BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Tuesday, January 27, 1824

Beethoven’s shopping list consists of candles, with the notation “Hodie,” Latin for “today.”

Violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh visits Beethoven this afternoon. He inquires as to whether Heinrich Bethmann, from Berlin, has paid for the use of Consecration of the House yet. Beethoven appears to inquire as to whether the Berlin theater might be interested in subscribing to the Missa Solemnis. Schuppanzigh says he didn’t want to say anything about it the first time he met Bethmann, but will now speak to him directly. Bethmann is staying in Vienna for another two weeks.

But so far as Prince Radziwill is concerned, it would be best if Beethoven wrote to him directly himself. Radziwill is now in Posen. The Grand Duke of Tuscany still has not paid for his copy of the Mass either, and Schuppanzigh suggests that it may be time to go higher up the chain than their agent, Carl von Odelga.

Schuppanzigh cannot wait much longer for the K√§rntnertor Theater administration to make a decision about him becoming concertmaster there; he has an offer from Berlin. Beethoven says he should speak to the theater director, Louis Antoine Duport. Schuppanzigh retorts, “Duport is an ass.” He suggests that Beethoven use his influence, and perhaps something could be done with Duport. Concertmaster Joseph Katter told Schuppanzigh he could not hold out much longer either, since he has also been put in charge of the Court Ballet. Perhaps Beethoven could suggest that Schuppanzigh is on the verge of leaving Vienna to prompt a decision more quickly.

Schuppanzigh repeats the same erroneous information that Joseph Weigl has gotten the kapellmeister position at St. Stephan’s. “His stomach is very fitting for this position.” Beethoven notes that Weigl’s recent compositions have been failures. Schuppanzigh doesn’t see that as necessary for the position. Weigl’s old apartment is quite nice, so Beethoven considers whether he might take that next fall, or even earlier since he is so dissatisfied with the current apartment. Schuppanzigh stopped by to visit Weigl at his new home earlier today, but he wasn’t there.

Schuppanzigh asks why Beethoven doesn’t do something with publisher Max Leidesdorf. [Beethoven has discussed Leidesdorf publishing his collected works, but is balking at the idea of composing a new work for each volume as it comes out, or adding “optional variations” to already completed sets.]

Schuppanzigh notes that pianist Kalkbrenner will be leaving Vienna tomorrow. [Kalkbrenner’s plans seem to have changed several times. Schindler had noted a few days ago that Kalkbrenner was supposed to be leaving today, and on January 30 he says that Kalkbrenner is leaving that day. But Kalkbrenner and harpist Dizi did not leave until January 31. Or Schuppanzigh and Schindler may have both been misinformed.]

Talk turns to copyists. Schuppanzigh is impressed by young Niklaus Schmutzer, son of copyist Leopold Schumtzer. The young man does copying work every day at Pietro Mechetti’s shop. If Beethoven passes by, he can see him. Schuppanzigh likes to watch him work. “He doesn’t copy slowly, but wondrously beautifully.” Beethoven is always interested in having a competent copyist, now that Wenzel Schlemmer is dead, so Schuppanzigh says he will speak with Schmutzer.

The day is relatively sunny and clear, so Ludwig most likely runs errands or takes a long walk after Schuppanzigh. While he is out, his brother Johann comes by the apartment to take him for a carriage ride, but leaves disappointed.

Conversation Book 54, 11r-13v.

Beethoven writes an undated note to pianist Friedrich Kalkbrenner sometime between January 26, the day after Kalkbrenner’s Akademie concert, and January 31, when Kalkbrenner leaves Vienna (more likely written on the 26th or 27th, as will be discussed below). They had been planning to meet this evening, but something has come up and Beethoven will not be able to do so. In any event, the works that he had wanted to be conveyed to London by Kalkbrenner will not be finished by the copyist for another ten or twelve days, and Kalkbrenner may need to leave before then. Everything goes so slowly, since pieces have to be copied multiple times, and his regular copyist [Wenzel Schlemmer] has been called to Eternity. Beethoven also mentions his persistent eye problems.

But Beethoven hopes Kalkbrenner can stay longer. Surely he has heard the demands for another Akademie concert to be given. And if he does, then he can take Beethoven’s scores to London. “I embrace you with all my heart, and hope that I may be of service to you somewhere.”

Brandenburg Letter 1776; Anderson Letter 1268. At the time that Brandenburg’s edition was compiled, the original was in a private collection in Los Angeles, California. What scores Beethoven meant for London is unclear. If he meant the Ninth Symphony, he was being overoptimistic as usual, for the copying of that work would not be completed until April of 1824. But he may more likely have been talking about a copy of the Missa Solemnis, which Frau Schlemmer will promise tomorrow is to be ready by February 1. So this note probably comes before January 28, since Beethoven does not yet know that information. In addition, Schindler tells Beethoven on the 30th that Kalkbrenner is leaving on that date, so this note is very unlikely to be from the 30th or 31st. Since Johann found Ludwig not to be at home on this date, the 27th, that seems like a reasonable candidate for the date of this letter, though the conversation books do not indicate what preempted the meeting with Kalkbrenner.

Capitalizing on the popularity of pianist Friedrich Kalkbrenner’s series of concerts, Artaria & Co. offers in today’s Wiener Zeitung at 92 Kalkbrenner’s Rondo brillant for piano op.66, dedicated to Ignaz Moscheles. Artaria points out that the composition was performed by the composer in his concert in the small Redoutensaal on the 25th of the month. His works op.67, 68 and 69 are at press and will soon be available as well.