BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Tuesday, June 3, 1823

Beethoven writes to Maurice Schlesinger in Paris with his list of corrections for the piano sonata #32, op.111, with his pleas that they be corrected immediately. In particular, Beethoven cannot understand how one error (first movement, bar 127) possibly occurred. It was correct in the proof that he reviewed.

Beethoven notes that he received two copies, one engraved in Paris, and one apparently re-engraved by Leidesdorf in Vienna, and he cannot tell them apart. In any event, Anton Diabelli is re-engraving a corrected version incorporating Beethoven’s errata.

In closing, Beethoven corrects Schlesinger that he is “van Beethoven,” not “de Beethoven.”

Brandenburg Letter 1667, Anderson Letter 1190. The original is held by the Bonn Beethovenhaus, H.C. Bodmer Collection Br 214. The letter bears a received date of June 14, 1823. Beethoven’s corrections were apparently not understood in Paris, and not all of the corrections were made in the second printing. It seems that Leidesdorf may have been sent the plates by Schlesinger, and added his own firm’s name.

This letter can be seen here:

Beethoven also writes a letter on music paper today to copyist Wenzel Schlemmer, who he has arranged to copy out the errata for the sonata so they can be distributed to the music dealers in Vienna. The list of corrections that Schlemmer gets is more extensive than the one to Schlesinger, which suggests that a page may be missing from the Schlesinger letter today. The surviving pages of Schlesinger’s letter only include five corrections, while Schlemmer’s includes nine.

Brandenburg Letter 1666, Anderson Letter 1190a [Anderson identifies the letter as being addressed to Anton Diabelli, rather than Schlemmer.] The first page of the original of this letter is also held by the Beethovenhaus as H.C. Bodmer Collection Br 212; the second leaf is in the Library of Congress (ML 31 B4 Box 6 no.1.)

Beethoven writes (very probably today, since the corrections to the French edition of op.111 are foremost in his mind) an undated letter to unpaid assistant Anton Schindler complaining that there are a lot of mistakes in the first edition of the Diabelli Variations. Beethoven tells Schindler to pick up the corrected copy from Diabelli tomorrow, along with the list of corrections so the proof can be checked over.

Similarly, the piano sonata op.111, in the French edition published by Maurice Schlesinger, contains many errors. He suggests that Schindler arrange for his list of corrections to be engraved or published quickly, and distributed to the music shops. If Schlemmer wants to copy them for 5 florins, that’s fine, but it must be done faster than fast.

Brandenburg Letter 1670a, Anderson Letter 1187. The original is in the Berlin Staatsbibliothek (aut. 36,39).

On this date in London, the edition of the Eleven Bagatelles, op.119, published by Muzio Clementi, is entered at Stationer’s Hall for purposes of registering British copyright. The title page, “Trifles for the Piano Forte, Consisting of Eleven Pleasing Tunes” of Clementi’s edition is provided here courtesy of the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies, San Jose State University.