BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Wednesday, December 25, 1822

The Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung issued today, Nr.52, cols.845-850 includes mention of a number of performances of Beethoven works in the city of Leipzig this season in the weekly subscription concerts featuring the “universally-esteemed singer” Madame Kraus-Wranitsky. Among them are the Scene and Aria Ah! perfido, op.65. “This presents a difficult task because of the many slow movements and sustained tones, which sometimes breathe with rare tenderness and sometimes are cut off with full force. These constitute the most difficult parts of the song, for a single trembling in the voice and the slightest swaying of tone make an ugly effect. This happened to her only once; the rest was truly masterful.”

The second half of the same concert featured Beethoven’s Adelaide, op.46. It was sung “with so much expression that even the final section, ‘Einst, o Wunder!’ which is not one of our favorites, appealed to us more than ever.”

The same Leipzig critic was less pleased with the local symphony’s performance of Beethoven’s Ruins of Athens, which he dismisses along with an overture by Pixis. “We couldn’t get anything out of it either. It is not at all difficult to grasp, as is usually the case with the works of this great master when one hears them for the first time. But it was noisy and almost Rossini-esque. As Homer sometimes slept, so too can Beethoven sometimes sleep.”