BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sunday, June 1, 1823

Today Karl is visiting Uncle Ludwig in Hetzendorf, after attending a Corpus Christi procession in the Josephstadt in Vienna. Karl was unimpressed by the procession; it turned out poorly, since the weather was cool and rainy.

Schindler has been pestering Beethoven about bedding for his housesitting again. Karl thinks that yes, a mattress is properly provided, but Schindler should get his own bedding; such things tear immediately. He should have plenty of money since he gets 40 florins every two weeks.

Uncle Ludwig asks Karl to deliver the Prince’s subscription letter for the Missa Solemnis to the Esterházy secretary, Anton Wocher.

The two discuss the scansion of the texts of the Gradual and Offertory, suggesting that Beethoven was still thinking about adding such works to the Missa Solemnis, or perhaps as a separate religious work. Beethoven’s estate includes a set of texts of the Gradual and Offertory, with Karl having written in the accents. Karl says that scansion is handled differently for verse and prose, and since these texts are prose he wrote the accents accordingly. One must choose the verse or prose scansion; one cannot jump back and forth between the two.

Conversation Book 33, 28r-29r. The book ends here, and the next surviving conversation book picks up again about June 15th. There is probably one or more lost book covering this period, depending on how many visitors Beethoven had during those two weeks.

Beethoven also writes to Schindler today in a dated missive. He asks Schindler to look in on copyist Wenzel Rampl; the Diabelli Variations should be finished by now. Also, he asks that he make sure that copyist Wenzel Schlemmer copies the trombone parts for the Missa Solemnis onto good paper. He lets Schindler know that he has entrusted the subscription letter for the Prince through Secretary Wocher to Karl. They only made small changes to the original, such as Nicola instead of Nicolas, since Schindler’s spelling was bad.

Beethoven also suggests writing again to Scholz about doing a German text for the Missa Solemnis, since no response was heard to the letter sent a few months earlier. [Scholz had unbeknownst to either of them already died in Silesia.]

Beethoven adds a postscript; while writing this letter Schlemmer came to see him and wants more money for the copying of the Mass. Beethoven is irritated since he has already paid 70 florins for Schlemmer to make copies. Beethoven grumbles about “this miserable speculation” of the subscription scheme, then asks whether the Gloria has indeed been finished. “If only my eyes were good again, so I could write.” [Schlemmer was engaged to make five copies of the Mass, at 60 florins each, so his request was not unreasonable.]

Beethoven asks whether the Diabelli Variations have been sent off yet to Ries in London. [The engraver’s copy would not be sent to London until early July, 1823.]

Brandenburg Letter 1662, Anderson Letter 1188. The original of this letter is held by the Berlin Staatsbibliothek (aut. 36,20).