BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Thursday, January 30, 1823

Beethoven makes notes about Karl needing cotton and woolen foot muffs (probably to ease his frostbitten feet), and an odd comment that, “The fat woman appears to be nothing but uppity concerning the black vest.”

Unpaid assistant Anton Schindler shows up later in the morning, asking for the bank share; he has found someone who will pay money on it this very morning. He is an admirer from Pressburg [Bratisalva], who would like to perform the Mass in C, but the published version has too many errors in it; they would like to get a corrected score. Beethoven gives Schindler the bank share to be cashed. Based upon Beethoven’s calculations, he appears to expect 1420 florins. 600 of that are to be sent away (possibly to Franz Brentano, from whom he had borrowed as an advance against the publication of the Missa Solemnis), 200 to Johann to repay him and 300 for the tailor, Joseph Lind, leaving Beethoven 320 florins.

Conversation Book 21, 16r-16v.

A bit after noon, Schindler returns. Unfortunately the page is badly smeared and it’s difficult to make out, but he appears to have visited Tettenborn for more advice. With respect to France, Tettenborn suggested contacting Ludwig Schwebel, a secretary at the French Embassy. But it is bettter that someone hands it to the king himself.

Schindler asks when Beethoven’s birthday is [another indication that they were only recently close.] He also asks what Beethoven’s prospects are for getting Teyber’s position as court composer, but the position has been abolished.

Schindler ran into Franz Clement (17980-1842), concertmaster of the Theater an der Wien, for whom Beethoven had written the Violin Concerto op.61. He sends his regards and said that Beethoven had already talked to him about an Akademie benefit concert. [Assuming that concert would include the Missa Solemnis, Clement would likely perform the violin solo in the Benedictus.]

Schindler suggests that Karl is of an age that a journey abroad would be good for him, since he could learn new languages while he studies. Beethoven objects and Schindler obsequiously says it is true that Ludwig leads Karl into the world.

Schindler asks how long it has been since he say Bonn; he has never been there but only knows the Rhine and its regions from paintings.

That night, brother Johann comes to visit Ludwig after a Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde concert. He too is felling ill. Moritz Lichnowsky gave him a libretto to read, by Schlegel [Theodore Albrecht suggests probably Sakuntala.] Johann says it’s romantic and he likes it very much. He can lend it to Ludwig. Another composer [Franz Schubert] tried to set it, but decided it was too difficult. He’ll bring it tomorrow. He does not much like the libretto to Libussa, by Beethoven’s friend Joseph Carl Bernard.

Johann mentions that Johann Chrysostomus Sporschil (1800-1863) would like to write an opera libretto for Beethoven. Johann confirms that the court composer position has been abolished. He visited Count Dietrichstein twice, and he insists the position no longer exists. He notes that Count Wrbna, Privy Councillor and High Chamberlain, died of pericardial edema today; the finance minister Zichy also suffered a stroke. He notes that at tonight’s concert Ludwig’s piano quintet op.16 was performed to great approbation. [Schindler was also in attendance there; he had commented a few days ago that he was greatly looking forward to hearing it.]

According to the overview of the Leipzig music scene between New Year’s and Easter in the Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung of June 18, 1823, Nr.25, at col. 393, today Beethoven’s Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt was repeated to the delight of the audience. Johanna Sebus and tenor Herr Hering were featured soloists, under the baton of Musical Director Schulz. The paper called the piece a “beautifully-set ballade.”