BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sunday, April 6, 1823

Nephew Karl visits Uncle Ludwig after their row the other day, and Schindler restrains them both from getting out of line. Odelga insists that the Grand Duke of Tuscany will surely take the Missa Solemnis, but he has not yet received a formal written confirmation. Nor does Tettenborn have any news, but he does suggest that Count Anton von Apponyi (1751-1817), Austrian ambassador to Rome, could persuade Cardinal Consalvi (the papal Secretary of State) to take a copy for the Vatican Library.

Schindler then suggests that Ludwig misunderstands Karl and his frustrations. The old woman [housekeeper Barbara Holzmann] is old, but that is not his fault. Why not say as he often does, “It is forgotten,” and not be so hard on the boy? Karl complains of having a headache.

Schindler changes the subject, saying that they were at the drama Der rasende Roland yesterday, which was played at the Theater in the Josephstadt. The actor playing Charlemagne is totally out of place, and the whole thing is overloaded with spectacle, dance, scenery, and mechanical devices to the point that the plot is lots. The drama is based on Ariosto’s Orlando furioso.

Schindler asks whether Diabelli has yet received the Variations, op.120. He suggests that since Beethoven has been working so hard the last few days, he should go out.

After Schindler leaves at about 3 PM, Karl writes, “I already wanted to write out to you the reason for my behavior earlier, but you didn’t let me write and I was also silent, believing, according to your own promise, it was no longer to be the subject of conversation. But since I see now that you completely ignored me out of anger, I find myself persuaded to tell you why I behaved in such a way. As I already said, I thought that I would be able to speak my mind; also, I did not say a word in the presence of the old woman that could have indicated that I empowered her; and you also completely misunderstood what I wrote to you. I did not say that the old woman was right, but instead I only wrote down her own words, with the intention of remaining silent. But since you yourself invited me to speak, I told you my opinion, certainly convinced that you would not forbid me to speak freely; because if I could have predicted that you would be hurt if I spoke as I thought, then I would have had absolutely no choice but to say: You are right. Thus I believed, however, that I could express my opinion fearlessly, and there4fore said, if what she says is true, that you would have given her the order yourself to do the wash right away, then she would have done her duty. In the future, however, I shall also promise that, probably to protect myself, if I see that it hurts you.”

Beethoven complains about Frau Holzmann and her attitude. Karl responds, “You know her better than I; also, I don’t say that she isn’t ill-tempered. I only said that if it were true, the way she said it, I would not find her so punishable.”

Uncle Ludwig accuses Karl of taking her side. “I absolutely didn’t defend her; much less because I know what the matter is. I just thought that you had become somewhat too worked up and had been mistaken, all the more because, in the morning, she howled to me how you misunderstand her and do her injustice.”

Karl repeats that he said absolutely nothing in front of Holzmann. He simply gave his sincere opinion after she had already left. Karl notes that she hasn’t mended his own shirts either, and that appears to resolve the spat between the two. Karl notes that his foot is now healed up from the frostbite he has been suffering for some weeks.

Holzmann stops by the house and asks whether she is supposed to come [perhaps concerned that she has been fired again.] She begs Ludwig’s pardon and that she simply misunderstood him and she promises to do better.

Karl returns to Bl√∂chlinger’s shortly afterwards. Beethoven may accompany him, but there are no further entries in the conversation book for the day so he may also remain at home.

Conversation Book 28. 31r-35v.

At 12:30 in the afternoon, a concert is given by Franz Schoberlechner in the great Landhaus Room, before departing on his tour of Russia. First on the program is an unspecified Overture by Beethoven. Schoberlechner himself is the featured soloist on the Piano Concerto in B minor by Johann Nepomuk Hummel, [Hummel’s Piano Concerto Nr. 3, op.89, dating from 1821] as well as on a set of Grand Variations on the Alexander-March, with orchestal accompaniment, by Ignaz Moscheles [op.32, from 1815.] Vienna Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, Nr.28, April 5, 1823 at 224. The April 16 Vienna AMZ (Nr.31) at 241-242 gave the concert a positive review in general, though complaining the four horns were never in tune during the Adagio of the Hummel concerto. No mention is made of the Beethoven Overture.