BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Wednesday, January 14, 1824 (approximately)

For over a month now, Beethoven has been under pressure from Opera manager Louis Antoine Duport, Brother Johann and Nephew Karl to let Duport know what his conditions are for the opera Melusine, with libretto by Franz Grillparzer, and when Duport can expect the score from Beethoven.

This pressure likely prompts Beethoven to write an undated letter to Grillparzer sometime around now. Beethoven asks Grillparzer to suggest some conditions, and forward them to Beethoven at his apartment at Ungargasse 323; he will then review them and see whether he agrees with them. Beethoven recognizes that he should have come to visit Grillparzer by now, and also had Grillparzer as a guest, but his home is in such disarray that it never happened.

Beethoven adds that he can be found most afternoons in the coffeehouse opposite the Golden Pear [Zur goldenen Birne]. “If you want to come, I ask you to come alone. This intrusive appendix Schindler, as you must have noticed in Hetzendorf, is disgusting to me. Otium est vitium. [Idleness is a vice.]”

Brandenburg Letter 1759, Anderson Letter 1252. The original is held by the Vienna City and State Library (I.N. 3591). Grillparzer does not appear to have responded to Beethoven in a timely manner.