BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Wednesday, February 12, 1823

On the morning of Ash Wednesday, Beethoven makes a note to write to the Prince Regent of England [who has actually been King George IV since 1820], and that the poet for the rewrite of The Ruins of Athens needs to be paid, but the letter agreement with him needs to be rewritten by attorney Johann Baptist Bach.

Schindler shows up, again maligning brother Johann. He says Johann told Gallenberg that he had come to Vienna only to straighten out Ludwig’s finances. Gallenberg would have paid him no attention, but for the appearance that he was doing it with Ludwig’s approval. “Gallenberg was extremely bewildered by your letter” but called Beethoven “the brightest star on the musical horizon, etc.” Gallenberg would like him to visit often, since he considers Beethoven a friend of the family. [Which certainly conflicts with Beethoven’s description of their relationship.]

On Saturday, the 15th, Schindler will go to the copyist who is making the copy of Fidelio for Weber; they can get pieces of the opera little by little so that it can be more easily proofread in smaller chunks. Herr Odelga, the ambassador for Tuscany and Nassau sends his greetings. He will write to the Grand Duke of Tuscany today and guarantees that he will take a copy. Odelga says it is a good idea that the amount of the honorarium was specified because the Grand Duke will want to know it. He does not, however, offer much hope that Nassau will invest in a copy.

Schindler suggests that it might be useful to ask Domenico Artaria to set out his complaint in writing. It’s possible that Artaria thought that the Trio Johann offered to Pacini was a new work, rather than one he had already seen. If so, Johann failed to make that clear.

They also discuss how best to repay the 300 gulden that Franz Brentano loaned Beethoven several years ago on the strength of the sale of the Missa Solemnis to Nikolaus Simrock in Bonn. Schindler thinks it best to work through a banker such as the Bethmann firm in Frankfurt.

Blöchlinger was at the Theater on the Josephstadt where Schindler is concertmaster last night. He brought a number of his schoolboys with him and they sat in the Imperial box. Even though today is the Emperor’s birthday, and the presentation was in his honor, the Emperor did not attend. They had also been there the night before, both evenings seeing light musical works. Beethoven regrets that Blöchlinger did not take the boys to the more serious Burgtheater, but Schindler notes that theater is too far away.

Schindler asks when Karl will be finished with his studies. He suggests it might be good for him to go to work for attorney Bach, as he could learn a great deal there, even if he doesn’t go into law. Speaking from experience, once gets a great deal of advantageous practical knowledge.

Beethoven is having second thoughts about the loan against his bank share with Wolf Isaak Nassau; Schindler points out that even though he is paying a little more interest, he was able to get 800 florins rather than the 700 that the bank itself is offering.

Schindler has the score for the complete Ruins of Athens at his apartment, since he had to consult with the poet about the revised libretto. He suggests that Beethoven withdraw it from offer for sale, write two or three new pieces for it, and sell it as a new work.

Moritz Lichnowsky and his wife did not particularly want to have any relationship with Johann, but he has become closer to him because Johann said he wanted to take care of Ludwig. Johann offered to counsel Lichnowsky, but Schindler thinks it would be better for Lichnowsky to advise Johann. Lichnowsky was concerned and that’s why he came to speak to Beethoven the other day.

Schindler has no duties at the theater today, which is closed because of Ash Wednesday. He repeats that Gallenberg would be happy to have Beethoven come to dinner at his place often. He would have paid Beethoven out of his own pocket. He said that they and Beethoven had socialized together and played a great deal. [Which surely came as a surprise to Beethoven.]

Schindler enjoys the latest review of critic Friedrich August Kanne’s farce, Die Belagerung von Purzelpona. Yesterday’s Allgemeine Theater-Zeitung savages the work, referring to it as “gibberish.” He says the review is worth reading.

Conversation Book 23, 16v-24v; Conversation Book 24, 1r-3r.

Beethoven presumably stops by Lind’s tailor shop at the appointed time at 4 PM in the afternoon, and pays the 400 florins that he owes, and which Lind’s attorney has initiated legal action over.

According to the Vienna Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung for February 22, 1823, Nr.16 at col. 124, the first concert of the Lenten season is given at the imperial Kärntertor Theater on this evening of Ash Wednesday. Opening the program is Beethoven’s Overture to the tragedy Egmont. “This piece of music, which is always listened to with pleasure, found a friendly reception today.”

Also on the first half of the program are an aria from Rossini’s Zelmira (1822), Variations for piano and violin composed by Johann Peter Pixis and Franz Böhm, a four-part song by Conradin Kreutzer, variations for Waldhorn by Professor Herbst, a Recitative and Cavatina from the opera Ginevra di Scozia by Simon Mayr (1801), and a chorus from Catel’s opera of Semiramide. The second half continued in like manner, making for a very full evening of vocal and instrumental music.