BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Wednesday, April 16, 1823

Beethoven is reading the Intelligenzblatt for today in the late afternoon at a coffeehouse, and makes note of an apartment available near the main custom house, with 7 rooms and a view of the Danube. Beethoven has not given up the idea of owning real estate either, as he makes a note of a suburban house with a garden for sale. [There are two advertisements of suburban homes with gardens in today’s Intelligenzblatt, one for 11,000 florins and one for 6000 florins.]

Conversation Book 29, 5v.

About now, Beethoven stops using what is now the Engelmann desk sketchbook, which was used to finish work on the Diabelli Variations and the first movement of the Ninth Symphony, and continues into Landsberg 8, bundle 1. At the time, Engelmann was probably bound together with Landsberg 8, bundle 1, consisting of 15 leaves. This sketchbook is held by the Berlin Staatsbibliothek. The paper type is 43 and 44, with 12 staves to the page (as opposed to the 16 staves per page for Engelmann). One leaf is missing between pages 20 and 21, with a stub of the torn out page remaining. This stub bears the notation of Ludwig Landsberg’s secretary, “Found thus by me.” That missing leaf is held today by the Paris Conservatory, Ms. 57/2. Another complete sheet of two gathered bifolia is probably found in Paris Ms. 96, which has the same watermarks, same staff arrangement and same pattern of stitch holes.

Almost all of the sketches in this book are for the first movement of the Ninth Symphony. Pages 14-20 includes a continuity draft of most of the exposition. Attached is a photo of the third page of the continuity draft, showing Beethoven’s work and many changes still being made, even as the beginning of the movement was reaching a fairly advanced state. Landsberg 8/1, p.16.

The first gathering of the present sketchbook was originally at the end of the sketchbook. That gathering includes work on the recapitulation and coda. This will be followed in short order by desk sketchbook Landsberg 8/2, which includes a continuity draft for these sections.

This sketchbook will be used roughly for a month, until May, 1823. Landsberg 8 (bundles 1 and 2 bound together in a modern leather cover) can be seen here:

At about the same time, Beethoven starts using Pocket Sketchbook Artaria 205, Bundle 5 (also held by the Berlin Staatsbibliothek). Beethoven would have used this book to jot down ideas while he was out walking around and did not have access to the larger desk sketchbook Landsberg 8/1. This bundle consists of 24 leaves. Bundle 5 is a gathering of four sheets with a Kiesling watermark, which had mainly been used by Beethoven back in 1814 and 1815. Beethoven may have found these unused sheets and bound them together. They are ruled as 8 staves, paired together for piano, which may explain why Beethoven had not used them previously. There does not appear to be anything missing from the book.

Artaria 205/5 includes sketches for the first three movements of the 9th Symphony, indicating that it was probably used longer than Landsberg 8/1, into the summer of 1823. Critical to the dating of this sketchbook is the sketch for the canon Falstafferel, lass’ dich sehen!, WoO 184, which was presented to Ignaz Schuppanzigh on April 26, 1823. Gustav Nottebohm discussed this sketchbook in Beethoveniana II at pp. 170-173.

Artaria 205/5 can be seen here: