BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Tuesday, April 15, 1823

Beethoven sends an undated letter to Anton Diabelli, probably today, regarding the making of copies of the Variations op.120. He says that since his manuscript is written on loose sheets, he asks that whatever pages Diabelli has engraved each day be given to Schindler, with an equivalent number of blank music pages. Then the pages can be copied and returned the next day, and so forth. In this way, both parties can work through the manuscript most efficiently to meet their needs.

Brandenburg Letter 1629. The letter is held by the Royal College of Music in London, (4249/2).

In the early afternoon, Schindler stops by and lets Beethoven know that his good friend violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh is back in Vienna as of today. Schindler visited the residence of the housekeeper who advertised herself. It turns out that she is the same person who had been Beethoven’s housekeeper two years ago, when he lived in the Josephstadt. Her name is Selenwanger, and she worked for Baron Johann Baptist von Puthon, a director of the Austrian National Bank. Beethoven was not happy with her, so the recommendations in the newspaper are not very reliable.

Holzmann apologizes for being very forgetful. She says that food will spoil [as it did Sunday] when they stand out for a long time. Since Beethoven is working later, she will hold off until preparing dinner until 3 PM, and the dishes will be fresher. Schindler correctly chides him for eating spoiled food without taking into account how bad that is for him. “You cannot put demands upon your sickly health; it is therefore better to insist that you have healthy dishes.” Schindler asks Holzmann whether Schuppanzigh has been by to visit Beethoven [he has not] since he said that he would do so.

Beethoven has made no plans for the variations other than to sell them to Diabelli. Schindler is surprised. Diabelli told Schindler that he doesn’t care if Beethoven sells them in Paris or London as well. An opportunity is being lost here.

Diabelli will pay for the Missa Solemnis as soon as he receives it, but he wants it no later than July first; that way he can have copies ready for the Leipzig Fair which runs from October 5 to October 18.

So far, 200 ducats (about 900 florins) have been received from the subscriptions. [So four of the subscribers have paid, at 50 ducats each.] Beethoven make a suggestion [possibly bringing up the idea of lithographing the subscription copies] and Schindler says “Absolutely not, otherwise you would have several hundred ducats less.” Hans Zelter, conductor of the Berlin Singakademie, would like a copy of the Mass as well.

Beethoven is overwhelmed with all of his debts, and the money for the subscriptions is not coming in fast enough to deal with them all. Schindler tells him not to think about the debts night and day; he can pay them when he’s healthy, and he shouldn’t make himself sad over them.

Attorney Bach calls Diabelli a lawsuit generator; Bach has already won several lawsuits against him. A short while ago he represented Domenico Artaria against Diabelli and won that one. [Artaria had been granted the exclusive rights to publish Rossini’s opera Zelmira in piano arrangement and for any other instruments. Diabelli was sued for making his own piano arrangement of the “Overture to Zelmira.” Zelmira only has a short introduction rather than a proper Overture, so Diabelli added several passages from the opera onto it, essentially making it not only pirated but a fraud. The parties settled, with Diabelli handing over to Artaria the printing plates, all of the copies printed but unsold, and a royalty of 5 gulden per plate and 10 kr. per printed sheet.]

Conversation Book 29, 1v-5v.

At 7 p.m. this evening, in the Landst√§ndischen Room Carl Maria von Boclet gave a concert, which opened with the overture from Cherubini’s Medea. The second half of the program opened with the Allegretto from Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. “A wonderful treat, though, granted, towards the end the second flute made some disturbing discords.” Later in the program, the Scherzo from the Seventh Symphony was also performed, and it was “wonderfully executed and liked very much.” Vienna Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung April 26, 1823 (Nr.34) at 272.