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

Beethoven makes a number of notes to himself in Conversation Book 27 this morning. He has decided (for the moment) that he will commit to give everything to Steiner as soon as he can determine the price. This probably relates to his projected Complete Works, a project dear to his heart that never got off the ground. He also writes reminders to write to Prince Galitzin and Ferdinand Ries.

With respect to the Missa Solemnis, he toys with the idea of having the printed versions come out before the hand-copied subscription copies, which would get him the money faster. He also floats the idea of holding the subscriptions open another six months. Beethoven makes a note to get a writing desk. He considers having one built, or just buying one ready-made. He also makes a note of a separate table to lay out music, which may be related to the proofreading task as he mentioned three days ago on Sunday.

Beethoven makes a note that the Diabelli Variations should be dedicated to Franz Brentano. [The dedication ends up being to his wife, Antonie, instead.]

Having visited attorney Johann Baptist Bach, Anton Schindler comes by Beethoven’s apartment after midday dinner. Bach’s advice is to “say nothing except ‘until you are finished with Steiner.’ In any case, nothing should be done through the mails because it would waste valuable time. He suggests including a requirement that Steiner would need to publish all works given to him within two years.

The bureaucracy continues to be annoying regarding Beethoven’s membership in the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. The request for approval, having been sent to the Court chancellery by the Emperor, now needs to go back to His Majesty again. Beethoven frets that he would not have these troubles if he were part of the nobility. Schindler reassures him that his “stature is so high throughout Europe that it can probably be said that if you do not have Austrian nobility, then you do have European nobility.”

Schindler suggests that the table should be made of hard wood, since it is more durable. he also enumerates some bookshops they could visit that might have a nice edition of Schiller for Karl’s gift. Before going to visit Bach, Schindler visited Karl, who was reading Schiller’s Wallenstein. It would be too bad if he joined the Austrian bureaucracy, since there is nothing in Austria for thinking minds, according to Schindler.

He continues that in all of Germany the so-called demagogical intrigues were design to find out who had a truly revolutionary mind, and then get rid of them. In times past, the true intellectual and freethinker knew no bounds. [It is no wonder that Schindler fled the country for a while under suspicion of being seditious.]

Later, copyist Wenzel Rampl visits Beethoven. The operas Der Freischütz and Cordelia are now being given regularly. But whenever Fidelio is performed, four numbers have to be repeated every time. Beethoven asks what the reaction to Fidelio has been in Italy. So far as Rampl knows, it has not been presented in Italy yet.

Conversation Book 27 29v-34v. The next Conversation Book picks up on Easter Monday, March 31. It is possible that a book is now missing that covered the intervening four days, or Beethoven simply may not have seen anyone. A missing book seems more likely, since Schindler visited Beethoven nearly every day, filling the pages of the conversation books.

Publisher S.A. Steiner repeats his advertisement in today’s Wiener Zeitung regarding two recently published works of Beethoven: Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt, op.112, in score, orchestral parts and vocal score with piano accompaniment, and the Overture to The Ruins of Athens, op.113 in full score, orchestral parts, piano solo and piano four hands.