BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sunday, December 21, 1823

Beethoven’s financial advisor Franz Kirchhoffer stops by briefly at Beethoven’s apartment. Beethoven asks him to find out whether Prince Nikolaus Esterházy will be subscribing to the Missa Solemnis. Kirchhoffer says he will check at the State Chancellery, and at the Esterházy Palace to get a response. Kirchhoffer asks about the proposed Akademie, and Beethoven shuts down the conversation since the Ninth Symphony has to get finished first.

Brother Johann comes to visit Ludwig and Nephew Karl this afternoon. Johann spoke to the bass singer Anton Forti and the theater manager Louis Antoine Duport, who declared that Ludwig is the only composer who could write a German opera. Therefore, he would with pleasure agree to any stipulation that Beethoven wishes to make. But it needs to be done soon, because right now there is a great shortage of operas, and they have no confidence in anyone else. Is there any possibility the opera would be finished by April?

Ludwig asks what is being performed this evening at the Kärntnertor Theater. Mozart’s Don Giovanni is the response. Schuppanzigh is also doing a quartet concert today. Ludwig asks why it’s on a weekend, and is told that business people can only attend on Sundays.

A letter is received from Ferdinand Ries today. [No inkling is given of the contents, and no letter from about this time from Ries survives.]

Ludwig continues to complain of diarrhea, and Johann believes that the cause is Ludwig drinking too much water. Johann could never drink that much water.

Count Moritz Lichnowsky visited Johann today, saying that he will visit Ludwig in two days [December 23] to talk about the opera that everyone is waiting for. Grillparzer is ready to make any alterations that Beethoven may require.

The opera Libussa, by Conradin Kreutzer and text by Joseph Carl Bernard, was performed at a wedding festival in Berlin [for the marriage of Crown Prince and later King Friedrich Wilhelm IV to Princess Elisa of Bavaria], but was not a success.

Either Karl or Johann encountered the “old woman” [former housekeeper Barbara Holzmann] and she looked quite young; she has black hair now.

Euryanthe by Carl Maria von Weber was a massive disaster for the theater; they lost 7,000 florins. Beethoven asks why it did so badly. Johann says that it was long and incomprehensible and not popular.

The cook thought that Beethoven wanted the blood sausage dried, as he had it recently. Ludwig complains about it being fatty, but she denies that there is any butter or fat in it. She could add broth.

Conversation Book 50, 6r-8r.