BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Tuesday, July 30, 1822

Beethoven is going through another cycle of being unhappy with his servants. Having fired the kitchen maid a few days ago, Barbara Holzmann has now been replaced as his housekeeper for the first time (but not the last), this time by an unnamed woman from Unterdöbling. She will last not even a month herself.

Beethoven writes to brother Johann today. The letter itself survives only in the cover sheet and the ending of the letter, which includes a series of postscripts, written mostly in the margins. The letter must have been quite bulky since it needed its own cover sheet, rather than being simply folded over and sealed as usual. The address of “Gneizendorf [sic] bei Krems” is written in Tobias Haslinger’s hand. The extant fragment contains discussions of how to deal with Peters in Leipzig. Beethoven confirms that the 300 florins Peters has sent have been received at the Meisl Brothers banking house [though he has not yet drawn on them], and suggests that Johann might be able to make him an advance against the 1000 florins due for the Mass, which will be sent to Peters by the 15th of next month at the latest. [It will be recalled that over a year ago Beethoven had convinced Franz Brentano to make a similar advance when he sold the Mass to Nikolaus Simrock, with the same promises that the work was ready to be sent soon.] Perhaps it is better to just have him send the entire 1000 florins for the Mass immediately. He also complains about Holzmann as she goes out the door: “The housekeeper is an old child. It’s very difficult for me to deal with this woman. The cookery is extremely mediocre and almost inappropriate for me, and she can hardly write.”

The original of this fragment is held by the Vienna Austrian National Library (7/2 – 135). Brandenburg Letter 1485, Anderson Letter 1088.