BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Tuesday, December 9, 1823

Ludwig and Karl are interviewing housekeeper applicants again this afternoon, after Karl’s classes. The applicant can write, but just barely, as her writing is crude and phonetic. Karl tests her on what various household items cost.

Karl notes that he saw copyist Matthias Wunderl, who is working on the last Missa Solemnis subscription copies, as he was coming out of class. Karl told him how many errors Uncle Ludwig had found. Wunderl’s answer? “Then there must also have been that many in the original.” [Did that enrage Uncle Ludwig, or did he laugh uproariously at Wunderl’s cheek?]

[Later, Anton Schindler finds a blank page here at 11v of Conversation Book 48, writing in what appears to be a forged entry, written in ink. In it, he asks on behalf of Ignaz Moscheles whether he could borrow Beethoven’s Broadwood piano for a concert, and that it would make a big sensation in London if they hear that he had played on Beethoven’s instrument. It is very unlike Schindler to suddenly appear, make a short remark and then disappear, indicating to me that this is not genuine and he is trying to inflate his own self-importance after Beethoven’s death. The dubious nature of this Schindler entry is underlined by the fact Karl continues in pencil, discussing the housekeepers as if Schindler had not come to the apartment. There is nevertheless a possibility that the note is genuine, since tomorrow piano maker Andreas Stein will come to the apartment asking about the Broadwood and Moscheles, but that conversation may simply have inspired Schindler to make the false entry. These kind of shenanigans have plagued Beethoven biographers for many years and cast into doubt nearly everything Schindler writes.]

Karl asks about whether the housekeeper applicant is advanced in years. The current woman is “horribly made up. It is impossible to deal with that kind of people who wash themselves with good-smelling waters, because for the most part they probably also use any possible means to satisfy such conditions. Marie [Pamer] is the same way.” He dislikes the old women generally, since they are gossips and overly pious. The applicant’s parents send her linen, which she turns into dresses for herself. Uncle Ludwig asks where her parents live; her answer is in Bohemia.

Karl notes that baking flour costs 1 fl. 4 kr., while fine flour is 1 fl. 30 kr.

Conversation Book 48, 11r-12r.

Sauer & Leidesdorf today announce in the Wiener Zeitung at 1146 the publication of Franz Schubert’s first Grande Pianoforte Sonata for four hands, op.30.

Also included in this advertisement are Schubert’s songs, op.20 through 24. Most of these have previously been advertised in the Wiener Zeitung, but the set of two songs op.24 is a new one. These songs are Gruppe aus dem Tartarus (text by Schiller), now catalogued as D.583; and the second version of Schubert’s setting of Schlaflied (text by Johann Baptist Mayrhofer), catalogued as D.527.

Schubert’s Grande Sonate in B-Flat for Piano duet D.617, op.30, is here performed live on fortepiano on October 15, 2016 in Amsterdam by Milano Piano Duo, Luca Ciammarughi, and Stefano Ligoratti: