BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Wednesday, November 15, 1820

Beethoven is off the hook for lessons for the Archduke for a while.

The Wiener Zeitung of 22 November reports that on the 15th Archduke Rudolph was on diplomatic duty in Troppau, then the capital of Austrian Silesia (today, it is known as Opava, in the Czech Republic). The distance from Vienna to Troppau is about 300 km, so it probably took the Archduke roughly three days to get there. He is present for the Congress of Troppau.

This Congress was a conference of the Quintuple Alliance (Austria, Russia, Prussia, Britain and post-Napoleonic France) to discuss how to suppress the revolution in Naples led by the Carbonari, which started in July 1820 (and which also was the subject of discussion off and on in the Beethoven conversation books since midsummer).

The Congress convened back on October 20, so it’s possible that the Archduke arrived earlier. The newspaper specifically remarks on his presence in Troppau on the 15th, after discussing events in the Congress that occurred on the 12th and 14th, which suggests that was the date of the Archduke’s first public appearance, if not his arrival.

View of Troppau, Jakob Alt (1789-1879)

According to the newspaper, on this date at 2 p.m., the Archduke waited upon the Emperor in rooms of the Teutonic Order House that were bestrewn with flowers by a number of girls dressed in white. A company of grenadiers and a choir from the infantry regiments also performed music for them. After that, the Emperor met separately with the Czar of Russia and the King of Prussia.

The official Congress will run through Sunday, November 19, 1820, but Archduke Rudolph and the Emperor will remain there longer.