BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Wednesday, April 23, 1823

Unpaid assistant Anton Schindler visits Beethoven for midday dinner, having just left poet Franz Grillparzer. It seems Moritz Lichnowsky had already been there yesterday, saying Beethoven had sent him about the libretto to Melusine. Grillparzer handed it over to Lichnowsky, though he would have preferred to give it to Beethoven personally. But he did give Schindler a letter that he meant to send with the libretto. Grillparzer’s throat ailments are continuing, and keeping him at home. As soon as he can, he will pay a call on Beethoven.

Beethoven is short on copyists to make the copies of the Missa Solemnis for the subscribers. Schindler knows a contrabassist in his orchestra, Franz Diekanowsky, who is thorough and can make one copy. Another (unnamed) copyist will not do as his handwriting is indistinct and it is difficult to tell what any particular note is. Wenzel Schlemmer can do one, and Deikanowsky can do one, and then they won’t need to use the Lump [scoundrel]. Publisher Anton Diabelli says that if he gets the Mass by August 1, he will pay immediately.

Grillparzer has another subject, the Bohemian drama Drahomira, that he will work up for Beethoven. He hopes it will be outstanding and he is quite delighted with it.

Schindler also visited Dr. Smetana, perhaps on assignment from Beethoven to find out if he missed anything in the conversation due to his deafness. Schindler is able to clarify that Smetana was fine with Beethoven going to Baden; the other cities he named were just alternatives because Beethoven found the people in Baden annoying. Schindler suggests that Baden might be best at Schimmer’s house at Schloss Gutenbrunn; “they are lovely people” and Beethoven can get anything his comfort requires. But Smetana cautioned that Beethoven needs to not put his fingers in his throat; that irritates it.

Beethoven’s shoemaker pays a house call to see whether the composer wishes to order anything. Shortly afterward, a repairman comes to hang a door on its hinges. Over dinner, Schindler is interested in the Berram Sauce, made from plum peppers.

The question of the French King’s subscription comes up. One alternative would be to simply quote 50 ducats, like they did to everyone else. Or they could leave it to the generosity of the king, and if he pays 100 ducats, so much the better.

[Schindler here added fraudulent discussions of Symphony No. 4 on a blank page, long after Beethoven’s death.]

One of the copyists shows up after dinner (probably Diekanowsky, because it does not seem to be a professional copyist). He will take as a fee whatever Beethoven wants to pay for making the copy.

An unidentified woman call. “She has taken the opportunity to see you again, because you did not come to see her.”

Schindler and Beethoven discuss how best to phrase the request for the Mass honorarium for the Swedish Court. Beethoven would like to be direct and just say “The honorarium has been set at 50 ducats,” while Schindler prefers being more indirect and adding language about “Without appearing to make claims that are too grand.”

The summer could be spent in Rodaun, Kalksburg or Schönnbrunn, and then in August go to Baden for six to eight weeks. Schindler believes that the area will not be booked up as badly as in previous years.

The apartment that Beethoven looked at in Hetzendorf has been taken by countess Kemény and she paid the rent yesterday. However, she suggests he take the apartment at Count Prónay’s house. It would be 500 florins, beds and all. [Beethoven does in fact take that apartment and spends the first part of summer, from May 17 to August 13, there.]

Conversation Book 30, 28v-36v.

In Berlin today, Concertmeister Moser gives a concert of unspecified quartets by Haydn, Beethoven and A. Romberg, according to the Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung for May 21, 1823 (Nr. 23) at col. 337-338.