BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Wednesday, March 24, 1824

There have been so many errors by the copyists, Beethoven makes a note to himself he will need a new red pencil for corrections in the parts and scores. Nephew Karl returns from the market saying there weren’t any good chops to be had. His Greek teacher, Anton Joseph Stein (1749-1844) observed that tobacco is good at first. But it gets dry over time, and then needs to be moistened with water, or better, beer. Stein says he will come by for a visit Friday evening to speak to Uncle Ludwig, who asks what he wants. Karl, a little defensive, says he desires absolutely nothing.

Unpaid assistant Anton Schindler stops by copyist Paul Maschek and gives him word that Theater in the Josephstadt copyist Peter Gläser and his staff are taking on the bulk of the copying of the parts for the Akademie concert.

Schindler continues on to Beethoven’s apartment and suggests that if some of Gläser’s copyists are to work there, it would be a good idea for Beethoven to set aside a space specifically for them, since the paper is starting to pile up and get confused. That will allow everything to stay together and they can be supervised easier.

Nephew Karl asks whether Gläser copies well. Uncle Ludwig’s response is not recorded, but he has been resistant to using Gläser in the past, so he is likely unimpressed.

Beethoven makes a note to buy inks as well. A tailor comes to visit, possibly to discuss making Beethoven a new suit for the Akademie concert. Karl writes out a number of computations involving currency to work out how much cloth one could buy at various prices. Karl also mentions he saw that there are two large book cases for sale at the Mayer book shop, for 25 florins.

The housekeeper can’t make an Eierspeise [egg dish] because she doesn’t have the proper casserole dish. Unsatisfied, they discuss putting another ad in the Wiener Zeitung for a housekeeper, this time specifying that they would pay 300 florins [well above the normal rate] for a year. Their decision is reinforced by the fact she scorched the cream heating it up for their coffee.

Conversation Book 60, 19r-22v.

The B. Schott’s Sons music publishing house in Mainz writes today to Beethoven, addressing him as “Kapellmeister.” They are interested in publishing all three of the works that Beethoven offered to them: the Missa Solemnis, the Ninth Symphony, and a new quartet (probably op.127, though op.132 is actually farther along at this point.) But they can’t take on such large-scale productions all at once. So they would like to buy the Quartet now and pay the requested fee of 50 gold ducats. They would like this manuscript soon.

Schott attaches great importance to the Mass and the Symphony, and would not want them to fall into someone else’s catalogue. So they ask that if Beethoven is firm on his fee, to allow them to pay the requested price in four installments, every six months for two years. They promise that they would have them engraved immediately in parts as well as score in beautiful editions.

Brandenburg Letter 1797; Albrecht Letter 350. The original is in the Berlin Staatsbibliothek, aut.35,72a. The letter bears a Mainz postmark, but without a date.

Today the second musical Akademie by the students of the Conservatory of Music is held in the Prague Redoutensaal. The opening work on the concert bill is Beethoven’s Second Symphony in D, op.36, and the Leipzig Allgemeine musiklaische Zeitung Nr.26 of June 24 at 413 notes that it was executed in worthy manner.

The advertisement by J. Bermann in today’s Wiener Zeitung at 603 finally identifies with specificity the six variations for piano by Beethoven that he has been offering for 2 florins W.W over the last month as being on Tändeln und Scherzen. That would correspond to WoO 76, variations in F, on the Terzet from Franz Xaver Süssmayr’s opera Soliman II. Although now commonly considered to be a set of eight variations, the work was originally published in 1799 by both Joseph Eder and Franz Anton Hoffmeister as a set of six. The music is the same; it’s just that the variations are counted differently. The first part of Variation 6, in B-flat, is considered to be number 6; the subsequent Adagio molto ed espressivo in F, 3/8 time, was revised to be Variation number 7; and the final part, Allegro Vivace in 2/4 is Variation number 8. Bermann’s publication retains the original numbering of six variations. Hoffmeister in his 1802 printing of the work by the Bureau de Musique had by then already changed the number of variations to eight. Bermann, who had succeeded to his father-in-law Joseph Eder’s publishing business in 1816-1818, obviously must have used Eder’s 1799 plates as the basis for his new printing, which is why his set still only has six variations.

The Variations WoO 76 are here played by Cécile Ousset:

Sauer & Leidesdorf also advertises the newest work from Franz Schubert at 304, the music to “Romanze der Axa,” from the drama Rosamunde, for voice with piano accompaniment, op.26. [Today catalogued as D.797.] The Overture to Rosamunde and Entre-actes for four-hand piano, as well as the choruses and other pieces of music are promised to appear soon. The “Romanze der Axa” would be movement 3b. of the full incidental music, “Der Vollmond Strahlt auf Bergeshöh’n” [The Full Moon Shines on the Mountain Peaks], Andante con moto in F minor, which comes just after the second Entr’acte. The full work in its orchestral form would not be published until 1891.

Sauer & Leidesdorf also offers in the same advertisement both volumes of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin, op.25 [D.795]; the previous advertisements on February 17 and March 4, 1824 had only offered the first half of the song cycle, and stated the second half would be coming shortly. These advertisements will be repeated on April 2, 1824 at 331, and April 8 at 352.