BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Thursday, February 12, 1824

Karl presumably takes the signed document and receipt to the appropriate parties and collects the money from Berlin for use of the Consecration of the House incidental music for his uncles. The funds are to be split between Johann and Ludwig. [Johann, as owner of the work, did not necessarily need to share the proceeds with Ludwig, but agreed to do so in the interests of helping out his elder brother, who as usual was scraping along without sufficient funds.]

Karl demonstrates some algebra and long division problems involving Austrian currency to his math-challenged uncle. These involve converting the 87 ducats paid for the Consecration of the House into florins, at the rate of 4 1/2 florins to the ducat, arriving at 391 florins C.M. [actually 391 1/2 florins, but close enough with rounding.]

Ludwig is indecisive about hiring the housekeeper that he has already interviewed or whether they need to run the advertisement for a widow of a craftsman again. Karl thinks that if possible, his uncle should make the decision today; otherwise it will be too late to stop the advertisement from running in the Wiener Zeitung. [Ludwig appears finally to decide against hiring the unnamed woman he talked to already, and the advertisement runs as previously arranged on February 18th.]

Count Moritz Lichnowsky visits Beethoven this afternoon. He has a letter from Archduke Rudolph, carried by hand from Olmütz by the brother of Baron Schweiger, who is in Prague and thus could not bring it himself.

Lichnowsky announces that the directors of the Kärntnertor Theater have agreed to Beethoven’s conditions regarding the opera Melusine [as Caroline Unger had advised Beethoven a few days ago], and are concluding their arrangements with librettist Franz Grillparzer. [The bottom half of leaf 17 of the conversation book is torn out here, for unknown reasons.]

Discussion turns to the idea of an Akademie benefit concert. [If Lichnowsky is aware of the circulating Petition for Beethoven to premiere the Missa Solemnis and Ninth Symphony in Vienna, he covers it well.] If Beethoven wants the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde to take part, Beethoven should speak directly with Kiesewetter. Otherwise there is a risk of losing profits. Lichnowsky cautions that Beethoven needs to proceed more economically with the concert.

Beethoven mentions that his diploma from the Royal Swedish Academy is still stuck with the bureaucrats in the office of the Minister of the Interior, Count Franz von Saurau. Lichnowsky says he will go and pay a call on Saurau for Beethoven, and departs, saying he’ll come back in a few days.

Franz Carbon stops by Beethoven’s apartment again. Carbon had asked Beethoven’s assistance in renting Dr. Hubertus’s apartment in the Archduke’s residence. Beethoven is sending something [probably to the Archduke in Olmütz], and Carbon suggests he could write Hubertus himself, and send it along; maybe that will get a swifter answer. Carbon apologizes for making so much trouble for Beethoven, and says if he can ever be of service, just ask. He’s presently employed at the land registry.

Karl arrives with Johann in the late afternoon, and announces that poet Franz Grillparzer will be coming to visit Beethoven tomorrow [probably to talk about the contracts with the Kärntnertor Theater for their proposed opera Melusine.] Johann doesn’t think Ludwig should get involved with Grillparzer’s back and forth with the theater administration; Ludwig has already written that they need to come to an agreement with Grillparzer.

Johann and Karl discuss piano maker Andreas Streicher, apparently in connection with another device that would allow Ludwig to hear the piano better. Karl does not hold out much hope. Ludwig brings up a doctor, [possibly Dr. Carl von Smetana, who treated Karl’s hernia] but Karl says he is not a licensed physician; he’s only a surgeon. He can’t treat internal illnesses as a physician would.

Conversation Book 55, 16r-20v. This concludes Conversation Book 55. The next conversation book appears to begin tomorrow without an interruption.

Art dealer J. Bermann advertises a number of Beethoven pieces in today’s Wiener Zeitung at 152: the Aria Das Glück der Freundschaft, op.88 with fortepiano accompaniment; the Sonata pathètique op.13 for fortepiano, and 6 Variations for Fortepiano. There are a number of possible candidates for the latter piece, but Bermann’s advertisement in today’s Zeitung gives insufficient clues to narrow it down with any confidence. A later version of the ad fills in the holes in a rather unexpected manner.

Das Glück der Freundschaft, op.88, is here performed by tenor John Mark Ainsley, with Iain Burnside on piano:

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