BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Tuesday, June 4, 1822

At a coffee shop in Döbling, Beethoven reads the advertisements in the Intelligenzblatt section of the Wiener Zeitung, noting down on page 7r of Conversation Book 17 Joseph Troyer, former cook to the archbishop, who has been granted a license for the improvement of slow-combustion stoves. Beethoven also notes a house for sale in the Josephstadt near the City for 12,000 florins C.M. The house has two floors (3 floors American).

Later that day, brother Johann and his wife Therese come to visit. Therese notes that the two brothers look nothing alike, except in the eyes. Johann expresses his pleasure at the fresh air and healthy wine in Döbling. Therese reminds Beethoven that he should keep a copy of his letters so he knows what he has written; this is probably in reference to the planned response to publisher Carl Friedrich Peters in Leipzig.

Apparently after parting with Johann and Therese, Beethoven visits a book shop and notes a book of travels through Switzerland by Johann Steiner. A page appears to be torn out of the conversation book here. Beethoven makes some reminder notes to contact the piano tuner, write to Peters in Leipzig, and get a receipt from Karl. He also needs pens. Beethoven that evening drafts a letter to Peters, which he will show to brother Johann tomorrow.

Conversation book 7, leaves 7r-11r.

Rossini fever continues unabated in the music advertisement section of the Wiener Zeitung. Pietro Mechetti advertises two works by Antonio Halm, Introduction and Variations on a Favorite Theme from Zelmira, op.47, and Variations for piano on the Favorite March from The Lady of the Lake, op.45. Halm is essentially forgotten today, though he did sign onto an open letter in February of 1824 begging Beethoven to hold the premiere of the Ninth Symphony in Vienna, rather than elsewhere.

The Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung of September 4, 1822 relates an anecdote about this evening. “The Maestro had invited the members of the opera company to join him for supper, and also they celebrated his wife’s name day. All was merry and lively, until an increasing noise out in the street caught her attention, and she became determined to find out what it was. The reconnaissance report of the returning domestic servants was as follows: There is in front of the house a large crowd, mostly sympathetic minds, who would want to be serenaded by one of the first artists in Vienna, and are waiting for such a thing to occur.

“Rossini, noticing how his compatriots had been misguided, made his guests, who were in a jovial mood from the champagne, present a substitute for the frustrated hopes of the art-loving street public and give something of their best. He opens the piano and accompanies his wife Isabella in a scene from Elisabetta. Shouts of joy below: ‘Viva! Viva! sia benedetto! ancora! ancora!’ David and Ekerlin sang a duet to new cheers and a reinforced ‘ancora!’ Nozzari does his Sortita from Zelmira, and the delight down on the pavement knows no bounds. Finally she coos her ‘Cara, per te quest anima’ from Rinaldo. The whole street is littered with people who thunder in unison, ‘fora! fora! il maestro!’

“Our Gioacchino thanks them all, bowing from the high open window, to ruptures of enthusiasm. There, the good-natured maestro told them in his most delightful manner: ‘Figaro qui, Figaro qua, and there has been enough good done for all.’ But not for the ground floor, which would like in la maniera italiana to extend this art feast until dawn. However, those above thought that when one has sung a grand opera, and on top of that given a small added musicale as a bonus for free, it would now be best to grant every Christian salutary peace at two hours after the witching hour. Since the crowd does not want to untangle the street, so you clear the table, turn off the lights and withdraw to the inner chamber.

“Yet the ravenously hungry crowd downstairs is unappeased. At first there is that dangerous stillness that announces the inevitability of the approaching storm. There is now total darkness, as a dull indignant murmur grows gradually to an awful crescendo like that the maestro himself gives numerous examples of in all his works. They began to rant and rage, and undoubtedly would have rewarded so many courteous favors by throwing stones, if it had not been for the numerous security guards who had mingled unnoticed in this congregation. With reason and threats of more serious measures, they finally succeeded in dispersing the fanatical assemblage.”