BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Tuesday, July 8, 1823 (approximately)

Beethoven writes an undated note to unpaid assistant Anton Schindler sometime between May 4 and May 8, most likely on the 7th or 8th once he is back in Hetzendorf. He forwards a letter addressed to the Russian charg√© d’affaires Alexander Obreskow, as Schindler had requested in his letter of July 3. That enclosed letter unfortunately is not known to exist. Beethoven instructs Schindler to tell Obreskow that Beethoven only needs a receipt, and that the money then can be paid to whomever turns in the receipt. He promises Schindler 50 florins W.W. for his work. [In a note, Schindler claims he never received the oft-promised 50 florins, and that he was fine with that since then he would have been a mere servant rather than a friend of Beethoven. A letter to Karl of August 23 indicates however, that Schindler was in fact paid after deduction for some debts owed to Beethoven.] “Say nothing but what is necessary. Do not tell them that the Mass is not finished, since that is not true; the new pieces [the projected Offertorio, Graduale and Te Deum] are just extras.”

The score for the Czar was not yet finished, but Schindler seems to have somehow convinced the Russians to pay the 50 ducats in cash before the score was delivered. Whatever promises of rapid delivery Schindler gave or Beethoven made in his letter to Obreskow, it will not in fact be delivered until August. These delays after payment have already caused friction with the Prussians, who are furious that they paid in advance and have received nothing.

Brandenburg Letter 1697, Anderson Letter 1206. The original is in the Berlin Staatsbibliothek (aut. 36,27).