BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Thursday, March 4, 1824

Nephew Karl attends the first of four Concerts spirituel conducted by Ferdinand Piringer in the Landstand Assembly Hall at 4 P.M. The concert is all Haydn works, including Symphony Nr.103 (“Drumroll“) and the oratorio version of The Seven Last Words of Christ. The concert probably runs close to two hours, so he most likely arrives at his Uncle’s apartment around 6:30.

Supper is loin of beef. Unfortunately, the maid broke the small coffee pot as she washed it, though she claims that it fell to pieces. So she brought in a different one. Mathias Tuscher, a Magistrate’s Councillor and member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde sends his greetings to Uncle Ludwig, who asks whether Johann Wolfmayer, a cloth dealer and ardent supporter of Beethoven was there. Karl says, “I think there is no musical event where Wolfmayer would not attend. He is a great music lover.”

Karl wonders who will benefit from the proceeds of this concert. Uncle Ludwig asks whether it was well attended. It was fairly full, but he’s guessing most of those attending were not there on paid tickets.

Later that evening, unpaid assistant Anton Schindler visits. Beethoven apparently mentions that he wrote the requested letter to Archduke Rudolph, reminding him of Schindler’s friend the chaplain, who would like a parish as was promised to him. Schindler says he owes that priest a great deal, for he enabled Schindler to study. Beethoven asks for more explanation about the parish that he feels he is entitled to. There is a law that says a priest who serves the Army for ten years can apply for a parish, and he has served over twelve years. Ludwig wonders if there are parishes available, but Schindler counters that in a large diocese like Olmütz there are many vacant benefices every year. Or the Archduke could keep him around His High Personage, since he is an educated man of letters and very musical. He’s with Wallmoden’s Cuirassiers in Hungary.

Schindler beseeches Beethoven to let him read the Petition. Beethoven does not allow it yet. Schindler apologizes, “But forgive me for my …not curiosity…but instead, sincerest interest.”

The other day, there was a veritable revolt in the orchestra at the Josephstadt Theater where Schindler is the concertmaster. Tired of abuse by the conductor Franz Gläser, the orchestra as a body wanted to leave, and were only prevented from doing so by the police. [Schindler as the concertmaster is identifying with the management.] The winds are all going away until Easter. The cause of the revolt was that the clarinetist could not play what Gläser wrote; the composer/conductor then accused the clarinetist of not wanting to do it, and that began the baiting. But Gläser has more calm and security in his performances than his predecessor. They had thought them all capable and experienced members.

Beethoven makes a joke that he will set a poem The Liberation to music about them.

Beethoven is annoyed that his diploma from the Royal Swedish Academy is stuck in the imperial bureaucracy awaiting approval. Schindler assures him that the request was all in proper order, but there are 6,000 things piled up for the Emperor’s approval, some of which have been waiting two years. Beethoven does not believe Schindler, and has asked someone else to check on the status of the diploma. Stung, Schindler says that if Beethoven has made inquiries through another person, then that should convince him.

Schindler says he knows that Beethoven has already entrusted Count Moritz Lichnowsky to look into this for him. “I am very happy that you have become convinced that I am not responsible for it.” It’s all up to the Cabinet, who keep insisting it’s already settled, but it never moves forward. Once it gets to the Emperor, then it should move swiftly.

Discussion turns to Beethoven’s beloved Broadwood piano, which was renovated in December for use in the concert by Ignaz Moscheles on the 15th of that month. Matthäus Andreas Stein believes that Leschen, in making repairs, would have leathered the parts that had suffered damage. Stein wants to look at it, and if Beethoven can do without it for a while, he will leather it, and that should make it just as it was before. He’s concerned about leathering it the way the English do. But he’s very pleased to accommodate Beethoven, who acknowledges Stein does good work. Schindler agrees, “He is the only one who understands the mechanics; one must grant him that.

Schindler departs, and Beethoven makes some notes to himself:

70 fl. for nothing; from Streicher nothing.
To Graf concerning my English piano.

Karl, commenting on Schindler’s term for his hemorrhoids the other day, jokes that he could probably use a vein of gold.

With respect to the plans for the Akademie, Blahetka has offered to affix seals to the tickets. But Karl thinks it best that these matters be left to Brother Johann. It really would be safer.

Uncle Ludwig mentions Johann’s comment the other day that for the second concert Ludwig should improvise on the piano. Karl thinks that if that were to be advertised, then the Musikverein hall would be too small; Schuppanzigh, Piringer and everybody else agrees on that point.

Uncle Ludwig is suspicious of the servants, and wonders if the scales should be examined to see whether they are shorting him. Karl thought before that it would be better not to do so. But it would be best to know the servants well, and then you could make certain of their honesty unnoticed.

Conversation Book 57, 24r-29v.