BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Tuesday, February 10, 1824 (approximately)

Violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh comes to Beethoven today, telling him that the payment from Berlin has come for the use of Consecration of the House, op.124, in gold Prussian friedrichs d’or. [There is still paperwork to be done before the funds can actually be collected, which Schuppanzigh will handle for Beethoven tomorrow.] The piece will be a great triumph in Berlin. Schuppanzigh reports that theater director Heinrich “Bethmann told me that they would forever preserve this work as a treasure.” Beethoven doesn’t want them to pass it on to anyone else [Brother Johann now owns the work, and is trying without success to sell it to a publisher.] Schuppanzigh answers, “They have no thought of giving out any part of it; on the contrary, Bethmann says that he wants to arrange it in such a manner that this music can be done at every ceremony.”

Bethmann calculated the amount at the bank comes to 87 thalers. Bethmann, however, has reservations about using the term “Consecration” for the opening of the theater.

Conversation Book 55, 10r-9r. Again, these two leaves are bound in reverse order.

Today’s Wiener Theater-Zeitung Nr.18 at 71 includes an article of high praise for the concerts of the Schuppanzigh Quartet. “It cannot be denied that this quartet has made an interesting contribution to the music of the traditional Viennese audience. Now the fourth subscription series this winter has just been renewed. It is a good sign for the state of the local musical thermometer that the number of listeners of this rich music increases in almost every production, and the fair appreciation of these wonderful achievements follow and gradually have increased in lively enthusiasm. But it is also impossible to hear anything more excellent in this kind of music, and the masters whose immortal works are performed by these four artists would be delighted to see and hear their creations performed like this.”

“In the past third series of the quartets which Mr. Schuppanizgh presented this season, with Mssrs. Holz, Weiß and Linke, compositions by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Spohr, which were greeted with undivided, lively applause. These four gentlemen seemed to have only a single soul as they performed their quartet, and no one can boast of having heard a more perfect ensemble. Having the most excellent musical compositions presented by four instruments so lively, so complete, and so delicately described in every nuance, grants one indescribable delight. Each of these four artists is so perfect in his place that he seems irreplaceable, and Hr. Schuppanzigh knows how to honor the enthusiasm that flows through him and his participants so completely that you don’t know what effect he may have on them.”

“But the interaction is of such a perfect nature that the subordinate voice never exceeds its limits, never gets loud, never dares to speak out, as unfortunately happens so often. Especially with concert quartets, one is always eager to play and lurks waiting for the moment to speak out quite unabashedly. For everyone who loves the noble quartet genre, or enjoys playing them, these productions are a true education, and for everyone musician, but most excellent for the violinist.”

“One of Hr. Schuppanzigh’s main achievements is his striving to fully understand the characteristics of the composer, and to give it back completely, and in this he has acquired surprising confidence. His tone is strong, but so flexible that he lends himself to the most diverse musical declamation. His bravura makes the solution of the most difficult task easy for him, and his deep intuition wins over every receptive listener irresistibly. He delighted with each quartet, and his followers shared his applause all the more because they, each in his own way, appeared completely worthy of their leader.”

Tickets for the concerts, which are the next few Sundays, are available from S.A. Steiner and from Leidesdorf.

[Quartet member Karl Holz will be important later in our story, as he becomes an unpaid assistant to Beethoven in 1825-1826.]

Johann Cappi advertises a new edition of Johann Georg Albrechtsberger’s treatise on figured bass (Generalbass-Schule), along with an appendix including true endings and the use of diminished and augmented intervals. The textbook costs 5 fl. 45 kr. W.W.

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