BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sunday, February 18, 1821

BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sunday, February 18, 1821

In between bouts of rheumatic fever, Beethoven is at least well enough today to accept visitors. Ferdinand Piringer (1780-1829), a friend of Franz Gebauer and assistant conductor for Gebauer’s Concerts spirituel, comes to visit. Possibly Gebauer comes along and makes an introduction, since this date is the first known contact between the two. Piringer will later become one of Beethoven’s closer friends. Piringer will be instrumental in organizing Beethoven’s Akademie concert of 7 May 1824.

On this date, Beethoven writes in Piringer’s album a little Allegretto in B minor, WoO 61, as a souvenir. Quite a souvenir to get three pages of original music written by Beethoven’s own hand! The album remains in private hands, and the piece was first published in 1893. Beethoven considered B minor a dark key and generally avoided it except in very rare circumstances; possibly the gloom of his illness put him in mind of using this key signature.

Linda Nicholson performs the Allegretto here:

Our next update is for March 1, 1821.

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