BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sunday, February 9, 1823

During February, in between his commercial and financial worries, Beethoven turns to intensive work on the Diabelli Variations, op.120. Although started several years earlier, they were set aside in favor of work on the Missa Solemnis. During the work, Beethoven rejects over a dozen variations as unsuitable, adds a few new ones, revises others, and works on the fugue that serves as the climax.

In the morning, Beethoven makes some notes to himself. He needs to remember to get cloth to cover the reed mats on the floor. He also is getting suspicious of Brother Johann based on the discussions yesterday, saying “The deed is all the worse because he knows my circumstances.”

Schindler comes by and says that he talked to Johann, who wanted to use Schindler to make all kinds of inquiries about Beethoven. He suspects that Johann’s concern was a mere pretext, and he saw through the web of deceit.

Since the National Bank is lending 700 florins at 5 percent interest on the bank shares, Schindler suggests that it may be worthwhile discussing that as an option with Attorney Johann Baptist Bach. They can discuss that with him tomorrow. Attorney Bach is still not feeling well and is not going out. But he is carrying on business as usual from his sickbed. [The previous private arrangements appear to have been arranged to borrow against the shares at ten percent.] After paying off 400 florins in debts, there would still be 1000 florins left over if two shares were pledged.

Schindler, who seems to be quite the active gossip, also talked to Karl’s former schoolmaster, Giannatasio del Rio. He said that Johann was there a few weeks ago claiming his only occupation was making Ludwig a rich man. Schindler said he restrained himself from saying what he thinks about Johann. He was going on about how much profit he was making for Ludwig. “nothing but empty talk, and they hear it this way everywhere.” Apparently Johann has also commissioned a new text for The Ruins of Athens, op.113. [Only the March with Chorus, no.6, had been published thus far as op.114, despite Beethoven offering it to Steiner, Simrock and Diabelli.] This comes as a surprise to Ludwig. Schindler describes this as profiteering contrary to Beethoven’s interests. [Schindler obviously is seeking to drive a wedge between the two brothers as hard as he can.]

The old woman [housekeeper Barbara Holzmann] complains that there is only two days’ worth of wood left. She further complains that she is still owed 15 florins that she loaned to the poet Johann Chrysostomus Sporschil, who is reworking the Consecration of the House incidental music (most of which is itself a reworking of The Ruins of Athens). Now she cannot find Sporschil to get repayment. She is angry that he gave her an address where he doesn’t live.

Conversation Book 23, 4r-10r.

The Emperor’s birthday is celebrated in Moravia as well as across the Empire, and in the city of Olmütz a Te Deum and solemn High Mass are held in his honor. However, Cardinal and Archbishop Rudolph, Beethoven’s pupil and patron, is indisposed, and thus the cathedral dean, Count von Migazy conducts the festivities. Brünner Zeitung, February 21, 1823 (Nr.52) at 219. Archduke Rudolph suffered from periodic bouts of epilepsy and other maladies.