BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Thursday, February 6, 1823

Schindler writes and delivers a new batch of subscription solicitation letters for Beethoven, each of which is substantially identical to the others, and which are signed by Beethoven. These go to King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia; King Frederick VI of Denmark; Wilhelm II, Elector of Hesse; and Prince Wilhelm of Nassau. Brandenburg Letters 1551-1556.

Upon his return, Schindler says that he visited Baron von Plessen, Minister of State of the Duchy of Mecklenberg who sends his regards. He will present the subscription solicitation with pleasure. Schindler describes him as a splendid charming man who is very blond, but stutters somewhat because he tries to talk too quickly.

He also mentions that he had an important conference with the Esterhazy secretary to England, Caspar Bauer. He will be happy to take a letter to King George IV with him and make sure it reaches his highness. He knows the King’s entire circle, and will do his very best to get his approval. They prize Beethoven so much in England “that one finds your picture on all the street corners.” He will be departing as early as next week.

Bauer also discussed the somewhat embarrassing matter of Wellington’s Victory, op.91. [In 1814, Beethoven had dedicated the work (his most profitable he ever wrote) to the then-Prince Regent, now the King. The Prince did not acknowledge the dedication with an honorarium or even a letter of thanks, which stung Beethoven badly.] Bauer suggests that the Prince has eventually fulfilled every honorarium through General John Blomfield, and he may be of assistance. Schindler says he will try to get Bauer to visit Beethoven before he leaves.

Schindler suggests that they go up the hill to Spittelberg, just to the north of Beethoven’s apartment [perhaps to a coffeehouse]. One copy of the Mass should be finished by now. Schindler also notes that the value of the bank shares has risen again. He visited Attorney Bach this morning; Bach’s neck is better and he is out of bed.

The students at the University (which would include nephew Karl) are suffering a rough blow because it has been decreed that there will only be one examination per year, rather than the customary two. This means that many students will have to drop out because they cannot invest a year without knowing whether they are up to the task. This in turn harms the good students as well as the bad ones.

Schindler also has some gossip about the flautist Carl Keller (1784-1855). He is a chamber virtuoso for Prince von Fürstenberg. The Prince is one of the nobles still maintaining a splendid Kapelle, and a beautiful theater. Keller is now opera director and stage director and a favorite of the prince, all rolled into one. Beethoven suggests that they should write to Keller to convince the Prince to subscribe to the Missa Solemnis, and Schindler eagerly agrees.

Brother Johann and Schindler do not get along; “I am certainly a thorn in his eye, because I help to uncover his weaknesses.” [One can imagine how well that went over. Schindler has not been Beethoven’s assistant for three weeks and he is already causing friction in the composer’s closest circle.]

Conversation Book 22, 59r-62v; Conversation Book 23, 25r-28r.

Beethoven also (presumably after Schindler departs once again) sends him a note to meet him tomorrow with Count Gallenberg to obtain the score for Fidelio from the Kärntertor Theater music archives, so it can be copied and sent to Weber in Dresden; Beethoven says he will see Schindler at noon. Brandenburg Letter 1556, Anderson Letter 1138.

Meanwhile, in Munich today the Bavarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs forwards Beethoven’s January 25 solicitation for the Missa Solemnis subscription to the Ministry of Finance. The Finance Minister will in turn on Saturday February 8 refer the matter to the Court Music Director for a report on whether such a subscription is appropriate. The bureaucratic wheels of state are turning. Bavarian State Archives, MF 55822.

Today’s Wiener Zeitung includes at p.120 an advertisement by Cappi & Diabelli of the latest piano work by Beethoven’s former student Carl Czerny, Impromptus or Brilliant Variations, op.36, on the popular Cotillon from the Ballet Arsena, by Count W.R. de Gallenberg. “We are prepared to point out that these variations on the theme that is now so universally popular are not only brilliant, but also easy and rewarding to perform. They are a worthy addition to the series of pleasing compositions by the universally popular author, well calculated for fortepiano playing.”