclusion of the movement, is indeed a later interpolation, on two sheets of paper.

This evening, there is as Schindler mentioned a large musical Akademie concert at the Kärntnertor Theater for the benefit of charities. A dozen compositions are on the overstuffed program, and Nr.7, opening the second half of the concert, is Beethoven’s Overture to Fidelio. Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung Nr.21, May 20, 1824 at 344-45. “The second section of this Akademie opened with the characteristic overture from Beethoven’s Fidelio, which was executed excellently.” Vienna Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung Nr.23, April 24, 1823 at 91.

The Wiener Theater-Zeitung account of the Akademie in the April 29, 1824 issue at 206, notes that the audience for “this interesting evening’s entertainment” was smaller than expected due to the wet weather. The boxes were mostly empty, and the main floor was very sparsely filled. The concert began with the Overture to Cherubini’s Medea. “The bold movement of this piece of music aroused enthusiasm.” “The second half began with Hrn. van Beethoven’s overture to the opera Fidelio, which one can never listen to without enthusiasm.” Mademoiselles Sontag and Unger also sang excellently as usual.