BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Tuesday, November 6, 1821

Beethoven writes today to Ferdinand Piringer, who is conducting the new season of Concerts spirituels, as we saw in the entry for October 25. The letter deals with two items: 1) Beethoven sends Piringer his comic canon O Tobias (WoO 182), which Piringer had apparently requested. Beethoven jokes that Piringer can close it whenever he is done with it, making reference to the infinite possible repetitions of the canon. 2) Beethoven apparently also enclosed some evidence (now lost or at least separated from the letter) that he had not received something in 8 months — perhaps his annuity from Prince Kinsky for the period April through October, 1821. Whatever it is, he has deputized Piringer to assist him in getting it “as prestissimo as you can.” Beethoven accidentally scrawls a bold crooked line on the second page of the letter, prompting him to add above it a French parenthetical, “pardonnes moi le cochon.” Beethoven jokingly signs the letter “Beethoven Bonnensis.” as if he were a unique Linnaean classification.

The original of the letter is held by the Vienna City and State Library, catalogued as H.I.N. 150001. The letter is undated, and there is no addressee, but a notation at the top of the first page, in what appears to be Piringer’s hand, states it was received on November 6, 1821. Anderson Letter 1058; Brandenburg Letter 1444.

The letter can be seen here: