BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Wednesday, November 14, 1821

Beethoven sends publisher Adolph Martin Schlesinger errata sheets incorporating seventeen errors in the published version of piano sonata #30, op.109. Three corrections each are needed in the first two movements, and the balance are all in the final movement. On the errata sheet, Beethoven notes that only yesterday he received the four copies of the published sonata. Not only are the corrections that he pointed out earlier not corrected, but a few fresh errors have appeared, such as the complete omission of bars 44 and 45 from the first movement. So Schlesinger instead should use this new comprehensive list, which includes all of the errors that need to be corrected. Beethoven has made arrangements (through Steiner, as he mentioned yesterday) to have the copies in Vienna corrected, and also to get additional corrected copies printed.

As to the price for the Missa Solemnis, Beethoven says he was confused in his letter yesterday about the value of louis d’ors. What he really wants is 200 gold ducats. Again, he asks Schlesinger to respond immediately, since he is postponing a decison as he waits for Schlesinger, and hesitation costs him money. [This is almost certainly an oblique reference to Beethoven’s recent thoughts about renegotiating the deal with Nikolaus Simrock for the Mass.] He reminds Schlesinger that the remaining piano sonatas should also be paid out as 60 ducats in gold. [Although the Mass is not yet complete, Beethoven has little compunction about breaking his contract with Simrock and selling it for a higher price if he can get it. While the sonata #31 op.110 is well along, #32, op. 111 has apparently not passed beyond a handful of sketch ideas, at least on paper.]

Beethoven notes that his health improves every day, and that he hopes his mental powers will also become stronger. “You will laugh a little at my business style; I’m just extremely awkward about it and am used to having a friend look after everything for me, who is not here.” [Beethoven is still missing Franz Oliva’s assistance, and this is a rare acknowledgement of Beethoven’s extreme dependence on his friend, now gone to Russia.]

Beethoven signs himself “in haste, with respect, most devoted.” On a registration mark on the last page, Schlesinger notes that he responded to Beethoven on December 1, 1821.

Anderson letter 1061 (the errata sheet); The errata sheet is included with yesterday’s letter as Brandenburg 1446. Both yesterday’s letter and today’s are held by the British Library as Add. ms. 41628 fol. 30r-33v. A draft of the errata sheet is separately held by the Berlin Staatsbibliothek as aut. 35,77.

Our next update will be November 22.