BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Tuesday, April 9, 1822

Beethoven today writes to Berlin publisher Adolph Martin Schlesinger regarding a number of matters. First off, Beethoven confirms that the corrected proofs for the 25 Scottish Songs, op.108, has been sent off already, as he mentioned week before last. Due to an unspecified obstacle (perhaps Beethoven’s illness this winter), the revised Arietta of the piano sonata op.111 is not going out until tomorrow’s mail coach. Beethoven repeats his instruction that the old finale be destroyed immediately [and Schlesinger apparently complied, since only the original first movement survives today.]

There are issues about the placement of the long and short syllables in the German version of the Scottish songs, and Beethoven suggests that the poet who translated them [Berlin librarian Samuel Heinrich Spiker (1786-1858)] be consulted. At the moment, Beethoven is “so busy with work that I can do nothing about it.” [The German text remained unchanged when Schlesinger published the songs.]

Regarding the Missa Solemnis, Beethoven repeats his agreement with payment of 650 Prussian Reichsthalers for the mass, including the piano reduction. Beethoven will have the copying costs set as at low a figure as possible.

As a goodwill gesture, Beethoven offers two songs in addition to the Mass for the low, low price of 45 gulden, though he typically gets eight gold ducats for a song. Beethoven promises to send the Mass and the songs upon the draft, which Beethoven now suggests be payable at a reliable house in Vienna [cutting Franz Brentano out, contrary to Beethoven’s assurances to his agent a few months ago.] Beethoven at first indicates that the songs are enclosed, then changes his mind and crosses that out. [What the songs are that Beethoven has in mind to provide to Schlesinger is unclear, but they were most likely some of the old songs from before 1800 that Beethoven will offer to publisher C.F. Peters later this year. Beethoven had written no new songs recently that had not already been published.]

Because the bill of exchange for payment will have to be payable a month after sight, a concept that was previously unfamiliar to Beethoven, [as opposed to a bill payable at sight, which would give Beethoven the cash immediately] he insists, “it is high time to put this matter to rest.” Beethoven promises that the copying will be done carefully to avoid the need to send the copy back and forth.

Anderson letter 1074, Brandenburg letter 1460. The original is held by the British Library, Add. M.s 41628 fol. 34r-35v.