BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Tuesday, July 29, 1823 (approximately)

Beethoven is visited in Hetzendorf by copyist Wenzel Schlemmer about today. As Beethoven requested, Schlemmer will tomorrow borrow some examples of Offertorio, Gradule and Pange lingua from Philipp Korner (1761-1831), archivist of the imperial library. He will then forward them on to Beethoven. The composer is still seriously considering adding such movements to the Missa Solemnis, though he does not appear to have done any substantial work on them. He also appears to intend to write a short Mass for the emperor, saying “Shorter is better for the emperor.”

They discuss the appointment of the second court organist. Schlemmer approves of Drechsler, the Kapellmeister of the Josephstadt Theatrer. Simon Sechter is well respected with regard to counterpoint.

Schlemmer reminds Beethoven that he is still missing two pages from the Gloria of the Missa Solemnis. [Beethoven, in a particularly paranoid move, had kept the first and last pages of the Gloria to prevent the copyists from making unauthorized copies.

Schlemmer has bought 200 operas in score and Masses. Cappi has bought them and is selling them at 80 florins each. Things are better at Carl von Odelga’s, the ambassador to Vienna from Tuscany and Nassau. He does a great deal of business in music.

This was apparently the last conversation Beethoven ever had with Schlemmer, his favorite copyist. In a little over a week, Schlemmer will suddenly die of an infection.

Conversation Book 36, 22v-24r.

There is another letter in the constant stream of undated notes between Beethoven and Schindler, probably the day after Brandenburg Letter 1707, during the latter part of July. He begs Schindler please not to forget to bring Dr. Smetana out to visit in Hetzendorf tomorrow. They can come for lunch, though it will need to be rather early, about 1 p.m., rather than the usual 2 p.m. midafternoon dinner. Everything is miserable because of the landlord back in Vienna, Franz Schilde, causing trouble.

Apparently Schindler had come out to Hetzendorf and Beethoven was not there; by way of explanation (but not apology) Beethoven blames his silly landlord.

Brandenburg Letter 1708 Anderson Letter 1200. The original of this letter is at the Berlin Staatsbibliothek.

Most likely either today or tomorrow, Beethoven writes an undated letter to Archduke Rudolph in Baden. Beethoven says there is a lot going on, but he can only breathe the air in the City for a few days at a time, and it has a bad effect on his eyes. Beethoven asks that the Archduke let him know when he will be back in the City, so he can come for a visit. Since it will probably be a short visit, they should spend their time with little artistic considerations and exercises, including the canon “Grossen Dank,” which Beethoven mentioned before in Brandenburg Letter 1713.

Beethoven mentions that Joseph Drechsler recently thanked him for the letter of recommendation given to the Archduke for the court organist position. Beethoven hears that Abbe Stadler is recommending someone else for the post, and Beethoven hopes that the Archduke will not be swayed. He suggests it would be good for the Archduke to speak to Count Dietrichstein about this situation.

Beethoven’s health seems to be in good hands, and he closes by asking again that the Archduke let him know when he can visit in Vienna.

Brandenburg Letter 1717, Anderson Letter 1215. The original is held by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna (A 84/133).