BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sunday, January 20, 1822 (approximately)

Beethoven’s health woes of 1821 reappear, as he develops a case of gout in his chest some time during January. This illness will persist and plague him on and off until May or June of 1822 (in a May 19 letter,he will refer to having been ill with this problem for four months), and probably explains why it took him two months to proofread the Scottish Songs. While gout, a high concentration of uric acid in the blood that forms urate crystals, is usually associated with joints, it can affect the chest as well. Typical symptoms of gout in the chest include shortness of breath and chest pains, sometimes severe.

However, he does not appear to be hit as hard this year as last winter. Despite his ill health, at some point during this winter or spring Beethoven finally delivers a score of the Missa Solemnis to Archduke Rudolph, about three years after the event it was written for. Yet the mass is still not in its final form. In May, Beethoven will need to recover that score from the Archduke in order to make additional changes and have it recopied.

Our next update will be February 1.