BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Thursday, August 24, 1820 (approximately)

Beethoven probably finishes writing out the autograph of the Credo of the Missa Solemnis around this time. William Kinderman estimates that the Credo autograph was finished by the end of August, and if he is correct there is very little time after this in August when Beethoven could have worked on it. He will spend much of the next week in Vienna apartment hunting with Oliva, and then the last few days of August he will be too ill to work.

First page of the Credo autograph, Artaria 202. (Berlin Staatsbibliothek)

Despite the autograph being complete, it will nevertheless be subject to a great deal of modification and second-guessing over the next few months. A separate copy of the Credo will be made in the coming weeks to serve as Beethoven’s working copy; that will be revised to contain Beethoven’s final thoughts on the work and will be the basis of the deluxe subscription copies for Archduke Rudolph and other notables.

Attached is the first page of the Credo autograph, Artaria 202, page 1, courtesy of the Berlin Staatsbibliothek.

Beethoven may head into Vienna this evening in order to get an early start on Friday morning.