BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sunday, February 29, 1824

Nephew Karl in the late morning mentions that Brother Johann again is talking about getting away from his wife Therese entirely. Schindler took him to a young man with the police, and the case is progressing very slowly now, because Therese and her lovers defend themselves vigorously against charges. He needs to catch her in the act, while also being observed by a witness. Johann only contributes as much per month to their upkeep as he receives from his estate in Gneixendorf. Therese also has to support her daughter Amalie.

Karl is annoyed that the maid has decided to leave. She was encouraged to go by the old woman [Barbara Holzmann], who is herself nearing the end of her temporary appointment.

A letter is received from Tobias Haslinger, who sends his greetings, and believes that it will be another month before the copying work has finished. [No such letter has survived, but he appears to referring to the vocal parts for the Missa Solemnis so the chorus of amateurs could learn them. The Finale of the Ninth was not at all in condition for copying to begin just yet.]

Karl says Johann gave him a pair of gloves that were too small. He asked Karl to meet him at Czerny’s [for today’s recital.] Johann went to the ball the day before yesterday.

Karl mentions that the building superintendent’s wife came up with a sheet that she wanted him to sign while Ludwig was out, but he refused and told her to come back when Uncle Ludwig is at home. It has something to do with the income tax and the profits tax. But even if those taxes don’t apply, she still has to get the sheet signed to prove she showed it to Ludwig, so the landlord doesn’t get in trouble.

Karl mentions that pianist Ignaz Moscheles is quite ill, dying from a kidney stone. [Moscheles made a full recovery and outlived both Ludwig and Nephew Karl.]

Because today is a holy day where no meat can be eaten [Quiniquagesima or Estomihi Sunday] like Ash Wednesday, the maid asks if she may make a meatless pastry for herself.

Karl informs his uncle that from today on, he has weekly examinations until mid-April, with the Easter holidays [April 18 and 19.]

Johann picks Karl up to attend the Schuppanzigh Quartet concert. Ludwig stays at home and notes he needs coffee and wiping rags.

The Schuppanzigh Quartet holds the fourth concert in its fourth subscription series today. The program includes the Apponyi Quartet Nr.4 by Haydn in C major [Quartet #57, op.74/1, Hoboken III/72]; Quartet Nr.1 by Beethoven in F [op.18/1]; and the String Quintet Nr.6 by Mozart in E-flat major [K.593]. Vienna Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung Nr.12, March 27, 1824 at 45.

Beethoven’s Quartet Nr.1 op.18/1 is here played by the GoYa Quartet Amsterdam:

When Johann and Karl return, Karl says that Leopold Sonnleithner said everyone needs to take their parts home and study them, so everything will go together neatly. He is reserving Frau Schlemmer’s group to work as copyists tomorrow on the choral parts of the Mass. Schuppanzigh will come tomorrow or the day after; people have heard about the Petition and are giving him no rest and it is now high time to have the concert.

Uncle Ludwig has apparently caught a bit of a cold walking around. Karl scolds him and says he should stop in a coffee house if he’s getting cold. He can give the waiter a couple groschen and then he can be comfortable and not be in danger of getting sick.

Johann suggests that for the concert the order should first be the Overture to Consecration of the House, then the Gloria from the Missa Solemnis. After that, an aria or duet, and then the Dona nobis pacem and the Sanctus. The Symphony should be saved for last. Mademoiselle Henriette Sontag would be grateful to get an aria, even if she gets it on the last day before the concert. Ferdinand Piringer will arrange to get the most talented amateur musicians from the Musikverein. Sonnleithner will handle the choruses, and Schuppanzigh the orchestra. Blahetka will do the announcements and tickets, so everything is taken care of.

Beethoven can hold two Akademie concerts. Linke today suggested at the concert that if the poster for the second concert were to say, “Beethoven will improvise,” then they would storm the house. The question is when it should be announced to the public.

Ludwig appears to hesitate about the announcement, suggesting maybe they should have two new symphonies. [This suggests ideas for the Tenth Symphony are already on his mind.] That’s immediately dismissed as one can’t have two symphonies on the same concert. Johann suggests maybe including one movement of a new Piano Concerto. [Johann appears to think Ludwig can create such things on a moment’s notice, and disregards that Ludwig hasn’t finished a piano concerto in nearly fifteen years; his last attempt, the abortive Concerto #6 in D in 1815, turned into such a mess he had to abandon it completely.] Johann insists they need to include vocal numbers, because the public is so eager for them. A couple of arias or duets would fit right in there. There is a new bass singer, Presinger, tenor Haitzinger, then Unger and Sontag. [That would ultimately be the quartet of soloists for the Akademie, so Johann does make sense on this point.]

Franz Grillparzer comes to the apartment and asks for the libretto to Melusine. Beethoven either cannot find it or Caroline Unger has still not returned it, so Grillparzer says he will call again in a few days to pick it up.

Johann asks whether the new cook has been hired yet. Count Moritz Lichnowsky visited him, and he looks very bad.

Karl shows Uncle Johann how the word “Apotheke” was derived from the Greek. [Johann had made his fortune as an apothecary in Linz.]

Conversation Book 57, 14v-21r.