BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Wednesday, April 2, 1823

Beethoven adds a couple columns of numbers in the conversation book at 19r. After his rehearsal, Schindler meets with Beethoven for midday dinner, and complains that the veal roast is too tough.

After dinner, brother Johann comes to Ludwig’s apartment to deliver the interest on his bank shares. Johann complains about the taxes on houses and estates being too high. [This may explain why Johann sold his house and moved to Vienna.] He advises that Grillparzer has written Ludwig a libretto [as Schindler had mentioned yesterday], and Forti considers it a masterpiece. Forti will bring it to one of the Beethoven brothers when he is done with it.

Johann also reports that Ignaz Moscheles has written saying that it is indescribable how much enthusiasm there is for Ludwig in London. Johann doesn’t intend to remain in the City during the summer. He suggests that the best thing would be to come with him to his estate in Gneixendorf in early May and start working on the opera there; then when he likes he can go to Baden. Finally, he asks when the Ninth Symphony will be ready to send to London. [Only the first movement has taken shape thus far, but Ludwig’s response is not recorded.]

Later, in a coffeehouse Beethoven reads some newspapers from last Saturday, making notes of several apartments for the fall, and adding up further columns of numbers. Karl Peters, formerly nephew Karl’s co-guardian, joins him. Peters mentions he saw Beethoven in the Prater and Beethoven did not respond to his gesticulating. He asks if Beethoven is angry with him. Peters notes that his employer, Prince Lobkowitz has a desire to pay his debts that accumulated while he was a minor. They come to over 3 million florins, and he expects it will take six years.

Peters compliments nephew Karl, saying he is an excellent young man. Beethoven complains that he makes too many mistakes, but Peters counters that excellent talents sometimes induce people to make mistakes. If Karl is interested in economics and a position as a Court councillor, Peters could help him, but probably not otherwise.

Peters makes a number of distasteful jokes about his wife, saying that if she dies, he will become a Redemptorist monk [a religiously and politically reactionary order]. Peters believes that he will need to do strict penance after a sinful life, which is nothing new. Beethoven’s music is itself religion. Once they die, Beethoven will arise from the dead, direct the heavenly choirs while Peters prays.

Peters says that Bernard is in love and wants to get married a woman ten years his junior, but he is thinking of ways to retire already at 36. His intended, Magalena Grassl, is childlike and obedient, but really not intellectual enough for him.

Peters says he saw Fidelio with his clerk who sings bass; the clerk noted that one entire passage from Fidelio seems to have been lifted from Der Freischütz [never mind that Fidelio was completed seven years earlier.] Peters says that even when there is poor talent in the cast, the opera is applauded; when it has good talent such as the current Vienna revival, then it is a triumph. While Rossini’s Otello is entertaining, Fidelio holds the attention and keeps him awake. He begs Beethoven to compose another opera; he could ask at least 600 ducats for it.

Conversation Book 28 19r-29r.

Today’s Wiener Zeitung includes an advertisement from Weigl for the newly published Fantaisie suivie d’une Romance variée for piano, op.37 by “Charles” Czerny.

“Every newly-announced work of this Master awakens pleasant hopes among his numerous friends and patrons, and this earnest hope has never remained unfulfilled. The theme of the Romance is varied with ornament and variety; the strength and stamina of both hands of the player are engaged in the same degree. In a word, the work honors its Master, and also those who know how to perform it. It is not the easiest work, but certainly is one of the most rewarding for the effort.”

The opening Adagio of the Fantaisie is performed here by Daniel Blumenthal:

The other parts of this recording are found elsewhere on YouTube.