BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Wednesday, February 26, 1823

Beethoven writes a short undated note sometime about now, asking tailor Joseph Lind to come visit him, or to send an assistant, in order to measure him for a support vest or body belt. The one he has is no good, and with the tenderness of his abdomen he cannot go out without such a vest. He will be home all day. Brandenburg Letter 1591, Anderson Letter 1041

Schindler arrives in the morning at Beethoven’s apartment, reporting that he met with Bauer, who is not leaving until tomorrow evening. Bauer would be pleased to come to dinner in the afternoon, if possible. He will not know for certain until tomorrow morning. But in any case, he will treat Beethoven’s affairs in London as if they were his own.

The Emperor will be attending the performance at the Josephstadt Theatre today. Last night, they gave Der hölzerne Säbel, a one-act operetta by Schirer on a text by Kotzebue. [Schindler will have much more to say about that performance tomorrow.] Schindler is involved in complex political intrigues at the theater, and suggests that Beethoven would help him out by intervening with Hensler. [Beethoven appears to have unwisely gotten himself involved as a favor to Schindler.]

Beethoven suggests that Ignaz von Seyfried would be a good choice to conduct the premiere of the Missa Solemnis, and Schindler agrees; Masses are a speciality of Seyfried’s. Tomorrow Joseph Weigl’s new opera Die eiserne Pforte, after E.T.A. Hoffmann’s novel Das Majorat will be premiered at the Kärntnertor theater. [The premiere is unsuccessful, and the opera closes after only two performances.]

Schindler chides Beethoven for hesitating about setting up the Akademie benefit concert. [Schindler seems unaware that the Ninth Symphony is nowhere near finished; Beethoven and Johann have had substantial discussion already that such a concert would need to include a new symphony in order to really be a financial success.]

There is some discussion about Beethoven’s various hearing aids. He should be getting a new one soon. Beethoven is presently using an ear trumpet in his right ear, which helps somewhat, but if an orchestra is playing he can only hear certain instruments. Schindler suggests that the lake baths would be best for Beethoven. If Beethoven does follow through on his plan to go to England, the Roman Cheltenham baths would be the most preeminent place to go; Bauer agrees. Bauer says the best times to go are in November and December.

Schindler writes a letter in French soliciting a subscription for the Missa Solemnis to King Karl XIV Johan of Sweden. Brandenburg Letter 1585.

A page is torn out of the conversation book here, but it occurred before Schindler numbered the pages, so it may have been removed by Beethoven himself at the time for use as note paper or a shopping list. Or it might have included a draft of the letter to the King of Sweden. Schindler promises to come by tomorrow morning before 9 a.m. to report on whether Bauer will come to dinner.

Beethoven writes a short letter to publisher Carl Friedrich Peters in Leipzig. He is used to mailing letters that go north on Saturdays, but Peters’ agent, Meissel Brothers, customarily sends their parcels out on Fridays. It’s not clear to Beethoven which is the better route to have materials go to Leipzig, but in any event, he assures Peters that all the missing pages were provided by Meissel Brothers by last Friday. Beethoven also includes a clarification for how the Bagatelle op.119/3 is to be published. Beethoven says that he just noticed in going through his old correspondence that Peters had already agreed to buy the Mass. Whichever one of the two or three Masses he is writing, Peters need not worry. He signs the letter “Beetho.” Brandenburg Letter 1583, Anderson Letter 1145. The original is held in a private collection.

Success! Today, Enrst Christian Schleiermacher writes to Beethoven from Darmstadt on behalf of Grand Duke Ludwig I of Hess-Darmstadt, that the Grand Duke accepts Beethoven’s offer to subscribe and requests that a copy of the score to the Missa Solemnis be sent. Brandenburg Letter 1584. This first subscription acceptance letter is today lost, but its existence and date are known from Schleiermacher’s notation on the solicitation letter.

Today’s Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung published in Vienna (Nr.17) at col. 135-136 mentions that next month Herr Ignaz Schuppanzigh, one of the foremost interpreters of Beethoven, will be in Vienna next month for a short time. “His previous stay in Russia was marked with the sense and feeling given to full performances of Mozart’s, Haydn’s and Beethoven’s quartets, which so far remain unsurpassed. There they were on the whole given well-deserved appreciation. His arrival from so far away will grant us the pleasure of hearing some of the witty musical works we have mentioned, for Herr Schuppanzigh is of the mind to organize public concerts of quartets.”

“We note that the excellent master of the violin, Herr Joseph Linke, is again in the company, since these two artists in the treatment of their instrument, in performances of the quartets are in a witty kind of competition. We look forward to be able to enjoy this interesting pleasure very soon.”