BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Wednesday, December 10, 1823

This morning, piano maker Matthäus Andreas Stein comes to visit Beethoven at his apartment. Stein asks when Moscheles is playing, which suggests that there have already been discussions (not in the Conversation Books) about Moscheles borrowing the Broadwood piano for his upcoming concert on December 15. [The concert was originally supposed to occur on December 11, but was postponed until the 15th.] Stein says he has a piano that he wants Beethoven to try out; he should come by his shop.

Stein has also heard through the grapevine about the proposed Akademie concert. Beethoven has not yet, however, set a date or a place, and more importantly, the Ninth Symphony that will be the centerpiece of the concert remains unfinished. Stein asks whether the Broadwood is here at Beethoven’s home, and Beethoven tells him it has already been taken for repairs by piano maker Conrad Graf. Stein is amused by this and says that Graf will not let Moscheles use one of his own pianos, since on his last two concerts he played on a Löschen piano. Stein says that if Beethoven ever plays in public sometime, he’d like for it to be on a Stein piano. He is curious to see what the Broadwood will sound like in the theater. Beethoven says he cannot play in public any more [though he did play for the small group at Moritz Lichnowsky’s last week.] Stein says he should play sometime. “Many people wish for that.”

Beethoven asks Stein about the last Moscheles concert. Stein says his improvisation was very superficial, especially for anyone who has heard Beethoven improvise. He repeats that Beethoven needs to come see him soon. Does he have time now? Beethoven says no, he can’t. Stein says he needs to go, as “One must never stand still.”

Nephew Karl comes by the apartment in the afternoon (skipping his mathematics class) for another housekeeper interview and cooking test, which is a miserable failure. “Everything is bitter like medicine.”

Uncle Ludwig asks why Karl hasn’t placed a newspaper advertisement for a housekeeper yet. Karl gets a bit defensive, saying that a) he didn’t have any money to do that, and b) there were potential housekeepers being referred by Schuppanzigh, Lichnowsky, and Brother Johann, so why waste the money? Karl begins drafting a potential ad, asking for a pensioned widow and saying that the salary is 12 florins in all per month.

Karl had run into Stein [probably before Stein’s visit this morning], who asked right away whether Moscheles had already gotten the Broadwood piano.

A transport comes with the delivery of wood for the fires; they have already been paid 3 florins and are due another 7 to make 10 in all. Karl spoke to another woodcutter, who would provide a cord of wood for 6 florins, though stacking it up would be at double the price.

Later that afternoon, Andreas Schulz, a bookkeeper by day who also was a violist and guitarist, stops by Beethoven’s apartment with his two sons. He reminds Beethoven that someone had promised to give him some hearing balm to cure his deafness, and Schulz has come to give Beethoven the address for getting the G. Schmidt hearing balm. [Schmidt was based in Leipzig, so Schulz might be giving the Leipzig address, or may provide the address of someone in Vienna who sold the balm.]

Both of Schulz’s boys are musical; the older boy, [Eduard (b.1812)] plays piano and the smaller one, [Leonhard (b. 1813)] plays guitar. “For both of them it is certainly an interesting occasion when they have the good fortune to meet in person the great man whose works the elder studies, and is still too young to comprehend the great worth of your compositions.” [The Schulz family immediately departs, suggesting that Beethoven was uninterested in having either of the boys play for him.]

Karl makes another try at a housekeeper advertisement, asking for a professional man’s widow with a pension, who has experience as a housekeeper or cook and can read and write well. Applications will be accepted daily at 2 p.m. at Beethoven’s apartment, up the rear stairway on the first floor [second floor American.]

Karl asks for an excuse from his uncle for his absence from the Mathematics class this morning. Uncle Ludwig is unhappy that he missed out, but Karl dismisses that concern; it’s just that the professor requires it but he doesn’t think it will harm his learning the material.

Karl has the library’s copy of Johann Gottfried Kiesewetter’s Psychology text, which he thinks is the best available. It is not sold separately, though, Karl says, but only as part of a large work edited by Funke, called Bildungsbibliothek [Educational Library]. That work is published in Vienna, and Karl thinks he would like to get the entire set; one would get everything necessary for an educated person to know: mathematics, philosophy, philology, etc.

The woodcutters ask for tallow to put on their saws. Karl thinks that the maid can give them a piece of kitchen candle.

Karl resumes that he went to the library and asks for the best Psychology book that there is, and they gave him Kiesewetter.

Karl questions whether the eggs will still be good this evening. He offers to bring 2 pounds of chestnuts. Uncle Ludwig approves Karl subscribing to the Bildungsbibliothek, or at least for the Kiesewetter volume.

Finding a blank page after Beethoven’s death at 19v, Schindler fills it with phony entries about the proper performance of sonatas op.2/1 in F minor, op.10 in C minor, the Pathétique, op.31/2 in D minor, and op.57, the Appassionata.

Conversation Book 48, 13r-19v.