BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Thursday, February 13, 1823

Beethoven walks from his apartment to Blöchlinger’s Institute (about a thirty-minute walk) to visit nephew Karl on visitation day. He stops by Schindler’s apartment, where the bell is stiff and the pull must be yanked quickly for it to sound. They venture to a coffee or wine house in the City. Schindler has been accused of being so blindly infatuated with Beethoven that he would take a knife to anyone who spoke against the composer.

Editor Joseph Bernard and Karl’s former co-guardian Karl Peters stop by and say hello. After they leave, Schindler asks who Peters is. [This indicates again that Schindler’s familiarity with Beethoven was quite recent.] Beethoven says that Peters and Bernard are both from Bohemia; Schindler responds that he doesn’t trust any Bohemian. He also makes a number of judgments about their character based on his study of physiognomy.

Today’s Beobachter reports the shocking news that the royalists have marched into Madrid and quelled the revolution in Spain. The Cortes has been dissolved and the King is going to decide as to whether or not to accept a constitution. [This report was erroneous, and was retracted two days later.] Schindler notes that the King of Spain had been in deadly danger because the common folk were enraged at him. The King of England has declared in Spain that they do not want to interfere with Spain, which results in entire regiments of the Spanish army siding with the royalists.

There is some discussion of publication of the planned Complete Works of Beethoven. Schindler says that Attorney Bach needs to be involved; he also should be shown the letter from publisher Carl F. Peters. Bach believes that Steiner could be forced to publish the works that they have had in hand for years (including the Name Day Overture op.115, The Ruins of Athens op.113, and Tremate empi Tremate op.116, but then they might press the issue of repayment of Beethoven’s long-outstanding and substantial debt. [2,420 florins as of the end of 1820, though Beethoven appears to tell Schindler the debt is only 800 florins, possibly out of embarrassment.] Whatever their plan, Bach would like to look things over beforehand. Schindler believes Beethoven should write to Peters for the next mail day to Leipzig.

The two then head to Beethoven’s apartment in the early afternoon. Schindler again notes he avoids meeting Johann, and would certainly not discuss Beethoven’s affairs with him. Having settled matters with tailor Joseph Lind yesterday, Beethoven will need to take Karl to Lind for new clothes. They had been going to go this afternoon but Karl forgot and made other plans.

The housekeeper, Barbara Holzmann, asks whether Beethoven will pay the woodcutter for replenishing the wood, or whether she should pay the 6 florins.

Last Sunday, the new work by Franz Joseph Gläser, the farce Die Reise nach den Kanarischen Inseln [The Journey to the Canary Islands] was performed at the Josephstadt Theater. Schindler says it was terrible, and everyone must have told him so because it received no repeat performance. “This man is so insufferably conceited that he almost thinks of himself as if he had written Fidelio, Medea, or Don Juan.” He is useful enough to Hensler, the theater manager, by setting whatever piece of garbage to music and composing German dances and marches. His interference resulted in Schindler being unable to perform any good overtures or symphonies, but only Gläser and Rossini. He claims to have written 80 opera in the last four years. He actually pulled Schindler out of the orchestra during a performance of the Overture to Demophon, by Johann Christoph Vogel, and asked how he “could perform such terrible trash.”

Although Schindler had often performed Beethoven’s orchestral works during the dramas or intermissions, and the orchestra wished it, but Gläser sent all these scores to Pressburg, other than the Pastoral Symphony. This made Schindler furious and he went to Pressburg and retrieved the Third and Eighth Symphonies. When Gläser heard about it, he told Schindler to send all of them back to Pressburg immediately. He intends to ask to be permitted to present a grand symphony during each week of Lent, and looks forward to what the response will be.

Later, alone, Beethoven reads through newspapers at a coffeehouse. He makes a note of Jeanette Hohenrath, who was one of Beethoven’s romances in his youth in Bonn. Both he and his friend Stephan von Breunig were smitten with this talented and pretty blonde, but she married Carl von Greth, now Lieutenant Field Marshal, who the newspaper reports has been named Commandant in Temesvar.

Visiting Grund’s bookstore, Beethoven makes note of two books by Ignaza Aurelius Fessler, Marc-Aurel (1792) and Aristides und Themistocles (1792, in an 1809 edition). In empty space on page 14v, years later Schindler inserts fake conversations about the metronome markings in the Seventh Symphony.

Conversation Book 24, 3v-14v.