BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Sunday, March 21, 1824

Beethoven continues his proofreading work on the Missa Solemnis parts and the first part of the Ninth Symphony fair copy.

Unpaid assistant Anton Schindler comes by Beethoven’s apartment during the morning. He has talked to Ignaz Schuppanzigh, who Schindler says was very glad to hear Beethoven has decided to deal with Count Palffy about the Theater an der Wien. He will use their entire orchestra. The an der Wein choruses are good as well. Schuppanzigh will go to the rehearsal being held at the Redoutensaal today. [Again, this reheasal seems to be for the third Concert spirituel, which will be an all-Beethoven concert on April 1, with the Sixth Symphony, the Coriolan Overture, and the second half of Christ on the Mount of Olives, op.85 being performed, so there will be a chorus in attendance. From the discussions that follow, that chorus appears to be supplied by the Musikverein, or Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, as are a good many of the instrumental players.] Schuppanzigh doesn’t, however, think that the Musikverein Women’s Chorus will be suitable. It is only made of up very young girls. Schindler leaves to meet Schuppanzigh at the Grosser Redoutensaal for the rehearsal.

In the afternoon, lead copyist Paul Maschek and at least one of his assistants comes to Beethoven’s apartment with more of the fair copy of the Ninth Symphony. He asks that when proofreading it, Beethoven please write his annotations with lead pencil in the margins, rather than writing in the score itself. That way, once the corrections are made, the copyist can erase the markings, and the score will remain relatively clean. Beethoven is concerned about the stacks of paper piling up, but Maschek tells him that there won’t be any more of the larger bundles, since the larger paper he is using for this score will make 100 sheets into roughly 60.

Beethoven wants the assistant to do all of the work on the fair copy, and asks how long he will need. Maschek estimates another two weeks, if the Finale is not too large-scaled. [This remark suggests that at this point Beethoven has not let him even see the Finale of the Ninth Symphony at all, though he seems to have seen the first three movements. This may be because Beethoven is still making changes to the Finale, or it may be part of the fear we saw with the copying of the Missa Solemnis that the work would be pirated before he has had a chance to sell it.] Because the assistant is very accurate, 5 or at most 6 bifolium sheets [i.e., 20 to 24 pages] can be copied by him per day. Beethoven tells him that this time frame is unacceptable as it would leave less than a week before the projected April 8 concert date. The two of them will have to finish the fair copy as quickly as they possibly can, presumably within the week so parts can be extracted and the rehearsals begun.

Now that Maschek has a better handle on the scope of the remaining work, discussion turns to the price to be charged for the work. He suggests 30 florins C.M. would be the price for the fair copy of the Ninth Symphony, and Beethoven agrees. Pleased, Maschek can now tell his assistants how much they will be paid, and that will promote their diligence.

Beethoven suggests that perhaps Wenzel Rampl, whom he has used in the past, be enlisted to help in the work. Maschek dismisses that possibility. “Rampl merely grinds it out, and is not musical at all.” But Maschek would like to get another movement today so he can keep his crew assembled and busy. [Beethoven likely gives him either the second or third movement of the symphony.]

Returning to Beethoven’s apartment in the late afternoon after the rehearsal, Schindler mentions that he had to correct the tempo [probably for the sixth symphony] as Beethoven had indicated with a metronome marking. The second time it went well, however. [Schindler makes reference to “the Baron” conducting, which is consistent with the Concert spirituel, for Ferdinand Piringer was now co-director with Baron Eduard von Lannoy, who also appears to have conducted the April 1 concert. Piringer then will act as concertmaster.] Schindler says that the Women’s chorus of the Musikverein is sincerely poor. Even Schuppanzigh [who Schindler jokingly refers to as Falstaff] is convinced of it. He’s pleased they can just use the Men’s Chorus from the Musikverein, and they will use the Theater an der Wien chorus instead. Their solo voices also are too weak and too young for this hall. The lead soprano is at most 16. [Henriette Sontag herself is only 18.]

Count Palffy will send his proposal as outlined through Count Moritz Lichnowsky in writing tomorrow. Beethoven starts second guessing this change of plans, but Schindler assures him he has chosen the lesser of two evils. The plans are to use 20 to 24 singers per part in the chorus. [More parts will need to be printed by the lithographer then, unless the chorus members share parts.] From the 12 violins in each of the two sections in the Musikverein orchestra at the rehearsal, they chose the six best in each.

Palffy told Lichnowsky that he wants Franz Clement, the concertmaster, to be treated as delicately as possible, so he doesn’t feel insulted. Schindler suggests Beethoven write Clement a note and tell him the truth. Perhaps Clement could take over the concertmaster position at the second Akademie. Schuppanzigh is fine with that, Schindler claims. Since Ferdinand Piringer is a Court official, he could not participate with the Theater an der Wien orchestra, so his first chair in the second violins could be held by Clement for the first concert, and then for the second he could swap with Schuppanzigh. Palffy just wants Beethoven to write a note and inform Clement of the matter personally, and he would accept it.

Schindler observes that Schuppanzigh has become calmer and more comfortable since he was in Russia. His belly troubles him now. Beethoven asks who will be playing first stand violin with Schuppanzigh. That would be Joseph Böhm, who Beethoven met at the March 7 planning conference. Beethoven asks about Piringer, and Schindler explains again that he can’t play with the Theater an der Wien orchestra because he’s a court official. It’s all the same to Schuppanizgh.

Beethoven seems to nevertheless prefer the larger and more acoustically favorable Redoutensaal, though he also does not outright reject the offer from Palffy for the Theater an der Wien. He has Schindler today write a letter to Prince Ferdinand von Trauttmansdorff, the imperial High Chamberlain, saying that they have been denied the right to hold an Akademie concert on the evening of April 7. They would therefore request of Your Serene Highness whether they could have approval for such an Akademie at noontime in the large Redoutensaal. “I am so indebted to Your Serene Highness for the consideration you have always shown me, and what is even more flattering is that Your Serene Highness is not entirely uninterested in my art. I hope to soon find an opportunity to show Your Serene Highness my deepest respect and appreciation.” Beethoven signs the note.

Brandenburg Letter 1795; Anderson Letter 1272. The original is held by the Ira F. Brilliant Beethoven Center at San Jose State University, and can be seen here:

Schindler asks also for a note from Beethoven to Karl Friedrich Hensler, the manager of the Theater in the Josephstadt and the Theater in Pressburg. The Consecration of the House Overture parts were sent to Pressburg, and Beethoven needs to ask for them back so they can be used in the Akademie concert. Beethoven asks how much Maschek asked for the fair copy of the Ninth Symphony, and Schindler says 30 florins C.M., but he thinks it’s too much and will see whether there can be any movement on the price.

Beethoven wonders whether his financial advisor Franz Kirchhoffer could be encouraged to contribute to the enterprise, possibly handling the ticket sales. Schindler says he is giving nothing. “He is a regular Jew.” Beethoven mentions the dedication of the Overture, which he had at one point intended to give to Ferdinand Ries, and might now be thinking of granting to Kirchhoffer for his help. Schindler says, “You shouldn’t do that with this work. This work should be dedicated to one of the leading monarchs of Europe.”

Schindler reveals that Kirchhoffer was rude to him [which explains why he was eager to dismiss him from participation in the Akademie preparations.] Beethoven, irritated by the process, is ready to call the whole thing off. “It truly reveals no great wisdom on your part if you discontinue this. I mean – make a profit in an honorable way, to the extent possible.” A secure person who Beethoven trusts could be put in charge of ticketing, perhaps operating out of Attorney Johann Baptist Bach’s residence. Beethoven suggests that Nephew Karl could do it. Schindler points out Karl would have to devote a day to it, and check on everything, and he has his classes. Karl could do it, but he would need to be instructed how to behave.

Schindler reminds Beethoven again to write to Hensler about Consecration of the House.

Palffy’s Singing Institute under Ludwig Schwarzböck is in good condition, and all of its members will participate in the chorus.

Conversation Book 60, 9v-15v.

Beethoven probably writes to Hensler today as Schindler requests. There is a known undated letter from Beethoven to Hensler, asking for the parts to the Consecration of the House Overture. Since they are using a larger orchestra, the parts will need to copied twice. Beethoven also inquires about the speed and accuracy of the copyists at the Theater in the Josephstadt. [The principal copyist there, Peter Gläser, will eventually take on much of the duplication of parts for the proposed concert.]

Brandenburg Letter 1800, Anderson Letter 1286. The whereabouts of the original of the letter are not known. The text is from Theodor von Frimmel, Neue Beethoven-Briefe, in Kastner’s Wiener Musikalische Zeitung 1 (1885), p.7. At that time, the letter was in the possession of Ferdinand Pokorny of Vienna, who was the Bureau Chief of the State Railway Company.