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

Beethoven today writes the fair copy of the letter and testimonial for Archduke Rudolph that he was working on yesterday, or possibly for longer.

“I hope you are in the best of health. My eyes are improving, but only slowly. I hope that I will be lucky enough to be able to see Y.I.H. [Your Imperial Highness] in 6 or at the most 7 days. They would get better faster if I didn’t need glasses. It’s a fatal circumstance that has set me back in everything.” He asks Rudolph whether he would be willing to sign a testimonial as follows: That the great Mass has been written for Y.I.H., and that it has been in your possession for some time, and that you graciously allow it to be published for the common good. “My clumsiness with worldly matters and my sickness have brought about this disorder.”

Beethoven says he would have made this request to be allowed to publish the Mass some time earlier, but has been delayed by reason of his ill health. With this testimonial, Beethoven believes that he can get more royal heads to subscribe to the Mass. It will cost the Archduke just a few lines, but it will produce the best results for Beethoven. He thanks the Archduke for his unwavering support. He has reviewed the variations written by Rudolph and he has very few corrections; it will be a very nice, pleasant work for music lovers.

Brandenburg Letter 1701, Anderson Letter 1208. The original is in the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna (A 84/131).

Beethoven gets a letter from Ferdinand Ries in London today, and he responds tomorrow.