BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO: Wednesday, February 5, 1823

Schindler visits Beethoven, and advises that the Minister of State from Mecklenberg, Baron Plessen, is leaving tomorrow and taking the Missa Solemnis solicitation with him. Schindler writes a new and more fawning letter to the Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg (Franz Friedrich and Georg Friedrich Karl) for Plessen to take along. He also writes a similar letter to Grand Duke Ludwig I of Hessen-Darmstadt. Brandenburg Letter 1551. Schindler says that after dinner he will go looking for a new night stool for Beethoven.

Beethoven reads the Theater Newspaper (the Allgemeine Theater-Zeitung) from yestderday and notes a poem in it by Karl Gottfried von Leitner, beginning, “Wie lange willst du säumen?” commenting that it is beautiful. Nr.15 at p.58.

Beethoven writes to his friend and former pupil Ferdinand Ries in London today, confirming that the Ninth Symphony will be sent there soon. Beethoven mentions he has met a cultured man [Caspar Bauer] who is stationed at the imperial embassy in London, and he will deliver the symphony from Vienna to London to make sure it arrives safely. Beethoven says he would not accept payment from the Philharmonic Society, if his situation were not so desperate. But as a token of good will, he is sending with Bauer a copy of the Overture to the Consecration of the House, op.124. The Society may keep the Overture and the Symphony for 18 months, and he will publish them after that time has expired. [Ries was actually ahead of Beethoven here; knowing that Beethoven intended to forward the Overture, in January he had approached the Philharmonic Society, and on January 25, 1823 they had offered Beethoven 25 pounds for the Overture for the 18 months exclusive rights, to be paid along with the 50 pounds for the Symphony upon delivery of the works to their agent Drummonds in Vienna.]

Unfortunately, brother Johann, trying to make money has already offered the Overture to the Boosey publishing house in London. [Johann’s letter is not known to survive.] Ludwig puts Ries in an awkward position, asking that he make Boosey understand that the Overture should not be published at this time; the other works Johann wrote to Boosey about, they can have. Beethoven asks for confirmation that the Overture has been received and whether the Philharmonic Society will take it. If not, then he will go ahead and publish it. Beethoven still entertains hopes of coming to London himself for the premiere: “If my health improves by taking more baths in the coming summer, I will kiss your wife myself in London in 1824.” Brandenburg Letter 1549, Anderson Letter 1133. The original is held by the Beethovenhaus in Bonn, in the H.C. Bodmer Collection as Br 199.

On about this date, Beethoven has his housekeeper or kitchen maid deliver a note to Joseph Bernard. In it, Beethoven says that yesterday he found someone who knows both Johanna and Hofbauer, the putative father of her illegitimate daughter, and he will get to the bottom on the matter. He asks Bernard to send the 11 gulden back; he will speak to the doctor (or more likely, he will have Schindler do it). He says that he is not quite well, or he would have come himself. Brandenburg Letter 1548, Anderson Letter 1045. The original is held by the Berlin Staatsbibliothek, Mus. ep. autogr. Beethoven 122.

Cappi & Diabelli advertises a new publication from Franz Schubert in today’s Wiener Zeitung at p.116, Waltzes, Ländler and Ecossaises for the piano, op.18 (today catalogued as D.145). The firm lavishes praise thusly, “This most heartfelt work of the brilliant tone poet, who distinguishes himself through originality and lovely ideas, will certainly be a pleasant sight to his numerous admirers.” This advertisement is repeated numerous times during the month of February, an indication of the greatly increasing popularity of Schubert over the last year.

Vladimir Ashkenazy here plays the 12 Waltzes from this set:

While Tessa Birnie plays the 17 Ecossaises: