BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sunday, July 13, 1823

Nephew Karl does not visit his uncle as he usually does on Sundays, since he is still recovering from the Name Day celebrations for Henriette Blöchlinger, which lasted until morning. Unpaid assistant Anton Schindler comes out to Hetzendorf to visit Beethoven. Brother Johann is improving and thinks that in two or three days he will be able to go back to his estate in Gneixendorf; he is concerned that without him the place will fall to ruin.

Poet Franz Grillparzer sends Beethoven his regards. Grillparzer has found new employment in the offices of Count Johann von Stadion, where he was a drafting clerk. He had just received the decree of appointment on Wednesday, July 9th. Grillparzer has been bragging that Beethoven will be setting his drama Melusine to music. [Beethoven will make a few sketches for this projected opera, but nothing substantial results.]

Johann was very pleased to hear that Czar Alexander has agreed to subscribe to the Missa Solemnis. Johann believes that it would be best if the Mass were to be published simultaneously in Paris, London and Vienna.

Beethoven is in a foul mood and accuses Schindler of spreading gossip about him. Schindler gets very defensive and denies that he ever did so. “It hurts me the most because you really do me wrong. Because God knows where all of that comes from.”

Schindler says that in a few days he will learn what happened the last time he was at Johann’s place. “And then you will forgive me for wanting to prevent you from going there any more. The old woman already knows it.” Beethoven insists that Schindler stop being evasive and tell him the story, and Schindler complies.

“When his wife came home and heard that you were there, she immediately flew into a rage, but then stood aside. Thereupon the attendant ran into the room and told me that his wife was standing in the hallway with the cutting shears, and was waiting for you to greet you with them. I was frightened about this horrible deed, and didn’t know anything other than to hold you back under the pretext that your brother wanted to sleep, to which he also consented. However, when I was gone, he said that she left; he told me this from his sickbed, how he married her – as I had heard it from you – also about her daughter. I asked him why he allows her to bear the name Beethoven, [and he replied] She will as long as I want her to.”

The discussion returns to Grillparzer. He makes 800 florins in salary, and gets a 100 fl. allowance for quarters. But like Beethoven he has also incurred large debts and there is nothing left over from his salary. He doesn’t have to go into the office until noon, so he can work on his poetry the entire morning. But the administration of the Theater in the Josephstadt is still waiting to hear whether or not Beethoven intends to write them an opera.

Schindler asks whether Beethoven has been to the carpenter’s yet. [Why he needs to go to the carpenter is unclear, though it may relate to making a trunk or box for the upcoming move to Baden bei Wien in August.]

Johann has a secure livelihood, but he made the mistake of renting his estate in 1820 to Franz Alexander, who mismanaged it and then vanished in March of 1823, costing Johann 1000 florins. So he feels bound to manage the property himself again. Johann thinks that it would be worthwhile for Ludwig to write an opera, since that would get six or seven thousand florins C.M. Beethoven’s response to his brother’s genius idea is unrecorded.

Schindler departs shortly thereafter in the late afternoon.

Conversation Book 35, 36r-41r.