The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven, Volume III

The cover image was produced by the transcriber using an illustration from the book, and is placed in the public domain.






Engraved by Blasius Höfel
After a crayon sketch by Louis Latronne


The Life of
Ludwig van Beethoven

By Alexander Wheelock Thayer

Edited, revised and amended from the original English manuscript and the German editions of Hermann Deiters and Hugo Riemann, concluded, and all the documents newly translated

Henry Edward Krehbiel

Volume III

Published by
The Beethoven Association
New York



Copyright, 1921,
By Henry Edward Krehbiel

From the press of G. Schirmer, Inc., New York
Printed in the U. S. A.


Contents of Volume III

Chapter I. The Year 1819—Guardianship of Beethoven’s Nephew Karl—Mother and Uncle in a Legal Struggle—The Lad’s Education—Conversation Books—A Wedding Song—In Travail with the Mass in D—The Commission for an Oratorio from the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde—Visits from Zelter and Friedrich Schneider—Creative Work of the Year1
Chapter II. End of the Litigation over the Guardianship of the Nephew—A Costly Victory—E. T. A. Hoffmann—An Analytical Programme—Beethoven’s Financial Troubles—Adagios and English Hymn-Tunes—Stieler’s Portrait—Arrested as a Vagrant—Negotiations for the Mass in D begun with Simrock—The Last Pianoforte Sonatas—Compositions of the Years 1820 and 182124
Chapter III. The Year 1822—The Mass in D—Beethoven and His Publishers—Simrock—Schlesinger—C. F. Peters—Phantom Masses—Johann van Beethoven: His Appearance and Character—Becomes His Brother’s Agent—Meetings with Rochlitz and Rossini—Franz Schubert—“The Consecration of the House”—Revival of “Fidelio”—Madame Schroeder-Devrient—The Bagatelles—A Commission from America51
[vi]Chapter IV. The Year 1823—The Roman Ritual and the Mass in D—Subscriptions Asked from Royal Courts—Incidents of the Appeal—Goethe and Cherubini Enlisted as Agents—A Medal from the King of France—Further Negotiations with Publishers and Societies—Operatic Projects—Consideration of Grillparzer’s “Melusine”—The Diabelli Variations—Summer Visitors—An Englishman’s Story—Weber and Julius Benedict—Ries and the Ninth Symphony—Franz Liszt and Beethoven’s Kiss89
Chapter V. The Year 1824—The Symphony in D Minor—Its Technical History—The Choral Finale and Schiller’s “Ode to Joy”—First Performance of the Work and Portions of the Mass—An Address to Beethoven—Laborious and Protracted Preparations for the Concert—A Financial Failure—Beethoven’s False Accusations against Friends and Helpers Drive Them from the Dinner-Table144
Chapter VI. Incidents and Labors of the Year 1824—A Truce with the Hated Sister-in-Law—The Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde’s Oratorio—Bernard’s Libretto—The Society Forgives Beethoven His Debt and Elects Him an Honorary Member—Book of “The Victory of the Cross”—Summer Sojourn at Penzing Interrupted by Curious Visitors—The London Philharmonic Society Receives the Symphony in D Minor—Further Negotiations for the Mass—New Publishers—Probst—Schott and Sons—A Visitor from London—Beethoven’s Opinion of His Predecessors—The Quartet in E-flat, Op. 127—Trip to England Determined Upon170
Chapter VII. The Year 1825. The Invitation from the Philharmonic Society of London—The Ninth Symphony Performed at Aix-la-Chapelle—Mass and Symphony Delivered to Schott and Sons—Unpleasant Results of an Attempted Joke on Haslinger—Beethoven and a Copyist—The String Quartet in E-flat Taken Away from Schuppanzigh after a First Performance—Karl Holz—Beethoven Authorizes Him to Write the History of His Life—Early Biographers—Visits of Rellstab, Kuhlau, Smart and Others—Sir George Smart’s Recollections—Dedication of the Mass in D—Stephan von Breuning—Wegeler asks Beethoven to Defend the Honor of His Mother—The Quartets in A Minor and B-flat186
[vii]Chapter VIII. A Year of Sickness and Sorrow—The Last String Quartets—Wolfmayer Commissions a “Requiem” and Pays in Advance—Many Works in petto—Controversy with Prince Galitzin and His Son—The Fugue in the B-flat Quartet—“Muss es sein?”—Dedication of the Ninth Symphony—The King of Prussia and His Gift of a Dubious Diamond—Abbé Stadler—Beethoven Defends Mozart’s “Requiem”—Friedrich Wieck—Beethoven Goes to His Brother’s Summer Home—Life at Gneixendorf—Relations with His Brother’s Family—Young Oxen Thrown into a Panic Fear—The Quartet in F and a New Finale for the Quartet in B-flat—The Year 1826—Beethoven’s Last Compositions218
Chapter IX. Karl van Beethoven—A Wayward Ward and an Unwise Guardian—Beethoven and his Graceless Nephew—An Ill-advised Foster-father—A Profligate Youth—Effect of the Guardianship on Beethoven’s Character—An Unsuccessful Attempt at Self-destruction—Karl is Made a Soldier247
Chapter X. The Last Days at Gneixendorf—A Brother’s Warning—Beethoven and His Kinspeople—The Fateful Journey to Vienna—The Fatal Illness—The Physicians and Their Treatment—The Nephew Exonerated from a Slanderous Accusation—Schindler’s Disingenuousness—Dr. Malfatti Forgets a Resentment Harbored for more than a Decade—Beethoven and Handel’s Scores—A Gift of 100 Pounds Sterling from the London Philharmonic Society—Eventual Disposition of the Money—Metronome Marks for the Ninth Symphony—Death and Burial of Beethoven—His Estate267
General Index315
Index to Compositions344


Chapter I

The Contest for the Guardianship of Nephew Karl—The Conversation Books—A Wedding Song—In Travail with the Mass—The Year 1819.

The key-note for much that must occupy us in a survey of the year 1819 is sounded by A New Year’s Greeting to Archduke Rudolph. Beethoven invokes all manner of blessings on the head of his pupil and patron and, begging a continuance of gracious benevolences for himself, sets forth a picture of his unhappy plight.

A terrible occurrence has recently taken place in my family affairs which for a time robbed me of all my reasoning powers; and to this must be charged the circumstance that I have not called upon Y. R. H. in person nor made mention of the masterly Variations of my highly honored and exalted pupil, the favorite of the Muses. I do not dare to express either by word of mouth or in writing my thanks for the surprise and favor with which I have been honored, inasmuch as I occupy much too humble a position, nor dare I, much as I would like and ardently as I long to do so, requite like with like.

A little boy of eleven years runs away from his uncle to his indulgent mother whom he, for months at a time, has not been allowed to see, although both live within the same city limits. What else could be expected than that this should now and then occur? What should be thought of the child’s heart if it did not? And when it did, who but Beethoven would have felt more than a passing disturbance of his equanimity at an offense so natural under the circumstances? But to him it was a “terrible occurrence” which for a space robbed him of his reason. No one of ordinary sensibilities can read the story without strong feelings of compassion for him—not that the boy’s freak was in any sense in itself a grievous misfortune, but because the uncle’s sufferings occasioned by it were so real and intense.

There is no reason to doubt the mother’s assertion that she sent the child back through the intervention of the police, for this was clearly her best policy, more especially because she and her[2] advisers found in the incident a wished-for occasion to renew her petition to have her son admitted into the R. I. Convict. It was this petition, enforced by Hotschevar’s long paper and its accompanying documents, which had led to the question of Beethoven’s right to have his case tried by the tribunal of the nobility, and the negative decision which transferred the whole matter to the City Magistracy. At this point a few official data are wanting, and the suspension of Beethoven from the guardianship of his nephew can only be stated as having been determined by the magistrates immediately after the beginning of the new year, and that, in consequence of this, the boy was for a few weeks with his mother. On January 10, Fanny Giannatasio writes in her diary: “What Müller tells me about Beethoven pains me deeply. The wicked woman has finally succeeded in triumphing over him. He has been removed from the guardianship[1] and the wicked son returns to the source of his wickedness. I can imagine Beethoven’s grief. It is said that since yesterday he has been entirely alone and eats apart from the others. He ought to know that Karl is glad to be with his mother; it would ease the pain of the separation.”

Beethoven’s Appeal to the Magistracy

On January 7 the magistrates summoned Beethoven (who still lived in the Gärtnergasse), the boy, the mother, Hotschevar and the curator, Dr. Schönauer, to appear before them on January 11. Of what action was taken that day there is no record, but Hotschevar’s attack brought out a vigorous defense in the shape of a letter sent by Beethoven to the Magistracy,[2] in which he maintained the superiority of the educational plan which he was pursuing over that which had been proposed by the mother, proclaimed the magnanimity and virtuousness of all his acts and discharged a broadside of accusation and insinuation against Madame van Beethoven and the priest who had come to her help. We can make room for only a few passages:

His exceptional capacity, and partly also his peculiarities, call for exceptional measures; and I never did a more beneficial or magnanimous act than when I took my nephew to myself and personally assumed charge of his education. Seeing that (according to Plutarch) a Philip did not think it beneath his dignity to direct the education of his son Alexander and give him the great Aristotle for a teacher because he did not consider the ordinary teachers suitable, and a Laudon looked after the education of his son himself, why should not such beautiful and[3] sublime examples be followed by others? Already during his lifetime his father entrusted my nephew to me and I confess that I feel myself better fitted than anybody else to incite my nephew to virtue and industry by my own example.

Had the mother been able to subdue her wicked disposition and permitted my plans to take their quiet development a very favorable result would have followed; but when a mother of this sort seeks to involve her child in the secrets of her own vulgar and evil surroundings, and in his tender years (a plague for children!!!) leads aim astray to deception, to bribery of my servants, to untruthfulness, by laughing at him when he tells the truth, yes, even giving him money to awaken in him lusts and desires which are harmful, tells him that things are trifles which in me and others would be accounted grave faults, the already difficult task becomes more difficult and dangerous.

Gifts of fortune may be acquired; morality must be implanted early, particularly when a child has had the misfortune to suck in such mother’s milk, was in her care for several years, was put to thoroughly bad uses, even had to help deceive his father. Furthermore he will inherit from me and even now I could leave him enough to keep him from want while continuing his studies until he should receive an appointment. We need only quiet and no more interference from the mother, and the beautiful goal which I have set will be attained.

Ought I now to reply to the intrigues of a Mr. Courtscrivener Hotschowa [Hotschevar] against me, or to the priest of Mödling, who is despised by his congregation, who is suspected of being guilty of illicit intercourse, who lays his pupils military fashion on a form to be thrashed and could not forgive me because I kept watch on him and would not permit my nephew to be caned like a brute—ought I? No; the association of these men with Madame van Beethoven bears witness against them both, and only such could make common cause with Madame van Beethoven against me.

Beethoven accompanied this address with a private letter presumably to Dr. Tschiska (or Tschischka), an official of the Magistracy, in which he said:

I am not a guardian from self-interest, but I want to rear a new monument to myself in my nephew. I do not need my nephew, but he needs me. Gossip, calumny, are beneath the dignity of a man who is raising himself up! What is to be done when they even touch the laundry!?!? I might be very sensitive, but the just man must be able to endure injustice without departing an iota from the right. In this sense I shall endure every trial, nothing shall shake my resolution. A great responsibility would be incurred were my nephew to be wholly withdrawn from me; moral and even political consequences would follow to him. I commend him to you and appeal to your heart for his welfare. My actions must commend me for his sake, not mine.

We do not know the particulars, but for the present Beethoven retained the right to look after the further education of the boy; the right, at least, was not judicially taken away from him or given[4] to another. He did not send him again to a public school, but engaged a private tutor under whose care he continued his studies in an institute conducted by Joseph Kudlich, of whom he spoke in great praise. Besides the ordinary subjects, he received instruction in French, drawing and music; his religious training was entrusted to a priest. This state of affairs lasted till the end of March, when he announced a desire to resign the guardianship—persuaded to take this step, it is fair to presume, by the magistrates who, in the end, would have been obliged to remove him. Karl was living with his mother at the time. According to the court records, Beethoven left the matter of education “entirely to Kudlich,” with whom (if a passage in one of the Conversation Books is read correctly) he seems also to have lived temporarily, and it was given to him to propose the name of a guardian, either in place of himself or as an associate. He consulted earnestly with his friends as to what was to be done with the boy and who should be his guardian, and those friends were sorely tried by his constitutional indecision. In these consultations, the project of sending the boy away from Vienna, and the name of Sailer, were mooted.[3] “What must be done,” Bernard says, “is to select as guardian a man who has your entire confidence both as respects morality and pedagogical skill, and with whom you may always remain on friendly terms concerning the affair. Since Kudlich has more influence on Karl than Giannatasio, it is my opinion that you seek no further for someone who would meet every requirement.—It would merely be very troublesome for you.” Beethoven seems to be in doubt; he had a preference for his friend the magisterial Councillor Tuscher, and the project of sending him to Sailer in Landshut appealed to him. Bernard says again: “If you want peace of mind I think it wise that you name a guardian as you were willing to do yesterday. But if it is possible to send the boy to Sailer at Landshut,[4] it would, of course, be better still, since then you could feel assured that he was in the best of hands. Even if you have Tuscher as co-guardian, your case will not be bettered, inasmuch as all cares will still rest on you. Perhaps Tuscher and Kudlich might jointly assume the guardianship—this might be very advantageous. All the same, everything will remain as heretofore, even if you send him away he will remain with Kudlich until a change has been made. So long as you are guardian and Karl remains here, you will not only have all the cares as heretofore, but also be compelled to fight[5] the mother and all her intrigues. Have Karl sent for the present again to Kudlich, meanwhile the matter may be straightened out.”[5]

A New Guardian for Karl Appointed

Beethoven seems to have expressed a doubt as to Tuscher’s willingness to serve as guardian. Bernard continues: “Perhaps he might be more easily persuaded if a co-guardian like Kudlich were appointed.—It is not necessary to settle everything by to-morrow. If we go to Omeyer to-morrow morning, then to Tuscher and Kudlich, we can come to an understanding as to what will be the best thing to do.” Tuscher, if we are correct in recognizing his handwriting, permitted himself to be persuaded, though a bit under protest; he foresaw difficulties. The Magistracy at the suggestion of Beethoven thereupon appointed the Magisterial Councillor Matthias von Tuscher guardian of the boy on March 26. He was commanded to place his ward, then “living with his mother, Johanna van Beethoven,” in another place for bringing up and education under proper care, and submit his opinion touching the proposition of the mother and Hotschevar that he be entered in a public institute of learning before the expiration of the second school semester, that Beethoven contribute to the cost and that the share of the mother’s pension and the interest on the money deposited for the boy be applied to this end. Tuscher was decidedly of the opinion that the boy must be sent away for a time and was agreed with the plan of placing him with Prof. Sailer in Landshut after it had been broached to him. For this the consent of the Magistracy and the police authorities and a passport were necessary. In the opinion of one of Beethoven’s advisers (Bach) Tuscher was to be informed of the plan only after the passport had been obtained, but before the mother, who had already found “a channel,” could take steps to communicate with Tuscher. Beethoven applied to the city authorities for a passport for two years for his ward. On April 23, the authorities asked of the Magistracy if there were any objections to the proposed step. The Magistracy objected to the boy’s being sent into a foreign country, but asked Tuscher if he were not willing to withdraw his application and name an institute in Austria. Tuscher declined and set forth the great hopes which he placed in the training to be had of a man like Sailer, who, “because of his reverence for the talents of the composer, Beethoven, was especially bound to him,” and hence would bestow upon his charge[6] the strictest oversight and care, which was of great importance in the case of a boy who was “extremely cunning and an adept in every sort of craftiness.” In replying to the municipal authorities the Magistracy (on May 7) conceded the necessity of withdrawing the boy from his mother’s influence, but thought it unnecessary to send him out of the country on this account, against which the mother had protested and the curator of the ward, Dr. Schönauer, had declared himself. The passport was therefore refused. Beethoven had taken a step which seems to have been made to prevent the widow from securing help for her plans from a source higher than any that had yet been invoked and to enlist that higher power in his own behalf. He appealed to Archduke Rudolph to use his influence with Archduke Ludwig, the youngest brother of Emperor Franz I, to aid him in his project of sending his nephew far away from the mother’s influence. In the letter written to the Archduke[6] he states that it had been his intention to petition Archduke Ludwig in the premises, but there had thitherto appeared to be no occasion for so doing for the reason that all the authorities who had jurisdiction in the matter were convinced of the advisability of the step, viz.: the Police, the Supervisory Guardianship Court and the guardian. He had heard, however, that the mother intended to seek an audience of Archduke Ludwig to prevent the execution of his plan. Convinced that she would stop at nothing in the way of calumination, he expressed the hope that his reputation for morality would suffice as a refutation of her slanders, and that Archduke Rudolph would bear testimony in his behalf.

The plan to send the nephew out of the country had been frustrated and had to be abandoned. His mind being filled with artistic projects of the greatest magnitude, Beethoven was desirous to pass the summer months again in Mödling, and after the experiences of the preceding year nothing could be hoped for his nephew in that quarter. He came to a realization of the advantages which Giannatasio’s institute had offered and in a letter to Giannatasio asked him again to take the lad till other arrangements had been made. The Giannatasio family were fearful lest such a proceeding might work harm to their institution, and on June 17 visited Beethoven at Mödling to tell him that his wishes could not be complied with. “Grievously as it pained us,” Fanny writes in her diary, “to refuse Beethoven anything, I am yet so convinced of the necessity of the step and that it could do[7] us no good, but on the contrary harm, that I prefer to have it so.” Thereupon the lad was sent to the institute of Joseph Blöchlinger. Claudius Artaria, who was one of the teachers there (1821-1824), recalled in later years that Karl was one of the older scholars, “naturally talented, but somewhat conceited because he was the nephew of Beethoven.” He also saw the mother there a few times, but remembered nothing in particular in connection with her visits. The lad appears to have prospered during the early part of his stay at this school. In December, 1819, an unknown hand writes in a Conversation Book:

A great deal has been gained in that the boy has again become orderly in his public studies. Plöchlinger [sic] moreover, though not exactly brilliant, seems to be good—the public school system acts as a restraint on him.—Your nephew looks well; handsome eyes—charm, a speaking physiognomy, and excellent bearing. I would continue his education for only two years more.—He is always present, and thus she can do him no harm. But he is agreed that she spoils the boy.—When you have acquired the sole guardianship, then do you decide and he will obey.—Your views are admirable but not always reconcilable with this wretched world.—Would that everybody might understand and appreciate your love for your nephew.

Tuscher Relieved of the Guardianship

Tuscher, a member of the Magistracy, was compelled to recognize that his colleagues were wholly under the influence of Madame van Beethoven and Hotschevar, and that he could do no service to his friend or his friend’s ward; on July 5, he applied to be relieved of the guardianship which, he said, had become “in every respect burdensome and vexatious,” on the ground that “the multiplicity of official duties as well as various other considerations would not permit him longer to administer the office.” Beethoven took this action in very bad part, and Tuscher shared the fate of many others of being for a space an object of the composer’s critical ill will. Beethoven now served notice on the Magistracy that he would resume the guardianship under the testamentary appointment and that he had placed his ward in Blöchlinger’s institution. On July 15 he writes to Archduke Rudolph, lamenting that confusion still reigns in his domestic affairs, no hope or comfort is in sight, all his structures are blown away, as if by the wind. “The present proprietor of the institute in which I have placed my nephew, a pupil of Pestalozzi, is of the opinion that it will be difficult to achieve a desirable outcome in the boy’s training—and also that there could be nothing more profitable to my nephew than absence from the country.” In a letter of September 14 to Blöchlinger he writes: “Only the following individuals[8] have free access to my nephew, Mr. v. Bernard, Mr. v. Oliva, Mr. v. Piuk, Recording Secretary.... My nephew is not to go out of the house without my written permission—from which it is plain what course is to be followed toward the mother—I insist that in this respect strict obedience be given to what the authorities and I have ordained.”

It is not known whether the Magistracy was immediately informed of the new steps which Beethoven had taken, or whether Madame van Beethoven made a presentment of some sort on the subject. Be that as it may, as chief guardian it determined if possible to put an end to the continual friction and undertook an investigation of all the educational experiments which had been made, arriving at the conclusion that the boy had been “subject to the whims of Beethoven and had been tossed back and forth like a ball from one educational institution to another.” For this reason it decreed, on September 17, that Tuscher’s request be granted, but that the guardianship should not again be entrusted to Beethoven but to the mother, the natural guardian under the law, with a capable and honest man as co-guardian. To this office Leopold Nussböck, municipal Sequestrator, was appointed. Beethoven protested against the action in a letter which the Magistracy received on October 31.[7] Having been absent from the city at the time, “on a matter of business,” he had made no objection to the appointment of Herr Nussböck as guardian of his nephew, but returning with the intention of remaining in Vienna he wished to resume the guardianship, as this was essential to the welfare of the boy, the mother having neither the will nor the strength to look after his training. He was the more insistent on a resumption of this duty since he had learned that owing to lack of money the boy was to be removed from the institution which he had selected for him, and he charged that the mother wished to take her son to her home so that she might be able to expend his income, including the half of her pension which she was obliged to devote to his education, upon herself. He asked that the intermediary guardianship be taken from Nussböck and be restored to him without delay. About the same time (October 23) he wrote at great length to Dr. Bach, who had now become his lawyer.[8] From this it appears that Madame van Beethoven had addressed another communication to the Magistrates’ Court, in which she apparently said or intimated that Beethoven would, in consequence of the elevation of the Archduke[9] to the Archbishopric, be obliged to spend the greater part of his time in Olmütz, and had renewed her attacks upon his moral character. “His Imperial Highness, Eminence and Cardinal” would unhesitatingly bear witness to his morality, and, as to the twaddle about Olmütz, the Archduke would probably spend not more than six weeks of the year there.

Beethoven Insists on Sole Guardianship

The chief points are that I be recognized at once as sole guardian, I will accept no co-guardian, that the mother be excluded from intercourse with her son in the Institute because in view of her immorality there cannot be enough watchmen there and she confuses the teacher by her false statements and lies. She also has led her son to tell shameful lies and make charges against me, and accuses me herself of having given him too much or too little; but that the claims of humanity may not be overlooked, she may see her son occasionally at my home in the presence of his teachers and other excellent men.... It is my opinion that you should insist stoutly and irrevocably that I be sole guardian and that this unnatural mother shall see her son only at my house; my well known humanity and culture are a guarantee that my treatment of her will be no less generous than that given to her son. Moreover, I think that all this should be done quickly and that if possible we ought to get the Appellate Court to assume the superior guardianship, as I want my nephew to be placed in a higher category; neither he nor I belong to the Magistracy under whose guardianship are only innkeepers, shoemakers and tailors. As regards his present maintenance, it shall be cared for as long as I live. For the future he has 7,000 florins W.W. of which his mother has the usufruct during life; also 2,000 fl. (or a little more since I have reinvested it), the interest on which belongs to him, and 4,000 florins in silver of mine are lying in the bank; as he is to inherit all my property this belongs to his capital. You will observe that while because of his great talent (to which the Honorable Magistracy is indifferent) he will not be able at once to support himself, there is already a superfluity in case of my death.

In a postscript he accuses the mother of wishing to gain possession of her son in order to enjoy all of her pension. In view of this he had taken counsel as to whether or not he should let her keep the money and make it good from his own pocket. He had been advised not to do so, however, because she would make bad use of the money. “I have decided, therefore, to set aside the sum in time. You see again how foolishly the Magistracy is acting in trying to tear my son wholly from me, since when she dies the boy will lose this share of the pension and would get along very poorly without my aid.” A few days later Beethoven wrote to Dr. Bach again, this time to suggest that legal steps be taken to attach the widow’s pension, he having a suspicion that she was trying to evade payment of her son’s share because she had permitted[10] nine months to pass without drawing the pension from the exchequer.

The Magistracy disposed of Beethoven’s protest and application on November 4, by curtly referring him to the disposition made of his petition of September 17. Beethoven asked for a reconsideration of the matter, but without avail, and the only recourse remaining to him was the appeal to the higher court which had already been suggested to Dr. Bach. The story of that appeal belongs to the year 1820. Meanwhile the association of Councillor Peters with him in the guardianship had been broached and was the subject of discussion with his friends. In December Bernard writes in a Conversation Book:

The Magistracy has till now only made a minute of the proceedings and will now hold a session to arrive at a decision. It is already decided that you shall have the chief guardianship, but a 2d is to be associated with you. As no objection can be made to Peters, there will be no difficulty. The matter will be ordered according to your wishes and I will take care of Mr. Blöchlinger. The mother will not be admitted to the institute unless you are present, 4 times a year is enough—nor the guardian either?—The Magistracy has compromised itself nicely.

Bach seems to have advised that the mother be accepted as co-guardian. He writes: “As co-guardian she will have no authority, only the honor of being associated in the guardianship. She will be a mere figurehead.” Whether the conversations noted at the time referred to the case on appeal or to the application still pending before the Magistracy, or some to the one, some to the other, it is impossible to determine. The record of the refusal of the Magistracy has not been procured, but the decree of the Appellate Court gives December 20 as its date.

Schindler and the Conversation Books

Frequent citations from the so-called “Conversation Books” made in the course of the narrative touching the later phases of the controversy over the guardianship call for some remarks upon this new source of information opened in this year. In the “Niederrheinische Musikzeitung,” No. 28 of 1854, Schindler wrote:

Beethoven’s hearing had already become too weak for oral conversation, even with the help of an ear-trumpet, in 1818, and recourse had now to be had to writing. Only in the case of intercourse with Archduke Rudolph, and here because of his gentle voice, the smallest of the ear-trumpets remained of service for several years more.

That he was able, partly by the ear and partly by the eye, to judge of the correctness of the performance of his music, Schindler states in the same article—a fact also known from many other sources; this was the case even to his last year. When, after the[11] death of Beethoven, such of his manuscripts and papers as were thought to be salable were set apart, there remained in the hands of von Breuning a lot of letters, documents and Conversation Books. The estimated value in the inventory of the manuscripts and the price obtained for them at the auction sale, indicate how utterly worthless from a pecuniary point of view that other collection was thought to be; as, however, they might be of use to some future biographer, it was well to have them preserved, and doubtless a small gratification to Schindler for his great sacrifices and very valuable services to Beethoven in these last months, the only one which he as guardian to the absent nephew could make; so Breuning gave them to him. The Conversation Books, counting in as such those which were really nothing but a sheet or two of paper loosely folded, were only about 400 in number, or less than fifty per annum for the last eight and a half years of Beethoven’s life—that being the period which they cover. Schindler, who spoke on this as on so many other topics frankly and without reserve, said that he long preserved the books and papers intact, but not finding any person but himself who placed any value upon them, their weight and bulk had led him in the course of his long unsettled life by degrees to destroy those which he deemed to be of little or no importance. The remainder were, in 1845, transferred to the Royal Library in Berlin, and, in 1855, when they were examined for this work, numbered 138. It was but natural that those preserved are such as place Schindler’s relation to the master in the strongest light and those deemed by him essential to the full understanding of the more important events of Beethoven’s last years. Most of them bear evidence of the deep interest with which Schindler, while they remained in his possession, lived over the past in them. In many cases he appended the names of the principal writers; so that one soon learns to distinguish their hands without difficulty; and occasionally he enriched them with valuable annotations.[9] The larger of them—ordinary blank note-books—are only of a size and thickness fitted to be carried in the coat-pocket. It is obvious, therefore, on a moment’s reflection, that at a single sitting with a few friends in an inn or coffee-house, the pages must have filled rapidly as the book passed from hand to hand and one or another wrote question or reply, remark or statement, a bit of news or a piece of advice. A few such conversations, one sees, would fill a book, all the sooner as there is no thought of[12] economizing space and each new sentence is usually also a new paragraph. It strikes one, therefore, that the whole 400 could have contained but a small portion of the conversations of the period they covered. This was so. At home a slate or any loose scraps of paper were commonly used, thus saving a heavy item of expense; moreover, many who conversed with Beethoven would only write upon the slate in order to obliterate it immediately, that nothing should remain exposed to the eyes of others. The books, therefore, were for the most part for use when the composer was away from home, although there were occasions when, it being desirable to preserve what was written, they were also used there. Hence, the collection in Berlin can be viewed as little more than scattered specimens of the conversations of the master’s friends and companions, most unequally distributed as to time. For months together there is nothing or hardly anything; and then again a few days will fill many scores of leaves. In a few instances Beethoven has himself written—that is, when in some public place he did not trust his voice; and memoranda of divers kinds, even of musical ideas from his pen, are not infrequent. One is surprised to find so few distinguished names in literature, science and art—Grillparzer’s forms an exception and he appears only in the later years; as for the rest, they are for the most part of local Vienna celebrities.

There is no source of information for the biography of Beethoven which at first sight appears so rich and productive and yet, to the conscientious writer, proves so provokingly defective and requires such extreme caution in its use as these Conversation Books. The oldest of them belongs to the time before us (1819) and was evidently preserved by Schindler on account of the protracted conversations on the topic of the nephew. We have already made several citations from it and shall have frequent occasion to have recourse to it in the progress of this narrative. The period in which it was used is approximately fixed by a reference to a concert given by the violinist Franz Clement, at which he played an introduction and variations on a theme by Beethoven. This concert took place on April 4, 1819.[10] The last conversations[13] in the book took place about the time of Beethoven’s removal to Mödling—shortly before and after.

This explanatory digression may serve as a modulation to more cheerful themes than that which has occupied us of late.

Musical Surprise at a Wedding

Though Karl was no longer a member of the Giannatasio household or pupil of the institute, and though there were, in consequence, fewer meetings between Beethoven and his self-sacrificing friends, their relations remained pleasant, and early in 1819 Beethoven found occasion to supplement his verbal protestations of gratitude with a deed. Nanni, the younger daughter of Giannatasio, was married on February 6, 1819, to Leopold Schmerling. When the young couple returned to the house after the ceremony they were greeted by a wedding hymn for tenor solo, men’s voices and pianoforte accompaniment. The performers were hidden in a corner of the room. When they had finished they stepped forth from their place of concealment. Beethoven was among them and he handed the manuscript of the music which he had written to words of Prof. Stein, who occupied a chair of philosophy at the University and was also tutor in the imperial household,[11] to the bride.


Beethoven made a single appearance as conductor in this year. It was on January 17 at a concert given for the benefit of the Widows and Orphans of the Juridical Faculty of the University. The orchestra was largely composed of amateurs and the programme began with the overture to “Prometheus” and ended with the Seventh Symphony. Among the listeners was P. D. A. Atterbom, the Swedish poet, who wrote a sympathetic account of it.

In the midst of the worries occasioned by the guardianship, Beethoven was elected Honorary Member of the Philharmonic Society of Laibach, an institution which had been founded in 1702 and revived, after repeated interruptions, in 1816. The project of giving him the distinction had been broached in the councils of the society in 1808, but Anton Schmith, a physician in Vienna, whose opinion had been asked, had advised against it, saying: “Beethoven is as freakish as he is unserviceable.” Eleven years later the men of Laibach had more knowledge or better counsel, and they sent him a diploma on March 15 through von Tuscher. Acknowledging the honor on May 4, Beethoven stated that as a mark of appreciation he was sending, also through the magistrate, an “unpublished” composition and would hold himself in readiness to serve the society should it ever need him. There is no direct evidence as to what composition he had in mind; but in the archives of the Laibach society there is a manuscript copy of the Sixth Symphony. It is not an autograph except as to its title, Beethoven having written “Sinfonia pastorale” on the cover in red crayon, and corrections in lead pencil in the music.[12]

The time for Beethoven’s annual summer flitting had come. Mödling was chosen again for the country sojourn and Beethoven arrived there on May 12, taking lodgings as before in the Hafner house in the Hauptstrasse. He had, evidently, brought a housekeeper with him and now engaged a housemaid. The former endured two months.[13] Karl was placed under the tuition of Blöchlinger on June 22. Beethoven, as letters to the Archduke[15] dated July 15 and August 31[14] show, was not in the best of health, but was hard at work on the mass, with an excursion now and then into the symphony (Ninth). Schindler presents us with a pathetic, impressive, almost terrifying picture of the state to which his labors lifted him (Ed. of 1860, I, 270):

In a Frenzy of Composition

Towards the end of August, accompanied by the musician Johann Horsalka still living in Vienna, I arrived at the master’s home in Mödling. It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon. As soon as we entered we learned that in the morning both servants had gone away, and that there had been a quarrel after midnight which had disturbed all the neighbors, because as a consequence of a long vigil both had gone to sleep and the food which had been prepared had become unpalatable. In the living-room, behind a locked door, we heard the master singing parts of the fugue in the Credo—singing, howling, stamping. After we had been listening a long time to this almost awful scene, and were about to go away, the door opened and Beethoven stood before us with distorted features, calculated to excite fear. He looked as if he had been in mortal combat with the whole host of contrapuntists, his everlasting enemies. His first utterances were confused, as if he had been disagreeably surprised at our having overheard him. Then he reached the day’s happenings and with obvious restraint he remarked: “Pretty doings, these! (Saubere Wirthschaft.) Everybody has run away and I haven’t had anything to eat since yesternoon!” I tried to calm him and helped him to make his toilet. My companion hurried on in advance to the restaurant of the bathing establishment to have something made ready for the famished master. Then he complained about the wretched state of his domestic affairs, but here, for reasons already stated, there was nothing to be done. Never, it may be said, did so great an artwork as is the Missa Solemnis see its creation under more adverse circumstances.[15]

The fact that Beethoven received an advance payment on a commission for an oratorio which he undertook to write for the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde has been mentioned. The sum was 400 florins. It was on August 18. Four days later there was a meeting of the society at which Landgrave von Fürstenberg reported[16] that on the written application of Prince von Odescalchi, representing the President, Beethoven had replied that he had long been desirous to compose a work which would reflect honor on the society and that he would do his best to expedite it. That seems to have been the end of the matter for the time being.[16] There was also during the Mödling sojourn a continuation of the negotiations with Thomson. A Mr. Smith visited Beethoven bearing a letter from the Scotch publisher which called out a playful rejoinder in which Beethoven sought to turn an easy play upon German words into French. Thomson suggested that the introductions and accompaniments to the Scotch songs be made easier (“lighter,” in the German idiom); they would be so, Beethoven replied, if the compensation were made more difficult (“heavier” would have been his word had he been permitted to use the German equivalent). As it is, Beethoven’s humor becomes rather ponderous, as see the letter which was written in French by Beethoven apparently without assistance:

Vienne le 25me Maj, 1819.

Mon cher Ami!

Vous ecrivés toujours facile très—je m’accomode tout mon possible, mais—mais—mais—l’honorare pourroit pourtant être plus difficile, ou plus-tôt pesante!!!!! Votre ami Mosieur Smith m’a fait grand plaisir a cause de sa visite chez moi—en Hâte, je vous assure, que je serais toujours avec plaisir a votres services—comme j’ai a present votre Addresse par Mr. Smith, je serai bientôt en Etat de vous écrire plus ample—l’honorare pour un Théme avec variations j’ai fixé, dans ma derniere letter à vous par Messieurs le Friess, a moien dix ducats en or, C’est, je vous jure malgre cela seulement par complaisance pour vous, puisque je n’ais pas besoin, de me méler avec de telles petites choses, mais il faut toujours pourtant perdre du temps avec de telles bagatelles, et l’honneur ne permit pas, de dire a quelqu’un, ce qu’on en gagne,—je vous souhaite toujours le bon gout pour la vrai Musique et si vous cries facile—je crierai difficile pour facile!!!!

Thomson indorsed on this letter: “25 May, 1819. Beethoven. Some pleasantry on my repeated requests to make his Symphs and accompgnts. to our National Airs Easy, sent by Mr. John Smith of Glasg.” Another British commission was offered him about the same time. There are two entries in a Conversation Book, apparently in the handwriting of Schindler:

The Englishman brought me your letter yesterday and evening before last I received another one for you through Fries. Another commission was brought by the other Englishman, the friend of Smith. A Mr. Donaldson in Edinburgh wants to know if you will not write a Trio for 3 pianofortes and in the style of your Quintet in E-flat. He wants to announce it as his property—The remuneration which you demand is to be paid to you in any way you may select—All the parts of the Trio must be obbligato. If you do not, write to Donaldson in Edinburgh direct. These Englishmen speak of nothing else than their wish to have you come to England—they give assurance that if you come for a single winter to England, Scotland and Ireland, you will earn so much that you can live the rest of your life on the interest.


And again:

The gentleman is going to write to Donaldson—Edinburgh—to-day—the answer can be here in 4 weeks and the gentleman can be here that long. Tell him how much you want, when it might be finished and how you want the payment made. He is very desirous to have a composition from you and there is no possibility of its being left on your hands—Moreover it is a great work. If you get 40 ducats for the Sonata he can doubtless pay 100. By that time the answer may be here from Edinburgh.

Great Britain’s monetary reward, had Beethoven accepted all its invitations, would no doubt have been all that the friend of “Mr. Donaldson of Edinburgh” stated and in proportion would have been the appreciation which Beethoven would have found at the hands of the English professional musicians, amateurs and musical laity.

Pathetic and diverting are the incidents which Karl Friedrich Zelter relates in letters to Goethe of his attempts to form a closer acquaintance with Beethoven. Zelter came to Vienna in July. He says that he wanted to call upon Beethoven, but he was in the country—nobody knew where. This in his first letter which mentions the subject. On August 16 he writes:

It is said that he is intolerably maussade. Some say that he is a lunatic. It is easy to talk. God forgive us all our sins! The poor man is reported as being totally deaf. Now I know what it means to see all this digital manipulation around me while my fingers are becoming useless one after the other. Lately Beethoven went into an eating-house; he sat himself down to a table and lost himself in thought. After an hour he calls the waiter. “What do I owe?” “The gentleman has not eaten anything yet” “What shall I bring?” “Bring anything you please, but let me alone!”

Meeting between Beethoven and Zelter

Zelter stays in Vienna from July to September, but sees nothing of Beethoven. Then, on September 12, he sets out with Steiner to visit the master at Mödling. On the road they meet Beethoven, who is on his way to the city. Leaving their carriages they embrace each other, but conversation with a deaf man not being practicable on the highway they separate after agreeing to meet at Steiner’s at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Zelter was moved almost to tears. After a hurried meal he and Steiner hastened back to Vienna. Let him relate the rest:

After eating we drove back to Vienna at once. Full as a badger and tired as a dog I lie down and sleep away the time, sleep so soundly that not a thing enters my mind. Then I go to the theatre and when I see Beethoven there I feel as if I had been struck by lightning. The same thing happens to him at sight of me, and this is not the place for[18] explanations with a deaf man. Now comes the point: In spite of the things of which Beethoven is accused justly or unjustly, he enjoys a popular respect such as is bestowed only upon the most excellent. Steiner had given it out that Beethoven would appear in his little office, which will hold only six or eight persons, for the first time in person at 4 o’clock, and invited guests so generously that in a room crowded to the street, half a hundred brilliant people waited in vain. I did not get an explanation till next day, when I received a letter from Beethoven in which he begged my pardon, for he, like me, had passed the time set for the meeting in blissful sleep.

Zelter’s letter calls for a slight rectification. It was not the next day but four days later that Beethoven wrote him the letter of explanation, and Zelter’s statement that Beethoven had overslept himself as he had done was pure assumption—unless he learned it from another source. Beethoven wrote:

Highly respected Sir:

It is my fault that you were lately besmeared (angeschmiert, that is, deceived, cheated) as we say here, by me. Unforeseen circumstances robbed me of the pleasure of passing a few lovely and enjoyable hours, which would have been profitable to art, with you. I hear that you are already leaving Vienna day after to-morrow. My country life, to which I am forced by my poor health, is, however, not as beneficial as usual to me this year. It may be that I shall come in again day after to-morrow and if you are not already gone in the afternoon I hope to tell you by word of mouth with true cordiality how much I esteem you and desire your friendship (to be near to you).

The autograph of this letter contains what appears to be either a transcript or a draft of a letter which Zelter either sent or planned to send to Beethoven. In view of the fact that it shows a different feeling towards the great composer than that formerly entertained by the teacher of Mendelssohn, it is given here:

To see once more, face to face, in this life the man who brings joy and edification to so many good people, among whom I of course am glad to count myself—this was the purpose, worthy friend, for which I wished to visit you at Mödlingen. You met me, and my aim was at least not wholly frustrated, for I saw your face. I know of the infirmity which burdens you and you have my sympathy, for I am similarly afflicted. On the day after to-morrow I go from here to resume my labors, but I shall never cease to hold you in high respect and to love you.

A Composition by Archduke Rudolph

Friedrich Schneider, of Dessau, visited Vienna in the fall of the year and caused a sensation by his organ-playing. He reported that Beethoven had received him graciously and that he, in turn, had heard the master play the pianoforte, his improvisation being the most marvellous thing he had ever listened to.[19] In August, Johann van Beethoven bought an estate near Gneixendorf. This brought the brothers together in Vienna during the winter. Johann was the “landowner” of a familiar story, and Beethoven, the “brain owner,” seemed at this time disposed to emulate him. At least he read advertisements of houses for sale in Mödling before the day set for the sale and advised him in the premises. In the same letter[17] he advises Steiner to publish a set of variations composed by the Archduke. “I have mentioned your name in the matter, inasmuch as I do not believe that you will lose anything by the transaction, and it is always honorable to print something by such a Principe Professore.” The variations were on a theme composed by Beethoven and given to his imperial pupil as a lesson, and had called out the obsequious remarks which may be read in the New Year’s letter to the Archduke. His remark to Steiner is explained by the fact that on August 31 he had written to the Archduke as follows:

As regards the masterly variations of Y. I. H. I think they might be published under the following title, namely:

Theme, or Task
set by L. v. Beeth.
forty times varied
and dedicated to his teacher
by the Most Serene Author.

There are so many requests for them, and eventually this honorable work will reach the public in garbled copies. Y. I. H. will yourself not be able to avoid presenting copies here and there; therefore, in the name of God, among the many consecrations which Y. I. H. is receiving and of which the world is being informed, let the consecration of Apollo (or the Christian Cäcilia) also be made known. True, Y. I. H. may accuse me of vanity; but I can assure you that although this dedication is precious to me and I am really proud of it, this is not at all my aim. 3 publishers have appealed for it, Artaria, Steiner and a third whose name does not occur to me. To which of the first two shall the Variations be given? On this point I await the commands of Y. I. H. Both of them have offered to print the variations at their own cost. The question now is whether Y. I. H. is satisfied with the title? To the question whether or not the variations ought to be published, Y. I. H. ought to close your eyes; if it is done, Y. I. H. may call it a misfortune; but the world will think the contrary.

Steiner printed the archducal work in the seventh number of his “Musical Museum” under a slightly changed title, viz.: “Theme (Aufgabe) composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, varied forty times and dedicated to the author by his pupil R[udolph], A[rch-][20]D[uke].”[18] Other evidences of Beethoven’s interest in Archduke Rudolph’s studies in composition are to be noted about this time. On July 29 he wrote to his pupil from Mödling, sending him three poems and asking him to select one for composition, encouraging him in these words: “The Austrians now know already that the spirit of Apollo has newly awakened in the Imperial family. From all quarters I receive requests for something. The proprietor of the Modezeitung will appeal to Y. I. H. in writing. I hope I shall not be accused of bribery—at Court and not a courtier, what possibilities??!!!” In this letter, however, there are words of vaster import, as showing Beethoven’s attitude towards musical evolution. We quote:

... but freedom, progress, is the aim in the world of art as in the whole great universe, and even if we moderns are not so far advanced in sound technique (Festigkeit) as our forefathers, refinement in manners has opened many things to us. My exalted pupil in music, already a fellow-contestant for the laurel of fame, must not subject himself to the accusation of onesidedness,—et iterum venturus judicare vivos et mortuos.[19]


A Painter’s Presence Forgotten

A number of incidents in Beethoven’s life may now be passed in hurried chronological review: On October 1, he was made an honorary member of the Mercantile Association (Kaufmännischer Verein) in Vienna. In the fall Ferdinand Schimon (1797-1852), who was musician and opera-singer as well as painter, painted the portrait which afterward came into the possession of Schindler, and was engraved by Eduard Eichers for Schindler’s biography.[20] Schimon had obtained permission through Schindler to set up his easel in the chamber adjoining Beethoven’s workroom, the composer having resolutely refused a sitting because he was busy on the Credo of the mass. From this point of vantage he made his studies and had finished them all but the eyes—the most striking feature in the portrait. Out of this dilemma Beethoven unconsciously helped him. He had evidently been impressed with the discretion, or independence, of the young artist who came without a “good morning” and went without a “good evening,” and invited him to coffee. Thus Schimon had ample opportunity to supply the one deficiency in his sketches.

At the end of October, Beethoven returned to Vienna from Mödling, taking lodging this time at No. 16 Josephstädter Glacis, opposite the Auersberg Palace and near the Blöchlinger Institute where Karl was studying. The guardianship matter soon occupied his attention; spells of indisposition tormented him; and financial distress so threatened him that he attempted to negotiate a loan from the banker Hennickstein, and borrowed 750 florins from Steiner.[21] Countess Erdödy was in Vienna at the end of the year and he sent her a note on December 19, promising to visit her soon and scratching down a musical phrase which he afterwards erased to make of it the New Year canon: “Glück, Glück zum neuen Jahr.”

It is remarkable that Beethoven, under the circumstances which have been set forth in this chapter, could continue his labors on the Mass which were his principal occupation during the year; it was but another proof of the absorbing possession which the composition of a great work took of him when once fairly begun. So diligently did he apply himself that he had hopes not only of finishing it in time for the installation of the Archduke as Archbishop of Olmütz, but wrote to Ries on November 10 that he had already nearly completed it and would like to know what could be done with it in London. To Schindler, however, in expressing a[22] doubt that he would have it done in time for the ceremonial, he said that every movement had taken on larger dimensions than had originally been contemplated. Schindler says also that when the day came, not one of the movements was finished in the eyes of the composer; yet he alleges that Beethoven brought the completed Credo with him when he came back to Vienna from Mödling. There is this to be added to these statements: A pocket sketchbook used in 1820 (it is now in the Beethoven House at Bonn) shows some sketches for the Credo; and there are memoranda for the same movement in a Conversation Book used near the close of the year. That the Gloria had received its final shape is a fair deduction from a Conversation Book of the same period. Bernard (presumably) writes:

It was decided yesterday that you give a concert either on Christmas or some other day. Count Stadion will give the use of the room, and Schick, Czerny and Janitschek will care for the rest. The programme is to include a symphony, the Gloria from your mass, the new Sonata played by you and a grand final chorus. All your works. 4,000 florins are guaranteed. Only one movement of the mass is to be performed.

The project is mentioned again by another friend, and Beethoven remarks: “It is too late for Christmas, but it might be possible in Lent.” That he worked occasionally on the Ninth Symphony, especially in the early part of the year, has already been said. Thomson’s commissions occupied some of his time, as well as a project to extend his labors on folksongs into a wider field. The second set of Variations on folksong themes which was published as Op. 107 in 1820, must be assigned, at least in part, to this year. He also, as Schindler tells us, composed a set of waltzes for a band of seven men who played at an inn in the valley of the Brühl near Mödling, and wrote out the parts for the different instruments. These waltzes have disappeared; Schindler tried in vain to find them a few years later. The canon “Glück zum neuen Jahr” was composed for Countess Erdödy on the last day of December, if A. Fuchs, who says that he copied it from the original manuscript, is correct. He also wrote a canon for Steiner in the summer, as appears from a conversation recorded in a book of March 20, 1820. An unidentified hand writes:

Last summer you sent a canon infinitus a due to Steiner from Mödling


Nobody has solved it, but I have solved it. The second voice enters on the second:


Violin and Bass motifs
it is infinite.
Go to the devil[22]
God protect you
was the text.

On September 21 he wrote a canon to the words “Glaube und hoffe” for the younger Schlesinger, afterwards publisher in Paris, who was a visitor in Vienna from Berlin at the time, as Beethoven’s inscription on the autograph shows.[23]

Publications of the Year 1819

The publications of the year 1819 were (1) Two Sonatas for Pianoforte and Violoncello, Op. 102, dedicated to Countess Erdödy, by Artaria in Vienna (they had already been published by Simrock); (2) The Quintet in C minor, Op. 104, arranged from the Trio, Op. 1, No. 3; (3) Themes and Variations on Motives from Folksongs, for Pianoforte and Flute or Violin, Op. 105, by Artaria; Pianoforte Sonata in B-flat, Op. 106, dedicated to Archduke Rudolph, by Artaria.


Chapter II

The Years 1820 and 1821—End of the Guardianship Litigation—A Costly Victory—E. T. A. Hoffmann—Financial Troubles—Adagios and English Hymn-tunes—Arrested as a Vagrant—Negotiations for the Mass in D—The Last Pianoforte Sonatas.

Departure of Old Friends

Almost involuntarily, in passing in review the incidents of the year whose story has just been told and projecting a glance into the near future, the question arises: Where, in these moments of doubt, ill-health, trial, vexation of spirit and torment of body were the old friends of Beethoven who in the earlier years had stood by him faithfully and lovingly? Where was Stephan von Breuning? Alas! he seems to have been an early sacrifice to Beethoven’s obstinate course in respect of his nephew. Schindler says that he had advised against the adoption of the boy and thus wounded Beethoven in his most sensitive part. The temporary estrangement began in 1817. Some others of the old friends may have been rebuffed in like manner; some, like the faithful seneschal, Zmeskall, were ill; some were absent from Vienna—Count Brunswick, Schuppanzigh; some were dead; in some the flames of friendship may have died down because there was so little in Beethoven’s public life to challenge their sympathy and support. Count Lichnowsky has dropped out of the narrative and does not appear for some years. What had happened to the ardent friend of the youthful days, Count Waldstein? There is no answer. Once a Conversation Book awakens curiosity and a hope. Somebody warns Beethoven in a public place not to speak so loud, as everybody is listening. “Count Waldstein is sitting near; where does he live?” Beethoven’s answer is unrecorded and thus passes the only opportunity which the known material offers from which might have been learned what caused the death of that beautiful friendship. Bernard, Schindler, Oliva, Peters and Bach were near to him, and the last was of incalculable[25] value to him in his great trial. But could they replace those who were gone?

Beethoven was become a lonely man—an enforced seeker of solitude. No doubt many who would have been glad to give him their friendship were deterred by the wide-spread reports of his suspicious, unapproachable, almost repellant nature. But a miracle happens. Driven in upon himself by the forces which seem to have been arrayed against him, introspection opens wider and wider to him the doors of that imagination which in its creative function, as Ruskin tells us, is “an eminent beholder of things when and where they are not; a seer that is, in the prophetic sense, calling the things that are not as though they were; and for ever delighting to dwell on that which is not tangibly present.” Now he proclaims a new evangel, illustrates a higher union of beauty and truthfulness of expression, exalts art till it enters the realm of religion.

In the Tagebuch there stands a bold inscription written in February of the year 1820: “The moral law in us, and the starry sky above us—Kant.”[24] This and two other citations, the first of which Beethoven surely culled from some book, also deserve to be set down here as mottoes applicable to the creative work which occupied his mind during the year and thereafter:

’Tis said that art is long and life is fleeting:—
Nay; life is long and brief the span of art!
If e’er her breath vouchsafes with gods a meeting,
A moment’s favor ’tis of which we’ve had a part.

The world is a king and desires flattery in return for favor; but true art is perverse and will not submit to the mould of flattery. Famous artists always labor under an embarrassment;—therefore, first works are the best, though they may have sprung from dark ground.

We can only record the fact that Beethoven began the year 1820, as he had begun its immediate predecessor, by sending a New Year’s greeting to the august pupil who was now almost continually in his mind—Archduke Rudolph, soon to be Archbishop and Cardinal[25]—before taking up the story of the incubus which oppressed the composer’s mind, the clog which impeded his creative activities during much of the year—the legal proceedings[26] concerning the guardianship of nephew Karl. Fortunately for the tinge of these pages the end is not distant.

Two applications made by Beethoven to the Court of Magistrates had been denied and he now asked for a review of these decisions by the Court of Appeals. The action of the Magistracy had grievously pained him, so he informed the superior tribunal, and not only had his rights been set aside, but no regard had been shown for the welfare of his nephew. Against this he now sought relief, and he set forth his grievances: (1) He was testamentary appointee and the Landrecht had confirmed him and excluded the mother; circumstances compelling his absence from Vienna, he had arranged that Herr Nussböck should be appointed guardian ad interim; back permanently in the city, his nephew’s welfare required that he resume the guardianship; (2) The higher education which his nephew’s talents demanded neither the mother nor Nussböck could direct—the former because she was a woman and had conducted herself in a manner which had led the Landrecht to exclude her, Nussböck because he was too much occupied with his duties as Municipal Sequestrator and, having been no more than a paper-maker, he did not possess the insight and judgment essential to the scientific education of the ward. (3) Having no child of his own, his hopes were set on the boy, who was unusually talented, yet he had been told that he had been held back a year in his studies and that owing to a lack of funds he was to be taken from the institution in which he had been placed and given in the care of his mother; by her mismanagement the boy would be sacrificed, it being the aim of the mother to expend his share of the pension money on herself. He had declared to the Magistracy his willingness to defray the costs at the institute and also to engage other masters for the boy. Being “somewhat hard of hearing” communication with him was difficult and therefore he had asked that a co-guardian be appointed in the person of Herr Peters, Prince Lobkowitzsian Councillor, whose knowledge and moral character would assure such a training and education as were justified by the boy’s capacity. “I know of no more sacred duty than the care and education of a child,” he observes. He would offer no objection to the mother’s having a “sort of joint-guardianship,” but its duties and privileges should be limited to her visiting him and learning what plans were making for his education; to permit more would be to compass the ruin of the boy.[26]


An Appeal to a Higher Court

This petition was filed on January 7, 1820; three days later the Appellate Court commanded the Magistracy to file a report of the proceedings had before it, together with all minutes and documents. The Magistracy complied on February 5, citing its decision of September 17, 1819, and defending its action on the grounds that (a) Beethoven, owing to his deafness and his hatred of the mother of the ward, was incapable of acting as guardian; (b) the guardianship belonged to the mother by right of law; (c) the commission of an act of infidelity against her husband in 1811, for which she had suffered punishment, was no longer a bar; (d) none of the alleged “injurious disturbances and interferences” had been definitely set forth or proven:

If under injurious disturbances we are to understand that the mother is desirous to see her child once every 14 days or 4 weeks, or to convince herself about the wear and cleanliness of his clothing, or to learn of his conduct toward his teachers, these can appear injurious only in the eyes of the appellant; the rest of the world, however, would find it amiss in a mother if she made inquiry concerning her child only once a fortnight or month.

Answering the second charge, the magistrates urged that the appellant seemed to ask of the mother and other guardian that they themselves educate the boy in the sciences. For this not even the appellant was fitted, at least he had not demonstrated such a fitness; he had left the preparation for the higher studies to others and this the mother and guardian could also do, having, indeed, a better plan, which was to send the boy to the R. I. Convict, where he would surely make better progress at smaller expense. Ad tertium, the failure of the boy to advance in his classes could not be laid to the mother or guardian, but must be charged against the appellant, who had taken the boy away from his studies for the university after two months, kept him at home three months, and sent him to another institution of learning at the end of June; naturally enough he lost a school year.

The Court of Appeals demanded a more explicit report, which the Magistracy filed on February 28, taking advantage of the opportunity to review the proceedings had before the Landrecht from the beginning, and to make severe strictures on the conduct of Beethoven in filing an exhibit (F) with his petition in support of which no evidence was offered, though because of it the Landrecht was asked to exclude the mother from the guardianship which belonged to her under the law. Again we quote:

This exclusion can have nothing for its foundation except the misdemeanor of which the mother was guilty in 1811, for all the rest[28] contained in appellant’s exhibit F is unproven chatter to which the Landrecht could give no consideration, but which gives speaking proof of how passionately and inimically the appellant has always acted, and still acts, towards the mother, how little he recks of tearing open wounds that were healed, since after having endured punishment she stood rehabilitated; and yet he reproaches her with a transgression for which she had atoned years before, which had been pardoned by the injured husband himself who petitioned for leniency in her sentence and who had declared her capable and fit for the guardianship of his son in his last will and testament, directing that the son be not taken away from his mother. Regardless of this the appellant last year, certainly not in the interest of the boy’s welfare, inasmuch as we have excellent educational institutions here, but only to pain the mother, to tear the heart out of her bosom, attempted to send him out of the country to Landshut. Fortunately the government authorities, acting on information derived from this court, frustrated the plan by refusing a passport.

Depravity of Karl’s Mother

Let us try now to take a dispassionate view of the case as thus far presented in the pleadings and documents. Not only the law of nature but the laws of the land justified the mother in asserting her right to look after the physical well-being of her child and seeking to enforce it. Dr. Bach seems to have impressed that fact upon Beethoven, wherefore he declares his willingness in the bill of appeal to associate her with himself in the guardianship to that extent. That the Magistrates displayed unusual, not to say unjudicial zeal in her behalf while defending their own course is indubitable; but we are in no position to judge of the propriety of their course, which seems to have been in harmony with the judicial procedure of the place and period, least of all to condemn them, so long as it was permitted them so to do, for having made a stout resistance when their acts were impugned in the appeal to the higher court. The “Exhibit F,” filed in the proceedings before the Landrecht, has not been found and its contents can only be guessed at from the allusions to it in the documents. Obviously it contained aspersions on the moral character of Madame van Beethoven, and it may have been, nay, probably was, true that they were unsupported by evidence and therefore undeserving of consideration in a court either of law or equity. Perhaps they were not susceptible of legal proof. It has been thought that Beethoven felt some hesitancy in flaunting evidence of his sister-in-law’s infamy in the face of the world,[27] but he certainly showed no disposition to spare her in his letters, nor did he hesitate to accuse[29] her of unmentionable things by innuendo. In a Conversation Book of this year (1820) he writes of her that she was “born for intrigue, accomplished in deceit, mistress of all the arts of dissimulation.” On the other hand, it is singular that the Magistrates in their final effort to justify their course have nothing to say about the present moral standing of the woman whose legal and natural rights they claimed to be upholding. Were they in ignorance of what we now know, namely, that her conduct had not only been reprehensible in 1811 (though condoned by her husband) but continued so after her husband’s death? Schindler says that she gave birth to a child while the case was pending, and that is confirmed by a statement of Nephew Karl’s widow,[28] that in her old age Madame van Beethoven lived in Baden with this illegitimate daughter, who was also a dissolute woman.

But there are many anomalous things to the studious mind in the proceedings which we are reporting, which differ greatly from anything which could happen in a court of chancery or probate in Great Britain or America to-day. It is certainly repugnant to our present legal ethics that having filed a petition to reverse the action of one court Beethoven should not only have written private letters to a judge of the court of review, pleading his case on personal grounds, but that his counsel should have advised him to visit members of the higher court to present arguments in his behalf. But, no doubt, this was consistent with the customs of Austria a century ago; and it is what happened. Beethoven writes to Karl Winter, an Appellationsrat, and his lawyer tells him to engage him and one of his colleagues, Schmerling, in conversation on the subject. Perhaps Winter himself questioned the propriety of the proceeding, for in a Conversation Book somebody, who had evidently acted as messenger in the delivery of the letter, writes: “I gave it to Herr v. Winter; he kept me waiting and then said that he could give no answer, nor involve himself in a correspondence.” The letter in question was written on March 6. In it Beethoven says that he had prepared a memorial which he would place in his hands in a few days. From the outline given it is plain that the memorial contained a review of the case since the death of Beethoven’s brother. It had been prepared, said Beethoven, “believing that I owed it to myself to expose the falsity of the many slanders which have been uttered against me and to lay bare the intrigues of Madame van Beethoven against me to the injury of her own child, as also to place in its proper light the conduct of the Magistrates’ Court.” He charges that the Magistrates[30] had summoned the widow and her son to a hearing without his knowledge and, as his nephew had told him, he had been urged and led on by his mother to make false accusations against him. He had also forwarded a document which proved the wavering and partisan conduct of the Magistrates. He repeats the charge about his nephew’s failure to advance in his studies and adds that the boy had had a hemorrhage which, had he not been on hand, might almost have cost him his life. These things were not attributable to Herr Tuscher for the reason that the Magistrates had given him too little support and he could not proceed with sufficient energy—this the writer could do in his capacity of uncle, guardian and defrayer of expenses. He asks that if it becomes necessary he and his nephew be examined, cites his expenditures to keep the boy two years in an educational institution, saying that he had received nothing from the widow in nearly fourteen months but would continue to pay the cost unselfishly in the future, and had set apart 4,000 florins which was on deposit in bank and was to go to his nephew on his death. Moreover, he had expectations from his relations with the Archbishop of Olmütz, etc.

The case was prepared shrewdly, carefully and most discreetly by Dr. Bach, who seems to have exerted an admirable influence on Beethoven at this crisis. The nature of his advice may be learned from the communication of Bernard in one of the recorded conversations. Bernard is writing, and evidently giving the result of a consultation with Dr. Bach. The Court of Appeals would ask another report from the Magistrates and on its receipt would adjudge the case. Nussböck, who Dr. Bach said was willing, should voluntarily retire from the guardianship. Beethoven was asked as to the appointment of Tuscher; had he resigned permanently or only temporarily in favor of Tuscher, the better to accomplish the nephew’s removal from his mother? In what manner had Tuscher abdicated, and had the Magistracy informed Beethoven of the fact? It was necessary, said the adviser, to proceed with moderation in all things so as to avoid the appearance of malice, and the mother should not be assailed if it was at all avoidable, stress being laid only on the fact that as a woman she ought not to have the direction of the education of a boy of Karl’s age, not having the requisite fitness. It would also be necessary for him, in case he were asked, to state his readiness to defray the cost of the boy’s education in the future and this, if the worst came to the worst, might be followed by a threat to withdraw wholly from his care. Reproaches might be made against him concerning the period when he had the boy with him, the priests having taken to meddling in the matter,[31] and it would be well in the future not to take the boy to public eating-houses where he would be observed and scandal fomented.

Appointment of a Joint Guardianship

Bach seems to have advised Beethoven to visit two of the judges, Winter and Schmerling, and himself had an interview with the boy, who told his uncle what the advocate had questioned him about. For the nonce Karl was on his good behavior. Blöchlinger reported favorably on his studies to Bernard, and in a Conversation Book the boy apologized to his uncle for some statements derogatory to him which he had made to the Magistrates. “She promised me so many things,” he said, “that I could not resist her; I am sorry that I was so weak at the time and beg your forgiveness; I will not again permit myself to be led astray. I did not know what results might follow when I told the Magistrates what I did; but if there is another examination I will retract all the falsehoods I uttered.” The magisterial commission which followed on March 29, had plainly been held at the instance of the Appellate Court. Beethoven was solemnly admonished, and in answer to questions declared: (1) that he still demanded the guardianship of his nephew under the will and would not relinquish his claim; (2) that he requested the appointment of Councillor Peters as associate guardian; (3) that he demanded that Madame van Beethoven be excluded from the guardianship as she had been by the Landrecht, and (4) he reiterated his readiness to provide financially for the care of his ward; he would accept an associate guardian, but not a sole guardian, as he was convinced that no guardian would care for his nephew as well as he. In insisting on a renewed declaration on these points it is likely that the Court of Appeals had some hope that Beethoven might voluntarily renounce or modify his claims or the Magistrates recede from their attitude. Neither contingency occurred, however, and on April 8 the reviewing court issued its decree in Beethoven’s favor, he and Peters being appointed joint guardians (gemeinschaftliche Vormünde), the mother and Nussböck being deposed. The widow now played her last card:—she appealed to the Emperor, who upheld the Court of Appeals. There was nothing for the Magistracy to do except to notify the result of the appeals to Beethoven, Madame van Beethoven, Peters and Nussböck. This was done on July 24.

Beethoven had won at last. But at what a cost to himself, his art, the world! What time, what labor, what energy had he not taken away from his artistic creations! What had he not expended in the way of peace of mind, of friendship, of physical comfort, of wear of brain and nerve-force, for the privilege of keeping the boy to himself, of watching unmolested over his physical[32] welfare and directing his intellectual and moral training unhindered! Surely such sacrifices, inspired, as we know they were, by a transcendent sense of duty and profoundest love, merited the rich reward of which he had dreamed—the devotion of one who ought to have been all that a son could be, the happiness of seeing the object of his love grow into a brilliant man and a useful citizen. Was it vouchsafed him? Let us not in the midst of his present happiness look too far into the future. Now his joy is unbounded. He breaks into a jubilation when, in conveying the news to Pinterics—that Pinterics who had sung the bass in “Ta, ta, ta,” in honor of Mälzel: “Dr. Bach was my representative in this affair and this Brook (Bach) was joined by the sea, lightning, thunder, a tempest, and the magisterial brigantine suffered complete shipwreck!” Schindler says that “his happiness over the triumph which he had won over wickedness and trickery, but also because of the supposed salvation from physical danger of his talented nephew, was so great that he worked but little or not at all all summer—though this was perhaps more apparent than real, the sketchbooks disclosing from now on only empty pages.” A wise qualification, for though the sketchbooks may have been empty, there is evidence enough elsewhere of hard work. Yet the Mass was not finished, and for this unfortunate circumstance the guardianship trial was no doubt largely to blame. To this subject we shall return presently.

Of Peters, who was appointed joint guardian with Beethoven of the nephew, little is known beyond what we learn from Beethoven and Peters’s contributions to the Conversation Books. He was a tutor in the house of Prince Lobkowitz and had been on terms of friendship with Beethoven since 1816; his appointment by the court is a confirmation of Beethoven’s tribute to him as a man of intellectual parts and of good moral character. His wife had a good voice and was a great admirer of Beethoven, who presented her with a copy of the song cycle “An die ferne Geliebte.” A letter, once in the possession of John Ella in London, which may be of earlier date than 1821, to which year it is, however, most naturally assigned in view of the allusion to the “state burden” (the nephew), runs as follows:

How are you? Are you well or ill? How is your wife? Permit me to sing something for you:

Canon (Lively)
Saint Peter was a rock! St.


Canon (Drawn out and dragged)
Bernardus was a Saint? Ber-

How are your young princes? Will you be at home this afternoon at 5 o’clock? Perhaps I’ll visit you together with my state burden.

Bad Conduct of Nephew Karl

Nephew Karl remained at Blöchlinger’s institute and continued to cause worry and anxiety to his uncle. Reports concerning his conduct and studies were variable from different persons and at different times. Blöchlinger complained that he needed constant supervision: “Had we not always been strict with him, he would not be where he is now.” A cleric declares that he was at heart not a bad child but had been harmed by bad examples. “Karl has little feeling and in spite of the knowledge for which he is praised he has no reasoning powers,” writes an unidentified person in the Conversation Book, surely not to the satisfaction of the uncle who was always setting forth his nephew’s exceptional talent. In June somebody else (this time it may have been Oliva) feels constrained to write: “The boy lies every time he opens his mouth.” The “terrible occurrence” which had almost crushed Beethoven in December, 1818, repeats itself, fortunately without such dire results to the too sympathetic uncle: In June, instead of coming to an oral examination, Karl ran away to his mother. Madame Blöchlinger had to take a coach and servant and bring him back to the school; and to get him away from Madame van Beethoven, who was disposed to keep him in concealment, had to promise to see to it that he should not be punished for his naughtiness. Now Blöchlinger, who says that the presence of Madame van Beethoven “poisons the air,” wants the woman excluded from his house and asks for a power of attorney to call in the help of the police every time that Karl shall go to his mother, whom he calls a “notorious strumpet,” of whose presence in his house he must needs be ashamed. All this was told to Beethoven by Bernard, who had learned it from Blöchlinger. Beethoven went for advice to Bach, who told his client that it was impracticable to get a judicial writ against the mother enjoining her from meeting her son, and impossible to prevent secret meetings and secret correspondence. The practical solution of the problem was to have Blöchlinger refuse to admit the woman to his institute and compel her to see Karl at his uncle’s home. This would serve the purpose to some extent, as the mother did not like to meet her brother-in-law.

The enthronization of Beethoven’s imperial pupil as Archbishop of Olmütz took place on March 20. The Mass which was[34] to have been the composer’s tribute was still unfinished. The reader knows why, or at least has been provided with an opportunity to form an opinion as to the reason. It may have been for the purpose of offering an explanation to the new dignitary of the church, that Beethoven sought an audience as he states in a letter of April 3. The Archducal Archbishop had gone to Olmütz and Beethoven wants to know his plans for the immediate future. He had heard that H. I. H. was to return to Vienna in May, but also that he intended to be absent for a year and a half. If so, Beethoven deplores that he has made plans for himself which are unwise. He begs H. I. H. not to give credence to the false reports concerning himself (Beethoven) which might reach his ears: “If Y. I. H. calls me one of your most treasured objects, I can honestly say that Y. I. H. is to me one of the most treasured objects in the universe. Although I am no courtier, I believe that Y. I. H. has learned to know me well enough to know that no cold interest, but a sincere affection, has always attached me to yourself and inspired me; and I might well say that Blondel was found long ago, and if no Richard is to be found in the world for me, God will be my Richard.” He has evidently concerned himself about the music at the court in Olmütz: “It appears to me that my idea to maintain a quartet will certainly be the best thing to do. If there are already productions on a large scale in Olmütz, something admirable might arise in Moravia through a quartet.” He advises his pupil, in case it is his purpose to return in May, to keep his compositions till then so as to play them first to him; but if his stay is to be longer, he will receive the compositions with the greatest pleasure and seek to guide H. I. H. “to the highest peaks of Parnassus.”

A Punning Canon on Hofmann

A reference to himself as one who was at court yet not a courtier had been made by Beethoven in an earlier letter. This play on words seems to have been much in his head about this time and it is small wonder that when an opportunity offered for the employment of the pun in a canon it should have been embraced; in fact, it looks as if possibly he had strained for the occasion, unless it should appear from evidence yet to be found that “One who was named Hoffmann,” in Beethoven’s words, was, as was long believed, the redoubtable E. T. A. Hoffmann, who had surely deserved the tribute contained in a canon which Beethoven wrote at this time. In the Conversation Book used in March, 1820, a strange hand writes: “In the Phantasie-Stücke by Hoffmann, you are often spoken of. Hoffmann was musical director in Bamberg; he is now Government Councillor. Operas of his composition are[35] performed in Berlin.” Beethoven remarks, in writing: “Hofmann du bist kein Hofmann.” Later in a conversation held at table, these words occur twice: “Hŏfmānn ÷ sei ja kein Hōfmănn—nein ÷ ÷ ÷ ich heisse Hŏfmānn und bin kein Hōfmănn.” These words are preceded by a measure of music, the beginning of the canon in question. Did Beethoven thus honor the fantastic poet, musician, novelist, essayist, singer, scene-painter and theatrical manager who had shown such keen critical appreciation of his symphonies? It was long a pleasure to believe so and natural, too, until Nottebohm came with his iconoclastic evidence to the contrary. On March 23 Beethoven had written a letter to Hoffmann, expressing his gratification at having won the good opinion of a man gifted with such excellent attributes as Hoffmann possessed. Had he written the canon at this time he would surely have enclosed it in this letter and then, since it was preserved among Hoffmann’s papers, it would have been found and given to the world with the letter. But Beethoven kept the canon in his mind or had a copy of it, and printed it in 1825, when B. Schott’s Sons in Mayence asked him for a contribution to their musical journal “Cäcilia,” which had been founded a year before. Now comes Nottebohm with his evidence in the case. A man named Gross was once the owner of the autograph and his son told Nottebohm that it had been written in the Matschaker Hof, a tavern at which Beethoven was dining at the time, and referred to a church musician named Vincenz Hoffmann, as the informant remembered the name. Nottebohm looked through the official lists of musicians in Vienna in the first decades of the century; he did not find a Vincenz, but did find a Joachim Hoffmann who might have been an acquaintance of Beethoven’s; and so he set him down as the recipient of the composer’s tribute.[29]

In the summer of 1820, Beethoven went to Mödling again, but he did not take the lodgings in the Harfner house for the very sufficient reason that the proprietor had served notice on him in 1819, that he could not have it longer on account of the noisy disturbances which had taken place there. He took a house instead in the Babenbergerstrasse and paid twelve florins extra for the use of a balcony which commanded a view which was essential to his happiness. He takes the baths and receives a[36] visit from his nephew, who probably stays with him during his school vacation; at any rate, the boy does not return to Vienna until October 5, on which day the Giannatasios, making an excursion to Mödling, meet him with Karl driving to town. There is at this time considerable talk in the Conversation Book of publishing a complete edition of Beethoven’s works. Bernard, probably, tells him that Steiner is already counting on it and Schindler, who is enthusiastic over the project, gives it as his opinion that arrangements must be made with a Vienna publisher so as to avoid voluminous correspondence. Somebody remarks: “Eckstein will so arrange it that you will always get all the profits and will also publish your future works as your property. He thinks that every fourth or fifth piece should be a new one.” The plan appealed strongly to Beethoven, but nothing came of it at the time, though we shall hear of it later. It was the discussion of it, probably, by his friends which brought out a letter from Beethoven to Haslinger, “best of Adjutants,” asking him to decide a bet. Beethoven had wagered 10 florins that it was not true that the Steiners had been obliged to pay Artaria 2000 florins damages for having published Mozart’s works, which were reprinted universally.

Towards the end of October, Beethoven returned to Vienna and took lodgings at No. 244 Hauptstrasse in the Landstrasse, “the large house of the Augustinians” beside the church. There he was visited by Dr. W. Chr. Müller of Bremen, a philologist and musical amateur who had long admired Beethoven and, with the help of his “Family Concerts,” established in 1782, had created such a cult for Beethoven’s music as existed in no city in Germany in the second decade of the nineteenth century—according to Schindler. Müller’s daughter Elise played the sonatas exceptionally well and was largely instrumental with her father in creating this cult. Müller was making an Italian tour, visited Vienna in October and November and published an account of his meetings with Beethoven in the “Allg. Musik. Zeit.” in 1827. In this he tells of Beethoven’s freedom of speech at public eating-houses, where he would criticize the Austrian government, the morals of the aristocracy, the police, etc., without stint. The police paid no attention to his utterances, either because they looked upon him as a harmless fantastic or had an overwhelming respect for his artistic genius. “Hence,” says Dr. Müller, “his opinion that nowhere was speech freer than in Vienna; but his ideal of a political constitution was the English one.” It was through Dr. Müller that we know somewhat of Beethoven’s views on the[37] subject of analytical programmes. Among the zealous promoters of the Beethoven cult in Bremen, was a young poet named Dr. Karl Iken, editor of the “Bremer Zeitung,” who, inspired by the Familien-Concerte, conceived the idea of helping the public to an understanding of Beethoven’s music by writing programmatic expositions of the symphonies for perusal before the concerts. Some of his lucubrations were sent to Beethoven by Dr. Müller, and aroused the composer’s ire. Schindler found four of these “programmes” among Beethoven’s papers, and he gave the world a specimen. In the Seventh Symphony, Dr. Iken professed to see a political revolution.

“Programme” for the Seventh Symphony

The sign of revolt is given; there is a rushing and running about of the multitude; an innocent man, or party, is surrounded, overpowered after a struggle and haled before a legal tribunal. Innocency weeps; the judge pronounces a harsh sentence; sympathetic voices mingle in laments and denunciations—they are those of widows and orphans; in the second part of the first movement the parties have become equal in numbers and the magistrates are now scarcely able to quiet the wild tumult. The uprising is suppressed, but the people are not quieted; hope smiles cheeringly and suddenly the voice of the people pronounces the decision in harmonious agreement.... But now, in the last movement, the classes and the masses mix in a variegated picture of unrestrained revelry. The quality still speak aloofly in the wind-instruments,—strange bacchantic madness in related chords—pauses, now here, now there—now on a sunny hill, anon on flowery meadow where in merry May all the jubilating children of nature vie with each other with joyful voices—float past the fancy.

It is scarcely to be wondered at that such balderdash disgusted and even enraged Beethoven. In the fall of 1819, he dictated a letter to Müller—it has, unfortunately been lost—in which he protested energetically against such interpretations of his music. He pointed out, says Schindler, who wrote the letter for him, the errors to which such writings would inevitably give rise. If expositions were necessary, they should be confined to characterization of the composition in general terms, which could easily and correctly be done by any educated musician.

Beethoven’s complaints concerning his financial condition were chronic and did not cease even in periods where extraordinary receipts make them difficult to understand. That the lamentations in his letters during the two years which we have in review were well-founded, however, is no doubt true. With so engrossing a work as the “Missa solemnis” on hand there could not have been much time for such potboilers as he mentions and the other sources of revenue were not many. From the records which are at hand, we know something about a few of his monetary[38] transactions. On October 26, 1820, he collected 300 florins on account, apparently, from Artaria and Co., through his old friend Oliva. Shortly after his return to Vienna from the country, he asks the same firm, from which he had borrowed 750 florins,[30] for a further loan of 150 to save himself the necessity of selling one of his bank shares. These shares, it will be remembered in partial extenuation or at least explanation of some of his actions which are scarcely compatible with his protestations of his unswerving honesty in business transactions, had been set apart by him as his nephew’s legacy and he clung to them as to a sacred pledge. He promises to repay Artaria in three months and meanwhile to send him a composition in one, two or more movements, without honorarium. An incident which shows him in an unamiable light is connected with his financial relations with the publisher Steiner. On December 29, 1820, Steiner wrote him a letter which did not see the public eye until published in the “Neue Freie Presse” newspaper of Vienna on August 17, 1900. Steiner had sent Beethoven a dun, or at least a statement of account, and Beethoven had, evidently, been both rude and unreasonable in his reply. We quote from Steiner:

Indebtedness to Steiner

I cannot rest content with your remarks concerning the account sent you; for the cash money loaned you I have charged you only 6% interest, while for the money which you deposited with me I paid you 8% promptly in advance and also repaid the capital promptly. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander (Was also dem Einen recht ist, muss dem Andern billig sein). I am not in a position to lend money without interest. As a friend I came to your help in need, I trusted your word of honor and believe that I have not been importunate, nor have I plagued you in any way; wherefore I must solemnly protest against your upbraidings. If you recall that my loan to you was made in part 5 years ago, you will yourself confess that I am not an urgent creditor. I would spare you even now and wait patiently if I were not on my honor in need of cash for my business. If I were less convinced that you are really in a position to give me relief and able to keep your word of honor I would, difficult as it would be for me, right gladly remain patient a while longer; but when I remember that I myself returned to you 4,000 florins, conventional coin, or 10,000 florins, Vienna Standard, as capital 17 months ago and at your request did not deduct the amount due me, it is doubly painful to me now to be embarrassed because of my good will and my trust in your word of honor. Every man knows best where the shoe pinches and I am in this case; wherefore I conjure you again not to leave me in the lurch and to find means to liquidate my account as soon as possible.

As for the rest I beg you to accept from me the compliments of the season together with the request that you continue to give me your[39] favor and friendship. It will rejoice me if you keep your word and honor me soon with a visit; it rejoices me more that you have happily withstood your illness and are again restored to health. God preserve you long in health, contentment and enjoyment, this is the wish of your wholly devoted

S. A. Steiner.

The letter contains pencil memoranda by Beethoven. He has evidently added together the various sums which he owes Steiner and they amount to 2420 florins W. W. He remarks that 1300 florins was received “probably” in 1816 or 1817; 750 florins “perhaps” in 1819; 300 florins “are debts which I assumed for Madame van Beethoven and can be chargeable for only a few years; the 70 florins may have been for myself in 1819. Payment may be made of 1200 florins a year in semi-annual payments.” A further memorandum on the cover notes Steiner’s willingness to accept payments on April 15 and October 15, 1821. The settlements seem to have been made. On April 1, 1821, Beethoven collected 600 florins from the estate of Kinsky, being one-half of the annuity for the year September 1820 to September 1821. He also persuaded his friend Franz Brentano to advance him money on the amount for which he sold the “Missa Solemnis” to Simrock in Bonn, though he did not give him the Mass for publication in the end. But this is a matter which can be better discussed in connection with the incidents in the history of the compositions which fall within the present period.

The beginning of the year 1821 found him still at his home in the suburb Landstrasse, and, it would seem, working as hard as his health permitted. When he went to the country for the summer he went to Unterdöbling and thence, after September, to Baden to take a cure prescribed by his physician, Dr. Staudenheimer. In Baden he lived in the Rathshausgasse. He had suffered from rheumatism during the preceding winter and now became a victim of jaundice, for which, no doubt, he was sent to Baden, though he had gotten rid of the disease to some extent at least by the end of August. The cure prescribed by Staudenheimer was more severe than he could endure and, as he writes to Franz Brentano on November 12, 1821, he had to “flee to Vienna,” where he was more comfortable. The attack of jaundice may have been an arant-courier of the disease of the liver which brought him to the grave six years later. He expresses a fear in a letter to the Archduke (July 18, 1821) that it might prevent him for a long time from waiting upon his pupil. There is the usual monetary complaint in the letter, which concludes with: “God who[40] knows my heart and how sacredly I fulfill all the duties commanded by humanity, God and nature will some day free me from this affliction.”

In 1820 the voice of an old English admirer reaches him with a request which must have seemed strange to him. William Gardiner, as has been told in the chapter in the first volume of this work devoted to the compositions of the Bonn period, was one of the first proclaimers of Beethoven’s evangel in England. He had now compiled and composed a sort of pasticcio, an oratorio entitled “Judah,” piecing the work out with original compositions where he had failed to find music written by others which he could use. In his book “Music and Friends” (III, 377) he relates that he had hoped to get an original composition for “Judah” in the shape of an appropriate overture, and to this end had written a letter to Beethoven and forwarded it to Vienna through Baron Neumann of the Austrian Embassy, who, on receiving it, had remarked that it was doubtful if an answer would be received, as Beethoven held no communication with the world. Gardiner’s letter was as follows:

To Louis van Beethoven.

Dear Sir:

At the house of Lady Bowater in Leicestershire in 1796, I met with your Trio in E-flat (for Violin, Viola and Bass). Its originality and beauty gave me inexpressible delight; indeed it was a new sense to me. Ever since I have anxiously endeavoured to procure your compositions as much so as the war could permit. Allow me to present to you the first volume of my “Sacred Melodies” which contain your divine Adagios appropriated to the British church. I am now engaged upon a work entitled “The Oratorio of Judah” giving a history of that peculiar people from the Jewish scriptures. The object of this letter is to express a hope that I may induce you to compose an Overture for this work upon which you can bring all the force of your sublime imagination (if it please you) in the key of D minor. For this service my friend Mr. Clementi will accept your draft upon him for one hundred guineas.

I have the honour to be, dear Sir,
Your faithful servant
William Gardiner.

There is no date, but as “Judah” was criticized in “The Musical Review” in 1821, it is presumable that the letter was written in 1820. Gardiner deplores the fact that he received no reply from Beethoven, although the Empress had thanked him for a copy of the “Sacred Melodies” which he had sent to her. Evidently he did not realize that Beethoven was not the man to feel complimented by having his “divine Adagios” turned into hymn-tunes. An occurrence which may have cost Beethoven a[41] pang was the loss of his faithful helper Oliva, who took his passport in December, 1820, and went to St. Petersburg, where he settled as a teacher of languages.

A Portrait Painted by Stieler

Another of the portraits of Beethoven which have been made familiar by reproductions was painted in 1820, though begun in 1819. Joseph Stieler, who enjoyed wide reputation as a portrait painter, had come to Vienna from Munich to paint the portrait of Emperor Franz in the latter year. He remained till some time in 1820 and made the acquaintance of Beethoven through a letter of introduction probably given to him by Brentano. Beethoven took a liking to him and gave him some sittings—three, according to the testimony of the painter himself, thus disproving Schindler’s statement that “sitting after sitting was granted and never a complaint uttered.” On the contrary, the Conversation Book presents the artist as pleading for a little more time; and because Beethoven refused to sit longer, Stieler had to exercise his imagination or memory in painting the hands. In fact, the painting never received the finishing touches but remained, as those who have seen it testify, “sketchy.” In March Stieler writes in the Conversation Book: “Have you written to Frankfort that I have begun your portrait?—You must determine the destination of the picture. I say that I am painting it for myself.” In April Stieler asks the question: “In what key is your mass? I want to write on the sheet: (Mass in—)” Beethoven writes the answer: “Missa solemnis in D,” and Stieler: “After it has been exhibited I shall send it to Brentano—I thank you thousands and thousands of times for so much patience.” Beethoven’s friends refer frequently to the picture in their written conversations with Beethoven. One says: “That you have been painted en face is the result of more extended study of your physiognomy. This view shows your spirit much better than a profile.” Schindler writes that he prefers the portrait by Schimon: “There is more character in it—all agree on that—You were very well two years ago; now you are always ailing.” J. Czerny writes: “We were just talking about your portrait. Oliva thinks you are well hit off.” The artist visits Beethoven again at Mödling in July and writes: “Before the exhibition I shall paint your portrait again, but full life-size. Your head makes an excellent effect full face, and it was so appropriate because Haydn was on one side and Mozart on the other.” Stieler dated the canvass “1819,” but this can only refer to the time when it was begun. It remained for a while in the possession of the family of the painter, then passed through several hands by purchase until it reached those of Countess Sauerma[42] in Berlin, in whose possession it was when Frimmel and Kalischer inspected it for purposes of description. Schindler says it reproduces Beethoven’s characteristic expression faithfully and that it met with approval, though fault was found with the pose. Beethoven’s contemporaries were not used to see him with his head bowed down as Stieler represents him; on the contrary, he carried his head high even when suffering physical pain. A lithographic reproduction of the portrait was made by Fr. Dürck and published by Artaria in 1826.

In April, 1860, the author[31] had a conversation with Horzalka in which the latter spoke very highly of Schindler and his disinterested fidelity to Beethoven. Horzalka also said that in 1820 or 1821, as near as he could recollect, the wife of a Major Baumgarten took boy boarders in a house then standing where the Musikverein’s hall now stands in Vienna. Her sister, Baroness Born, lived with her. Frau Baumgarten had a son who studied at Blöchlinger’s Institute, and Beethoven’s nephew was amongst her boarders. One evening Horzalka called there and found only the Baroness Born at home. Soon another caller came and stayed to tea. It was Beethoven. Among other topics, Mozart came on the tapis and the Baroness asked Beethoven, in writing of course, which of Mozart’s operas he thought most of. “Die Zauberflöte,” said Beethoven and, suddenly clasping his hands and throwing up his eyes exclaimed, “Oh, Mozart!” As Horzalka had, as was the custom, always considered “Don Giovanni” the greatest of Mozart’s operas, this opinion by Beethoven made a very deep impression upon him. Beethoven invited the Baroness to come to his lodgings and have a look at his Broadwood pianoforte.

Arrested as a Vagrant

In 1820 Professor Höfel, who lived at Salzburg in the last years of his life and who engraved the Latronne portrait of Beethoven for Artaria, was appointed to a professorship of drawing in Wiener Neustadt. A year or two afterward, as he said,[32] he was one evening with Eisner and other colleagues in the garden of the tavern “Zum Schleifen,” a little way out of town. The Commissioner of Police was a member of the party. It was autumn and already dark when a constable came and said to the Commissioner: “Mr. Commissioner, we have arrested somebody who will give us no peace. He keeps on yelling that he is Beethoven; but he’s a ragamuffin, has no hat, an old coat, etc.—nothing by which[43] he can be identified.” (Herr Commissär, wir haben Jemand arretirt, welcher uns kein’ Ruh gibt. Er schreit immer dass er Beethoven sei. Er ist aber ein Lump, hat kein’ Hut, alter Rock, etc., kein Aufweis wer er ist, etc.) The Commissioner ordered that the man be kept under arrest until morning, “then we will examine him and learn who he is.” Next morning the company was very anxious to know how the affair turned out, and the Commissioner said that about 11 o’clock at night he was waked by a policeman with the information that the prisoner would give them no peace and had demanded that Herzog, Musical Director in Wiener Neustadt, be called to identify him. So the Commissioner got up, dressed, went out and waked up Herzog, and in the middle of the night went with him to the watchhouse. Herzog, as soon as he cast eyes on the man exclaimed, “That is Beethoven!” He took him home with him, gave him his best room, etc. Next day came the burgomaster, making all manner of apologies. As it proved, Beethoven had got up early in the morning, and, slipping on a miserable old coat and, without a hat, had gone out to walk a little. He got upon the towpath of the canal and kept on and on; seems to have lost his direction, for, with nothing to eat, he had continued on until he brought up at the canal-basin at the Ungerthor. Here, not knowing where he was, he was seen looking in at the windows of the houses, and as he looked so like a beggar the people had called a constable who arrested him. Upon his arrest the composer said, “I am Beethoven.” “Of course, why not?” (Warum nicht gar?) said the policeman; “You’re a tramp: Beethoven doesn’t look so.” (Ein Lump sind Sie; so sieht der Beethoven nicht aus.) Herzog gave him some decent clothes and the burgomaster sent him back to Baden, where he was then living, in the magisterial state-coach. This simple story is the foundation for the fine narrative related as a fact in Vienna that Beethoven had got into this scrape following troops from Vienna who had a sham battle near Wiener Neustadt, and taking notes for his “Wellington’s Victory”—which whole story thus goes to the wall.

A letter written from Baden on September 10, 1821, to Tobias Haslinger accompanying a canon[33] on the words “O Tobias dominus Haslinger, O, O!” deserves to be given here to show that Beethoven’s high spirits could at times dominate him in spite of his general misery.


Very best fellow!

Yesterday, in the carriage on the way to Vienna, I was overcome by sleep, naturally enough, since (because of my early rising here) I had never slept well. While thus slumbering I dreamed that I had made a long journey—to no less distant a country than Syria, no less than India, back again, no less than Arabia, finally I reached Jerusalem; the Holy City aroused in me thoughts of Holy Writ and small wonder that the man Tobias now occurred to me, and how natural that our little Tobias should enter my mind and the pertobiasser, and now during my dream journey the following canon came to me: “O Tobias dominus Haslinger, O, O!” But scarcely awakened, away went the canon and nothing of it would come back to my memory. But when, next day, I was on my way hither in the same conveyance (that of a poor Austrian musician) and continued the dream journey of the day before, now awake, behold, according to the laws of association of ideas, the same canon occurred to me again; now fully awake I held it fast, as erst Menelaus held Proteus, only allowing it to change itself into 3 voices.

Farewell. Presently I shall send you something on Steiner to show you that he has no stony (steinernes) heart. Farewell, very best of fellows, we ever wish that you will always belie your name of publisher (Verleger) and never become embarrassed (verlegen) but remain a publisher (Verleger) never at a loss (verlegen) either in receiving or paying—Sing the epistles of St. Paul every day, go to pater Werner,[34] who will show you the little book by which you may go to heaven in a jiffy. You see my anxiety for your soul’s salvation; and I remain with the greatest pleasure from everlasting to everlasting,

Your most faithful debtor

Negotiations for the Mass in D

And now as to the creative work of the two years. Paramount attention must be given to the Mass in D, which, though long in hand and destined for a function in which Beethoven and his Imperial Archepiscopal pupil were profoundly concerned, was yet incomplete when the time for that function arrived. Archduke Rudolph was installed as Archbishop of Olmütz on March 20, 1820. Exactly what condition the Mass was in at that time we have no means of knowing; it was, however, in a sufficient state of forwardness to enable Beethoven to begin negotiations for its publication. On March 18 he wrote to Simrock:

As regards the mass, I have pondered the matter carefully and might give it to you for the honorarium of 100 Louis d’ors which you offered me, provided you agree to a few conditions which I shall propose and which I think, will not be found burdensome by you. We have gone through the plan for publication here and believe that with a few modifications it can be put into effect very soon, which is very necessary; wherefore I shall make haste to inform you of the necessary changes soon.


This would seem to indicate that the work had been practically completed, and that this view obtained amongst Beethoven’s friends we know from the evidence of the Conversation Books. In the summer at Mödling he was frequently asked if it was finished and when it would be performed. Some hurried sketches belonging to the Credo are found amongst the remarks of his friends, and also sketches for the Agnus Dei. Schindler asks him in August: “Is the Benedictus written out in score? Are those sketches for the Agnus?” Rudolph had communicated to him his intention to spend a part of the summer in Mödling. Beethoven writes to him on August 3 and September 2, making apologies for apparent neglect in not waiting upon him (he had no carriage the first time, was in ill-health the second), but says not a word about the mass. Some of the remarks in the Conversation Book are vague as to the composition referred to, but many are plain enough to show that Beethoven had informed his friends and advisers of the negotiations with Simrock. Surprise is expressed at Simrock’s delay. Beethoven is advised to write to him and also to Brentano in Frankfort, who had been authorized to collect the honorarium. In April somebody writes: “Have you written to Simrock that he must not publish the mass at once, as you want first to send it or hand it to the Archduke?” Again: “If you send the Recepisse of the stage-coach he will certainly send you the money at once.” And later: “It would be quicker to give the music to the stage-coach and send Brentano the receipt—at the same time informing Simrock that Brentano had been assured of its despatch; then Brentano can send you the money at once without waiting to receive the music.” In April again: “But he has not yet replied to your last offer of the mass? I mean Simrock—200 ducats could help you out greatly—Because of your circumstances. You must not delay writing to Simrock or Brentano. Brentano can send you the money at once—or at least very soon.” “I am surprised that Simrock has not answered yet.” Meanwhile Simrock answers. “Leave Simrock’s letter with me,” says the mentor, “I’ll answer it and give you the letter this afternoon—if you are satisfied with it you will sign it and I will post it to-morrow. There must be no delay.” “He says the mass can be used only by Catholics, which is not true.” “He is paying too little rather than too much with 200 ducats.”

It is obvious that some difficulty had arisen between Beethoven and Simrock. What that difficulty was is explained in a letter from Simrock to Brentano dated November 12, 1820. It was a misunderstanding concerning the price of the “new grand[46] musical mass” which the composer wished to sell for 100 Louis d’ors. The publisher had agreed to the price, understanding Louis d’ors to mean what the term meant in Bonn, Leipsic and throughout Germany, namely, the equivalent of Friedrichs d’ors, pistoles. In order to avoid unpleasantness after the reception of the mass he had explained this clearly to Beethoven and in a letter, dated September 23, had repeated that by Louis d’ors he meant Friedrichs d’ors; he was not in a position to give more. He would hold the sum in readiness against the receipt of the mass, which Beethoven had promised to provide with German as well as Latin words. He was also under the impression that he had asked a speedy decision, as he did not want to keep his money tied up in Frankfort. Hearing nothing for four weeks he had quit counting on the mass and made other use of his money. Learning, however, from Brentano’s letter of November 8th that Beethoven had agreed to let him have the mass, he now finds himself in the embarrassment of not having the gold Louis d’ors on hand, but as Brentano had said nothing on the subject he would in the meantime try to secure the coin, unless Brentano were willing to take the equivalent in florins at the rate of 9.36. He asked to be informed of the arrival of the music so that he might instruct Heinrich Verhuven to receive it on paying the sum mentioned.

Simrock waited four weeks before abandoning hope that Beethoven would send the mass; it was ten weeks and more before Beethoven answered Simrock’s letter. Then he sent his reply to Brentano enclosed in a letter dated November 28. The letter has not been found, or at least not made public; but the letter to Brentano[35] makes it plain that Beethoven had acceded to Simrock’s offer and agreed to take pistoles for Louis d’ors. He says:

Your kindness permits me to hope that you will not refuse to have the enclosure sent to Simrock, inasmuch as in it my views are set forth concerning the whole matter. Nothing remains now except to take what he offers, namely the 100 pistoles and as much more as you, an expert in the business, can get for me by the rate of exchange. I am convinced of your kind disposition in this regard. I am very hard-pressed just now, but such things are to be told last of all to a publisher; it is, thank God, not my fault, but my sacrifices for others, chiefly, too, for the weak Cardinal who led me into this morass and does not know how to help himself. As soon as the translation is finished I shall trouble you again by sending you the mass, and I pray you give a little attention then to securing what you can for me from the Jewish[36] publisher.


Thus matters stand with the Mass at the end of 1820, and thus they seem to have remained throughout the next year. Simrock always was to be but never was blest with the score. On July 18, 1821, Beethoven promises to put the work into the Archduke’s hands “while here”—i. e., at Unterdöbling; he leaves the reasons for the delay to the imagination of his patron: “the details might prove anything but pleasant to Y. I. H.” In November he thinks again of Simrock and on the 12th writes to Brentano:

The mass might have been sent before this, but had to be carefully looked through, for the publishers in other countries do not get along well with my manuscript, as I know from experience, and a copy for the engraver must be examined note by note. Moreover, I could not come because of illness, the more since despite everything I have been compelled to make a considerable number of potboilers (as unfortunately I must call them). I think I am justified in making an attempt to get Simrock to reckon the Louis d’ors at a higher rate, inasmuch as several applications have been made from other quarters, concerning which I shall write you soon. As for the rest, do not question my honesty; frequently I think of nothing except that your kind advance may soon be repaid.

Loan Advanced on the Mass

It seems a fair inference from the concluding remark, together with the advice of his friend or friends in the Conversation Book of the previous summer concerning a collection through Brentano as soon as the mass had been handed over to the stage-coach, that Beethoven had got an advance from Brentano on the money which was awaiting the arrival of the work in Frankfort. The following letter to Brentano strengthens the inference:

Vienna, December 20, 1821.

Noble man!

I am awaiting another letter respecting the mass, which I shall send you to give you an insight into the whole affair. In any event the entire honorarium will be paid to you whereupon you will please deduct the amount of my indebtedness to you, my gratitude to you will always be unbounded. I was so presumptuous as without asking to dedicate a composition of mine to your daughter Maxe, please accept the deed as a mark of my continual devotion to you and your entire family—do not misinterpret the dedication as prompted by interest or as a recompense—this would pain me greatly. There are nobler motives to which such things may be ascribed if reasons must be found. The new year is about to enter, may it fulfil all your wishes and daily increase your happiness as the father of a family in your children. I embrace you cordially and[48] beg you to present my compliments to your excellent, only and glorious Toni.

Yours, etc.

I have received from here and elsewhere offers of 200 ducats in gold for the mass. I think I can get 100 florins W. W. more. On this point I am waiting for a letter which I will send you at once, the matter might then be presented to Simrock, who will certainly not expect me to lose so much. Till then please be patient and do not think that you have acted magnanimously towards an unworthy man.

Three Sonatas at a Breath

Brentano informed Simrock of the situation; but the subject is now carried over into the next year and must be left for the nonce, while we take up the history of some other compositions. The last three pianoforte sonatas, Op. 109, 110 and 111, belong to this period. Also the Bagatelles Op. 119, Nos. 7 to 11 inclusive. Their story is known. Friedrich Starcke, Chapelmaster of an Austrian regiment of infantry, had undertaken the publication of a pianoforte method which he called the “Wiener Pianoforteschule.” Part III of the work, which appeared early in 1821, contained these five Bagatelles under the title “Trifles” (Kleinigkeiten). Above them Starcke printed: “A contribution from the great composer to the publisher.” They must have been asked for in 1820. Somewhere about February of that year an unidentified hand writes in the Conversation Book: “Starcke wants a little music-piece by you for the second part of his Klavierschule, for which he has contributions from the leading composers besides short notices.... We must give him something. Notwithstanding his great deserts in music and literature he is extremely modest, industrious and humble.... He understands the art of compiling well. There are now weaklings everywhere even among the strong.” To this appeal Beethoven yielded. He wrote the five Bagatelles, sketches for which are found amongst some for the Sonata in E major (Op. 109) and the Benedictus of the mass. No. 6 is also sketched among studies for the Credo. No doubt these little pieces were some of the “potboilers” (Brodarbeit) referred to in the letter to Brentano; also some folksong arrangements; and it may even be, that Beethoven included also the three great sonatas. Schindler relates that when Beethoven heard that it was bruited about that he had written himself out, his invention was exhausted, and that he had taken up Scottish melodies like Haydn in his old age, he seemed amused and said: “Wait a while, you’ll soon learn differently.” Schindler then adds: “Late in the Fall (1820), returned from his summer sojourn in Mödling, where like a bee he had been engaged busily in gathering ideas, he sat himself down[49] to his table and wrote out the three sonatas Op. 109, 110, 111 ‘in a single breath,’ as he expressed it in a letter to Count Brunswick in order to quiet the apprehension of his friends touching his mental condition.” Schindler was dubious about the “single breath” and, indeed, there was a considerable lapse of time between the writing of the first of the three sonatas and the last two. The Sonata in E belongs unquestionably to the year 1820. The first theme is found in the Conversation Book of April, and the work was sketched before he began the Benedictus of the mass and while he was at work on this movement, the Credo, the Agnus Dei and the Bagatelles for Starcke. Before the end of the year Archduke Rudolph received the manuscript for his collection. It was dedicated to Maximiliane Brentano,[37] and published in November, 1821, by Schlesinger in Berlin.

Beethoven has himself left data concerning the other two sonatas. On the autograph of that in A-flat major, Op. 110, he wrote the date “December 25, 1821.” Sketches for it follow sketches for the Agnus Dei of the mass, which were begun in 1820.[38] It was published by Schlesinger in Berlin and Paris in 1822. There is evidence in a memorandum to Schindler found among the latter’s papers, and also in a letter to Schlesinger of 1823, that Beethoven intended to dedicate both of the last two sonatas to Madame Brentano. “Ries-nichts” (“nothing to Ries”), says the memorandum, significantly. Ideas utilized in the C minor Sonata, Op. 111, are found amongst those for Op. 110 and particularly among some for the Agnus Dei. The autograph bears the date January 13, 1822,[39] and it is plain that most of the work was done in 1821. It was published by Schlesinger in April, 1823, after Beethoven had offered it to Peters of Leipsic. Corrections for these three sonatas occupied a great deal of time; the engraving of the French edition of the C minor was so faulty that Beethoven demanded proof copies three times; twice his call was granted, the third time it was refused.[40] This Sonata, Op. 111, was dedicated[50] to Archduke Rudolph. Beethoven had left the matter to Schlesinger, but he afterward made a suggestion as to his wishes, for in a letter to the Archduke on June 1, 1823, he writes: “Y. I. H. seemed to find pleasure in the Sonata in C minor, and therefore I feel that it would not be presumptuous if I were to surprise you with its dedication.”

There are few other compositions of these two years to ask attention, the Canons and five Bagatelles having been mentioned. There is a song, “Abendlied unter dem gestirnten Himmel,” words by Heinrich Göbel, the original manuscript of which bears date March 4, 1820, and which was published as a supplement to the “Modenzeitung” on March 28, 1820, with a dedication to Dr. Braunhofer.[41] The twenty-five Scotch Songs, Op. 108, were published in 1821 by Schlesinger. The performances of Beethoven’s works in Vienna in 1820 and 1821 are quickly summed up. The Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde performed the “Eroica” on February 20, the C minor on April 9 and the F major on November 19. The Overture in C, Op. 115, was played at a concert for the benefit of Widows and Orphans on April 16, 1820. In the Concerts spirituels, conducted by F. X. Gebauer in the season 1820-21, the Symphonies in C minor, A major, and F major, and the Oratorio “Christus am Ölberg,” were performed. Leopoldine Blahetka, a young woman of 18 who was creating something of a furore by her pianoforte playing at the time, played the Concerto in B-flat on April 3, having studied it with J. Czerny.


Chapter III

The Year 1822—The Missa Solemnis—Beethoven and His Publishers—Brother Johann—Meetings with Rochlitz and Rossini—Overture: “The Consecration of the House”—A Revival of “Fidelio”—Madame Schroeder-Devrient—The “Bagatelles”—A Commission from America.

It is now desirable to disregard the strict chronological sequence of incident and dispose, so far as is possible, of the history of the great Mass in D prior to the adoption of a new plan by which Beethoven hoped to make it a source of extraordinary revenue. So far as it affects Beethoven’s character as a man not always scrupulous in his observance of business obligations, the story does not need to extend beyond the year 1822. Careful readers of this biography can easily recall a number of lapses from high ideals of candor and justice in his treatment of his friends and of a nice sense of honor and honesty in his dealings with his publishers; but at no time have these blemishes been so numerous or so patent as they are in his negotiations for the publication of the Missa Solemnis—a circumstance which is thrown into a particularly strong light by the frequency and vehemence of his protestations of moral rectitude in the letters which have risen like ghosts to accuse him, and by the strange paradox that the period is one in which his artistic thoughts and imagination dwelt in the highest regions to which they ever soared. He was never louder in his protestations of business morality than when he was promising the mass to four or more publishers practically at the same time, and giving it to none of them; never more apparently frank than when he was making ignoble use of a gentleman, whom he himself described as one of the best friends on earth, as an intermediary between himself and another friend to whom he was bound by business ties and childhood associations which challenged confidence; never more obsequious (for even this word must now be used in describing his attitude towards Franz Brentano) than after he had secured a loan from that friend in the nature of an advance on a contract which[52] he never carried out; never more apparently sincere than when he told one publisher (after he had promised the mass to another) that he should be particularly sorry if he were unable to give the mass into his hands; never more forcefully and indignantly honest in appearance than when he informed still another publisher that the second had importuned him for the mass (“bombarded” was the word), but that he had never even deigned to answer his letters. But even this is far from compassing the indictment; the counts are not even complete when it is added that in a letter he states that the publisher whom he had told it would have been a source of sorrow not to favor had never even been contemplated amongst those who might receive the mass; that he permitted the friend to whom he first promised the score to tie up some of his capital for a year and more so that “good Beethoven” should not have to wait a day for his money; that after promising the mass to the third publisher he sought to create the impression that it was not the Missa Solemnis that had been bargained for, but one of two masses which he had in hand.

It is not only proper, but a duty, to give all possible weight to the circumstances which can be, ought to be, must indeed be pleaded in extenuation of his conduct; but the facts can not be obscured or ignored without distorting the picture of the man Beethoven as this biography has consistently striven from the beginning to present it. For English and American readers, moreover, the shock of surprise will be lessened by a recollection of Beethoven’s first transactions in London, which more than five years before had called out the advice of the English publishers to Neate for God’s sake not to buy anything of Beethoven! As for the rest it is right to remember that at this time many of the sources of Beethoven’s income had dried up. He was no longer able to offer his publishers symphonies in pairs, or sonatas and chamber compositions in groups. He produced laboriously and, in the case of compositions which were dear to his heart, with infinite and untiring care and insatiable desire for perfection. Engrossed in such works, he gave no thought to pecuniary reward; but, rudely disturbed by material demands, he sought the first means at hand to supply the need. Hence his resurrection of works composed and laid aside years before; his acceptance of commissions which he was never able to perform; his promise of speedy delivery of works scarcely begun; his acceptance of advances on contracts which he could not fulfil; his strange confidence (this we feel we are justified in assuming) in his ability to bring forth works of magnitude in time to keep his obligations[53] even when the works which he had in mind had already been there for years; his ill-health which brought with it loss of creative vitality, of fecundity in ideas and facility in execution in inverse ratio to the growth of his artistic ideals; the obsession of his whole being by his idolatrous love for his nephew and the mental distress and monetary sacrifice which his self-assumed obligation entailed and which compelled him to become the debtor of his publishers lest he encroach upon the emoluments of the Vienna Congress which he had solemnly consecrated to his foster-son. Let all these things be remembered when the story of his shortcomings is told.[42]

And now let the story of the Mass be resumed from the point where it was dropped in the preceding chapter; with it will be found statements bearing on a few other more or less inconsequential compositions.

Reprehensible Conduct towards Simrock

On May 13, 1822, Simrock reminds Beethoven that a year has passed since he promised to deliver the score into his hands by the end of April. Since October 25, 1820, he (Simrock) had kept 100 Louis d’ors on deposit in Frankfort so that there would be no delay in the payment of the remuneration. On March 19, Beethoven had written that he had been sick abed for six weeks and was not yet entirely well. He had told the publisher to rest easy in his mind, that being the sole purpose of the letter. The publisher had gone to the autumn fair of 1821 and to the Easter fair of 1822 and asked Brentano for the mass; but been told that it had not been received. He begs for a few words on the subject. It would seem as if Simrock had preserved his temper very well. The letter brings another evidence of his unchanged good will, He had resolved at an earlier period to publish the six symphonies which were in his catalogue in a new edition, but had not done so because it would not pay. Now, he said, he wanted to rear a monument to his worthy old friend and had brought out the scores in a style which he hoped the composer would deem worthy.[54] What Beethoven said in reply to this letter is not known, his answer not having been given to the world; it can be surmised, however, from the recital given to Brentano in a letter from Beethoven dated May 19. He had been troubled by “gout in the chest” for four months, he says, and able to do but little work; nevertheless the Mass would be in Frankfort by the end of the next month, that is, by the end of June, 1822. There was another reason for the delay. Cardinal Rudolph, strongly disposed in favor of his music at all times, did not want the Mass published so early and had returned to the composer the score and parts only three days before. Here we have a very significant statement. What may be called the official copy of the Mass in D was formally presented to Archduke Rudolph on March 19, 1823; here, ten months earlier, he speaks of a score and parts which the Archduke had returned to him three days before. The Mass, therefore, must have had what, for the time being (Beethoven never considered it finished so long as it was in his hands), was looked upon as a definitive shape at the time when Beethoven promised to send it to Brentano for Simrock. The Archduke returned it, as Beethoven says, so that the publication might not be hindered. How long it had been in the hands of the Archduke no one can tell. Now, said Beethoven to Brentano, the score will be copied again, carefully examined, which would take some time owing to his ill health, but it would be in Frankfort at the end of June “at the latest,” by which time Simrock must be ready to make payment. He had received better offers from Vienna and elsewhere, but had rejected all of them because he had given his word to Simrock and would abide by the agreement even if he lost money, trusting to make his losses good by other sales to Simrock who, moreover, might be disposed to make a contract for the Complete Edition. Brentano communicated with Simrock at once and received a letter from the publisher on May 29 expressing regret that sickness had been partly responsible for the delay. He had been expecting the Mass every day for more than a year, during which time the money had lain with Heinrich Verhuven because he did not want Beethoven to wait a single day for it.

Thus on May 19, Beethoven tells Brentano that he will keep the faith with Simrock even at a sacrifice. On March 1, however, he had written to Schlesinger in Berlin:

In regard to my health, things are better. As to the Mass I beg of you to get everything, everything (Alles, alles, in Jahn’s transcript) in readiness as other publishers have asked for it and many approaches have been made to me, especially from here, but I resolved long ago that[55] it should not be published here, as the matter is a very important one for me. For the present I ask of you only that you signify to me whether you accept my last offer of the Mass together with the two songs; as regards the payment of the honorarium, it may wait for more than four weeks. I must insist upon an early answer, chiefly because two other publishers who want to have it in their catalogues have been waiting for a definite answer from me for a considerable time. Farewell, and write to me at once; it would grieve me very much if I could not give you just this particular work.

The Mass Sold to Schlesinger

Schlesinger, as we learn from a letter dated July 2, 1822, had received letters from Beethoven under date of April 9, May 29 and June (he mistakenly says May 1). He answers the three at once, excusing his delay on the ground that he had attended the fair in Leipsic, where he fell ill, and had remained under the weather for several weeks after his return to Berlin. Meanwhile business had accumulated. He accepts Beethoven’s terms for the mass and the two songs:

Everything is in order about the Mass; pray send it and the two songs as soon as possible and draw on me at fourteen days’ sight for 650 R. T. I will honor the draft at once and pay it. I have no opportunity to make payment to you through Vienna. Although several music dealers there are extensively in my debt I cannot count on prompt payment from any of them. These gentlemen have two very ugly traits: 1), they do not respect property rights and 2), it is with difficulty that they are brought to pay their accounts. The book dealers are much sounder.

By a coincidence Schlesinger’s son, who had established himself in business in Paris, wrote to Beethoven on the same day and asked him if a third movement of the Pianoforte Sonata in C minor (Op. 111), which he was publishing, had not been forgotten at the copyists. He, like his father a little later, evidently suspected that they had not received as much music, measured in detached movements, as they had paid for; they missed a rondo finale! The incident may have amused, or (which is more likely) even angered Beethoven; but it can scarcely account for the fact that Beethoven resolved about this time to have nothing more to do with Schlesinger père. On July 26 he writes to Peters of Leipsic, with whom he has now entered into negotiations and to whom he has offered the Mass, “In no event will Schlesinger ever get anything more from me; he has played me a Jewish trick, but aside from that he is not among those who might have received the Mass.” When Beethoven was conducting the negotiations with Schott and Sons in Mayence which resulted in the firm’s getting the work, he recurred to the Schlesingers in a letter of January 22, 1824, and said: “Neither is Schlesinger to be trusted, for he[56] takes where he can. Both père et fils bombarded me for the mass, but I did not deign to answer either of them, since after thinking them over I had cast them out long before.” Beethoven’s threats were frequently mere brutum fulmen; the Schlesingers, père et fils, remained his friends to the end and got two of the last Quartets.

Both Simrock and Schlesinger are now waiting for Beethoven to send them the Mass and the fee is waiting for the composer at Frankfort. Meanwhile negotiations have been taken up with a newcomer in the field, who, however, is but trying to renew an association which had begun more than 29 years earlier. Before entering upon this phase of the history of the Mass it seems well to dispose finally of the Simrock incident.[43] On August 22, 1822, Simrock wrote to Beethoven again. Beethoven’s answer followed on September 13 and, as it contains more than a mere implication why he refused to abide by his contract (a point that has been a matter more or less of speculation from the time when the negotiations ceased till now), it is given in full here:

An Appeal to Simrock’s Generosity

Baden, September 13, 1822.

My dear and valued Simrock:

You will receive this letter from Baden, where I am taking the baths, as my illness which has lasted a year and a half is not yet ended. Much as I should like to write to you about many things I must yet be brief and only reply to your last of August 22nd. As regards the Mass you know that at an earlier date I wrote you that a larger honorarium had been offered me. I would not be so sordid as to haggle with you for a hundred or few more florins; but my poor health and many other unpleasant circumstances compel me to insist upon it. The minimum that at least four publishers have offered me for the mass is 1000 florins Convention Coin at the rate of twenty, or counting the florin at 3 Austrian florins C. C. Much as I shall regret if we must part just because of this work, I know that your generosity (Biederherzigkeit) will not allow me to lose money on this work, which is perhaps the greatest that I have composed. You know that I am not boastful and that I do not like to show the letters of others or even quote from them; if it were not so I might submit proofs from far and near. But I very much wish to have the matter about the Mass settled as soon as possible, for I have had to endure plots of all sorts on account of it. It would be agreeable if you would let me know as soon as possible if you will pay me this honorarium. If you will, you need only deposit the difference with Brentano, whereupon I will at once send you a well corrected score of the Mass which will[57] suffice you for the engraving. I hope my dear Simrock, whom I consider the richest of all these publishers, will not permit his old friend to go elsewhere for the sake of a few hundred florins. Concerning all other matters I will write you soon; I shall remain here till the beginning of October. I shall receive all letters which you may write, safely as I did your last, only I beg you to write soon. Farewell, greet the family cordially for me; as soon as I can I will write to them myself.

Cordially your old friend,

This letter can scarcely be called ingenuous by the most zealous of Beethoven’s defenders. Aside from the fact that he had closed the contract, had received an advance on the sum deposited and told Brentano that he would keep his promise even at a sacrifice to himself, the 1000 florins which he now asks Simrock to pay was not the minimum sum which other publishers had offered but the maximum sum which he had asked and all of them had agreed to pay—which, indeed, B. Schott and Sons did pay a year and a half later. Under the circumstances it is scarcely to be wondered at if the appeal to Simrock’s generosity fell on stony soil; but we do not know that it did. The letter was evidently answered by Simrock, who, despairing of ever getting the Mass, may have suggested that he would accept other works in lieu of it, for on March 10, 1823, Beethoven writes again saying (as he had said to Peters in November, 1822) that he should surely receive a mass, for he had written two and was only undecided which one to send. He asked Simrock to be patient till Easter, when he would send one of them to Brentano. He intended also to write a mass for the Emperor. As to other works, he offered the overture to “The Consecration of the House,” the music to “The Ruins of Athens,” the overture to “King Stephen,” some songs and “Kleinigkeiten” for the pianoforte. Only for the new overture did he fix a price (50 ducats), but he added: “You will surely receive one of these two grand masses which are already composed; only be patient till after Easter, by which time I shall have decided which to send.” This is the last letter between Beethoven and Simrock which has been found. It leaves the composer promising a mass instead of delivering the Mass, and that promise unfulfilled;—of a necessity, for the work, though described as “already composed,” was never written.

In 1814 C. F. Peters had purchased the Bureau de Musique founded in 1798 by Hoffmeister and Kühnel, publishers of a number of Beethoven’s compositions, including the First Symphony, between 1800 and 1805. On May 18, 1822, Peters addressed a letter to Beethoven in which he said that he had long wished to[58] publish some of his compositions but had refrained from applying to him because he did not wish to offend the Viennese publishers; seeing now, however, that he was going outside with his compositions and giving them “even to the Jew Schlesinger,” he would no longer give heed to such considerations. He had spoken to Steiner on the subject at the last fair, who had offered no objections, had, indeed, said that he would be glad if he (Peters) got the works instead of Schlesinger, and had offered his services as mediary between him and Beethoven, and asked for a list of compositions which he wanted. Thereupon he had given Steiner such a list: symphonies, pianoforte quartets and trios, pianoforte solos “among which there might be small pieces,” songs, etc.—anything, in short, which Beethoven should send him would be welcome, for he wanted honor, not profit, from the association. Beethoven replied on June 5:

Although I met Steiner several days ago and asked him jocularly what he had brought for me from Leipsic, he did not mention your commission, even in a syllable, nor you, but earnestly pleaded with me to assure him that I would give him and him alone all my present and future works and this contract-wise; I declined. This trait suffices to show you why I often prefer foreign publishers to local; I love straightforwardness and uprightness and am of the opinion that the artist ought not to be belittled, for alas! glittering as is the external aspect of fame, he is not permitted to be Jupiter’s guest on Olympus every day; too often and too repulsively the vulgar many drag him down from the pure ethereal heights.

He now opened his budget of wares: the largest work was a Mass—many had striven for it, “100 weighty Louis d’ors” had been offered for it, but he had demanded at least 1,000 florins Convention Coin, for which sum he would also prepare the pianoforte score; variations on a waltz (“there are many”) for pianoforte—30 ducats in gold; a comic air with orchestra on Goethe’s “Mit Mädeln sich vertragen,” and another air of the same genre, 16 ducats each;[44] several rather extended songs with pianoforte accompaniment, among them a little Italian cantata with recitative,[45] 12 ducats each; there were also recitatives to some of the German songs; 8 ducats each for songs; an elegy for four voices and string quartet accompaniment,[46] 24 ducats; a chorus of Dervishes with full orchestra, 20 ducats; a march for orchestra written for the tragedy “Tarpeia,” with arrangement for pianoforte, 12[59] ducats; Romance for violin solo and orchestra,[47] 15 ducats; Grand Trio for 2 oboi and 1 English horn,[48] which might be transcribed for other instruments, 30 ducats; four military marches with percussion (“Turkish music”) prices on application; bagatelles, or trifles for pianoforte, prices on application.

The copy of the letter as printed contains the words here: “All these works are ready,” but they are wanting in the original draft. Beethoven now goes on with a list of compositions which Peters “might have soon”; a sonata for pianoforte solo,[49] 40 ducats; a string quartet, 50 ducats. More than anything else, however, he was desirous to have a complete edition of his works, as he wished to look after the publication in his lifetime. He had received a number of applications, but could not, or would not, meet all the conditions. With some necessary help he thought such an edition of his works might be brought out in two years, possibly in one-and-a-half; a new work was to be added to each class, “to the Variations a new set of variations, to the Sonatas a new sonata,” etc., “and for all these together I ask 10,000 florins Convention Coin.” He deplores the fact that he is no business man; he wishes that matters were different than they are, but he is forced to act as he does by competition, and begs that secrecy be observed touching the negotiations, to guard against trouble with other publishers.

He was not kept waiting for an answer;—Peters’ reply is dated June 15. He regrets to hear of Steiner’s duplicity, but his conduct may have been harmless in intention and caused by his weakness. The works which he wanted and of which he had given a list to Steiner were a quartet for strings, a trio of the same kind, a concert overture for full orchestra, songs and some small solos for pianoforte “such as capriccios, divertissements,” etc. Then he takes up Beethoven’s detailed offer of compositions:

The Mass Sold to Peters

The most admirable amongst them is your Grand Mass, which you offer me together with the pianoforte score for one thousand florins C. C. and to the acceptance of which at the price I confess my readiness.... Between honest men (offenen Männern) like us there is no need of a contract; but if you want one send it to me and I will return it signed. If not, please state to me in writing that I am to receive the Mass in question[60] together with the pianoforte score for 1000 florins in 20-florin pieces, and indicate when I am to receive it and that it is to be my sole property for ever. I want the first so that I may look upon this transaction as concluded, and the time I want to know so that I can arrange about the publication. If I were a rich man I would pay you very differently for this Mass, for I opine that it is something right excellent, especially because it was composed for an occasion; but for me 1000 florins for a Mass is a large expenditure and the entire transaction, on my word, is undertaken only in order to show myself to you and the world as a publisher who does something for art. I must ask another consideration, namely, that nobody learn how much I have paid for the Mass—at least not for some time; I am not a man of large means, but must worry and drudge; nevertheless I pay artists as well as I can and in general better than other publishers.

For the present, Peters adds, he does not want to publish larger vocal works by Beethoven nor the Mass singly but along with other works, to show the Viennese publishers that there is a contract between him and Beethoven which obliges the latter to send him compositions. To that end he asks for some songs, a few bagatelles for pianoforte solo, the four military marches; he would be glad to take also the new string quartet, but 50 ducats is beyond his means. Beethoven is at liberty to tell Steiner that he had applied to Beethoven with his knowledge and consent. Beethoven’s answer (incorrectly dated July instead of June 26) says:

Sale of the Mass to Peters Confirmed

I write you now only that I give you the Mass together with the pianoforte score for the sum of 1000 florins, C. C. in 20-florin pieces. You will in all likelihood receive the score in copy by the end of July—perhaps a few days earlier or later. As I am always busy and have been ailing for five months and works must be carefully examined, if they go to a distance this always is a slower matter with me. In no event will Schlesinger ever get anything more from me; he has played me a Jewish trick, but aside from that he is not among those who might have received the Mass. The competition for my works is very strong at present for which I thank the Almighty, for I have also already lost much. Moreover, I am the foster-father of the child of my brother, who died destitute. As this boy at the age of 15 years shows so much aptitude for the sciences, his studies and support cost much money now and he must be provided for in the future, we being neither Indians nor Iroquois who, as is notorious, leave everything in the hands of God, and a pauper’s is a wretched lot. I keep silence concerning everything between us by preference and beg you to be silent about the present connection with me. I will let you know when it is time to speak, which is not at all necessary now.... I assure you on my honor, which I hold highest after God, that I never asked Steiner to receive orders for me. It has always been my chief principle never to appeal to a publisher, not out of pride but because I have wanted to see how extended is the province which my fame has reached.... As for the songs, I have[61] already spoken. I think that an honorarium of 40 ducats is not too much for the 3 songs and 4 marches. You can write to me on the subject. As soon as the Mass is ready I will let you know and ask you to remit the honorarium to a house here and I will deliver the work as soon as I have received it. I will take care to be present at the delivery to the post and that the freight charge shall not be too great. I should like soon to be made acquainted with your plan concerning the complete edition which is so close to my heart.

Peters answers this letter on July 3. He is willing to pay 40 ducats for the songs and marches and to remit part of the honorarium in advance. Beethoven’s complaint about his financial affairs distresses him and he would like to help him. “It is wrong that a man like you is obliged to think about money matters. The great ones of the earth should long ago have placed you in a position free from care, so that you would no longer have to live on art but only for art.” Before this letter was received Beethoven had written a second and supplementary reply to the letter of June 13; it is dated July 6. He had reread his letter and discovered that Peters wanted some of the bagatelles and a quartet for strings. For the former, “among which are some of considerable length—they might be published separately under the title ‘Kleinigkeiten’ (Trifles) No. 1, 2, etc.”—he asked 8 ducats each. The quartet was not fully completed, work on it having been interrupted. Here it was difficult to lower the prices, as such works were the most highly paid for—he might almost say, to the shame of the general taste, which in art frequently falls below that of private taste. “I have written you everything concerning the Mass, and that is settled.” On July 12, Peters writes that he does not know how long the bagatelles are and so can not tell whether they are to be printed separately or together; but he asks that a number be sent to him together with word as to how many of such small pieces Beethoven has on hand, as he might take them all. As for songs he would prefer to have some in the style of “Adelaide” or “Schloss Markenstein.” The honorarium for the compositions which were to be sent now would amount to 200 or 300 florins in pieces of 20, but as he could not determine the exact amount he asked Beethoven to collect the amount from Meiss (Meisl) Brothers, bankers, on exhibition of receipt and bill of shipment. It was all the same to him whether he collected the money now or later; it was waiting and at Beethoven’s disposal. In this manner, so convenient for Beethoven, he would make all his payments for manuscripts purchased. On August 3 Beethoven writes:

I have not made up my mind as to the selection of songs and Kleinigkeiten, but everything will be delivered by August 13. I await[62] your advices in the matter and will make no use of your bill of exchange. As soon as I know that the honorarium for the Mass and the other works is here all these things can be delivered by the 15th.

Peters was prompt in his remittance of the money which was to be subject to Beethoven’s order; Beethoven, though less prompt in getting it, was yet ahead of his delivery of the manuscripts for which the money was to pay. Singularly enough, the incident which provides for us knowledge of the time when the money was received by Peters’s agent served as evidence in Beethoven’s excuse for drawing the money without keeping his part of the agreement. On July 25, about a fortnight after the date of Peters’s letter of advice, Piringer, associate conductor of the Concerts spirituels, who was on terms of intimacy with Beethoven, wrote him as follows:

Domine Generalissimo!

Victoria in Döbling—fresh troops are advancing! The wholesalers, Meisl Bros, here in the Rauhensteingasse, their own house, 2nd storey, have received advices from Hrn. Peters in Leipsic to pay several hundred florins to Herrn Ludwig van Beethoven. I hasten on Degen’s pinions[50] to convey this report to Illustrissimo at once. To-day is the first sad day in the Viennese calendar, because yesterday was the last day of the Italian opera.

This letter Beethoven sent to Peters from Baden on September 13 in evidence of his presumption that Piringer, who was a daily caller at the Steiner establishment, had gossipped about the relations between him and Peters. He was sorry that Peters had sent the money so early, but fearing talk he had collected the money. He would send all the little things soon. He had been pressed by the Cardinal, who had come to Baden on the 15th and on whom he had to attend several times a week; and work had been forced upon him by the opening of the Josephstadt Theatre; also he wanted to write new trios to some of the marches and revise other works, but illness and too much other employment had prevented. “You see from this at least that I am not an author for the sake of money.... You will recall that I begged you to keep everything away from Steiner. Why? That I will reveal to you in time. I hope that God will protect me against the wiles of this wicked man Steiner.” On November 22, Beethoven writes again: he had been expecting reproaches for his negligence but though he had delivered nothing he had received the honorarium. It looked wrong (“offensive” is his word), but he was sure that all would be set right could they but be together a few minutes.[63] All the music intended for Peters had been laid aside except the songs, the selection of which had not yet been made; as a reward for waiting, Peters should receive one more than the stipulated number. He could deliver more than the four bagatelles agreed on, as he had nine or ten extra ones on hand.

A Mass” not “the Mass” for Peters

Now there enters a new element into the story of the Mass; let Beethoven introduce it in his own words: “This is the state of affairs with regard to the Mass: I completed one long ago, but another is not yet finished. There will always be gossip about me, and you must have been misled about it. I do not know which of the two you will receive.” The gossip against which Beethoven warned Peters, it is safe to assume, related to the compositions which the latter had purchased but not received; in great likelihood rumors about the Mass had reached Leipsic. Peters was in communication with Steiner and others; and that he knew that the mass had been planned for the installation of Archduke Rudolph as Archbishop of Olmütz he had indicated when he expressed the belief that it was something “right excellent” because it had been composed for an occasion. The mass which Beethoven had agreed to deliver by the end of July could therefore have been none other than the Mass in D. It is deserving of mention, however, that there is evidence that Beethoven was thinking of more than one mass at the time—in fact, that he had thoughts of three. In a sketchbook of the period is found a memorandum: “The Kyrie in the second mass with wind-instruments and organ only”;[51] and in another place there are six measures of a theme for a Dona nobis with the superscription “Mass in C-sharp minor.” To this Dona there is still another reference or two of a later date; but that is all. It is likely that the second mass was intended for the Emperor, as we shall see later; Beethoven himself says that he had thoughts of a third.

Peters is getting importunate, and on December 20 Beethoven writes to him that nothing intended for him is entirely ready; there had been delays in copying and sending, but he had no time to explain. The songs and marches would be sent “next week” and there would be six bagatelles instead of four, and he asks that payment be made for the extra two on receipt. He had so many applications for his works that he could not attend to them all: “Were it not that my income brings in nothing[52] I should compose[64] only grand symphonies, church music or at the outside quartets in addition.” Of smaller works Peters might have variations for two oboes and English horn on a theme from “Don Giovanni”—Da ci la mano wrote Beethoven, meaning Là ci darem la mano—and a Gratulatory Minuet;[53] he would like Peters’ opinion about the complete edition. In a letter with the double date February 15 and 18, 1823, Peters is informed that three songs,[54] six bagatelles, one march and a tattoo had been sent on the preceding Saturday—the tattoo in place of one of the promised marches:

You will pardon the delay I believe, if you could see into my heart you would not accuse me of intentional wrongdoing. To-day I give the lacking two tattoos and the fourth grand march to the post. I thought it best to send three tattoos and a march instead of four marches, although the former can be used as marches. Regimental chapelmasters can best judge how to use such things and moreover pianoforte arrangements of them might be made. My conduct as an artist you may judge from the songs; one has an accompaniment for two clarinets, one horn, violas and violoncellos and can be sung to these instruments alone or with the pianoforte without them. The second song is with accompaniment for two clarinets, two horns and two bassoons, and can also be sung to them alone or with pianoforte accompaniment alone. Both songs have choruses and the third is a quite extended arietta with pianoforte alone. I hope you are now reassured. I should be sorry if these delays were attributed to my fault or desire. I shall soon write to you about the Mass, as the decision which you are to have will presently be made.

“Some time” before March 10, 1823, Beethoven repaid the loan of 300 florins to Brentano, sending the money through Geimüller. In his letter of thanks on that date he encloses a letter to Simrock, unsealed evidently, and says to his friend, “You see from it the state of things concerning the Mass.” What that state was as it presented itself to the mind of Beethoven we have as yet no means of knowing; but we know that Peters was still kept in a state of expectation, for on March 20, 1823, Beethoven writes:

As regards the Mass I will also send you a document which I beg you to sign, for in any event the time is approaching when you will receive one or the other. Besides yourself there are two other men who also desire each a mass. I am resolved to write at least three—the first is entirely finished, the second not yet, the third not even begun; but in view of them I must have an understanding so that I may be secured in any case. You may have the Mass whenever you pay 1000 C. C.


Three Purchasers Fail to Get the Mass

So far as Peters is concerned the matter must be dropped for a space; he published none of the works sent to him, did not receive the Mass, and, refusing to take a quartet in return for the 360 florins which Beethoven collected in advance, placing the blame on him, got the money back from Beethoven some time after November, 1825. Peters did not get the Mass; nor did Simrock; nor did Schlesinger; nor did Probst, another Leipsic publisher with whom Beethoven carried on negotiations for it and the Ninth Symphony, as will appear later; nor did Artaria, Beethoven’s old publisher who, in all likelihood, was one of the “two other men” of whom Beethoven wrote in the letter last quoted. On August 23, 1822, Artaria received a letter which, as it seems to stand alone so far as the Mass is concerned, may well be printed in full:

Being just now overwhelmed with work, I can only say briefly that I have always returned your favors whenever possible. As regards the Mass I have been offered 1000 florins, C. C. for it. The state of my affairs do not permit me to take a smaller honorarium from you. All that I can do is to give you the preference. Rest assured that I do not take a heller more from you than has been offered me by others. I could prove this to you in writing. You may think this over but I beg of you to send me an answer by to-morrow noon as to-morrow is postday and my decision is expected in other places.

I will make a proposition to you concerning the 150 florins C. C. which I owe you, but the sum must not be deducted now, as I am in urgent need of the 1000 florins. In addition I beg of you to keep everything secret about the Mass.

It must long ago have been observed by the studious reader of these pages that a great deal of illuminative material in the life-story of Beethoven is found in the correspondence between the composer and his publishers; but these letters in the later years of his life, and especially in the period with which we are now concerned, were but sorry guides to the state of forwardness in which compositions found themselves at any stated time. Frequently they offer for publication works which, so far as they had been fixed on paper at all, existed only in the form of detached sketches; also some which, so far as we know, existed only in the plans or purposes of the composer of which the letters themselves are the only surviving records. It seems also to be a fair deduction from them that Beethoven’s attitude towards his publishers with reference to them depended to a considerable extent on his temporary financial condition, and sometimes they are an index of that consecration to high artistic ideals of which he remains an unapproached exemplar. The Mass in D is almost always ready for delivery when he is in financial extremities; but when he has helped himself with loans[66] or the collection of advances, or the sale of old manuscripts or potboilers, his insatiable desire to revise, amend and improve his great work takes possession of him, and the vast amount of rewriting and recopying thus entailed pushes its ultimate completion into the future and precipitates another period of distress. He borrowed money from Brentano on the strength of the deposit which Simrock had made in Frankfort; collected the honorarium which Peters had advanced on the purchase of long undelivered songs, bagatelles and marches; postponed the evil day of liquidation with Steiner; finally borrowed money from his brother Johann, and to secure the debt practically hypothecated to him all the manuscripts which lay finished and unfinished in his desk by placing their sale in his hands, subject to his instructions and advice. This circumstance brings Johann van Beethoven back significantly into this history and invites an inquiry into his character and his conduct with reference to his famous brother. That, contemptible as his character may have been, he has yet been maligned and his conduct towards Beethoven falsified by Schindler and the romance writers who have accepted Schindler’s misrepresentations and embellished them with the products of their own unscrupulous imaginations, is scarcely open to doubt.

Something of the earlier history of Johann van Beethoven has been told in the chapters of this biography which deal with the incidents of the years 1808 and 1812. The brother, whose association with a woman obnoxious to him because of her frivolousness and moral laxity Beethoven sought to prevent by police methods and thereby only precipitated a marriage, had grown rich enough in the interim to buy some farm property near Gneixendorf and to make his winter residence in Vienna. There we find him in the spring of 1822 living in the house of his brother-in-law, a baker named Obermayer, at the intersection of Koth- and Pfarrgassen. Thenceforward for a number of years, because of his relationship to his famous brother, his idiosyncrasies, habits and public behavior (and to a smaller number, the conduct of his wife), he became a conspicuous and rather comical figure in Vienna. Gerhard von Breuning described him thus:[55]

His hair was blackish-brown; hat well brushed; clothing clean but suggesting that of a man who wishes to be elegantly clad on Sundays; somewhat old-fashioned and uncouth, an effect which was caused by his bone-structure, which was angular and unlovely. His waist was rather small; no sign of embonpoint; shoulders broad; if my memory serves me rightly, his shoulders were a trifle uneven, or it may have been his[67] angular figure which made him look unsymmetrical; his clothing generally consisted of a blue frockcoat with brass buttons, white necktie, light trousers (I think corn color), loose linen-thread gloves, the fingers too long so that they folded at the ends or stuck out loosely. His hands were broad and bony. He was not exactly tall of stature, but much taller than Ludwig. His nose was large and rather long, the position of his eyes, crooked, the effect being as if he squinted a little with one eye. The mouth was crooked, one corner drawn upwards giving him the expression of a mocking smile. In his garb he affected to be a well-to-do elegant, but the role did not suit his angular, bony figure. He did not in the least resemble his brother Ludwig.

Character of Johann van Beethoven

Breuning also says in his book “Aus dem Schwarzspanierhause,” that he was sometimes seen driving in the Prater with two or four horses in an old-fashioned phaeton, either handling the reins himself or lolling carelessly in the seat with two gallooned servants on the box. Beethoven’s friends used to ridicule his brother to his face. In a Conversation Book of 1822-23 Count Moritz Lichnowsky writes: “Everybody thinks him a fool; we call him only the Chevalier—all the world says of him that his only merit is that he bears your name.” No doubt there was something, even a good deal, of the parvenu in Johann’s character. He had neither the intellectual nor moral poise to fit him for the place which he thought he was entitled to fill by virtue of his wealth and his relationship to one of the most famous men of his age. Nor could he command respect from a social point of view. How far from above reproach his wife was, Beethoven showed by his unjustifiable conduct when he sought to have her ejected from Linz in order to separate her from his brother. That conduct Ludwig’s letters, soon to be quoted, show had been condoned by him, but a memorandum found among Schindler’s papers discloses that her conduct in Vienna was such that Beethoven again thought of invoking the police.[56]

A Defense of the Older Brother

That Johann van Beethoven was fond of money is indicated in his remarks in the Conversation Books, when his advice to his[68] brother is always dictated by financial considerations and, no doubt, by the thoughts of profits in which he hoped to share. But what would you? For what other purposes had Beethoven asked him in to his councils? Surely not to get his views on the artistic value of his work. He defers in his letters to his brother’s superior business sagacity—that is all. It does not anywhere appear that Johann ever attempted to overreach him or lead him to financial injury. No doubt Beethoven in his fits of anger said many things about him which put him in a bad light before his friends; but did he not do the same thing in their own cases? Did Schindler escape calumny? The better evidence is that offered by the letters which show that Beethoven had confidence in his brother’s honesty and judgment, invited his help, and was solicitous lest he suffer loss from his efforts. If Johann lacked appreciation of his brother’s real significance in art, he was proud of the world’s appreciation of him, and if he could not have high regard for that high moral attitude in the matter which had brought condemnation on his sister-in-law and wife, he at least showed magnanimity in not trying to do his brother injury and being always ready to help him when he could. It is very likely that he was not at all musical and that his affectation of appreciation of his brother’s works made him a fair subject for ridicule. But surely there was little moral obliquity in that. In a conversation in 1824 the nephew relates that his uncle had been present at a chamber concert. Beethoven wants to know what he was doing there, and the nephew replies: “He wants to acquire taste; he is continually crying bravo.” So also Holz relates, in 1826, that Johann had certainly heard the Quartet in E-flat major ten times, yet when it was played in that year he said he was hearing it for the first time.[57]

Beethoven needed Johann’s help; he had a good opinion of his business ability, and it is possible that he had learned something of tolerance from the trials and tribulations which his quarrels with his other sister-in-law had brought him. It is certain that after a separation of nine years from his brother he was not merely desirous but eager for a perfect reconciliation and a closer union. Johann offers his help, but it is Beethoven who expresses the wish that the two may live together, it is Beethoven who asks his brother to come to him and help him negotiate the sale of[69] his compositions. Johann no doubt conducted some negotiations without his brother’s knowledge, but not without authority; and so far as the Mass is concerned it is put into the brother’s hands only after Johann has lent Beethoven 200 florins and the Mass has been promised not only to Peters but to Simrock before him. No doubt Johann exceeded his authority; at least, something had come to the ears of Count Moritz Lichnowsky, probably from Beethoven himself, which made him say in the conversation already cited, “You ought to forbid him doing business or carrying on correspondence without your signature. Perhaps he has already closed a contract in your name”; but would it not have been better for Beethoven’s present reputation for business honesty—if we must distinguish between the ethics of the counting-house and those of the rest of the world—if he had closed and kept the contracts which he had made when he called his brother to help him with his correspondence? Schindler accuses Johann of having persuaded Beethoven to take unfit lodgings; but Beethoven expressly exonerates him from blame. He reproaches Johann for not having provided his brother with money to pay his debts or offering his security for them; but Johann lent him 200 florins before he went to Baden and probably did not see why he should burden his own business enterprises in order to enable Beethoven to keep the bank shares intact for the nephew. He was willing to be helpful, however, and repeatedly offered his brother a house on his estate, and in 1824 tried to persuade him to take one rent free; but Beethoven’s antipathy to his sister-in-law would not let him accept.

Exactly when Beethoven went to Oberdöbling in the summer of 1822 is not known, but he was there in July, and an endorsement on the Simrock letter of May 13 would seem to indicate that he was there in that month. His lodgings were in No. 135 Alleegasse. In the spring or early summer he writes to Johann begging him, instead of driving in the Prater, to come to him with his wife and step-daughter. His whole desire is for the good which would inevitably follow a union. He had made inquiries about lodgings and found that it would not be necessary to pay much more than at Oberdöbling, and that, without sacrifice of any pleasure, much money might be saved for both. He says:

I have nothing against your wife; I only wish that she might realize how much you might benefit from being with me and that all the miserable trifles of this life ought to cause no disturbances.

Peace, peace be with us. God grant that the most natural tie between brothers be not unnaturally broken. At the best my life may[70] not be of long duration. I say again that I have nothing against your wife, although her behavior towards me has struck me as strange several times of late; besides, I have been ailing for three and a half months and extremely sensitive and irritable. But away with everything which does not promote the object, which is, that I and my good Karl lead a regular life which is so necessary to me.

Beethoven Asks Johann’s Help

Here there is no mention of business matters and hence it may be assumed that the letter dates from an early period in the reunion of the brothers. But business considerations prompt a letter of July 26 in which he tells Johann that his physician had ordered him to go to Baden to take thirty baths and that he would make the journey on August 6 or 7. Meanwhile he would like to have his brother come to him and give him his help and then accompany him to Baden and remain there a week. He was engaged, he said, upon corrections of the Mass for which Peters was to give him 1000 florins. Peters had also agreed to take some smaller works and had sent 300 florins, but he had not yet accepted the money. Breitkopf and Härtel had also sent the Saxon Chargé d’Affaires to him to talk about new works and inquiries had come from Paris and Diabelli in Vienna. Publishers were now struggling for his works: “What an unfortunate fortunate am I!!!—this Berliner has also turned up—if my health would return I might yet feather my nest (auf einen grünen Zweig kommen).”

The Archduke-Cardinal is here. I go to him twice a week. Though there is nothing to be expected from him in the way of magnanimity or money, I am on such a good and confidential footing with him that it would be extremely painful not to show him some agreeable attention; moreover, I do not think that his apparent niggardliness is his fault.

In the same letter he says he might have had the 1000 florins from Peters in advance but did not want to take them. He did not want to “expose” himself, and he therefore asked his brother for a loan, so that his trip to Baden might not be delayed. There was no risk involved, as he would return the 200 florins in September with thanks. “As a merchant you are a good counsellor,” are some of his words. The Steiners are also crowding him into a corner and trying to force him into a written agreement to let them have all his compositions; but he had declared that he would not enter into such an arrangement until his account had been settled, and to that end he had proposed to them that they take two pieces which he had written for Hungary[58] and which might be[71] looked upon as two little operas. They had before then taken four of the numbers. The debt to the Steiners amounted to 3000 florins, but they had in the “most abominable manner” charged interest, to which he would not consent. Part of the debt had been Karl’s mother’s[59] which he had assumed because he wanted to show himself as kindly disposed as possible, so that Karl’s interests would not be endangered. Again he urges him to come to Baden and to put pantry and cellar in the best of condition against September, for presumably he and his little son would set up headquarters with him and had formed the noble resolve to eat him out of house and home.

In this letter was enclosed a memorandum of the deposit of 300 florins (from Peters) to his credit at Maisl’s; and another of no date, but evidently written at about the same time, stated that the money was at Maisl’s but in case of need he would rather make a loan than draw it, “for the Mass will be ready on the 15th of next month.” He went to Baden on September 1, but before then wrote again to Johann expressing a wish to see him so that the affair with Steiner might be settled, it being necessary to have the music to “The Ruins of Athens”[60] in print by the end of October, when the theatre for which it had been prepared would be opened. A week after his arrival in Baden, on September 8, he writes that he had been disturbed at the delay, partly because of his brother’s ill health, partly because he had had no report on the commission undertaken with Steiner. Simrock had written again about the Mass, but had mentioned the old price; if he were written to, however, he thought he would increase it. Two singers had called on him that day and asked to kiss his hands, “but as they were very pretty I suggested that they kiss my lips.” Another letter obviously written about the same time but a little later tells of his temporary apprehension lest his brother had fallen out with Steiner. He also suspected that his brother might be angered at his not having mentioned the loan. In this dilemma, fearful for the Mass, he had written to Simrock that he would let him have it for 1000 florins. “But as you write that you want the Mass I am agreed, but I do not want you to lose anything by it.” Matters are not yet straightened out at Steiner’s, as appears from a letter which he encloses. Meanwhile the Josephstadt Theatre has given him work to do which will be quite burdensome, in view of his cure, Staudenheimer having advised him to take baths of one and a half hour’s duration. However, he already had written a chorus[72] with dances and solo songs;[61] if his health allows, he will also write a new overture. On October 6, he addresses his brother in a jocular mood: “Best of little Brothers! Owner of all the lands in the Danube near Krems! Director of the entire Austrian Pharmacy!” The letter contains a proposition for Steiner concerning the Josephstadt Theatre music. Steiner has two numbers already and has advertised one of them; there are eight numbers left, including an overture. These Steiner can have at the following rates: the overture 30 (perhaps he could get 40 ducats); four songs with instrumental accompaniment, 20 ducats each; two wholly instrumental numbers, 10 ducats each:—total, 140 ducats. If “King Stephen” is wanted there are twelve numbers of which four are to be reckoned at 20 ducats each, the others at 10 ducats and one at 5 ducats—summa summarum 155 ducats. “Concerning the new overture, you may say to them that the old one could not remain, because in Hungary the piece was given as a postlude, while here the theatre was opened with it.... Ponder the matter of the Mass well, because I must answer Simrock; unless you lose nothing, I beg of you not to undertake it.”

The story of the music composed and adapted for the Josephstadt Theatre will be told in the chronological narrative of incidents belonging to the year; as for the Mass let it be noted that after Johann had expressed a desire to take it in hand we hear nothing more of the correspondence with Peters for a long time. The autograph score was ready; Beethoven had it copied, but continued making alterations in it; not until the next year was it delivered into the hands of the Archduke and new efforts made towards its publication.

At the beginning of 1822, Beethoven still lived at No. 244 Hauptstrasse, Landstrasse, Vienna. The first significant happening to him in the new year was his election as honorary member of the Musik-Verein of Steiermark in Gratz, whose diploma, couched in the extravagantly sentimental verbiage of the day and country, bore date January 1. He noted the conclusion of the C minor Sonata (Op. 111) on the autograph manuscript on January 11. Bernhard Romberg, the violoncello virtuoso, was in Vienna in the beginning of the year, giving concerts with his daughter Bernhardine and a son of 11 years, who was also a budding virtuoso on his father’s instrument. On February 12, Beethoven writes to his old friend that if he was not present at the concert, it would be because he had been attacked with an earache, the pain of which[73] would be aggravated even by the concert-giver’s tones. He concluded the letter with the wish in addition “to the fullest tribute of applause, also the metallic recognition which high art seldom receives in these days.” If Hanslick is correct in his history of concert life in Vienna, Beethoven’s wish was fulfilled: Romberg’s earnings during the Vienna season amounted to 10,000 florins.

Advices from London through Neate

When Beethoven went to Oberdöbling he moved into the house Alleegasse 135, but for the time being kept his lodgings in town. In Oberdöbling he began a treatment consisting of taking powders and drinking the waters. He worked on the Mass, the Ninth Symphony, and on smaller compositions from which he expected quicker returns. He was expected to visit Archduke Rudolph twice a week, but the attendance was irregular. Applications for his works came to him from other cities and Breitkopf and Härtel sent the Chargé d’Affaires of the Saxon Legation to him with a letter regretting that the business connection which formerly existed had been discontinued and expressing a desire to renew it with an opera. The messenger was Greisinger, Haydn’s first biographer, who had made Beethoven’s acquaintance as a young man. He was musical, and Beethoven applied to him for advice the next year, when he sent an invitation to the Saxon Court for a subscription to the Mass in D. On September 2, Beethoven received a letter from Charles Neate, which was plainly an answer to an appeal which had been sent by Beethoven, concerning the publication in London of three quartets. Letters from Ries refer to the same quartets, which as yet existed only in Beethoven’s intentions. Neate says that he had found it difficult to obtain subscriptions for the works. He thought, however, that he might still be able to raise £100, but could not get any money before the arrival of the works in London. There was also apprehension that the compositions would be copied in Vienna. Beethoven had referred to a quartet and possibly some successors in his correspondence with Peters, so that it is more than likely that a determination to return to the quartet field had been formed by Beethoven before the practical and material incentive came to him in the last month of the year from Prince Galitzin—the incentive to which we owe three of the last five Quartets.

There must now be recorded some of the facts connected with the visit to Beethoven of a distinguished musical littérateur from Leipsic—Friedrich Rochlitz. Rochlitz arrived in Vienna on May 24 and remained there till August 2. He wrote two letters about his experiences in the Austrian capital, one under date of June 28,[74] the other of July 9. The latter contained his account of his meetings with Beethoven and is reprinted in Vol. IV of his “Für Freunde der Tonkunst.” He had never seen Beethoven in the flesh and was eager for a meeting. A friend to whom he went (it is very obvious that it was Haslinger) told him that Beethoven was in the country and had grown so shy of human society that a visit to him might prove unavailing; but it was Beethoven’s custom to come to Vienna every week and he was then as a rule affable and approachable. He advised Rochlitz to wait, and he did so until the following Saturday. The meeting was a pleasant one and enabled Rochlitz to study Beethoven’s appearance and manner; but the interview was suddenly terminated by Beethoven in the midst of the visitor’s confession of his own admiration and the enthusiasm which Beethoven’s symphonies created in Leipsic. From the beginning Beethoven had listened, smiled and nodded, but after he had curtly excused himself on the score of an engagement and departed abruptly, Rochlitz learned that his auditor had not heard or understood a word of all that he had said. A fortnight later Rochlitz met Franz Schubert in the street, who told him that if he wanted to see Beethoven in an unconstrained and jovial mood he should go along with him to an eating-house where the great man dined. He went and found Beethoven sitting with a party of friends whom the chronicler did not know. Though he got a nod of recognition for his greeting he did not join the party but took a seat near enough to observe Beethoven and hear what he said, for he spoke in a loud voice. It was not a conversation so much as a monologue to which he listened. Beethoven talked almost incessantly; his companions laughed, smiled and nodded approval.

He philosophised and politicised in his manner. He spoke of England and the English, whom he surrounded with incomparable glory—which sounded strange at times. Then he told many anecdotes of the French and the two occupations of Vienna. He was not amiably disposed towards them. He talked freely, without the least restraint, seasoning everything with highly original and naïve opinions and comical conceits.

Conversation with Friedrich Rochlitz

After finishing his meal Beethoven approached Rochlitz and beckoned him into a little anteroom, where conversation was carried on with the help of a tablet which Beethoven produced. He began with praise of Leipsic and its music, especially the performances in church, concert-room and theatre; outside of these things he knows nothing of Leipsic, through which he passed as a youth on his way to Vienna. (No doubt it was the Berlin trip to which Beethoven referred, of which Rochlitz appears to be ignorant.)[75] Praise of Leipsic was followed by violent condemnation of Vienna and its music.

Of my works you hear nothing. Now—in summer.

No; it’s the same in winter. What is there for them to hear? “Fidelio”? they can’t perform it and do not want to hear it. The symphonies? For these they have no time. The concertos? Everybody grinds out his own productions. The solos? They’re out of fashion long ago—and fashion is everything. At the best, Schuppanzigh occasionally digs up a quartet, etc.

Rochlitz is here probably helping out his memory by drawing a bit on his fancy; Schuppanzigh was at this time still in Russia, having started on a tour through Germany, Poland and Russia in 1815, from which he did not return till 1823. Rochlitz is interesting, but it is well to revise his utterances by occasional appeals to known facts. He goes on: Beethoven asked him if he lived in Weimar and Rochlitz shook his head. “Then you do not know the great Goethe?” Rochlitz nodded violently in affirmation that he did know the great Goethe. “I do, too; I got acquainted with him in Carlsbad—God knows how long ago!” (But it was not in Carlsbad that Beethoven met Goethe; it was in Teplitz and ten years “ago.”) Beethoven continued: “I was not so deaf then as I am now, but hard of hearing. How patient the great man was with me!... How happy he made me then! I would have gone to my death for him; yes, ten times! It was while I was in the ardor of this enthusiasm that I thought out my music to his ‘Egmont’—and it is a success, isn’t it?” A success, surely; but Beethoven is not likely to have forgotten that the music to “Egmont” was two years old when he met Goethe. Rochlitz, it is to be feared, is indulging his imagination again; but he is probably correct on the whole. Let Beethoven proceed with his monologue:

Since that summer I read Goethe every day, when I read at all. He has killed Klopstock for me. You are surprised? Now you smile? Aha! You smile that I should have read Klopstock! I gave myself up to him many years,—when I took my walks and at other times. Ah well! I didn’t understand him always. He is so restless; and he always begins too far away, from on high down; always Maestoso, D-flat major! Isn’t it so? But he’s great, nevertheless, and uplifts the soul. When I did not understand I divined pretty nearly. But why should he always want to die? That will come soon enough. Well; at least he always sounds well, etc. But Goethe:—he lives and wants us all to live with him. That’s the reason he can be composed. Nobody else can be so easily composed as he.

Rochlitz had sought Beethoven with a commission from Härtel:—that he compose music for Goethe’s “Faust” like that[76] written for “Egmont.” The psychological moment for broaching the subject was arrived and Rochlitz made the communication on the tablet.

He read. “Ha!” he cried, and threw his hands high in the air. “That would be a piece of work! Something might come out of that!” He continued for a while in this manner, elaborating his ideas at once and with bowed head staring at the ceiling. “But,” he continued, after a while, “I have been occupied for a considerable time with three other big works; much of them is already hatched out—i. e., in my head. I must rid myself of them first; two large symphonies differing from each other, and an oratorio. They will take a long time; for, you see, for some time I can’t bring myself to write easily. I sit and think, and think. The ideas are there, but they will not go down on the paper. I dread the beginning of great works; once begun, it’s all right.”

Most of this is in harmony with what we know from other sources. We have seen how laboriously Beethoven developed the works of large dimensions in this period; we know that he had thought of “Faust” as a subject for composition as early as 1808[62] and that it pursued him in his last years. But Härtel’s proposition sent through Greisinger in the same year was for an opera, and it seems likely that the “Faust” idea was independent of it and possibly an original conceit of Rochlitz’s. Be that as it may, Rochlitz did make one proposition in which his interest was personal. After his return to Leipsic he wrote a letter to Haslinger on September 10, 1822, in which he expressed the wish that Beethoven would give a musical setting to his poem “Der erste Ton,” and, if Schindler is correct, he suggested to Beethoven himself that he write music for his “Preis der Tonkunst.” Nothing came of the suggestions, though it would appear that Rochlitz had discussed both poems with Beethoven. There was a third meeting at which the two, in company with another friend of Beethoven’s (Rochlitz says it was Gebauer), made a promenade through a valley which lasted from ten o’clock in the forenoon till six o’clock in the evening. Beethoven enlivened the walk with conversation full of tirades against existing conditions, humorous anecdotes and drolleries. “In all seriousness, he seems amiable, or, if this word startle you, I say: The gloomy, unlicked bear is so winning and confiding, growls and shakes his hairy coat so harmlessly and curiously, that it is delightful, and one could not help liking him even if he were but a bear and had done nothing but what a bear can do.”

Beethoven’s Opinion of Rossini

The meeting between Rochlitz and Beethoven took place in Baden; but as we have seen, the latter did not begin his sojourn there until September 1, and Rochlitz’s letter is dated July 9;[77] so it would appear that Beethoven had come from Oberdöbling on a visit to Baden; Schindler says nothing to the contrary. Earlier in 1822 Beethoven received a visit from a man who lies considerably nearer the sympathies of the generation for which this book is written than Rochlitz. This man was Rossini. His operas had been on the current list in Vienna for several years, and with the coming of the composer in person, in the spring of 1822, the enthusiasm for him and his music had grown into a fanatical adoration. Beethoven had seen the score of “Il Barbiere” and heard it sung by the best Italian singers of the period. Moreover, he had a high admiration for the Italian art of song and a very poor opinion of German singers. In Barbaja’s troupe were Lablache, Rubini, Donzelli and Ambroggio, and the Demoiselles Sontag, Ungher, Lalande and Dardanelli. Rossini was on his wedding trip, having but recently married Colbran, and his elegant manners and brilliant conversation had made him the lion of aristocratic drawing-rooms in the Austrian capital. “Zelmira” had been written especially for the Vienna season, though it had been tried at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples in the preceding December. It had its first performance at the Kärnthnerthor Theatre on April 13.[63] Several of Beethoven’s utterances concerning the musician, who no doubt did much to divert the taste of the masses away from the German master’s compositions, have been preserved. Seyfried recorded that in answer to the question. “What is Rossini?” Beethoven replied, “A good scene-painter,” and Seyfried also makes note of this utterance: “The Bohemians are born musicians; the Italians ought to take them as models. What have they to show for their famous conservatories? Behold their idol—Rossini! If Dame Fortune had not given him a pretty talent and pretty melodies by the bushel, what he learned at school would have brought him nothing but potatoes for his big belly!” Schindler says that after reading the score of “Il Barbiere” Beethoven said: “Rossini would have been a great composer if his teacher had frequently applied some blows ad posteriora.” To Freudenberg at Baden in 1824 he remarked: “Rossini is a talented and a melodious composer; his music suits the frivolous and sensuous spirit of the times, and his productivity is so great that he needs only as many weeks as the Germans need years to write an opera.”

The Rossini craze was no doubt largely responsible for some of Beethoven’s outbreaks concerning the taste of the Viennese,[78] but on the whole he does not seem seriously to have been disturbed by it. Schindler cites him as remarking on the change in the popular attitude: “Well, they can not rob me of my place in musical history.” As for the Italian singers he thought so much of them that he told Caroline Ungher that he would write an Italian opera for Barbaja’s company.

As for Rossini, he had heard some of Beethoven’s quartets played by Mayseder and his associates, and had enjoyed them enthusiastically. It was therefore natural enough that he should want to visit the composer. Schindler says that he went twice with Artaria to call upon him, after Artaria had each time asked permission, but that on both occasions Beethoven had asked to be excused from receiving him—a circumstance which had given rise to considerable comment in Vienna. The story is not true, but that it was current in Vienna four years afterward appears from an entry in a Conversation Book of August 1826 where somebody asks: “It is true, isn’t it, that Rossini wanted to visit you and you refused to see him?” There is no written answer. We repeat: the story is not true, though both Nohl and Wasielewski accepted it without demur. Twice, at least, Rossini publicly denied it. In 1867 Dr. Eduard Hanslick visited him with two friends in Paris. Concerning the interview, Hanslick wrote:[64]

Suddenly, as if he intentionally wanted to call attention to something loftier, he asked if the Mozart monument at Vienna was finished? And Beethoven’s? We three Austrians looked rather embarrassed. “I remember Beethoven well,” continued Rossini after a pause, “although it is nearly half a century ago. On my visit to Vienna I hastened to look him up.”

“And he did not receive you, as Schindler and other biographers assure us.”

“On the contrary,” said Rossini, correcting me: “I had Carpani, the Italian poet with whom I had already called upon Salieri, introduce me, and he received me at once and very politely. True, the visit did not last very long, for conversation with Beethoven was nothing less than painful. His hearing was particularly bad on that day and in spite of my loudest shoutings he could not understand me; his little practice in Italian may have made conversation more difficult.”

This confirms what Rossini told Ferdinand Hiller in 1856:[65]

During my sojourn in Vienna I had myself introduced to him by old Calpani [sic]; but between his deafness and my ignorance of German, conversation was impossible. But I am glad that I saw him, at least.


Alleged Meeting of Beethoven and Schubert

Quite as inaccurate is a statement of Schindler’s touching a meeting between Schubert and Beethoven in this year. Schindler’s story is to the effect that Schubert, accompanied by Diabelli, went to Beethoven and handed him the variations for pianoforte, four hands, which he had dedicated to him; but that Schubert was so overwhelmed at the majestic appearance of Beethoven that his courage oozed away and he was scarcely able to write the answers to the questions which were put to him. At length, when Beethoven pointed out a trifling error in harmony, remarking that it was “not a mortal sin,” Schubert lost control of himself completely, regained his composure only after he had left the house, and never again had courage enough to appear in Beethoven’s presence. As opposed to this, Heinrich von Kreissle, Schubert’s biographer, adduces the testimony of Joseph Hüttenbrenner, a close friend of Schubert’s, who had it from the song composer himself that he had gone to Beethoven’s house with the variations, but the great man was not at home and the variations were left with the servant. He had neither seen Beethoven nor spoken with him, but learned with delight afterwards that Beethoven had been pleased with the variations and often played them with his nephew Karl. Now, had Schindler been an eyewitness of the scene which he describes, he would have mentioned the fact; but he was not yet living with Beethoven.

While in Baden, Beethoven began the work which was to call him back into public notice. This was the music for the opening of the Josephstadt Theatre, which the director of the theatre, Carl Friedrich Hensler, director also of the combined theatres of Pressburg and Baden, asked of him immediately after his arrival at the watering-place. Hensler (1761-1825) was a popular dramatist as well as manager and an old acquaintance of Beethoven’s, by whom he was greatly respected. He had bought the privilege of the Josephstadt Theatre in Vienna. Carl Meisl, who was a Commissioner of the Royal Imperial Navy, had written two festival pieces for the opening, which had been set down for October 3, 1822, the name-day of the Emperor. The first piece was a paraphrase of Kotzebue’s “Ruins of Athens,” written for the opening of the theatre in Pesth in 1812, for which Beethoven had composed the music. Meisl took Kotzebue’s text and made such alterations in it as were necessary to change “The Ruins of Athens” into “The Consecration of the House.” Nottebohm’s reprint in “Zweite Beethoveniana” (p. 385 et seq.) enables a comparison to be made with the piece as it left the hands of Meisl and the original. The new words did not always fit the music and caused Beethoven considerable concern. A choral dance:


Wo sich die Pulse
jugendlich jagen,
Schwebet im Tanze
das Leben dahin, etc.

was introduced and to this Beethoven had to write new music, which he did in September. He also revised, altered and extended the march with chorus.[66] Beethoven wrote a new overture also, that known as “Consecration of the House,” putting aside the overture to “The Ruins of Athens” because that play had served as a second piece, or epilogue, at Pesth. Schindler says he began work on this occasional music in July, after the last touches had been given to the Mass; but progress was not as rapid as was desirable because of the extreme hot weather. He also says it was in Baden and that he was there with him. The letters to Johann show, however, that Beethoven did not go to Baden till September 1, having before that been in Oberdöbling. But he wrote the new pieces in Baden. On a revised copy of the chorus “Wo sich die Pulse” Beethoven wrote: “Written towards the end of September, 1823, performed on October 3 at the Josephstadt Theatre.” The 1823 should be 1822, of course, but singularly enough the same blunder was made on a copy of the overture and another composition, the “Gratulatory Minuet,” which was written about the same time. The explanation is probably that offered by Nottebohm, viz.: that Beethoven dated the copies when he sent them to the Archduke. Beethoven’s remark in a letter to Johann that he had finished the chorus with dances and would write the overture if his health allowed, also fixes the date of the composition of the overture in September. This Schindler, though in error about the work done in July, confirms in this anecdote about the origin of the overture:

Meanwhile September was come. It was therefore time to go to work on the new overture, for the master had long ago seen that that to “The Ruins of Athens” was for obvious reasons unsuitable. One day, while I was walking with him and his nephew in the lovely Helenenthal near Baden, Beethoven told us to go on in advance and join him at an appointed place. It was not long before he overtook us, remarking that he had written down two motives for an overture. At the same time he expressed himself also as to the manner in which he purposed treating them—one in the free style and one in the strict, and, indeed, in Handel’s. As well as his voice permitted he sang the two motives and then asked us which we liked the better. This shows the roseate mood into which[81] for the moment he was thrown by the discovery of two gems for which, perhaps, he had been hunting a long time. The nephew decided in favor of both, while I expressed a desire to see the fugal theme worked out for the purpose mentioned. It is not to be understood that Beethoven wrote the overture “Zur Weihe des Hauses” as he did because I wanted it so, but because he had long cherished the plan to write an overture in the strict, expressly in the Handelian, style.

The overture was written. “The newly organized orchestra of the Josephstadt Theatre did not receive it till the afternoon before the opening, and with innumerable mistakes in every part. The rehearsal which took place in the presence of an almost filled parterre, scarcely sufficed for the correction of the worst of the copyist’s errors.” The overture and chorus written for “The Consecration of the House” are “occasionals” and were conceived and wrought out in a remarkably short time for that period in Beethoven’s activities. The first was offered for publication to Steiner and, with other pieces, to Diabelli. The negotiations failed and the overture finally appeared from the press of Schott in 1825, with a dedication to Prince Galitzin.

Opening of the Josephstadt Theatre

The performance of “The Consecration of the House” took place as projected, on October 3, the eve of the Emperor’s name-day. All of the 400 reserved seats and 14 boxes had been sold several weeks before. Beethoven had reserved the direction for himself and sat at the pianoforte, the greater part of the orchestra within view, his left ear turned towards the stage. He was still able to hear a little with that ear, as we know from the fact related by Schindler, that he was fond of listening to Cherubini’s overture to “Medea” played by a musical clock which stood in a restaurant adjoining the Josephstadt Theatre. Chapelmaster Franz Gläser stood at his right, and Schindler, who had recently abandoned the law, led the first violins. At the dress rehearsal Fanny Heckermann sang timidly and dragged perceptibly in the duet. Beethoven observed this and called the singer to him, pointed out the places in which he wanted more animation, spoke some words of encouragement and advised her to follow the tenor, who was an experienced singer. He then had the number repeated and on its conclusion remarked: “Well done, this time, Fräulein Heckermann!” The tenor was Michael Greiner, with whom Beethoven was acquainted, from Baden, and Fräulein Kaiser sang the part of Pallas. The rehearsal and the performance demonstrated plainly, Schindler says, that under no circumstances was Beethoven able longer to conduct large bodies of performers. The representation, despite the enthusiasm of the performers, stimulated by[82] Beethoven’s encouraging speeches, was not a success. Beethoven would take none of the fault to himself, however, though his anxiety led him to hold back the music despite the exertions of his two leaders, whom he admonished against too much precipitancy, of which Schindler protests they were not guilty. There were demonstrations of enthusiasm at the close and Beethoven was led before the curtain by Director Hensler. The work was repeated on October 4, 5 and 6. Beethoven’s friendly feeling for Hensler gave rise to a new orchestral composition a few weeks later. The members of the company paid a tribute to their director on his name-day, November 3. After a performance of Meisl’s drama “1722, 1822, 1922,” the audience having departed, the director was called to the festively decorated and illuminated stage, and surrounded by his company in gala dress. A poetical address was read to him by the stage-manager. After he had gone back to his lodgings, the orchestra and chorus serenaded him, the programme consisting of an overture to “The Prodigal Son” by Chapelmaster Drechsel, a concerto for flute by Chapelmaster Gläser, and what Bäuerle’s “Theaterzeitung” called “a glorious new symphony” composed for the occasion by Beethoven, the whole ending with the march and chorus from Mozart’s “Titus.” The “new symphony” was the “Gratulatory Minuet” of which mention has been made. Nothing is said in the accounts about Beethoven’s presence at the serenade, and as “Fidelio” was performed that night at the Kärnthnerthor Theatre, his absence might easily be explained. On the next day[67] Hensler gave a dinner in the property-room of the theatre at 3 p.m. Beethoven, Gläser, Bäuerle, Gleich, Meisl, Hopp and others were present. Beethoven had a seat directly under the musical clock. Gläser told Reubl (Reichl?) who provided the entertainment to set the clock to the overture to “Fidelio” and then wrote to Beethoven to listen, as he would soon hear it. Beethoven listened and then said: “It plays it better than the orchestra in the Kärnthnerthor.”

The “Gratulatory Minuet” was offered to Peters in the letter of December 20. Beethoven was evidently eager to realize quickly on a work which had cost him but little labor—the product of a period in which his fancy seemed to have regained its old-time fecundity and he his old-time delight in work. He offered it elsewhere and gave a copy (the one that he misdated) to Archduke Rudolph for his collection. Artaria published it in 1835 under the title “Allegretto (Gratulations-Menuet)” with a[83] dedication to Carl Holz. The title on the autograph reads: “Tempo di Minuetto quasi Allegretto.” “Allegro non troppo” was originally written but was scratched out and “Gratulations-Menuet” written in its place.

Unable to Conduct “Fidelio”

Beethoven’s absence from the complimentary function to Hensler in the theatre may be explained by the revival of “Fidelio” which took place on the same night, November 3, after an absence from the stage of three years (not eight, as Schindler says), though we do not know that he was present. It was a benefit performance for Wilhelmine Schröder, then 17 years old, afterwards the famous dramatic singer Madame Schröder-Devrient. Haitzinger sang Florestan, Zeltner Rocco, Forti Pizarro. Rauscher Jaquino, Nestroy the Minister, Fräulein Demmer Marcelline and Fräulein Schröder Leonore. Schindler tells a pathetic tale concerning the dress rehearsal. Together with his friends, mindful of the happenings in the Hall of the University in 1819 and in the Josephstadt Theatre only a short time before, Schindler advised Beethoven not to attempt to conduct the performance. He hesitated for a few days, then announced his intention to direct with the help of Umlauf. Schindler escorted him to the rehearsal. The overture went well, the orchestra being well trained in it, but at the first duet it became painfully manifest that Beethoven heard nothing of what was going on on the stage. He slackened his beat and the orchestra obeyed; the singers urged the movement onward. Umlauf stopped the performance at the rappings on the jailor’s lodge-gate but gave no reason to Beethoven. At the same place on the repetition there was the same confusion. Let Schindler continue the narrative, the correctness of which there seems to be no reason to question:

The impossibility of going ahead with the author of the work was evident. But how, in what manner inform him of the fact? Neither Duport, the director, nor Umlauf was willing to speak the saddening words: “It will not do; go away, you unhappy man!” Beethoven, already uneasy in his seat, turned now to the right now to the left, scrutinizing the faces to learn the cause of the interruption. Everywhere silence. I had approached near him in the orchestra. He banded me his note-book with an indication that I write what the trouble was. Hastily I wrote in effect: “Please do not go on; more at home.” With a bound he was in the parterre and said merely: “Out, quick!” Without stopping he ran towards his lodgings, Pfarrgasse, Vorstadt Leimgrube. Inside he threw himself on the sofa, covered his face with his hands and remained in this attitude till we sat down to eat. During the meal not a word came from his lips; he was a picture of profound melancholy and depression. When I tried to go away after the meal he begged me not to leave him until it was time to go to the theatre. At parting he asked me to go with[84] him next day to his physician, Dr. Smetana, who had gained some repute as an aurist.

Some details of the representation may be learned from the account in the “Theaterzeitung” of November 9. The day was the name-day of the Empress; the square about the Opera-house was illuminated; the national hymn, “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser,” was sung; the overture received such applause that it had to be repeated; the great duet and the canon quartet also, and the soprano and tenor were recalled at the end of the opera. Was Beethoven present? The question cannot be answered. Alfred von Wolzogen in his biography of Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient quotes from Claire von Glümer, who had access to the singer’s notes, in his account of the affair. The incident of the rehearsal is told with a variation which strengthens Schindler’s narrative. At the performance, Claire von Glümer says, Beethoven sat behind the chapelmaster in the orchestra so deeply wrapped in his cloak that only his gleaming eyes were visible. The youthful prima donna was unspeakably alarmed, but scarcely had she uttered her first words than she felt her whole body infused with marvellous power. Beethoven—the public—everything vanished from view. She forgot that she had studied the rôle—she was transformed into Leonore—she lived, she suffered the part, scene after scene. Beethoven, the story proceeds, though he had heard not a word but had observed the soul of her singing in her transfigured face, had recognized his Leonore in her.

After the performance he went to her; his usually threatening eyes smiled upon her, he patted her cheeks, thanked her for her Fidelio and promised to compose a new opera for her—a promise which, unfortunately was never fulfilled. Wilhelmine never met the master again, but of all the evidences of homage paid to the famous woman in later years her most precious recollection were the words of appreciation which Beethoven spoke to her.

The tale is amiable, and plausible enough; standing alone there would seem to be no ground for doubting its correctness. But there are circumstances which give our credence pause. Schindler, who was Beethoven’s constant companion in those days, who presents the story of the rehearsal so convincingly, and who waited until it was time to go to the theatre, says not a word about Beethoven’s presence at the representation. Would he, after suffering such a heartbreaking humiliation at the rehearsal, have gone to the theatre and taken a conspicuous place in the orchestra? It does not seem likely. Moreover, in a letter published in the “Neue Berliner Musikzeitung” of July 30, 1851, Schindler,[85] discussing an impersonation of Fidelio by Frau Köster-Schlegel in Frankfort, says: “It may be remarked in passing that Beethoven never saw Schröder-Devrient as Fidelio, but was dissatisfied with her conception of the character as he had learned to know it from the public prints and oral communications. His ideal was not an operatic heroine, etc.” This would seem to be conclusive, were there not evidence that Schindler’s memory had played him false again. “Fidelio” was repeated on November 4, and also on November 26 and December 17, 1822, and March 3 and 18, 1823, and Bäuerle’s “Theaterzeitung” distinctly states that “Beethoven attended the second performance, sitting in a box in the first tier.” Moreover, Louis Schlösser, who was at this performance, adds confirmation by telling how he saw Beethoven leaving the theatre in the company of Schindler and von Breuning. Beethoven may not have been able to form an opinion of a performance which he could not hear, but the testimony of Schindler that he never saw Schröder-Devrient in the role of Fidelio is greatly weakened by this proved fact. But would he have made such a statement if Beethoven had been present at the first performance and paid so spectacular a tribute to the singer? It is easier to imagine that Schindler’s memory was treacherous concerning a later performance. At best, the evidence is inconclusive, because contradictory. In March, 1823, Chapelmaster Reuling remarks in a Conversation Book: “I saw you in the theatre at the first performance of ‘Fidelio’.” Did he mean the first performance in November, 1822, or the first of the two performances in the month in which he was writing—March, 1823? Schröder-Devrient in her prime is reputed to have been the greatest of all Fidelios; but she did not reach her full artistic stature until after Beethoven’s death.

Treatment for Deafness Resumed

Following Schindler’s narrative we learn that Beethoven’s woeful experience at the rehearsal led to a resolution on his part to make another effort to be healed of his deafness. He went to Dr. Smetana, who prescribed medicaments to be taken inwardly, thereby indicating, as Schindler asserts, that he had no expectation of effecting a cure, but wanted only to occupy Beethoven’s mind, knowing what to expect from so impatient, wilful and absent-minded a patient; for Beethoven was as unready to follow a physician’s advice as a musician’s, and was more likely to injure himself with overdoses of drugs than to invite the benefit which the practitioner hoped for by obedience to the prescription. The usual thing happened; not only with Dr. Smetana’s treatment, but also with that of the priest, Pater Weiss, whom he had consulted[86] some 18 years before and to whom he now returned. For a while he thought that the oil which the priest dropped into his ears was beneficial, and Pater Weiss himself expressed the belief that the left ear, at least, might permanently be helped; but Beethoven grew skeptical, as he always did unless he experienced immediate relief, his work monopolized his attention, and despite the priest’s solicitations he abandoned the treatment and yielded himself to his fate. Thenceforward no one heard him lament because of his deafness.

The compositions which were in Beethoven’s hands at the close of the year were those which had occupied him in the earlier months. The Mass, several times completed but never complete so long as it was within reach, received what must now be looked upon as its finishing touches; progress was made on the Ninth Symphony and thought given to a quartet, perhaps several quartets. The Bagatelles for Pianoforte grouped under Op. 119, some of which had been published a year before (Nos. 7-11), were finished; Nos. 1 to 6 were ready for the publisher by the end of 1822—the autograph manuscript bearing the inscription “Kleinigkeiten, 1822 Novemb.” Nottebohm thinks that Nos. 2 to 5 were conceived between 1800 and 1804; a sketch for No. 5 (C minor, Risoluto) is found among sketches made in 1802 for the Sonata in C minor Op. 30; Lenz says sketches for No. 3 (in D, a l’Allemande) are among sketches for the last movement of the “Eroica” Symphony; No. 6 (G major) is sketched on a sheet containing experimental studies for a passage in the Credo of the Mass; sketches for Nos. 2 and 4 are among suggestions of a melody for Goethe’s “Erlkönig,” indicating an early period which cannot be determined. Of Nos. 7-11, enough has been said in a previous chapter. The piece published as No. 12 and added to the set by Diabelli after Beethoven’s death was originally a song with pianoforte accompaniment and had its origin in 1800 at the latest. Whether or not Beethoven made the pianoforte piece out of the projected song, on which point nothing of significance can be said, it is certain that it does not belong to the set, which consists of 11 numbers only in the old editions and in the manuscripts of the Rudolphinian Collection.

Beethoven offered a number of Bagatelles to Peters—at first four, then a larger number; he sent six to the publisher on February 15, 1823. Peters returned them—Beethoven receiving them on March 19—with the remark that they were not worth the price asked for them and that Beethoven ought to consider it beneath his dignity to waste his time on such trifles; anybody could write[87] them. Schindler says that Peters’s action aggrieved Beethoven, which is easily believed; but Schindler confounded the Bagatelles Op. 119 with the set, Op. 126, works of distinctly a higher order which were not composed at the time. On February 25, 1823, Beethoven sent 11 Bagatelles to Ries in London with instructions to sell them as best he could. Naturally, Op. 119 is meant. On May 7, 1823, six were offered to Lissner in St. Petersburg. Schlesinger published the set in Paris at the end of 1823, as Op. 112, and Sauer and Leidesdorf issued them almost simultaneously in Vienna with the same opus number. The number 119 appears to have been assigned to the set after an agreement had been reached with Steiner concerning the works now numbered 112 to 118. The last known song by Beethoven, “Der Kuss,” was finished at this time, though written down practically as we know it in 1798. Sketches involving the few changes made are found among some for the overture “The Consecration of the House” and the Ninth Symphony. The autograph is dated “December, 1822.” It was sent to Peters, who did not print it; in 1825 it was sent to the Schotts, numbered 128, and they published it.

Galitzin and an Oratorio for Boston

In the last weeks of the year a connection was established which was destined to be of great influence in Beethoven’s final creative activities. Prince Nicolas Boris Galitzin, born in 1795, who as a young man had taken part in the Napoleonic wars, was an influential factor in the musical life of St. Petersburg. He played the violoncello, and his wife (née Princess Saltykow) was an admirable pianist. Prince Galitzin was an ardent admirer of Beethoven’s music and had arranged some of the works written for the pianoforte for strings. Whether or not he had made the personal acquaintance of Beethoven has not been established, but wanting to have as his private property some composition by the master whom he revered, he addressed a letter to Beethoven on November 9, 1822, saying that as a passionate amateur of music and an admirer of the master’s talent he asked him to compose for him one, two or three string quartets, for which he would be pleased to pay any sum demanded and that he would accept the dedication of the works with gratitude. Beethoven’s answer, dated January 25, 1823, has not been found but it is known that he accepted the commission and fixed the honorarium at 50 ducats each. This is the prologue to the story of the last Quartets.

In Charles C. Perkins’s “History of the Handel and Haydn Society, of Boston,” Vol. I, p. 87, the author writes: “The most interesting matter connected with the history of the society in the year 1823 ... is the fact that Beethoven was commissioned to[88] write an oratorio for it.” The date is obviously wrong; it should be 1822, for in a letter dated December 20, 1822, as will appear in the next chapter of this work, Beethoven tells Ries that he has received requests from all parts of Europe “and even from North America.” The historian of the Boston Society adds:

That the commission was given is certain, but as it is not mentioned in the records, Mr. A. W. Thayer is probably right in thinking that it was given unofficially by Richardson and two or three other members. In October 1854 Mr. Thayer wrote a letter to Mr. J. S. Dwight, the well-known editor of the “Musical Journal,” to say that he had questioned Schindler, Beethoven’s biographer, on the subject and had learned from him that in 1823 a Boston banker, whose name was unknown to him, having occasion to write to Geymüller, a Viennese banker, had sent an order to the great musician to compose an oratorio for somebody or some society in Boston and it was forwarded to its destination.... Wishing to know the truth about the matter I wrote to Mr. Thayer, then, as now, U. S. Consul at Trieste, for information, and in reply learned that in one of Beethoven’s note books he had found this passage: “Bühler writes: ‘The oratorio for Boston?’ (Beethoven) ‘I cannot write what I should like best to write, but that which the pressing need of money obliges me to write. This is not saying that I write only for money. When this period is past I hope to write what for me and for art is above all—Faust.’”

The passages cited are from a Conversation Book used in the early days of April, 1823. In the fall of that year, on November 5, the “Morgenblatt für Gebildete Leser” closed an article on Beethoven with the words: “A symphony, quartets, a Biblical oratorio, sent to him in English by the consul of the United States, observe the United States, and possibly one of Grillparzer’s poems, may be expected.”


Chapter IV

The Solemn Mass in D—A Royal Subscription—More Negotiations with England—Opera Projects—Grillparzer’s “Melusine”—The Diabelli Variations—Summer Visitors—An Englishman’s Account—Weber and Julius Benedict—Ries and the Ninth Symphony—Franz Liszt and Beethoven’s Kiss—The Year 1823.

When the year 1823 opens, the Mass in D is supposedly finished and negotiations for its publication have been carried on in a manner the contemplation of which must affect even the casual reader grievously. The work had been originally intended for the functions attending the installation of Archduke Rudolph as Archbishop of Olmütz—not merely as a personal tribute to the imperial, archepiscopal pupil, but for actual performance at the ceremony of inthronization—a fact which ought to be borne in mind during its study, for it throws light upon Beethoven’s attitude towards the Catholic Church (at least so far as that church’s rubrics are concerned) as well as towards religion in general and art as its handmaiden and mistress. Archduke Rudolph had been chosen Cardinal on April 24, 1819, and Archbishop on June 4 of the same year; he was installed as head of the see of Olmütz on March 20, 1820; but the fact of his selection for the dignities was known in Vienna amongst his friends as early as the middle of 1818. When the story of the year 1823 opens, therefore, Beethoven’s plan is nearly five years old and Archduke Rudolph has been archbishop nearly a year. We first hear of the Mass this year in a letter dated February 27, when Beethoven apologizes to his august pupil for not having waited upon him. He had delayed his visit, he said, because he wanted to send him a copy of the Mass; but this had been held back by corrections and other circumstances. Accompanying the letter were the copies of the overture to “The Consecration of the House” and the “Gratulatory Minuet.” Finally, on March 19, 1823, on the very eve of the first anniversary of the installation, Beethoven placed a[90] manuscript copy of the Mass in the Archduke’s hands. In the catalogue of the Rudolphinian Collection, now preserved by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, it is entered thus: “Missa Solemnis. Partitur. MS. This beautifully written MS. was delivered by the composer himself on March 19, 1823.”

The plan to write the Mass for the installation ceremonies seems to have been original with Beethoven; it was not suggested by the Archduke or any of his friends, so far as has ever been learned. He began work upon it at once, for Schindler says he saw the beginning of the score in the fall of 1818. Nottebohm’s study of all the sketches which have been discovered (save a number now preserved in the Beethoven House in Bonn which do not add materially to our knowledge) led him to conclusions which may be summed up as follows: The movements were taken up in the order in which the various portions of the text appear in the Roman missal, but work was prosecuted on several movements simultaneously. The Kyrie was begun at the earliest in the middle of 1818, i. e., shortly after the fact of the Archduke’s appointment became known; the Gloria was completely sketched by the end of 1819, the Credo in 1820; the entire Mass was complete in sketch-form in the beginning of 1822. While sketching the Mass Beethoven composed the Pianoforte Sonatas, Op. 109, 110 and 111, the Variations, Op. 107, No. 8, and several other small pieces, including the canons “O, Tobias,” “Gehabt euch wohl,” “Tugend ist kein leerer Name,” and “Gedenkt heute an Baden.” But with the elaboration of the sketches the Mass was not really finished, for subsequently Beethoven undertook many changes. The Allegro molto which enters in the Credo at the words et ascendit is shorter in the autograph than in the printed edition. At the entrance of the words et iterum and cujus regni the autograph is in each case two measures shorter than in the printed score. In the autograph, and also in the copy which Beethoven gave to the Archduke, the trombones do not enter till the words judicare vivos et mortuos. There are no trombones in the Gloria. The trombone passage which now appears just before the entrance of the chorus on judicare was formerly set for the horns. After the words et mortuos the trombones are silent till the end of the Credo in the autograph; they enter again in the beginning of the Sanctus, but are silent at the next Allegro. They occur in the Benedictus, but are wanting in the Agnus Dei. From the nature of these supplementary alterations it is to be concluded that considerable time must have elapsed before they could all be made and the Mass be given the shape in which we know it. Holding to the date on[91] which the copy was delivered to the Archduke (March 19, 1823), the earliest date at which the Mass can have received its definitive shape must be set down as the middle of 1823. Beethoven, therefore, devoted about five years to its composition. He made so many changes in the tympani part of the Agnus Dei that he wore a hole in the very thick paper, his aim being, apparently, by means of a vague rhythm to suggest the distance of the disturbers of the peace. That he was sincere in his purpose to provide a mass for the installation ceremonies is to be found, outside of Schindler’s statement, in a letter to the Archduke written in 1819, in which he says:

The day on which a high mass of my composition is performed at the ceremony for Y. I. H. will be to me the most beautiful in my life and God will enlighten me so that my poor powers may contribute to the glory of this solemn day.

Beethoven and Religion

Something was said, in the conclusion of the chapter of this biography devoted to a review of the incidents of the years 1807 to 1809, concerning the views Beethoven entertained on the subject of religion and dogmatic and sectarian Christianity. His attitude towards the Roman Catholic Church becomes an almost necessary subject of contemplation in a study of the Solemn Mass in D; but it is one into which the personal equation of the student must perforce largely enter. The obedient churchman of a Roman Catholic country will attach both less and more importance, than one brought up in a Protestant land, to the fact that he admonished his nephew when a lad to say his prayers and said them with him (as the boy testified in the guardianship proceedings), that he himself at least once led him to the door of the confessional,[68] that he consented to the summoning of a priest when in extremis and that he seemed to derive comfort and edification from the sacred function. It is not necessary, however, to go very deeply into a critical study of the Mass in order to say that while the composition shows respect for traditions in some portions and while it is possible to become eloquent without going beyond the demonstration contained in the music itself, in describing the overwhelming puissance of his proclamation of the fatherhood of God and belief in Him as the Creator of all things visible and invisible, the most obvious fact which confronts the analytical student is that[92] Beethoven approached the missal text chiefly with the imagination and the emotions of an artist, and that its poetical, not to say dramatic elements were those which he was most eager to delineate.[69] One proof of this is found in what may be called the technical history of the Mass, and is therefore pertinent here. It was scarcely necessary for Beethoven to do so, but he has nevertheless given us an explanation of his singular treatment of the prayer for peace. Among the sketches for the movement is found the remark: “dona nobis pacem darstellend den innern und äussern Frieden” (“delineating internal and external peace”), and in agreement with this he superscribes the first Allegro vivace in the autograph with the same words. In the later copy this phrase is changed to “Prayer for internal and external peace,” thus showing an appreciation of the fact that the words alone contain the allusion to peace which in its external aspect is disturbed by the sounds of war suggested by the instruments. The petition for peace is emphasized by the threatening tones of military instruments accompanying the agonizing appeal for mercy sent up by the voices. The device is purely dramatic and it was not an entirely novel conceit of Beethoven’s. When the French invaded Styria in 1796, Haydn wrote a mass “In tempore belli” in which a soft drum-roll entered immediately after the words “Agnus Dei” and was gradually reinforced by trumpets and other wind-instruments “as if the enemy were heard approaching in the distance.”

Whence came the plan of postponing the publication of the mass for a period in order to sell manuscript copies of it by subscription to the sovereigns of Europe does not appear. Beethoven had it under consideration at the beginning of 1823, for the year was only a week old when he sent his brother Johann with a letter to Griesinger of the Saxon Legation asking him to give advice on the subject to the bearer of the letter, apologizing for not coming in person on the ground of indisposition. Whether or not Griesinger came to his assistance we do not know, but within a fortnight work on the project had been energetically begun. Schindler was now called upon to write, fetch and carry as steadily and industriously as if he were, in fact, what he described himself to be—a private secretary. Among his papers in Berlin are found many billets and[93] loose memoranda bearing on the subject, without date, but grouped as to periods by Schindler himself and provided with occasional glosses touching their contents. Beethoven took so much of his time in requisition, indeed, that he offered to pay him 50 florins after the collection of one of the subscription fees, but Schindler records that he never received them nor would he have accepted them. He was, as he informed the world for many years afterward on his visiting card, “L’Ami de Beethoven,” and his very considerable and entirely unselfish labors were “works of friendship” for which he wanted no remuneration; but he was very naturally rejoiced when Beethoven presented him with several autograph scores, and we have seen how, after the death of Beethoven, Breuning gave him many papers which seemed valueless then but are looked upon as invaluable now. Moreover, he disposed of his Beethoven memorabilia to the Royal Library of Berlin for an annuity of 400 thalers—all of which, however, does not detract from the disinterestedness of his labors for Beethoven, alive, suffering and so frequently helpless.

Royal Subscriptions Invited

The invitations to the courts were issued in part before the end of January. A letter to Schindler, evidently written in that month, asks him to draw out a memorandum of courts from an almanac in which the foreign embassies stationed at Vienna were listed. The invitations were posted on the following dates: to the courts at Baden, Wurtemburg, Bavaria and Saxony on January 23; “to the other ambassadors” (as Beethoven notes) on January 26; to Weimar on February 4; to Mecklenburg and Hesse-Darmstadt on February 5; to Berlin, Copenhagen, Hesse-Cassel and Nassau on February 6; to Tuscany on February 17, and to Paris on March 1. The invitation to the court at Hesse-Cassel had been written on January 23, but it was not sent because, as Schindler says, “it had been found that nothing was to be got from the little courts.” The letter came back to Beethoven and its preservation puts in our hands the formula which, no doubt was followed in all the formal addresses. We therefore give it here:

The undersigned cherishes the wish to send his latest work, which he regards as the most successful of his intellectual products, to the Most Exalted Court of Cassel.

It is a grand solemn mass for 4 solo voices with choruses and complete grand orchestra in score, which can also be used as a grand oratorio.

He therefore begs the High Embassy of His Royal Highness, the Elector of Hesse-Cassel, to be pleased to procure for him the necessary permission of your Exalted Court.

Inasmuch, however, as the copying of the score will entail a considerable expense the author does not think it excessive if he fixes an[94] honorarium at 50 ducats in gold. The work in question, moreover, will not be published for the present.

Vienna, 23 January, 1823.

Ludwig van Beethoven.

Only the signature was in Beethoven’s handwriting. It is not known how many of these invitations were issued; Schindler’s account goes only to the subscriptions received and even here it is not entirely accurate. There were ten acceptances. The first came from the King of Prussia. Prince Hatzfeld acted in the matter for Berlin and Beethoven also invoked the aid of Zelter. Court Councillor Wernhard, Director of the Chancellary of the Embassy at Vienna, brought the report to Beethoven and asked him if he would not prefer a royal order to the 50 ducats. Without hesitation, Beethoven replied “50 ducats,” and after Wernhard had gone he indulged in sarcastic comments on the pursuit of decorations by various contemporaries—“which in his opinion were gained at the cost of the sanctity of art.” Beethoven received the money, but the score was not delivered, owing, no doubt, to delay in the copying, and in July Prince Hatzfeld feels compelled to remind the composer of his remissness. Prince Radziwill in Berlin also subscribed, but he did not receive his copy till more than a year later. On June 28, 1824, a representative of the Prince politely informed Beethoven that he had sent a cheque for 50 ducats to him with a request for a receipt and a copy of the score, but had received neither. On July 3, Schindler informed Beethoven that Hatzfeld had earnestly inquired whether he was now going to receive the Mass. He was being so pestered about the matter from Berlin that it was becoming burdensome. He asked that Beethoven write to the Prince without delay, telling him when he should receive the Mass, so that he might show it in his own justification in Berlin. Schindler says the fault lay with the copyists; in every copy many pages had to be rewritten.

Much to Beethoven’s vexation and impatience the Saxon court was very tardy in its reply, or rather in subscribing, for at first the invitation was declined; but Beethoven was not thus to be put off by a court with which his imperial pupil was closely connected. He called in the help of Archduke Rudolph, to whom on July 1, 1823, he wrote a letter. He complains in this letter of pain in the eyes from which he has been suffering for a week. He was forced to make sparing use of them and therefore had not been able to look through some variations composed by the Archduke, but had been obliged to leave the task to another. He continues:

An Archduke Asked to be Solicitor

In regard to the Mass which Y. I. H. wished to see made more generally useful: the continuously poor state of my health for several years,[95] more especially the heavy debts which I have incurred and the fact that I had to forgo the visit to England which I was invited to make, compelled me to think of means for bettering my condition. For this the Mass seemed suitable. I was advised to offer it to several courts. Hard as it was for me to do this I nevertheless did not think that I ought to subject myself to reproach by not doing it. I therefore invited several courts to subscribe for the Mass, fixed the fee at 50 ducats, as it was thought that would not be too much and, if a number of subscribers were found, also not unprofitable. Thus far, indeed, the subscription does me honor, their Royal Majesties of France and Prussia having accepted. I also a few days ago received a letter from my friend Prince Gallitzin [sic] in St. Petersburg, in which this truly amiable prince informs me that His Imperial Majesty of Russia had accepted and I should soon hear the details from the Imperial Russian embassy here. In spite of all this, however, though others have also become subscribers I do not get as much as I would as fee from a publisher, only I have the advantage that the work remains mine. The costs of copying are large and will be increased by the new pieces[70] which are to be added, which I shall send to Y. I. H. as soon as I have finished them. Perhaps Y. I. H. will not find it burdensome graciously to ask H. R. H. the Grand Duke of Tuscany to take a copy of the Mass. The invitation was sent some time ago to the Grand Duke of Tuscany through the agent v. Odelgha, and O. solemnly assures me that the invitation will surely be accepted, but I am not entirely confident, since it was several months ago and no answer has been received. The matter having been undertaken, it is only natural that as much as possible should have been done to attain the desired result. It was hard for me to understand this, still harder for me to tell Y. I. H. of it or permit you to notice it, but “Necessity knows no law.” But I thank Him above the stars[71] that I am beginning to use my eyes again. I am now writing a new symphony for England, for the Philharmonic Society, and hope to have it completely done in a fortnight. I can not yet strain my eyes for a long period, wherefore I beg Y. I. H. graciously to be patient in regard to Y. I. H.’s variations which seem to me charming but need carefully to be looked through by me. Continue Y. I. H. to practice the custom of briefly jotting down your ideas at the pianoforte; for this a little table alongside the pianoforte will be necessary. By this means the fancy will not only be strengthened but one learns to fix at once the most remote ideas. It is also necessary to write without the pianoforte, and sometimes to develop a simple chorale melody now with simple, and anon with varied figurations in counterpoint and this will cause no headache to Y. I. H. but rather a great pleasure at finding yourself absorbed in the art. Gradually there comes the capacity to represent just that only which we wish to feel, an essential need in the case of men of noble mould. My eyes command me to stop, etc.

This letter was written in Vienna, but from Hetzendorf he sent a postscript in which he said:


If convenient, will Y. I. H. graciously recommend the Mass to Prince Anton in Dresden, so that His Royal Majesty of Saxony may be induced to subscribe to the Mass, which will surely happen if Y. I. H. shows the slightest interest in the matter. As soon as I have been informed that you have shown me this favor, I shall at once address myself to the Director General of the Theatre and Music there, who is in charge of such matters, and send him the invitation to subscribe for the King of Saxony which, however, I do not wish to do. My opera “Fidelio” was performed with great success in Dresden at the festivities in honor of the visit of the King of Bavaria, all their Majesties being present. I heard of this from the above-mentioned Director General, who asked me for the score through Weber and afterwards made me a handsome present in return. Y. I. H. will pardon me for inconveniencing you by such requests but Y. I. H. knows how little importunate I am as a rule; but if there should be the least thing unpleasant to you in the affair you will understand as a matter of course that I am none the less convinced of your magnanimity and graciousness. It is not greed, not the desire for speculation, which I have always avoided, but need which compels me to do everything possible to extricate myself from this position. In order not to be too harshly judged, it is perhaps best to be frank. Because of my continual illness, which prevented me from writing as much as usual, I am burdened with a debt of 2300 florins C. M. which can be liquidated only by extraordinary exertions. If these subscriptions help matters, for which there are the best of hopes, I shall be able to get a firm foothold again through my compositions. Meanwhile, may Y. I. H. be pleased to receive my frankness not ungraciously. If ever I should be charged with not being as active as formerly, I should keep silent as I always have done. As regards the recommendations I am nevertheless convinced that Y. I. H. will always be glad to do good whenever possible and will make no exception in my case.

Beethoven’s impatience with the Saxon Court was so great that some time before his hopes had been reanimated, probably by the application for his opera, he had said in a note to Schindler: “Nothing from Dresden. Wait till the end of the month then an advocate in Dresden.” These words led Schindler to the singular conclusion that Beethoven had thoughts of compelling the King of Saxony to reach a decision by judicial means. Obviously, all that Beethoven meant by “advocate” was a pleader, an intercessor. He could have contemplated legal measures only if he had sent a copy of the Mass to the King with the invitation, and this we know he did not do from a letter written by Archduke Rudolph, which says, that the King of Saxony had not received a score by July 31. Archduke Rudolph became the advocate through his brother-in-law Prince Anton, brother to the King, and so did the Director General v. Könneritz, to whom Beethoven wrote on July 17 and again on July 25. In the first letter he promises to send the invitation to the King and in the next he[97] does so. This must have been a second invitation, for Beethoven tells v. Könneritz that the original one had been declined. A paragraph from each letter deserves reproduction.

I know that you will scarcely think of me as among those who write simply for vulgar gain, but when do not circumstances sometimes compel a man to act contrary to his habits of thought and principles!! My Cardinal is a good-hearted prince, but he lacks means.

Up to now, in spite of all external glory, I have scarcely received for the work what I would have been paid by a publisher, the costs of copying having been so great. My friends conceived the idea of thus circulating the Mass, for I, thank God, am a layman in all speculations. Besides, there is no citizen of our country who has not suffered loss, and so have I. Were it not for my sickness of years’ standing, I should have received enough from foreign lands to live a care-free life, caring only for art. Judge me kindly and not unfavorably, I live for my art alone and to fulfil my duties as a man, but alas! that this can not always be done without the help of the subterrestrial powers.

Subscriptions by Regal Courts

These last efforts were successful; King Friedrich August subscribed for the Mass, and on July 31 Archduke Rudolph wrote to his music-master: “My brother-in-law Prince Anton has already written to me that the King of Saxony is expecting your beautiful Mass.” On September 12, Prince Anton wrote to Beethoven that he had no doubt his royal brother would grant his wish, especially as he had spoken to him on the subject in the name of his brother-in-law, the Cardinal. The money must have arrived soon afterward and Beethoven set Schindler’s mind at ease by writing to him:

In order that evil report may not longer injure the poor Dresdeners too much, I inform you that the money reached me to-day, with all marks of respect.

According to Fürstenau the manuscript copy of the Mass is still in the private music collection of the King of Saxony in Dresden.

The Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt was appealed to directly under date of February 5, the letter, probably following the formula and signed by Beethoven, being forwarded through the Hessian ambassador, Baron von Türckheim, a cultured art connoisseur and subsequently Intendant of the Grand Ducal Theatre in Darmstadt. Louis Schlösser was in Vienna at the time, and Baron von Türckheim, knowing that he wanted to make Beethoven’s acquaintance, gave him the opportunity by asking him to carry the information that the invitation had been accepted, to Beethoven, handing him the dispatch with the Grand Ducal seal affixed for that purpose. Schlösser went to Beethoven, “No. 60 Kothgasse, first storey, door to the left,” and has left us a[98] description of the visit, which must have been made in April or early in May, 1823. Beethoven read the document with great joy and said to Schlösser:

Such words as I have read do good. Your Grand Duke speaks not only like a princely Mæcenas but like a thorough musical connoisseur of comprehensive knowledge. It is not alone the acceptance of my work which rejoices me but the estimation which in general he places upon my works.

A Vain Appeal to Goethe

No success was met with at the cultivated Court of Weimar, though here Beethoven invoked the assistance of no less a dignitary than Goethe. His letter to the poet is still preserved in the Grand Ducal archives and is worthy of being given in full:

Vienna, February 8th, 1823.

Your Excellency!

Still living as I have lived from my youthful years in your immortal, never-aging works, and never forgetting the happy hours spent in your company, it nevertheless happens that I must recall myself to your recollection—I hope that you received the dedication to Your Excellency of “Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt” composed by me. Because of their contrast they seemed to me adapted for music in which the same quality appears; how gladly would I know whether I have fittingly united my harmonies with yours; advice too, which would be accepted as very truth, would be extremely welcome to me, for I love the latter above all things and it shall never be said of me veritas odium parit. It is very possible that a number of your poems which must ever remain unique, set to music by me, will soon be published, among them “Rastlose Liebe.” How highly would I value some general observations from you on the composition or setting to music of your poems! Now a request to Y. E. I have composed a Grand Mass which, however, I do not want to publish at present, but which is to be sent to the principal courts. The honorarium for the same is 50 ducats only. I have addressed myself in the matter to the Grand Ducal Weimarian Embassy, which has accepted the appeal to His Serene Highness and promised to deliver it. The Mass can also be used as an oratorio and who does not know that the benevolent societies are suffering from the lack of such things. My request consists in this, that Y. E. call the attention of His Serene Highness, the Grand Duke, to this matter so that His Highness may subscribe for the Mass. The Grand Ducal Weimarian Embassy gave me to understand that it would be very beneficial if the Grand Duke could be induced to regard the matter favorably in advance. I have written much but accumulated scarcely anything, and now I am no longer alone but have for more than six years been father to a son of my deceased brother, a promising youth in his sixteenth year, wholly devoted to science and already at home in the rich shafts of Hellenism; but in these countries such things cost a great deal and, in the case of young students, not only the present but also the future must be borne in mind, and as much as I formerly kept my thoughts directed aloft I must now extend my glances downwards. My income is all outgo—the condition of my health for years[99] has not permitted that I make artistic journeys nor seize upon the many things which yield money!?—If my health should be completely restored I might expect other and better things. Y. E. must not think that it is because I am asking a favor that I have dedicated the “Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt” to you—this was already done in May, 1822, and this method of making the Mass known was not thought of till a few weeks ago. The respect, love and esteem which I have cherished for the only and immortal Goethe since the days of my youth have remained with me. Things like this are not easily put into words, especially by a bungler like myself, who has always been bent only on making tones his own, but a singular feeling impels me always to tell you this, inasmuch as I live in your works. I know that you will not refuse to help an artist who feels only too keenly how far mere monetary reward is from her (art) now that he is compelled by need and constrained to work and labor because of others for others. The good is always plain to us and therefore I know that Y. E. will not deny my request.

A few words from you would fill me with happiness.

I remain, Your Excellency, with the sincerest and most unbounded respect,


According to Schindler, who surely was in a position to know, no answer to this letter was ever received; nor did the Grand Duke subscribe. That the invitation reached its destination may safely be assumed from Beethoven’s remark about the interest displayed in the plan at the embassy; but the document is not to be found in the archives. Goethe’s indifference, if he was indifferent in the premises, may be explained on a number of grounds. If he ever was thoroughly appreciative of Beethoven’s music, it was only later in life. He was in the prime of life with fixed tastes in music as well as the other arts before Beethoven came with his new evangel. Reichardt, Zelter and men of their stamp produced the music which was most to his liking. It is true that in July, 1812, he wrote a letter in which he said that he had never seen a more self-contained, energetic and sincere artist than Beethoven and that he could well understand why he appeared singular in the eyes of the world; but it is doubtful if he ever felt any real attachment to the man, and not altogether impossible, if the Teplitz stories are true, that he resented the bad manners of which Beethoven is said to have been guilty. But a long time had elapsed since the two great men came together in 1812.

Bavaria’s story is a short one. In a Conversation Book towards the close of May, Schindler writes: “A negative answer has come from Bavaria.” To the King of Naples, Beethoven sent a French copy of the letter of invitation practically identical with[100] the formula, and also to the King of France.[72] In the latter case Cherubini was asked to be the advocate. The draft of Beethoven’s letter to him is still preserved among the Schindler papers in Berlin:

Highly respected Sir!

It is with great pleasure that I embrace the opportunity to approach you in writing; in spirit I am with you often enough, inasmuch as I value your works more than all others written for the stage, though the beautiful world of art must deplore the fact that for a considerable period no new theatrical work of yours of large dimensions has appeared, at least not in our Germany; high as your other works are esteemed by true connoisseurs, it is yet a veritable loss to art not to possess a new product of your great mind. True art remains imperishable and the genuine artist feels sincere pleasure in real and great products of genius, and so I, too, am enraptured whenever I hear a new work of yours and feel as great an interest in it as in my own works.—In brief, I honor and love you—If it were not for my continual ill health and I could see you in Paris, with what extraordinary delight would I discuss art matters with you?! I must add that to every artist and art-lover I always speak of you with Enthusiasm, otherwise you might (illegible word) believe, since I am about to ask a favor of you, that this was merely an introduction to the subject. I hope, however, that you will not attribute such lowmindedness, so contemptible an action, to me. My request consists in this, etc.[73] That in this, etc. I know that if you will advise His Majesty to take the Mass, he will surely do so. My situation ma critique demande que je ne fixe seulement come ordinaire mes pensées aux ciel aux contraire, il faut les fixer en bas pour les necessites de la vie. Whatever may be the fate of my request to you, I shall always love and honor you et vous resteres toujours celui de mes contemporains, que je l’estime le plus si vous me voulez faire une [sic] estréme plaisir, c’etoit si m’ecrireess quelque lignes, ce que me soulagera bien—l’art unie touta [sic] le monde and how much more true artists, et peut etres vous me dignes aussi, de me mettre also to be counted amongst this number,

avec la plus haute
votre ami
e serviteur

A Medal from the King of France

The letter was despatched on March 15. Cherubini did not receive it, and as late as 1841 expressed his great regret at the miscarriage which, however, worked no harm to the enterprise. King Louis XVIII not only subscribed for the Mass but within[101] less than a year sent Beethoven a gold medal weighing twenty-one Louis d’ors, showing on the obverse side the bust of the King and on the reverse, within a wreath, the inscription: Donnée par le Roi à Monsieur Beethoven. Duke d’Achâts, First Chamberlain of the King, accompanied the gift with the following letter:

Je m’empresse de vous prévenir, Monsieur, que le Roi a accueillé avec bonté l’hommage de la Partition de Votre Messe en Musique et m’a chargé de vous faire parvenir une medaille d’or à son effigie. Je me félicite d’avoir à vous transmettre le témoinage de la satisfaction de Sa Majesté et je saisis cette occasion de vous offrir l’assurance de ma considération distinguée.

Le Premier Gentilhomme
de la Chambre du Roi

Le duc d’Achâts.

Aux Tuileries ce 20 Février 1824.

“This was a distinction,” says Schindler, “than which one more significant never fell to the lot of the artist during his life”; but the biographer certainly is in error when he intimates that the medal was given in payment of the subscription price. Beethoven informed Archduke Rudolph that the King had accepted the invitation in his letter of June 1, 1823; the medal was received early in 1824, over eight months later. Beethoven’s needs and the reply which he gave the messenger from Prussia when he offered a decoration instead of the 50 ducats, indicate plainly enough how he felt as to the remuneration. Moreover, in a billet which he sent to Schindler instructing him to call upon von Obreskow of the Russian Embassy to tell him how to pay the subscription of the Czar, Beethoven says: “let him know incidentally, when opportunity offers, that France simply sent the money to you.” Evidently King Louis XVIII paid the money in the regular way and sent the medal as a special mark of distinction.

No subscription was received from the King of Naples. The negotiations with the Grand Duke of Tuscany were more successful, though they dragged on into the next year. They were a subject of discussion in the Conversation Book in which Count Lichnowsky, Brother Johann and Nephew Karl took part. From remarks there recorded it appears that an appeal was also made to Ex-Empress Maria Louisa, Duchess of Parma. Here the agent was Odelga and there was a plan to interest Countess Neuberg. Count Lichnowsky seems to have suggested the name of Maria Louisa and offered to write to Count Neuberg, whom he knew, on the subject. It looks also as if the case of the Grand Duke of Tuscany had been exceptional, in that the Mass had been forwarded before the subscription had been received; this at least might be the interpretation of a remark noted by Karl: “I shall[102] go to Odelga on Sunday. We must get to work, or they will keep the Mass and send nothing.”

Schindler says that Beethoven sent a carefully written letter to the King of Sweden to accompany the invitation; but nothing came of it. The King of Denmark subscribed, but as we hear nothing of the particulars, it is most likely that everything went smoothly in his case.

Prince Galitzin was asked to make a plea to the Russian Court and reported in a letter to Beethoven, dated June 2, that the invitation had been accepted and the official notification would follow in due course through the Russian Embassy. The money came soon afterwards. On July 9, Schindler writes in a jocular vein, using a metaphor which had already done service in Beethoven’s correspondence:

I take pleasure in reporting to you herewith, that by command of the Emperor of all the Russias, 50 horsemen in armor are arrived here as a Russian contingent to do battle under you for the Fatherland. The leader of these choice troops is a Russian Court Councillor. Herr Stein, pianoforte maker, has been commissioned by him to quarter them on you. Rien de nouveau chez nos voisins jusqu’ici.

Fidelissimus Papageno.[74]

The director of the business affairs of the Russian Embassy, von Obreskow, had made inquiry as to how the fee was to be paid. Beethoven wrote to Schindler to tell Obreskow to pay the bearer on delivery of a receipt; to say (if it became opportune) that the King of France had done so; and admonished him always to remember that such personages represented “Majesty itself”; also to “say nothing about the Mass not being finished, which is not true, for the new pieces are only additions.” Impatience at the non-delivery of the Mass at the expected time must have been expressed by the Russian Embassy, for in a note which Schindler dates “in the winter of 1824,” Beethoven says:

Mr. v. Schindler:

Here the Paquett for the Russian Embassy, please look after it at once, moreover say that I shall soon visit him in person, inasmuch as it hurts me that lack of confidence has been felt in me and I thank God I am in a position to prove that I do not deserve it in any way nor will my honor permit it.[75]

Prince Galitzin’s Subscription

Prince Galitzin, who had already expressed his delight in the new work and who had also been invited to subscribe, suggested[103] that the Mass be published by popular subscription at four or five ducats, as there were not many amateurs who could afford to pay 50 ducats for a written copy. “All that I can do,” the Prince writes in conclusion, “is to beg you to put me down among your subscribers and to send me a copy as soon as possible so that I may produce it at a concert for the benefit of the widows of musicians which takes place annually near Christmas.” Plainly, this was a subscription in the existing category; there was no other, and Beethoven, in view of the invitation to the courts, could not at once entertain the subject of a popular subscription for a printed edition. Galitzin also accedes to a request which had obviously been made to him when the invitation was extended, that the 50 ducats already deposited in Vienna by him for a quartet be applied to the account of the Mass. He writes on September 23 (October 3): “I have just received your letter of the 17th and hasten to answer that I have instructed the house of Henikstein to pay you immediately the 50 ducats which I fancied had long ago been placed at your disposal.” The bankers Henikstein sent the Prince Beethoven’s receipt for the 50 ducats “which we paid to him on the order and account of Your Highness as fee for the Mass which we have forwarded through the High State Chancellary.” The score was in the hands of Prince Galitzin on November 29, but the performance which he had projected did not take place until April 6, 1824. It was the first performance of the Mass anywhere, and Galitzin wrote an enthusiastic account of it to Beethoven under date of April 8.[76]

A special invitation to subscribe to the Mass was not extended to the Austrian court for reasons which, no doubt, were understood between Beethoven and Archduke Rudolph and which may have been connected with efforts which were making at the time to secure a court appointment for the composer. At the request of Artaria, however, an invitation was sent to Prince Paul Esterhazy. Beethoven had little confidence in the successful outcome of the appeal, probably with a recollection in his mind of the Prince’s attitude toward him on the occasion of the production of the Mass in C in 1807, to which he seems to refer in a letter to Schindler dated June 1:[77]


You will kindly again make inquiry of (illegible) for a report. I doubt if it will be favorable for I do not expect a good opinion from him, at least not to judge by earlier times! I think that such matters can only be successfully presented to him by women.

Beethoven’s suspicious nature had other food. On the outside of this letter he wrote:

N. B. So far as I can remember there was nothing said in the invitation to Prince Esterhazy about the Mass being distributed only in manuscript. What mischief may not result from this. I suspect that the purpose of Herr Artaria in suggesting that the Mass be offered to the Prince gratis was to enable him to steal a work of mine for the third time.

Beethoven’s lack of faith in the enterprise was justified; Esterhazy did not subscribe.

No invitation was sent to the English court, probably because Beethoven cherished a grudge in that quarter; but subscriptions were asked of two large singing societies—the Singakademie of Berlin and the Cäcilien-Verein of Frankfort. Zelter was director of the Singakademie, and to him Beethoven wrote on February 8 as follows, after the introductory compliments and reflections:

I wrote a Grand Mass, which might also be performed as an oratorio (for the benefit of the poor, as is the good custom that has been introduced) but did not want to publish it in print in the ordinary way, but to give it to the principal courts only. The fee amounts to 50 ducats. Except the copies subscribed for, none will be issued, so that the Mass is practically only a manuscript.

He informs Zelter that an appeal has been sent to the King of Prussia and that he has asked the intercession in its behalf of Prince Radziwill. He then continues:

I ask of you that you do what you can in the matter. A work of this kind might also be of service to the Singakademie, for there is little wanting to make it practicable for voices alone; but the more doubled and multiplied the latter in combination with the instruments, the more effective it would be. It might also be in place as an oratorio, such as is in demand for the Societies for Poverty. More or less ill for several years and therefore not in the most brilliant situation, I had recourse to this means. I have written much but accumulated almost 0. Disposed to send my glances aloft—but man is compelled for his own and for others’ sake to direct them downwards; but this too is a part of man’s destiny.

Zelter and the Solemn Mass

The letter will be seen, on comparison with that written on the same day to Goethe, to be either a draft for the latter in part or an echo of it. There is the same pun on “geschrieben” and “erschrieben,” the same lament about having to keep his eyes on the ground[105] while desirous to keep them fixed on higher things, the same reference to the value of the Mass for concert purposes in behalf of charity. As this last point is one which would naturally occur to the writer in addressing a musician and not at all naturally in an appeal to a poet, it is safe to say that the Zelter letter was written first. It is an unpleasant duty to call attention to a very significant difference between this letter and the invitation issued to the courts as well as the letter to Goethe. In the latter he distinctly says that the Mass will not be published in the ordinary way “for the present,” thus reserving the privilege of printing it at a future time. To Zelter, and presumably to the Frankfort society, he plainly intimates that there is to be no publication in the ordinary way at all. It is not a violent presumption that Zelter may have observed this discrepancy, which was of vital moment to his society, and that this may have caused the termination of the negotiations, which began auspiciously enough in a letter written by Zelter on February 22 in reply to Beethoven’s. In this letter he said he was ready to purchase the Mass for the Singakademie at his own risk, provided Beethoven would adapt it to the use of the society—that is, arrange it for performance practically without instruments—a proceeding, he explained, which would make it practicable for all similar concert institutions. To this letter Beethoven replied on March 25:

I have carefully considered your suggestion for the Singakademie. If it should ever appear in print I will send you a copy without pay. It is true that it might almost be performed a la capella, but to this end the whole would have to be arranged. Perhaps you have the patience to do this. Besides, there is already a movement in it which is entirely a la capella and I am inclined to call this style the only true church style. I thank you for your readiness. From such an artist as you are, with honor, I would never accept anything. I honor you and desire only an opportunity to prove this to you in deed.

There the matter ended, so far as is known. The negotiations with the Frankfort society were more successful. On May 19, 1823, J. N. Schelble, director, wrote saying:

The hope of receiving a new composition from you, great master, inspires all the members and reinvigorates their musical zeal. I therefore request you as soon as it is convenient to you to forward a copy of your Mass to me.

There were, therefore, as appears from this account and the list of names sent in November, 1825, to the publishers of the Mass, ten subscribers, namely: the Czar of Russia, the Kings of Prussia, Saxony, France and Denmark, the Grand Dukes of Tuscany and[106] Hesse-Darmstadt, Princes Galitzin and Radziwill and the Cäcilia Society of Frankfort. Beethoven’s receipts, 500 ducats (£250 or about $1200), were very materially reduced, how much we can not say, by the costs of copying. In this work his principal helper was a professional copyist named Schlemmer, who could best decipher his manuscript. But Schlemmer was sickly and died before the year was over; his successor was named Rampel, and seems to have caused Beethoven a great deal of annoyance; he probably was made to bear a great deal of the blame for the tardiness of the work, for which, also, the composer’s frequent alterations were in part responsible. One of the numerous letters to Schindler from this period throws a little light on this subject:

Samothracian L——l.[78]

How about the trombone part. It is certain that the youngster still has it, as he did not return it when he brought back the Gloria. There was so much to do in looking over the wretched scribbling that to carry back the trombone part was forgotten. If necessary, I shall come to Vienna about the police matter. Here, for Rampel, is first the theme of the Var. which is to be copied for me on a separate sheet—then he is to copy the rest to Var. 13 or to the end of Var. 12, and so an end of this. Get from Schlemmer what remains of the Kyrie:—show him the postscript and herewith satis.—for such Hauptl——ls there is nothing more to be done. Farewell—attend to everything—I am obliged to bind up my eyes at night and must be very sparing in my use of them. Otherwise, Smettana writes, I shall write but few more notes. To Wocher, whom I shall visit myself as soon as I come to town, my prettiest compliments and has he yet sent away the Var.?

Negotiations with Diabelli

Beethoven’s thoughts in connection with the Mass were not all engrossed during 1823 with the finishing touches on the composition and the subscription; he was still thinking of the publication of the work. His thoughts went to London, as a letter to[107] Ries shows. The Mass also came up in his dealings with Diabelli in Vienna. There were, probably, other negotiations, of which we are not advised. An agreement had been reached with Diabelli concerning the Variations, Op. 120 (on the Diabelli waltz theme), and the Mass had also been mentioned. Whatever the nature of the negotiations may have been, Diabelli now seems to have been insisting on conditions which Beethoven could not accept without breach of contract with his subscribers or revoking the subscriptions. In March Diabelli called Schindler into his shop and had a talk with him which is detailed in a Conversation Book. It is Schindler who is speaking:

Diabelli called me in to-day while I was passing and said to me that he would take the Mass and publish it in two months by subscription. He guarantees you the 1000 florins, as he says he has already told you. You can have as many copies as you want—Diabelli only asks of you that you let him know your decision within a few days, then he will have work begun at once and promises that everything shall be ready by the end of May. You, however, will not have any further care in the matter. I think the proposition a very good one, the more, because the work will be printed at once.

Beethoven appears to have doubts or scruples on the score of the invitations sent to the sovereigns.

It will make no difference to the most exalted courts if printed copies are put out. Do you want the 1000 florins in cash at once or later?—he assures me that they will be guaranteed to you; the business now is that you come to an understanding.

It appears, now, that Diabelli wants to publish the three supplementary pieces also; but Beethoven still hesitates:

It would be best if you were to persuade Diabelli to print the work at once, but wait a few months with the publication by subscription. Then you will not be compromised in the matter, nor he either.

Later (there has plainly been another consultation between Schindler and Diabelli):

Diabelli agrees to wait until the tardy answers have been received before opening the subscription. But he is not willing to wait a whole year.

And in April:

Are you agreed? The only question is whether you give Diab. the privilege of announcing the subscription a month before he pays. It is his wish not to put the Mass in hand until he has paid. About Diabelli then—do you want to leave the matter to me or consider the publication by yourself? Diabelli wants the Mass by July 1 in order to have it ready by the St. Michael Fair.


Later, August 1 and September 1 are mentioned. Beethoven was firm in his determination to keep faith with his subscribers. He writes to Schindler: “There are only two courses as regards the Mass, namely, that the publisher delay the publication a year and a day; or, if not, we can not accept a subscription.” Later he writes: “Nothing is to be changed in the Diabelli contract except that the time when he is to receive the Mass from me be left undetermined.” The contract in question which was thus to be amended concerned the Variations, but presumably the Mass also. Beethoven writes:

From my little book I see that you have doubts in the matter of the Mass and Diab., wherefore, I beg you to come soon, for in that case we will not give him the Var. either, as my brother knows somebody who wants to take them both. We are therefore in a position to talk to him.

Either this disagreement or some other in a matter in which Schindler acted as Beethoven’s agent brought out a letter from the latter to the former in which he expresses a belief that the business, “so disagreeable to you,” might be brought to a conclusion soon: “moreover I was not, unfortunately, entirely wrong in not wholly trusting Diab.” Schindler, in a gloss on this note, says that the disagreeable business concerned the Mass. Diabelli had made plans which were not only harmful to the work but humiliating as well to Beethoven. Schindler pointed this out and Diabelli became violent and declared that since the contract was as good as closed he would summon Schindler before a court of law if it were not kept. “But,” says Schindler, “the threat did no good; he had to take back the document.” The numerous notes to Schindler about this period are undated and the times at which they were written have been only approximately fixed by Schindler; there is also some vagueness touching the time and order of the written conversations, but the evidence thus far presented, together with a significant remark in a billet to Schindler, to the effect that he had thought of a project which would “act like a pistol-shot on this fellow,” would seem to justify the assumption that Beethoven had entered into the same kind of obligation with Diabelli as he had with Simrock and Peters so far as the Mass was concerned, and that before the execution of a formal contract, which seems to have been considered necessary in this case, which was to include the Variations on the Diabelli Waltz theme, Beethoven had embarked on his enterprise with the sovereigns, which made the speedy publication of the Mass in the ordinary way impossible with honor; further, that a threat to withhold the Variations had been used to bring the irate publisher to terms. In the[109] April Conversation Book Schindler says: “Won’t Diabelli make wry faces when your brother demands the document back almost as soon as he has received it!”

Dubious Aspect of the Negotiations

To the commercialized mind of to-day it is possible that the picture which has just been presented here of a superlatively great artist hawking his creations in the courts of Europe, appealing to his friends and patrons among the great to act as his go-betweens, railing against the tardy and permitting those who were prompt in payment to wait unconscionable periods for their property, may seem to present as little of the aspect of debasement of genius and its products as it did at a time when great musicians were menials in the households of the highborn, and thrift could only follow fawning. But Beethoven had done much to exalt art and emancipate the artist, and what would have caused little comment in the case of his predecessors amongst court musicians was scarcely venial in him who preached a new ethic as well as artistic evangel. And so, to minds untainted by trade and attuned to a love of moral as well as æsthetic beauty, the spectacle which Beethoven presents in 1823 must be quite as saddening as that disclosed by his dealings with the publishers in the years immediately preceding. A greater measure of commiseration goes out to him now, however, because of the evidence that the new phase cost him greater qualms of conscience and that the exigencies which impelled him were more pressing. His physical ailments were increasing; his deafness had put a stop to his appearances in public as an artist; his eyes were troubling him; there was no lessening of his concern about his ward, but an increase in the cost of his maintenance; his income was continually dwindling because of his lessening productivity, notwithstanding that the fees which he could command for new works (and even the remnants of his youthful activity) had reached dimensions of which he had never dreamed in the heyday of his powers; he felt the oppressive burden of his debts more and more as his unreasoning love for his foster-son prompted him to make provision against the future. The royal subscription was, no doubt, a welcome scheme which, if not suggested by his advisers, was certainly encouraged by them; but it must have cost his proud soul no little humiliation to have his application rejected after he had so deeply bent “the pregnant hinges of the knee.” The publishers gave him less concern. They were his natural enemies and he theirs—“hellhounds who licked and gnawed his brains,” as he expressed it in a letter to Holz in 1825; yet he knew that he would need them, and he knew also that as soon as he went to them, and the mass appeared in[110] print, the manuscript copies which he had sold would be all but worthless. But this may have troubled him little, as he, in all likelihood, shared Schindler’s conviction that there was no permanency of interest in the work on the part of the crowned heads and that they would not be troubled by the appearance of the work in print. Patronage of art is part of the obligation which rests upon royalty, and it would have been little less than a crime to withhold the Mass from the public; but what of the exclusiveness of right which was implied, if not expressed, in the letter to Zelter and presumably also in that to the Cæcilia Society of Frankfort? He had informed the kings, who might not even deign to glance at the Mass, that he had no “present” intention to print the work, leaving them to gather that he would do so later; but he plainly gives Zelter to understand that it is to remain a manuscript. Here, too, the advice of his friends, who could see his need but did not feel the moral responsibility which he may, or ought to, have felt, must have been persuasive and also comforting.[79] The world has too long enjoyed the great work to distress itself about the circumstances of its creation and publication; but the historian and moralist may yet as deeply deplore them as pity the conditions which compelled the composer to yield to them.

Dealings with the London Philharmonic

Preliminary to the narrative of the other varied incidents of the year 1823, let us set down a brief mention of the fact that on January 20 Beethoven wrote a little piece for voice and pianoforte in the album of Countess Wimpfen, née Eskeles, on the words of Goethe: “Der edle Mensch sei hülfreich und gut,” [sic] which was published in facsimile in the “Allgemeine Wiener Musikzeitung” on November 23, 1843. Having traversed the year in our search for material relating to the Mass in D, the next most significant subject is that which concerned the Symphony in D minor, on which he worked industriously and which had been the subject of correspondence between himself and Ries (in London) for some time before the year opened. On April 6, 1822, Beethoven had inquired of his old pupil: “What would the Philharmonic Society be likely to offer me for a symphony?” Ries, evidently, laid the matter before the directors of the society who, at a meeting on November 10, “resolved to offer Beethoven fifty pounds for a MS. symphony.”[80] Ries conveyed the information to Beethoven in a letter dated[111] November 15 and in a reply dated December 20, Beethoven, although he protested that the remuneration was not to be compared with what other nations might give, accepted the offer, adding:

I would write gratis for the first artists of Europe, if I were not still poor Beethoven. If I were in London, what would I not write for the Philharmonic Society! For Beethoven can write, God be thanked, though he can do nothing else in this world. If God gives me back my health, which has at least improved somewhat, I shall yet be able to comply with all the requests which have come from all parts of Europe, and even from North America, and I might yet feather my nest.

A glimpse into the occupations, cares and perplexities which beset Beethoven at this period is given by the first letter in the series written in the new year—on February 5, which Ries, in his “Notizen,” gives only in part:

I have no further news to give you about the Sinfonie but meanwhile you may confidently count on it. Since I have made the acquaintance here of a very amiable and cultivated man, who holds an appointment in our imperial embassy at London, he will undertake later to forward the Symphony to you in London, so that it will soon be in London. Were I not so poor that I am obliged to live by my pen I would accept nothing at all from the Ph. Society; as it is I must wait until the fee for the Sinfonie is deposited here. But to give you an evidence of my affection for and confidence in the society I have already delivered the new Overture referred to in my last letter, to the gentleman of the Imperial society.[81] As he is to start from here for London in a few days he will deliver it to you in person in London. Goldschmidt will no doubt know where you live; if not, please tell him, so that this accommodating gentleman will not be obliged long to hunt you. I leave to the Society all the arrangements about the Overture which, like the Symphony, it can keep for 18 months. Not until after the lapse of that time shall I publish it. And now another request: my brother here, who keeps his carriage, wanted a lift from me and so, without asking me, he offered the Overture in question to a publisher in London named Bosey [Boosey]. Let him wait, and tell him that at present it is impossible to say whether he can have the Overture or not; I will write to him myself. It all depends on the Philharmonic Society; say to him please that my brother made a mistake in the matter of the Overture; as to the other works which he wrote about, he may have them. My brother bought them of me in order to traffic with them, as I observe. O frater! I beg of you to write to me as soon as possible after you have received the Overture, whether the Philharmonic Society will take it, for otherwise I shall publish it soon.

I have heard nothing of your Sinfonie dedicated to me. If I did not look upon the Dedicat as a sort of challenge for which I might give you Revanche I should long ago have dedicated some work to you. As it is, I have always thought that I must first see your work. How willingly[112] would I show you my gratitude in some manner. I am deeply your debtor for so many proofs of your affection and for favors. If my health is improved by a bath-cure which I am to take in the coming summer I will kiss your wife in London in 1824.

What justification Beethoven had, or imagined he had, for imputing a dishonorable act to his brother, cannot be said; it is noteworthy, however, that he does not even mention him in a letter written twenty days later which reiterates much that had already been set forth, and offers to send the Symphony at once on receiving word from Ries accompanied by a draft. He also intends to send six Bagatelles and asks Ries to traffic, as best he can, with them and two sonatas. Had he received a dedication from Ries, he says, he would at once have inscribed the Overture to him. Not long afterward Beethoven wrote again to Ries. The letter, which has been preserved only in part, is printed with a few omissions and changes in the “Notizen” (p. 154). Its significant remark about the new Symphony is that it is to bear a dedication to Ries; its most valuable contribution, however, refers to the Mass in D and the explanation which it offers of the fact that Beethoven sent no invitation to the English court to subscribe for that work. “In addition to these hardships,” Beethoven writes, “I have many debts to pay, for which reason it would be agreeable to me if you have disposed of the Mass to send me also the check for it, for by that time the copy for London will have been made. There need be no scruples because of the few souverains who are to get copies of it. If a local publisher made no objections, there ought to be still fewer in London; moreover, I bind myself in writing that not a note of it shall appear either in print or otherwise.” The poor Archduke-Cardinal comes in for his customary drubbing, the special complaint now being that Beethoven is obliged to draw his “wretched salary” with the aid of a stamp. The letter was placed for delivery in the hands of the amiable gentleman of the Austrian Embassy whose name we now learn to be Bauer and who was also the bearer of an address to King George IV[82] which Ries was to ask Bauer to read, after which the latter was to see to its delivery into[113] the royal hands and if possible get in return at least a “butcher’s knife or a tortoise”; a printed copy of the “Battle of Vittoria” was to accompany it. The character of the address to the king can be guessed at from the following draft for an earlier letter which was found amongst Schindler’s papers:

An Appeal to the King of England

In thus presuming, herewith, to submit my most obedient prayer to Your Majesty, I venture at the same time to supplement it with a second.

Already in the year 1823, the undersigned took the liberty, at the frequent requests of several Englishmen then living here, to send his composition entitled “Wellington’s Battle and Victory at Vittoria” which no one possessed at that time (to Your Majesty). The then Imperial Russian Ambassador, Prince Rasoumowsky, undertook to send the work to Your Majesty by a courier.

For many years the undersigned cherished the sweet wish that Your Majesty would graciously make known the receipt of his work to him; but he has not yet been able to boast of this happiness, and had to content himself with a brief notice from Mr. Ries, his former worthy pupil, who reported that Y. M. had been pleased graciously to deliver the work to the then Musical Director, Mr. Salomon and Mr. Smart for public performance in Drury Lane Theatre. This appears also from the English journals, which added, as did Mr. Ries, that the work had been received with extraordinary favor not only in London but elsewhere. Inasmuch as it was extremely humiliating to the undersigned to learn all this from indirect sources, Y. M. will surely pardon his sensitiveness and graciously permit him to observe that he spared neither time nor cost to lay this work before your exalted person in the most proper manner in order to provide a pleasure for Y. M.

From this the undersigned concludes, that it may have been improperly submitted to Y. M. and inasmuch as the most obedient petition which is now submitted, enables him again to approach Y. M., he takes the privilege of handing to Y. M. accompanying printed copy of the Battle of Vittoria in score, which has been set aside for this purpose ever since 1815 and which has been retained so long because of the uncertainty felt by the undersigned concerning the matter.

Convinced of the lofty wisdom and graciousness which Y. M. has hitherto shown toward art and artists to their appreciation and good fortune, the undersigned flatters himself that Your Majesty will graciously condescend to take all this in consideration and grant his most humble petition.

[Convaincu de la haute sagesse dont Votre Majesté a toujours su apprecier l’art ainsi que de la haute faveur qu’elle accordé a l’artiste le soussigné se flatte que Votre Majesté prendra l’un et l’autre en consideration et vaudra en grace condescendre a sa tres-humble demande.]

a Vienne le 24 fevrier.

There are other letters to Ries which must be considered later. They do not bear out Schindler’s contention that an estrangement had taken place between former master and pupil, but were it not that Beethoven’s utterances on that point were chronic when[114] negotiating sales of his works it might be said that they show that his burden of debt rested with peculiar grievousness upon him at this time. That it did trouble him more than ordinarily is otherwise evidenced. In April Schindler writes: “Don’t think night and day about your debts. When you are well again you’ll pay them without feeling it.” Steiner, who may have thought that consideration was no longer incumbent on him, now that Beethoven was offering his works to other publishers, pressed him for the money which he had loaned him and threatened to sue him for 800 florins. Beethoven presented a counter-claim and demanded that Steiner publish a number of compositions which he had purchased but had not issued. The debt to Brentano also distressed him. He had as yet received nothing from the royal subscribers to the Missa Solemnis. He appealed to his brother Johann to go security for him, but he refused. Then he consulted Dr. Bach, who advised him to dispose of one of the seven shares of bank stock which he had purchased after his stroke of fortune at the time of the Congress of Vienna. Schindler was called on to act as fiscal agent in what must have seemed a complicated matter to Beethoven, since at another time he had wanted to hypothecate a share and, on getting it out of its hiding-place, learned that all he had to do to get the money he needed was to cut off a coupon and collect it. Now he writes to Schindler:

Do not forget the B. A. (bank share); it is highly necessary. I should not like to be sued for nothing and less than nothing. The conduct of my brother is worthy of him. The tailor is coming to-day and I hope to turn him away without unpleasantness.

Another note to the same:

Try to find some philanthropist who will make me a loan on a bank share, so that, first, I need not put too severe a strain on the generosity of my only (the word is indistinct) friend v. B. and may not myself get in need because of the withholding of this money due to the beautiful arrangement made by my dear brother!

On a separate scrap of paper is written: “It must not appear that the money is needed.” The date of this note is fixed by the circumstance that it is the one in which Beethoven asks Schindler to draw up a list of courts to which the invitations to subscribe to the Mass were to be sent. In still another note he refers to bank shares which evidently were to be hypothecated. It was while in this distressful state concerning his debts that he took the first steps toward making his nephew his legal heir. On March 6, 1823, he wrote to Bach:


Death might come unannounced and give no time to make a legal will; therefore I hereby attest with my own hand that I declare my nephew Karl van Beethoven to be my universal heir and that after my death everything without exception which can be called my property shall belong to him. I appoint you to be his curator, and if there should be no testament after this you are also authorized and requested to find a guardian for my beloved nephew—to the exclusion of my brother Johann van Beethoven—and secure his appointment according to law. I declare this writing to be valid for all time as being my last will before my death. I embrace you with all my heart.

The words excluding Johann from the guardianship were written on the third page of the document and on the first there was this addition: “NB. In the way of capital there are 7 shares of bank stock; whatever else is found in cash is like the bank shares to be his.” Shortly before his death he reiterated this bequest with modifications entailed by changed conditions.

The origin of a canon which Beethoven improvised at the coffee-house “Zur goldenen Birne” on February 20 to the words “Bester Herr Graf, Sie sind ein Schaf” is said by Schindler to have been a discussion between the composer and Count Lichnowsky concerning a contract with Steiner. Obviously, Beethoven and his adviser had disagreed.

Seeks Appointment as Court Composer

In November 1822, Anton Tayber, Imperial Court Composer, died. Beethoven applied for the appointment as his successor and Counts Lichnowsky and Dietrichstein entered the lists for him. Beethoven made a personal appeal to Dietrichstein, who was the “Court Music-Count” who, on February 23, 1823, disclosed the plan which had been conceived to promote Beethoven’s interests with the Emperor in a letter to Lichnowsky:

It would have been my duty long ago to reply to good Beethoven, since he came to me so trustfully. But after I had spoken with you I decided to break silence only after I had received definite information on the subject in question. I can now tell you positively that the post held by the deceased Tayber—who was not Chamber but Court Composer—is not to be filled again. I do not want to write to Beethoven because I do not like to disappoint a man whom I so sincerely respect, and therefore I beg of you when occasion offers to let him know the fact and then to inform me when and where I may meet him, as I have forgotten where he lives.

I am also sending you herewith the score of a mass by Reutter which Beethoven wished to see. It is true that H. M. the Emperor is fond of this style, but Beethoven, if he writes a mass, need not adhere to it. Let him follow the bent of his great genius and have a care only that the mass be not too long or too difficult to perform;—that it be a tutti mass[116] and have only short soprano and alto solos in the voices (for which I have two fine singing-boys)—but no tenor, bass or organ solos. If he wishes he may introduce a violin, oboe or clarinet solo.

His Majesty likes to have fugues well worked out but not too long; the Sanctus and Osanna as short as possible, in order not to delay the transubstantiation, and—if I may add something on my own account—the Dona nobis pacem connected with the Agnus Dei without marked interruption, and soft. In two masses by Handel (arranged from his anthems), two by Naumann and Abbé Stadler, this makes a particularly beautiful effect. These in brief, as results of my experience, are the things which are to be considered and I should congratulate myself, the court and art if our great Beethoven were soon to take the work in hand.

On March 10 Dietrichstein sent Beethoven three texts for graduals and a like number for offertories from which to choose words to be used in the mass to be composed for the emperor. On the count’s letter Beethoven wrote the memorandum: “Treat the gradual as a symphony with song—does it follow the Gloria?” Here we have some light on the subject which came up for thought during the account of Beethoven’s negotiations with publishers for the Mass in D. It would seem to appear that Beethoven was much pleased with the interest manifested in his application by Count Dietrichstein, and looked with auspicious eye upon the latter’s plan to put him into the Emperor’s good books. There can scarcely be a doubt but that he gave considerable thought to the proposed mass even while still at work on the Mass in D. He conceived the plan of accompanying the Kyrie with wind-instruments and organ only in a “new mass,” as he designates it, and sketches for a Dona nobis pacem which have been found “for the mass in C-sharp minor” point to a treatment which may be said to be in harmony, so far as can be seen, with Count Dietrichstein’s suggestions. On one occasion he writes to Peters that he had not made up his mind which mass he should have, and on another that he had three masses, two other publishers having asked for such works. He tells Schindler that reports that the Mass in D was not finished were to be denied because they were not true, the unfinished numbers being additions. So also he writes to the Archduke. These additions were to be a gradual, an offertory, and a setting of the hymn Tantum ergo sacramentum, and it is a fair presumption, since appropriate texts for the first two were sent to Beethoven by Count Dietrichstein, that they were contemplated in connection with the mass for the emperor and that possibly after the abandonment of that project they were associated with the Mass in D. Nothing is known of the music which Beethoven had in mind for these additional numbers, but many sketches are lost and there is[117] no knowing how much music which was never written out Beethoven carried in his head.[83]

Beethoven spoke of the “second” mass to others besides the publishers. Nothing came of it, however. He decided to postpone work on the mass for the Emperor, pleading the pressure of other obligations in the letters of thanks which he sent to Counts Lichnowsky and Dietrichstein. They and Archduke Rudolph were greatly disappointed and, if Schindler is to be believed, the Archduke and Lichnowsky rebuked him.[84]

Consideration of Operatic Subjects

In this period, too, the alluring vision of a new opera presented itself, haunted the minds of Beethoven and his friends for a space and then disappeared in the limbo of unexecuted projects. “Fidelio” had been revived on November 3, 1822, at the Kärnthnerthor Theatre. Its success was so great that the management of the theatre offered a commission to Beethoven for a new opera. Beethoven viewed the proposition favorably and his friends hailed it with enthusiasm, especially Count Moritz Lichnowsky. Beethoven’s love for classic literature led him to express a desire for a libretto based on some story of the antique world. He was told that such stories were all worn threadbare. In the Conversation Books we see what suggestions were offered by others: a text by Schlegel; Voltaire’s tragedies; Schiller’s “Fiesco.” Local poets and would-be poets were willing to throw themselves into the breach. Friedrich August Kanne, editor of the musical journal published by Steiner and Co., wrote a libretto which Beethoven sent to Schindler with a note saying that except for the fact that the first act was rather lukewarm it was so admirably written that it really did not require the collaboration of “one of the first composers,” adding, “I do not want to say that it is just the most suitable thing for me, but if I can rid myself of obligations to which I am bound, who knows what might—or will—happen!” Lichnowsky tells Beethoven in February that he is determined to see Grillparzer, with whom he evidently wants to talk about an opera-book on “Macbeth” or “Romeo and Juliet.” Brother Johann brings Beethoven a proposition from Johann[118] Sporchil, historian and publicist, and Sporchil, receiving encouragement, submitted a work act by act to the composer, who wrote comments on the manuscripts but never did more.[85] Lichnowsky hears of an opera on “Alfred the Great,” said to be very beautiful and full of spectacular pomp. He will bring it to the composer in a few days. The Count has also written to Grillparzer, and Beethoven, recalling that he is an old acquaintance, resolves to visit him. Lichnowsky’s suggestion bore fruit of a kind. Grillparzer has left us an account of his attempt to collaborate with Beethoven on an opera in his “Erinnerungen an Beethoven.”[86] The request for a libretto, he says, came to him through Count Dietrichstein and was somewhat embarrassing to him because of his unfamiliarity with the lyric drama and his doubts touching Beethoven’s ability, after his later works, to compose an opera. Finally, however, he decided to make the attempt, and submitted a subject to Beethoven’s friends and then to Beethoven himself. It was a semi-diabolical story drawn from Bohemian legendary history, entitled “Dragomira.” It met with Beethoven’s approval and he agreed to write it, but afterward changed his mind and took up the fairy tale of Melusina. Of the manner in which he treated this subject Grillparzer says:

Grillparzer and His “Melusina”

So far as possible I banished the reflective element and sought, by giving prominence to the chorus, creating powerful finales and adopting the melodramatic style for the third act, to adjust myself to Beethoven’s last period. I avoided a preliminary conference with the composer concerning the subject-matter, because I wanted to preserve the independence of my views. Moreover, it was possible to make alterations, and in the last instance it rested with him to compose the book or not to compose it, as he listed. In order not to coerce him in the least I sent him the book by the same channel which had brought me the call. He was not to be influenced by personal considerations or embarrassed in any manner whatsoever.

The book appealed to Beethoven, but several conferences between him and the poet were necessary before it was brought into satisfactory shape. Grillparzer had excluded much of the material in the old legend which was unsuited to dramatic treatment, and strengthened the plot with conceits of his own invention. As soon as he had sent the text he went to Beethoven at Schindler’s[119] request. At first blush Beethoven was much pleased with the book, and he wrote Grillparzer a letter which delighted the poet. Grillparzer describes the visit to Beethoven at his lodgings in the Kothgasse which he made in company with Schindler:

I found him lying in soiled night wear on a disordered bed, a book in his hand. At the head of the bed was a small door which, as I observed later, opened into the dining-room and which Beethoven seemed in a manner to be guarding, for when subsequently a maid came through it with butter and eggs he could not restrain himself, in the middle of an earnest conversation, from throwing a searching glance at the quantity of the provisions served—which gave me a painful picture of the disorder prevailing in his domestic economy.

As we entered Beethoven arose from the bed, gave me his hand, poured out his feelings of good-will and respect and at once broached the subject of the opera. “Your work lives here,” said he, pointing to his heart; “I am going to the country in a few days and shall at once begin to compose it. Only, I don’t know what to do with the hunters’ chorus which forms the introduction. Weber used four horns; you see, therefore, that I must have eight; where will this lead to?” Although I was far from seeing the need of such a conclusion I explained to him that without injury to the rest of the book the hunters’ chorus could be omitted, with which concession he seemed to be satisfied, and neither then nor later did he offer any objection to the text or ask that a change be made. He even insisted on closing a contract with me at once. The profits of the opera should be divided evenly between us, etc. I declared to him, and truthfully, that I had not thought of a fee or anything of the kind while at work.... Least of all was it to be the subject of conversation between us. He was to do with the book what he pleased—I would never make a contract with him. After a good deal of talk (or rather of writing, for he could no longer hear speech) back and forth, I took my leave, promising to visit him in Hetzendorf after he had settled himself there.

I had hoped that he had given up all thoughts of business in regard to the matter; but a few days later my publisher, Wallishauser, came to me and said that Beethoven insisted upon the execution of a contract. If I could not make up my mind, Wallishauser suggested that I assign the property-right in the book to him and he would arrange with Beethoven, who was already advised of such a step. I was glad to get rid of the business, let Wallishauser pay me a moderate sum, and banished the matter from my thoughts. Whether or not they made a contract I do not know.

Otto Jahn’s notes of a conversation with Grillparzer state that Beethoven made a contract with Barbaja, who was the de facto manager of the Kärnthnerthor Theatre, for 6,000 florins, W. W. (2,500 C. M.). Shortly afterward Barbaja abandoned the contract, saying to Beethoven that he knew that though he was bound by it he could not use the opera. Thereupon Beethoven tore up the document. On April 20, 1824, Duport wrote to Beethoven that Barbaja had sent word from Naples that he would like to have an[120] opera by Beethoven and would give time and terms as soon as he received assurance that his contract for the theatre would be extended from December 1. The extension was not granted. Schindler denied that a contract between manager and composer ever existed.

Grillparzer kept his promise to visit Beethoven at Hetzendorf, going thither with Schindler. Part of his account may best be given in his own words:

We took a promenade and entertained each other as well as was possible half in conversation, half in writing, while walking. I still remember with emotion that when we sat down to table Beethoven went into an adjoining room and himself brought forth five bottles. He set down one at Schindler’s plate, one at his own and three in front of me, probably to make me understand in his wild and simple way that I was master and should drink as much as I liked. When I drove back to town without Schindler, who remained in Hetzendorf, Beethoven insisted on accompanying me. He sat himself beside me in the open carriage but instead of going only to the edge of the village, he drove with me to the city, getting out at the gates and, after a cordial handshake, starting back alone on the journey of an hour and a half homeward. As he left the carriage I noticed a bit of paper lying on the seat which he had just vacated. I thought that he had forgotten it and beckoned him to come back; but he shook his head and with a loud laugh, as at the success of a ruse, he ran the faster in the opposite direction. I unrolled the paper and it contained exactly the amount of the carriage-hire which I had agreed upon with the driver. His manner of life had so estranged him from all the habits and customs of the world that it probably never occurred to him that under other circumstances he would have been guilty of a gross offence. I took the matter as it was intended and laughingly paid my coachman with the money which had been given to me.[87]

In a Conversation Book used during the visit to Hetzendorf may be read one side of a conversation about “Melusine” which permits us to observe the poet’s capacity to look into the future:

Are you still of the opinion that something else ought to be substituted for the first chorus of our opera? Perhaps a few tones of the hunting-horns might be continued by an invisible chorus of nymphs. I have been thinking if it might not be possible to mark every appearance of Melusine or of her influence in the action by a recurrent and easily grasped melody. Might not the overture begin with this and after the rushing Allegro the introduction be made out of the same melody? I have thought of this melody as that to which Melusine sings her first song.

Grillparzer speaks of “Dragomira,” promises to send the plot to Beethoven in writing and makes many observations concerning[121] music and musicians which must have interested Beethoven even when he did not agree with him. He asserts that on the whole the North Germans know little of music—they will never produce anything higher than “Der Freischütz.” Also he has a good word for Italian opera:

And yet I cannot agree with those who unqualifiedly reject Italian opera. To my mind there are two kinds of opera—one setting out from the text, the other from the music. The latter is the Italian opera. Lablache, and in a degree Fodor, are better actors than the Germans ever had. Perhaps Mozart formed himself on the Italian opera. It is worse now. You would have trouble to find singers for your opera.

Advice Sought from Friends

There are many others with whom Beethoven discussed the opera and who came to him to tell him of their desire to see it written. Duport is greatly interested, wants to read the book with care and asks Beethoven’s terms; Lichnowsky is willing to risk the financial outcome; “I will go security,” he says in October, “for the money which you want for the opera. After selling the opera to the director you can still reserve the right of disposing of it at home and abroad.” And again: “If you do not compose the opera it will be all day with German opera—everybody says that. After the failure of Weber’s opera ‘Euryanthe’ many sent the books back. ‘Freischütz’ is not a genuine opera. If you can use me in any way, you know me and how sincere I am”; and still again, towards the end of November: “You will get incomparably more without a contract; if you want one, the director will make a contract with pleasure at once. Talk it over with Grillparzer; it will also be all one to him. Duport already asked about the opera several days ago.” From other quarters Beethoven is urged to write to Duport after the latter had written to him. In a letter which must have been written late in the year, since Beethoven is back in his town lodgings, he writes to Grillparzer telling him that the management had asked for his (Grillparzer’s) terms and suggesting that he write directly to the management and he would do the same.[88] A later conversation which must have taken place toward the close of the year (and may have been the result of this letter) begins with a complaint by Grillparzer against the censorship for having forbidden his “Ottokar.” Beethoven’s part in the dialogue may easily be supplied by the imagination, and it will be seen that he is still unreconciled to the opening chorus.


You have again taken up “Melusine?” I have already appealed to the management twice but have had no answer.—I have already said that I was compelled to ask 100 ducats for it.—Because as a matter of fact, all the profits of an opera-book remain with the theatre in which it is performed for the first time.—I could have made a spoken drama out of the same material which would have brought me three times as much—I must ask so much in order to meet my obligations to Wallishauser. For ordinary opera-books they pay up to 300 florins C. M. Have you already begun to compose?—Will you please write down for me where you want the changes made?—Because then, nevertheless, the piece will have to begin with a hunt.—Perhaps the last tones of a vanishing hunters’ chorus might blend with the introduction without having the hunters enter.—To begin with a chorus of nymphs might weaken the effect of the chorus at the close of the first act.—I am not quite versed in opera texts.—You want to deliver it to the theatre by September.—The direction wants to make a creditable showing in the eyes of the public.—Doesn’t the text of the opera also seem too long to you?—To whom are you thinking of giving the rôle of Raimund?—They are talking of a young tenor who may have made his début by that time. I believe his name is Cramolini; besides a handsome figure he is said to have a beautiful voice.—It is said that the direction is having him educated.—Forti is a little too gross.—Then I am to expect your written suggestion as to alterations, soon?—I am not busy at present.—I am ready for anything.

For a space there is talk about oratorio texts (“Judith”) and the possibility of musical expression in the case of Christ. Then the text of “Dragomira” is referred to, concerning which Beethoven seems to have asked. Grillparzer says:

Dragomira. Great variety—great characters, effects.—The mother of St. Wenzelaus, the Duke of Bohemia.—One of her sons kills the other. She herself is a pagan, the better son is a Christian. They still show the spot in Prague where she was swallowed up by the earth with horses and equipage.—After I have lost all hope here I shall send it to Berlin.

There is much more talk in the Conversation Book about the opera, but neither sequence nor date can always be determined. Lichnowsky tells him that the management of the theatre is willing to do anything asked of it and is negotiating with Grillparzer. Brother Johann says: “Grillparzer is coming to-morrow—that is no affair of yours.—You wrote to the management to make arrangements with the poet, and to this it was agreed; hence Grillparzer must make terms.” In the same book Schikh, the editor, writes: “Why don’t you compose Grillparzer’s opera? Write the opera first and then we shall be in a position to wish you also to write a Requiem.”

Grillparzer Parts with Beethoven

Grillparzer says that Beethoven told him in Hetzendorf that his opera was ready (whether he meant in his head or in its essential elements in the numerous sketchbooks, the poet could not say),[123] but after the composer’s death not a single note was found which could indubitably be assigned to their common work. The poet had faithfully adhered to his resolve not to remind the composer of the work in any way and “was never near him again until, clad in black and carrying a burning torch in my [his] hand,” he walked behind his coffin. Grillparzer’s memory is faulty in a few details. He says that he never met Beethoven after the visit to Hetzendorf except once; but the two men were together again in 1824. This, however, is inconsequential; the fact remains that Beethoven did not compose “Melusine.”—Why not? Many reasons must be obvious to those who have followed this narrative closely: illness; vexation of spirit; loss of initiative; a waning of the old capacity to assimilate conceptions and ideas which did not originate in his own consciousness and were not in harmony with his own predilections. Moreover, it was the period of his greatest introspection; he was communing more and more with his own soul, and separating himself more and more from all agencies of utterance except the one which spoke most truthfully and directly within him, and to which he entrusted his last revelations—the string quartet. “Melusine” was not composed, but the opera continued to occupy his attention at intervals until deep into the next year, and unless Holz is in error, some of his last labors were devoted to it. Too literal an acceptance must not, therefore, be given to Schindler’s statement that he “suddenly” abandoned the plan of writing a German opera because he learned that the similarity between the subjects of “Melusine” and “Undine” would embarrass the production of the former in Berlin.


A project which cropped out intermittently during 1823 was the writing of an overture on the musical motive suggested by the letters composing the name of Bach. The thought seems to have become fixed in his mind in 1822, though the device of using as a motive in composition was at least as old as the Leipsic master’s “Art of Fugue,” and no doubt familiar to Beethoven. However, he was deeply engrossed in fugal writing at this period and it is very likely, as Nottebohm suggests, that he conceived an overture on the motive as a tribute to Bach’s genius. Several sketches showing different forms of the theme appear in the books of 1823; and a collateral memorandum, “This overture with the new symphony, and we shall have a concert (Akademie) in the Kärnthner[124]thor Theatre,” amongst sketches for the last quartets in 1825, shows that he clung to the idea almost to the end. Had Beethoven carried out all the plans for utilizing the theme which presented themselves to him between 1822 and 1825, there would have been several Bach overtures; unfortunately, he carried out none.

Beethoven and the Boy Liszt

On April 13, 1823, the boy Franz Liszt, who was studying with Carl Czerny and had made his first public appearance on the first day of the year, gave a concert in the small Ridotto room. Together with his father he had been presented to Beethoven by Schindler, but had not been received with any special marks of friendliness. The precocious boy gave expression to the hope that Beethoven would attend his approaching concert.[89] Later in the Conversation Book:

Little Liszt has urgently requested me humbly to beg you for a theme on which he wishes to improvise at his concert to-morrow. He will not break the seal till the time comes. The little fellow’s improvisations do not seriously signify. The lad is a fine pianist, but so far as his fancy is concerned it is far from the truth to say that he really improvises (was Phantasie anbelangt, so ist es noch weit am Tage bis man sagen kann, er phantasiert). Czerny (Carl) is his teacher. Just eleven years. Do come; it will certainly please Karl to hear how the little fellow plays. It is unfortunate that the lad is in Czerny’s hands.—You will make good the rather unfriendly reception of recent date by coming to little Liszt’s concert?—It will encourage the boy.—Promise me to come.

Did Beethoven attend the concert, and did he afterwards go upon the stage, lift up the prodigy and kiss him? So the world has long believed on the authority of Nohl,[90] who got the story from Liszt himself. Schindler ought to be a good witness in this case, since he pleaded the cause of the little lad before his great friend; but unfortunately Schindler in this instance gives testimony at one time which he impeaches at another. In the second edition of his “Biography of Beethoven” (Münster, 1845, second appendix, page 71, note) he says:

One can never know if a child will grow into a man, and if so what kind of man; so I could not foresee when I introduced the promising boy Liszt and his father in 1823, to Beethoven, what kind of musical vandal would grow out of this young talent. Did Beethoven have a premonition? The reception was not the usual friendly one and I had reason at[125] the time not to be particularly satisfied, since the prodigy had interested me in an unusual degree. Beethoven himself noticed that he had been somewhat lax in his interest in little Franz, which made it easy to persuade him to honor the concert of little Liszt with his presence in order to atone for the indifference he had first shown.

In the third edition of his book (1860, Part II, p. 178) he says:

The author knows of only one reception to which the term “friendly” can not be applied. It was in the case of little Franz Liszt, who, accompanied by his father, was presented by me. This unfriendliness grew out of the excessive idolization of this truly sensational talent; but chiefly it was due to the request made of Beethoven to give the twelve-year-old lad a theme for improvisation at his farewell concert—a request which was as indiscreet as it was unreasonable. But hyperenthusiasm always betrays a want of timeliness. It is not impossible that this enthusiasm, after Beethoven had declined the request with obvious displeasure, yet managed to secure from Emperor Franz, or at least Archduke Rudolph, a theme for the young virtuoso. The idolatry of the wonder-child gave the master, who had gone through so severe a school of experience, a text for many observations on the hindrances and clogs to the equable development of extraordinary talents as soon as they were made the darlings of the multitude. Sketches of the life of Liszt have stated that Beethoven attended the farewell concert of 1823; in Schilling’s encyclopædia it is added that Beethoven at this concert shook the hand of little Liszt and thereby designated him as worthy of the name of artist. Beethoven did not attend the concert; nor any private concert after 1816.[91]

The visit of Louis Schloesser, afterwards chapelmaster in Darmstadt, who delivered the message from the Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, took place in the spring of the year. His description of the visit was printed in the journal “Hallelujah” in 1885 (Nos. 20 and 21). Schloesser revisited him later and met him afterwards in town, walking with him to Steiner, whom he said he was about to take to task for a remissness. “When it comes to the publication of a new work,” Beethoven said, “they would like to postpone it as long as possible, even till after my death, thinking thus to do a better business with it; but I shall checkmate them.” Schloesser was surprised on this occasion to find Beethoven dressed with unwonted elegance and remarked the fact to Mayseder, who explained, with a smile, that it was not the first time that his[126] friends had stolen his old clothes at night and left new ones in their place. Mayseder added that the substitution was never noticed by Beethoven, who donned the garments with perfect calmness. Schloesser observes that he never detected the least sign of absentmindedness in Beethoven.

At the last meeting between the men Schloesser showed Beethoven one of his compositions, a somewhat complicated work. Beethoven looked through it and observed: “You write too much; less would have been better. That’s the way of our young heaven-stormers who think that they can never do enough. But that will change with riper age, and I prefer a superabundance to a paucity of ideas.” To the question how this might be attained Schloesser says Beethoven replied “literally”:

I carry my thoughts about me for a long time, often a very long time, before I write them down. Meanwhile my memory is so tenacious that I am sure never to forget, not even in years, a theme that has once occurred to me. I change many things, discard and try again until I am satisfied. Then, however, there begins in my head the development in every direction and, insomuch as I know exactly what I want, the fundamental idea never deserts me—it arises before me, grows—I see and hear the picture in all its extent and dimensions stand before my mind like a cast and there remains for me nothing but the labor of writing it down, which is quickly accomplished when I have the time, for I sometimes take up other work, but never to the confusion of one with the other. You will ask me where I get my ideas? That I can not tell you with certainty; they come unsummoned, directly, indirectly,—I could seize them with my hands out in the open air; in the woods; while walking; in the silence of the night; early in the morning; incited by moods which are translated by the poet into words, by me into tones,—sound and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes.

At parting, Beethoven gave Schloesser a sheet containing a canon for six voices on the words, “Edel sei der Mensch, hülfreich und gut,” with the inscription: “Words by Goethe, tones by Beethoven. Vienna, May, 1823.” On the back he wrote: “A happy journey, my dear Herr Schloesser, may all things which seem desirable come to meet you. Your devoted Beethoven.”[92] Judging by the position of the canon in the Rudolphinian Collection, Nottebohm was of the opinion that it was composed at an earlier date, say 1819-20. Beethoven also gave Schloesser, who was going to Paris, a letter of introduction to Cherubini which accomplished his acceptance as a pupil of the Conservatoire.

Our old friend Schuppanzigh, after an absence of seven years, returned to Vienna in 1823. On May 4 he gave a concert at which[127] Piringer conducted the orchestra, and on June 14 the quartet meetings were resumed, with Holz, Weiss and Linke as his associates.

Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli

Schindler places the incident which gave the incentive to the creation of the last of Beethoven’s characteristic works for the pianoforte, the “Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli,” Op. 120, in the winter of 1822-’23. In this, as will appear presently, he was in error, as he was also touching the date of the completion of the composition, but otherwise his story is no doubt correct. Anton Diabelli, head of the music-publishing house of Diabelli and Co., having composed a waltz, conceived the idea of having variations written on its melody by a large group of the popular composers of the day. Beethoven was among those who received the invitation, but, mindful of his experiences in 1808, when he contributed a setting of “In questa tomba” to a similar conglomeration, he declared that he would never do so again. Moreover, so Schindler says, he did not like the tune, which he called a Schusterfleck.[93] He declined Diabelli’s request, but not long afterward asked Schindler to inquire of Diabelli if he were disposed to take from him a set of variations on the waltz, and if so, what he would pay. Diabelli received the proposition with delight and offered 80 ducats, requiring not more than six or seven variations. The contract was formally closed and Beethoven remarked to Schindler: “Good; he shall have variations on his cobble!” This the story as told by Schindler. Lenz, who claimed to have the authority of Holz for his version, says that after receiving thirty-two variations from other composers, Diabelli went to Beethoven and asked him for the one which he had promised. Beethoven inquired how many variations he already had and when Diabelli replied “Thirty-two” he said: “Well, go and publish them and I alone will write you thirty-three.” This story, however, lacks probability. Lenz himself says that Diabelli told him that Beethoven had not agreed to write for him; hence he could not have asked for the “promised” variation. But Schindler is also wrong in saying that the variations were the first work taken up by Beethoven after his removal to Hetzendorf in the summer of 1823 and that they were published in July. They were advertised as published by Diabelli in the “Wiener Zeitung” on June 16, 1823, and there are other dates to corroborate the evidence that they were finished when Beethoven removed to Hetzendorf on May 17. On May 7 Beethoven offered[128] them for publication to Lissner in St. Petersburg; on April 25 he wrote to Ries: “You will also receive in a few weeks 33 variations on a theme, dedicated to your wife,” and on July 16: “By this time the variations must be with you.” The date of Diabelli’s conception of the plan was probably a whole year, even two years earlier than the date given by Schindler. In a letter dated June 5, 1822, Beethoven offered to Peters “Variations on a Waltz for pianoforte solo (there are many)” for 30 ducats; they must therefore have been far advanced in composition and fully planned at that time. Nottebohm says that Schubert’s contribution to the collection of variations bears on the autograph the date “March, 1821.” The Variations appeared from the press of Diabelli and Co. in June, with a dedication to Mme. Antonia von Brentano; not, it will be observed, to the wife of Ries. Had there been an English edition there would have been such a dedication, but it is another case in which an English publisher was disappointed in the conduct of the composer. Ries had complied with Beethoven’s solicitations and secured a publisher. He closed an agreement with Boosey; but when the manuscript reached London, Boosey was already in possession of a copy of the Vienna edition and the work had also been printed in Paris. The copy made for London bore a dedication written in large letters by Beethoven to Madame Ries; but the printed copies were inscribed to Madame Brentano. Beethoven attempted an explanation and defence in a letter to Ries dated Baden September 5:

You say that I ought to look about me for somebody to look after my affairs. This was the case with the Variat. which were cared for by my friends and Schindler. The Variat. were not to appear here until after they had been published in London. The dedication to B—— (not clear) was intended only for Germany, as I was under obligations to her and could publish nothing else at the time; besides only Diabelli, the publisher here, got them from me. Everything was done by Schindler; a bigger wretch I never got acquainted with on God’s earth—an arch-scoundrel whom I have sent about his business. I can dedicate another work to your wife in place of it.

How much blame in this affair really attached to Schindler is not known; it seems pretty apparent that though Beethoven was also fuming against him at the time at home, he was doing duty in London as a whipping-boy. Beethoven went right on calling in the help of the “biggest wretch on earth and arch-scoundrel.”

Troubled by His Eyes at Hetzendorf

After the labors and vexations of town life in the winter, the call of the country in the summer was more than usually imperative, because the work which had long occupied Beethoven’s mind—the Ninth Symphony—was demanding completion. His[129] brother Johann had invited him to visit him on his estate near Gneixendorf, but he had declined. His choice for the summer sojourn fell upon Hetzendorf, a village not far from Vienna, where he hit upon a villa, surrounded by a beautiful park, which belonged to Baron Müller-Pronay. There was some haggling about the rent and some questioning about the post service—an important matter in view of the many negotiations with publishers, in all of which Schindler was depended on—but eventually all was arranged. Ill health marred the Hetzendorf sojourn. Beethoven’s other ailments were augmented by a painful affection of the eyes which called for medical treatment, retarded his work and caused him no small amount of anxiety. Complaints on this score began in April and were continued through July, on the 15th of which month he writes to the Archduke, “My eyes are better, but improvement is slow. It would be more rapid if I were not obliged to use glasses; it is an unfortunate circumstance which delays me in everything”; and later, when on a short visit to Vienna: “I have just heard here that Y. I. H. is coming to-morrow. If I cannot obey the wishes of my heart, please ascribe it to my eyes. They are much better, but I must not breathe the town air for many more days, for it would have ill effects on my eyes.” In August, very shortly before his departure for Baden: “I am feeling really badly, not my eyes alone. I purpose to drag myself to Baden to-morrow to take lodgings and in a few days will have to go there to stay. The town air has an injurious effect on my entire organization and I hurt myself by going twice to my physicians in the city.” From Baden on the 22nd he complains of a catarrhal affection, the misery in his bowels and the trouble with his eyes, but adds: “Thank God, the eyes are so much improved that I can again use them considerably in the daytime. Things are going better also with my other ailments; more could not be asked in this short time.”

Among the cheering incidents of the summer were the reports which reached him of the production of “Fidelio” under the direction of Weber in Dresden. Weber opened a correspondence on January 28 and continued it with letters dated February 18, April 7 and June 5; Beethoven’s answers were dated February 16, April 10 and June 9. Most unfortunately all these letters have disappeared, and the only hints we have as to their contents are from the draft for Weber’s first communication discovered among the papers of the writer:

“Fidelio.” To Beethoven. The performance in Prague under my direction of this mighty work, which bears testimony to German grandeur and depth of feeling, gave me an intimacy, as inspiring as it was[130] instructive, with the essence through which I hope to present it to the public in its complete effectiveness here, where I have all possible means at my command. Every representation will be a festival day on which I shall be privileged to offer to your exalted mind the homage which lives in my heart, where reverence and love for you struggle with each other.

Weber had received the score of the opera on April 10 from Beethoven, who had to borrow it from the Kärnthnerthor Theatre, whose musical archives were in the care of Count Gallenberg. Through Schindler, Gallenberg sent word to Beethoven that he would send the score, provided two copies were on hand; if not, he would have a copy made. Schindler, reporting the message to Beethoven, adds that Gallenberg had said he thought Beethoven himself had the score: “But when I assured him that you did not have it he said that its loss was a consequence of your irregularity and many changes of lodgings.”[94] Nevertheless, Weber got the score and after fourteen rehearsals the representation took place with great success. Von Könneritz, Director-General of the Royal Chapel, reported the triumph to Beethoven and sent Beethoven a fee of 40 ducats. Beethoven in acknowledging receipt on July 17 is emboldened “by the account which my dear friend Maria Weber gives me of the admirable and noble motives of Your Excellency” to ask his intercession with the Saxon court in behalf of the Mass in D, as has already been recorded in this chapter.

A number of incidents may now hurriedly be marshalled. In 1822 the Royal Academy of Music of Sweden had elected Beethoven to foreign membership. The consent of the Austrian government was necessary to his acceptance of the honor and this seems to have been deferred an unconscionably long time; at least Beethoven’s letters to the Academy and to King Charles XIV (whom as General Bernadotte, then French ambassador at Vienna, he had known 25 years before) are dated March 1, 1823. When permission came he wrote notes to the editors of the newspapers “Beobachter” and “Wiener Zeitschrift,” asking them to announce the fact of his election—a circumstance which shows that he was not always as indifferent to distinctions of all kinds as he professed occasionally. Franz Schoberlechner, a young pianist, appealed to him for letters of recommendation to be used on a concert-tour. The letter reached Beethoven through Schindler, to whom he returned it with the curt indorsement: “A capable fellow has no need of recommendation other than from one good house to another.” Schindler importuned him again, and Beethoven wrote[131] to him somewhat testily: “It must be plain to you that I do not want to have anything to do with this matter. As for ‘being noble’ I think I have shown you sufficiently that I am that on principle; I even think that you must have observed that I have never been otherwise. Sapienti sat.” That ended the matter; but when Chapelmaster Dreschler of the Josephstadt Theatre became a candidate for the post of second court organist, Beethoven recommended him enthusiastically to Archduke Rudolph, whom in a second letter he urged to remain firm notwithstanding that Abbé Stadler had presented another candidate. Archduke Rudolph spoke to the emperor and Count Dietrichstein in favor of Drechsler, but in vain. In his letters Beethoven referred to a canon, “Grossen Dank,” which he said he had written for the Archduke and which he intended to hand him in person. Sketches for it have been found among those for the third movement of the Ninth Symphony, but nothing has yet been heard of the completed work.

Troubles with a Country Landlord

Beethoven’s domestic affairs continued to plague him. While at Hetzendorf he had the services of a housekeeper whom he described as “the swift-sailing frigate” Frau Schnaps, in letters to Schindler. He has no end of trouble about his town lodging in the Kothgasse where Schindler was living, and must needs take time to write long letters to his factotum on the subject. Here is one sent from Hetzendorf on July 2:

The continued brutality of the landlord, from the beginning as long as I have been in the house, calls for the help of the R. I. Police. Go to them direct. As regards the storm-window, the housekeeper was ordered to look after it and particularly after the recent severe rain-storm to see if it was necessary to prevent rain from entering the room; but she found that it had neither rained in nor could rain in. Believing this, I put on the lock so that the brutal fellow could not open my room in my absence as he threatened to do. Tell them further how he behaved towards you and that he put up the bill without notice, which he has no right to do before St. James’s day.—He has also refused to give me a receipt from St. George’s to St. James’ as this paper shows because of the demand that I pay a charge for lighting of which I knew nothing. This abominable lodging without a stove-flue and with the most wretched sort of main chimney has cost me at least 259 florins W. W. for extra expenses above the rent in order to make it habitable while I was there in the winter. It was an intentional cheat, inasmuch as I never saw the lodgings in the first storey but only in the second, for which reason many objectionable things remained unknown to me. I can not comprehend how it is possible that so shameful a chimney, ruinous to human health, can be tolerated by the government. You remember how the walls of your room looked because of smoke, how much it cost to get rid of some but not all of the nuisance. The chief thing now is that he be commanded to[132] take down the notice and to give me the receipt for the rent paid at any rate. I never had that wretched lighting, but had other large expenses in order to make life endurable in this lodging. My sore eyes can not yet stand the town air, otherwise I would myself go to the imperial police.

Schindler obeyed instructions; the police director, Ungermann, sent his compliments to Beethoven, told him that his wishes were all granted in advance but advised him to pay the 6 florins for lighting to prevent a scoundrelly landlord from having any kind of hold upon him—and Schindler got well scolded for his pains! How could he accept something-or-other from such a churl accompanied by a threat? Where was his judgment? Where he always kept it, of course! The bill came down, but Beethoven did not keep the lodging.

Beethoven’s nephew Karl pursued his studies at Blöchlinger’s Institute till in August and then spent his vacation with his uncle in Baden. He made himself useful as amanuensis and otherwise, and his words are occasionally found among the notes of conversation. His mother remains in the background for the time being, which is providential, for Beethoven has trouble enough with his other delectable sister-in-law, the wife of Johann, whose conduct reaches the extreme of reprehensibleness in the summer of 1823, during a spell of sickness which threw her husband on his back. The woman chose this time to receive her lover in her house and to make a shameless public parade of her moral laxness. The step-daughter was no less neglectful of her filial duties. Accounts of his sister-in-law’s misconduct reached Beethoven’s ears from various quarters and he was frank in his denunciation of her to his brother and only a little more plain-spoken than Schindler, who was asked by Beethoven to lay the matter before the police, but managed to postpone that step for the time being.[95]

Autographed Shutters in Demand

Meanwhile Beethoven was hard at work on the Ninth Symphony. It was so ever-present with him that there was neither[133] paradox nor hyperbole in his words: “I am never alone when I am alone.” He had much to irritate him while sketches and drafts of the symphony were piling up before him in August, and finally, if Schindler is to be believed, he could no longer endure the obsequious bows with which his landlord, Baron Pronay, always greeted him, and resolved to abandon the pretty villa at Hetzendorf and go to Baden. He may have formed the plan earlier in the year—probably had—but the baron’s excessive politeness helped to turn his departure into something like a bolt. He went to Baden on a house-hunting expedition with Schindler, and returning, sent his “swift-sailing frigate” to Schindler with a billet commanding him to be up and off at 5 o’clock in the morning “presto prestissimo.” He knew only one lodging in Baden suited to his requirements—the one which he had occupied in 1822—but the owner refused to let him have it again. This owner was a locksmith. To him Schindler was sent. In the name of his master he made all manner of humble promises concerning more orderly conduct and consideration for the other tenants, but the plea was rejected. A second appeal was made and now the houseowner relented, but made it a condition that Beethoven replace the window-shutters which had been removed. Beethoven was the more willing to do this, since he thought it necessary for the sake of his eyes. The landlord had not divulged the reason for his demand. Beethoven was in the habit of scrawling all kinds of memoranda on his shutters in leadpencil—accounts, musical themes, etc. A family from North Germany had noticed this in the previous year and on Beethoven’s departure had bought one of the shutters as a curiosity. The thrifty locksmith had an eye for business and disposed of the remaining shutters to other summer visitors.

Beethoven had arrived in Baden on August 13 with the help of Schindler, towards whom he was filled with as much gratitude as can be read in the following remarks from two letters to his nephew dated August 16 and 23:

My ruined belly must be restored by medicine and diet, and this I owe to the faithful messenger! You can imagine how I am racing about, for only to-day did I really begin my service to the muses; I must, though that is not noticeable, for the baths invite me at least to the enjoyment of beautiful nature, but nous sommes trop pauvre et il faut écrire ou de n’avoir pas de quoi.

He (Schindler) was with me only a day here to take a lodging, as you know; slept in Hetzendorf, and as he said, went back to Josephstadt in the morning. Do not get to gossipping against him. It might work him injury, and is he not already sufficiently punished? Being what he is,[134] it is necessary plainly to tell him the truth, for his evil character which is prone to trickery needs to be handled seriously.

Beethoven’s unamiable mood, which finds copious expression in abuse of Schindler at this juncture, has some explanation (also extenuation, if that is necessary) in the rage and humiliation with which contemplation of his brother’s domestic affairs filled him. Johann was convalescing and wrote a letter to the composer which occasioned the following outburst under date of August 13:

Dear Brother:

I am rejoiced at your better health. As regards myself, my eyes are not entirely recovered and I came here with a disordered stomach and a frightful catarrh, the first due to the arch-pig of a housekeeper, the second to a beast of a kitchen-maid whom I have once driven away but whom the other took back. You ought not to have gone to Steiner; I will see what can be done. It will be difficult to do anything with the songs in puris as their texts are German; more likely with the overture.

I received your letter of the 10th at the hands of the miserable scoundrel Schindler. You need only to give your letters directly to the post, I am certain to receive them, for I avoid this mean and contemptible fellow as much as possible. Karl can not come to me before the 29th of this month when he will write you. You can not well be wholly unadvised as to what the two canailles, Lump and Bastard,[96] are doing to you, and you have had letters on the subject from me and Karl, for, little as you deserve it I shall never forget that you are my brother, and a good angel will yet come to rid you of these two canailles. This former and present strumpet who received visits from her fellow no less than three times while you were ill, and who in addition to everything else has your money wholly in her hands. O infamous disgrace! Isn’t there a spark of manhood in you?!!!... About coming to you I will write another time. Ought I so to degrade myself as to associate with such bad company? Mayhap this can be avoided and we yet pass a few days with you. About the rest of your letter another time. Farewell. Unseen I hover over you and work through others so that these canailles shall not strangle you.

As always your faithful

There were several visitors to Beethoven at Baden in the summer of 1823 who have left accounts of their experiences. One was an Englishman, Edward Schulz, who published his story in the “Harmonicon” in January 1824. This extremely lively letter was reprinted by Moscheles in his translation (or rather, adaptation) of Schindler’s biography of Beethoven and incorporated in the second German edition, where Schindler accompanies it with several illuminative glosses which are less necessary now than[135] they were when the biographer wrote. Schulz visited Beethoven on September 28 in the company of Haslinger. He describes it as a dies faustus for him and, as Schindler shrewdly observes, it must also have been one for Beethoven, since he managed to hear the conversation of his visitors without the aid of an ear-trumpet. He talked with great animation, as was his wont when in good humor, but, says the English visitor, “one unlucky question, one ill-judged piece of advice—for instance, concerning the cure of his deafness—is quite sufficient to estrange him from you forever.” He asked Haslinger about the highest possible note on the trombone, but was dissatisfied with the answer which he received; introduced his nephew and showed his pride in the youth’s attainments by telling his guest that he might put to him “a riddle in Greek” if he liked. At dinner during a visit to the Helenenthal he commented on the profusion of provisions at dinner, saying: “Why such a variety of dishes? Man is but little above other animals if his chief pleasure is confined to a dinner-table.” A few excerpts from the letter will serve to advance the present narrative:

Beethoven’s Tribute to Handel

In the whole course of our table-talk there was nothing so interesting as what he said about Handel. I sat close by him and heard him assert very distinctly in German, “Handel is the greatest composer that ever lived.” I can not describe to you with what pathos, and I am inclined to say, with what sublimity of language, he spoke of the “Messiah” of this immortal genius. Every one of us was moved when he said, “I would uncover my head, and kneel down at his tomb!” H. and I tried repeatedly to turn the conversation to Mozart, but without effect. I only heard him say, “In a monarchy we know who is the first”; which might or might not apply to the subject.... He is engaged in writing a new opera called “Melusine,” the words by the famous but unfortunate poet Grillparzer. He concerns himself but very little about the newest productions of living composers, insomuch, that when I asked about the “Freischütz,” he replied, “I believe one Weber has written it”.... He appears uniformly to entertain the most favorable opinion of the British nation. “I like,” said he, “the noble simplicity of the English manners,” and added other praises. It seemed to me as if he had yet some hopes of visiting this country together with his nephew. I should not forget to mention that I heard a MS. trio of his for the pianoforte, violin and violoncello, which I thought very beautiful, and as, I understood, to appear shortly in London.

Our author’s statement that he heard a manuscript pianoforte trio at this time piques curiosity. Schindler disposes of the question as to what it may have been in the manner more characteristic of the present than the past attitude of German writers towards everything English or American. “Who knows what it was that the non-musical gentleman took for a trio?” he asks. Evidently Schindler was of the opinion that no Englishman except,[136] possibly, a professional musician, could count three or recognize the employment of pianoforte, violin and violoncello in a piece of music. He is right in scouting the idea that it could have been the great Trio in B-flat, for that work had long been in print. Nor is it likely to have been the little trio in the same key dedicated to Maximiliane Brentano; for though that was not published at the time, it is not likely that Beethoven would produce it in 1823 as a novelty. There are in existence sketches for a Trio in F minor made in 1815, but nothing to show that the work was ever written out. Had it been in Beethoven’s hands at a time when he was turning over the manuscripts of earlier days, it would surely have been offered to a publisher; so that is out of the way. There is only one other known work which invites speculation—the “Adagio, Variations and Rondo,” for pianoforte, violin and violoncello, which Steiner and Co. gave to the public in 1824, as Op. 121. The variations are on a melody from Wenzel Müller’s opera “Die Schwestern aus Prag” (“Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu”). It is at least remotely possible that this was the trio which the English traveller heard, and if so we have in the fact a hint as to the time of its origin—the only hint yet given.

Von Weber’s Visit to Beethoven

A few days after the one just recorded Beethoven received a visit from a man of much greater moment than the English traveller. The new visitor was Carl Maria von Weber. That the composer of “Der Freischütz” was unable in his salad days to appreciate the individuality of Beethoven’s genius has already been set forth; and the author of the letter in the “Harmonicon” seems to have learned that Beethoven was disposed to speak lightly of Weber only a month before he received him with most amiable distinction at Baden. Schindler’s explanation, that a memory of Weber’s criticism of the Fourth Symphony may at the moment have risen, ghost-like, in Beethoven’s mind and prompted the disparaging allusion quoted by Schulz, is far-fetched. It is not necessary to account for such moody remarks in Beethoven’s case. He was often unjust in his comments on even his most devoted friends, and we may believe that to Schulz he did speak of the composer as “one Weber,” and at the same time accept the account which Max Maria von Weber gives of the reception of his father by Beethoven. From the affectionate biography written by the son, we learn that after the sensational success achieved by “Der Freischütz” Beethoven was led to study its score and that he was so astonished at the originality of the music that he struck the book with his hand and exclaimed: “I never would have thought it of the gentle little man (sonst weiche Männel). Now Weber must[137] write operas; nothing but operas—one after the other and without polishing them too much. Casper, the monster, stands out here like a house. Wherever the devil puts in his claws they are felt.” He learned to know “Euryanthe” later and was less impressed by it than by its predecessor. After glancing through it hurriedly he remarked: “The man has taken too much pains.”[97] Whatever may have been their earlier feelings and convictions, however, the representations of “Fidelio” at Prague and Dresden under the direction of Weber warmed their hearts towards each other. Weber’s filial biographer says that when the youthful sin of his father was called to the notice of Beethoven, the latter showed some resentment, but there is no shadow of this in the pictures which we have from the pens of Weber himself, Max Maria von Weber and Julius Benedict, of the meeting between the two men. Weber had come to Vienna, bringing with him his pupil Benedict, to conduct the first performance of “Euryanthe.” On his visit in the previous year, when “Der Freischütz” was produced, he had neglected to call on Beethoven, but now some kindly words about “Euryanthe” spoken by Beethoven to Steiner being repeated to him, he made good his dereliction and, announced by Haslinger, drove out to Baden to pay his respects. In his diary Weber noted the visit thus: “The 5th, Sunday (October, 1823), at 8 o’clock, drove with Burger (Piringer), Haslinger and Benedict to Baden; abominable weather; Saw spring and baths; to Duport and Beethoven; received by him with great cordiality. Dined with him, his nephew and Eckschlager at the Sauerhof. Very cheerful. Back again at 5 o’clock.” On the next day (though the letter is dated “October 5”) Weber wrote an account to his wife as follows:

I was right tired but had to get up yesterday at 6 o’clock because the excursion to Baden had been appointed for half-past 7 o’clock. This took place with Hasslinger, Piringer and Benedict; but unfortunately the weather was atrocious. The main purpose was to see Beethoven. He received me with an affection which was touching; he embraced me most heartily at least six or seven times and finally exclaimed enthusiastically: “Indeed, you’re a devil of a fellow!—a good fellow!” We spent the afternoon very merrily and contentedly. This rough, repellant man actually paid court to me, served me at table as if I had been his lady. In short, this day will always remain remarkable in my memory as well as of those present. It was uplifting for me to be overwhelmed with such loving attention by this great genius. How saddening is his deafness! Everything must be written down for him. We inspected the baths, drank the waters, and at 5 o’clock drove back to Vienna.


Max Maria von Weber in his account of the incident says that Beethoven, in the conversation which followed his greeting of the “devil of a fellow,” railed at the management of the theatre, the concert impresarios, the public, the Italians, the taste of the people, and particularly at the ingratitude of his nephew. Weber, who was deeply moved, advised him to tear himself away from his discouraging environment and make an artistic tour through Germany, which would show him what the world thought of him. “Too late!” exclaimed Beethoven, shaking his head and going through the motions of playing the pianoforte. “Then go to England, where you are admired,” wrote Weber. “Too late!” cried Beethoven, drew Weber’s arm into his and dragged him along to the Sauerhof, where they dined. At parting, Beethoven embraced and kissed him several times and cried: “Good luck to the new opera; if I can I’ll come to the first performance.”

Sir Julius Benedict’s Record

A generation later Sir Julius Benedict, who had also put his memory of those Vienna days at the service of Weber’s son, wrote down his recollections for his work in these words:

I endeavor, as I promised you, to recall the impressions I received of Beethoven when I first met him in Vienna in October, 1823. He then lived at Baden; but regularly, once a week, he came to the city and he never failed to call on his old friends Steiner and Haslinger, whose music-store was then in the Paternostergässchen, a little street, no longer in existence, between the Graben and the Kohlmarkt.

If I am not mistaken, on the morning that I saw Beethoven for the first time, Blahetka, the father of the pianist, directed my attention to a stout, short man with a very red face, small, piercing eyes, and bushy eyebrows, dressed in a very long overcoat which reached nearly to his ankles, who entered the shop about 12 o’clock. Blahetka asked me: “Who do you think that is?” and I at once exclaimed: “It must be Beethoven!” because, notwithstanding the high color of his cheeks and his general untidiness, there was in those small piercing eyes an expression which no painter could render. It was a feeling of sublimity and melancholy combined. I watched, as you can well imagine, every word that he spoke when he took out his little book and began a conversation which to me, of course, was almost incomprehensible, inasmuch as he only answered questions pencilled to him by Messrs. Steiner and Haslinger. I was not introduced to him on that occasion; but the second time, about a week after, Mr. Steiner presented me to the great man as a pupil of Weber. The other persons present were the old Abbé Stadler and Seyfried. Beethoven said to Steiner: “I rejoice to hear that you publish once more a German work. I have heard much in praise of Weber’s opera and hope it will bring both you and him a great deal of glory.” Upon this Steiner seized the opportunity to say: “Here is a pupil of Weber’s”; when Beethoven most kindly offered me his hand, saying: “Pray tell M. de Weber how happy I shall be to see him at Baden, as I shall not come to Vienna before next month.” I was so confused at[139] having the great man speak to me that I hadn’t the courage to ask any questions or continue the conversation with him.

A few days afterwards I had the pleasure of accompanying Weber and Haslinger with another friend to Baden, when they allowed me the great privilege of going with them to Beethoven’s residence. Nothing could be more cordial than his reception of my master. He wanted to take us to the Helenenthal and to all the neighborhood; but the weather was unfavorable, and we were obliged to renounce this excursion. They all dined together at one table at an inn, and I, seated at another close to them, had the pleasure of listening to their conversation.

In the month of November, when Beethoven came to town and paid his daily visit to the Paternostergässchen, I seldom missed the opportunity of being one of the circle of young admirers, eager to show their reverence to the greatest musical genius as well as hoping to be honored by his notice. Among those whom I met upon this errand were Carl Maria von Bocklet, his pupil, Worzischek, Léon de St. Louvain, Mayseder, Holz, Böhm, Linke, Schuppanzigh, Franz Schubert and Kanne.

On the morning after the first performance of “Euryanthe,” when Steiner and Haslinger’s shop was filled with the musical and literary authorities, Beethoven made his appearance and asked Haslinger: “Well, how did the opera go last night?” The reply was: “A great triumph.” “Das freut mich, das freut mich,” he exclaimed, and perceiving me he said: “I should so much have liked to go to the theatre, but,” pointing to his ears, “I go no more to those places.” Then he asked Gottdank, the régisseur; “How did little Sontag get on? I take a great interest in her; and how is the book—good or bad?” Gottdank answered the first question affirmatively, but as to the other he shrugged his shoulders and made a negative sign, to which Beethoven replied: “Always the same story; the Germans cannot write a good libretto.” Upon which I took his little conversation book and wrote in it: “And ‘Fidelio’?” to which he answered: “That is a French and Italian book.” I asked him afterwards: “Which do you consider the best librettos?”; he replied “‘Wasserträger’ and ‘Vestalin.’”

Further than this I cannot recall any distinct conversation, although I often met him, and I had never the good fortune of hearing him perform or seeing him conduct. But the wonderful impression his first appearance made on me was heightened every time I met him. When I saw him at Baden, his white hair flowing over his mighty shoulders, with that wonderful look—sometimes contracting his brows when anything afflicted him, sometimes bursting out into a forced laughter, indescribably painful to his listeners—I was touched as if King Lear or one of the old Gaelic bards stood before me; and when I thought how the creator of the sublimest musical works was debarred by a cruel fate for a great many years from the delight of hearing them performed and appreciated I could but share the deep grief of all musical minds.

I may add that I heard the first public performance of one of his so-called “posthumous” quartets in his own presence. Schuppanzigh and his companions, who had been his interpreters before, were scarcely equal to this occasion; as they did not seem to understand the music themselves, they failed entirely to impart its meaning to the audience. The general impression was most unsatisfactory. Not until Ernst had[140] completely imbued himself in the spirit of these compositions could the world discover their long-hidden beauties.[98]

Songs and Military Marches

Madame Marie Pachler-Koschak, with whom Beethoven had spent many happy moments in 1817, was among those who took the waters at Baden in the summer of 1823, but we are told she searched for him in vain, a fact which shows in what seclusion he must have dwelt some of the time at least. She was more fortunate when she returned in September to complete her cure; and when she left Baden she carried with her an autographic souvenir—a setting of “The beautiful to the good,” the concluding words of Matthison’s “Opferlied” which he had in hand in this year. Towards the close of October Beethoven returned to Vienna. We know the date approximately from Benedict’s account, the first performance of “Euryanthe” having taken place on October 25. He removed to new lodgings in the Ungarstrasse, where his nephew remained with him as long as he continued a student at the university. Here he worked at the Ninth Symphony, more particularly on the last movement.

The exact chronological order in which works were taken up in 1823 cannot be recorded here. Matthison’s “Opferlied” was taken up several times—in 1794, then in 1801 and 1802; finally in 1822 and 1823. In its last stages he extends its dimensions, adds the refrain for chorus and an orchestral accompaniment.[99] Beethoven had offered it to Peters in February, 1823, though at that time he described its accompaniment as being for two clarinets, horn, viola and violoncello, so that the violins and bassoon were added later. Why Peters did not publish the song is not known; the manuscript does not seem to have been returned to Beethoven. Nottebohm concludes that two or more versions were made in 1822 and 1823 (possibly as late as 1824), and that the final form was that known as Op. 121b. On April 9, 1825 (“Notizen,” p. 161), a letter was written to Ries which said: “You will soon receive a second copy of the ‘Opferlied,’ which mark as corrected by me so that the one which you already have may not be used. Here you have an illustration of the miserable copyist whom I have, since Schlemmer died. You can depend on scarcely a note.”[141] A sketchbook analyzed by Nottebohm,[100] which contains sketches made at different times bound up with sketches for the last quartets made in 1824, shows sketches for a pianoforte sonata for four hands, the Ninth Symphony, the Mass in C-sharp minor, a fugue on B-a-c-h, and the “Bundeslied,” besides the latest form of the “Opferlied” but not wholly like the printed edition. The impetus to the C-sharp minor mass came in 1823 and the other sketches in all likelihood were made in the same year. It is therefore to be concluded that he worked on the new “Opferlied” in 1823 and possibly carried it over to the early part of 1824. Beethoven owed money to his brother and offered the song as Johann’s property, in a letter of November 1824, to Schott and Sons, who published it in 1825; but he made alterations by letter as late as May 7, 1825. Schindler’s statement that the two songs “Opferlied” and “Bundeslied” were composed to be sung by the tenor Ehlers at a benefit concert in Pressburg, is wrong. Schindler’s inexactitude as to dates is shown by his statements that the concert took place in 1822 and the song published in 1826. The first song was written in the soprano clef; the second has tenor clef but two solo voices; neither was made for Ehlers. As to the “Bundeslied” (words by Goethe) so far as the history of the song is concerned, the documentary evidence is found in the sketchbook just mentioned; whether or not it had its origin at an earlier date has not been ascertained,[101] but received alterations later. It, too, was published by Schott in 1825.

Minor Compositions of the Year 1823

Besides these songs, and the Bagatelles mentioned in the letter of February, 1823, as sent to Peters, there are several other minor compositions which may well be discussed here. The Tattoo with percussive instruments (Turkish music), the two other Tattoos and a March, were all old compositions. Up to 1874, when the letter was made public, only one of the Tattoos had been printed. It was that in F major, which, according to the autograph preserved by Artaria, was composed for the Bohemian Landwehr in 1809 and then designated as March No. 1. A copy more fully orchestrated than it is in the printed form was dedicated to Prince Anton in that year.[102] A second autograph of later date (also in Artaria’s collection) is entitled “Zapfenstreich No. 1.” Here the march had a trio which has not become known. It was then, together with the one that follows, rewritten for the tournament[142] at Laxenburg held in honor of the birthday of Empress Maria Ludovica on August 25, 1810, and this version has been printed in the Complete Edition of Beethoven’s works.[103] In the earliest print by Schlesinger it is number 37 in a collection of “Quick-steps for the Prussian Army. For the York Corps”; but Nottebohm says that the version does not agree with any of the manuscripts mentioned. Simultaneously with this march another was published which was composed in 1810 for Archduke Anton. An autograph at Haslinger’s bears the inscription “Zapfenstreich No. 3,” and below it “One step to each measure.” A copy in the archives of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde is inscribed “March for H. I. Highness, the Archduke Anton, by Ludwig van Beethoven, 1810 on the 3rd of the Summermonth” (i. e., June). A third form was prepared for the tournament of 1810, and this has been published. Artaria had a “Trio No. 3” in F minor, 6-4 time. This is followed in the “Gesammt-Ausgabe” by a third in C major with a trio in F major, which was published from a copy made by Nottebohm. This, which has been published by Haslinger, Steger, and Liszt and Franke, was entitled “Zapfenstreich No. 2.” In Nottebohm’s opinion it belongs to the two others and like them had its origin between 1809 and June 1810. These were the three Tattoos which Beethoven sent to Peters, who, however, did not publish them. The fourth March was the Military March in D major composed in 1816.[104] It was first published in 1827, after Beethoven’s death, in an arrangement for pianoforte, by Cappi and Czerny; a four-hand arrangement followed soon after and it was given to the world in its original shape in the Complete Edition. It was composed at the personal request of F. X. Embel, “Magisterial Councillor and Lieut.-Colonel of the Civil Artillery,” who probably preferred his request in 1815, a sketch for it appearing in a book used in 1815-1816.—The data concerning these old works are given here because Beethoven brought them out of his portfolio and offered them to the publishers in this year.

The Bagatelles, Op. 126, belong to this period, though their completion fell later. Taking up earlier sketches probably, Beethoven worked on them after the Ninth Symphony was practically complete in his mind and the sketchbooks—at the close of 1823 at the earliest. It is likely that they were not finished until the middle of 1824. Nottebohm had subjected them to a minute study which leads him to the conclusion that the pieces were conceived as a homogeneous series, the numbers being linked to[143]gether by key-relationship. On the margin of a sketch for the first one Beethoven wrote “Cycle of Trifles” (“Kleinigkeiten”), which fact, their separation from each other (all but the first two) by the uniform distance of a major third, taken in connection with their unity of style, establishes a cyclical bond. When he offered them to Schott in 1824 he remarked that they were probably the best things of the kind which he had ever written. They were among the compositions which had been pledged to his brother, in whose interest he offered them to Schott. They were published by that firm, probably in the early part of 1825.

In 1828 Diabelli and Co. published a “Rondo a Capriccio” in G which had been purchased at the auction sale of Beethoven’s effects after his death. It bore on its title-page the inscription: “Die Wuth über den Verlornen Groschen, ausgetobt in einer Caprice” (“Rage at the loss of a groat stormed out in a Caprice”). Nothing is known of its origin. In the catalogue of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Czerny noted it as belonging to Beethoven’s youthful period; which may be true of its theme, but can not be of its treatment. Among the sketches and drafts for the Bagatelles is a sketch for an arch and mischievous piece evidently intended for strings,[105] and a two-part canon on the words “Te solo adoro” from Metastasio’s “Betulia liberata,” which, as transcribed by Nottebohm, has been printed in the Complete Edition.


Chapter V

The Symphony in D Minor—Its Technical History—Schiller’s “Ode to Joy”—An Address to Beethoven—The Concerts of 1824—Laborious and Protracted Preparations—Production of the Symphony and Mass in D—Financial Failure—Negotiations with Publishers Resumed.

The Symphony in D minor, familiarly known the world over as the “Ninth,” and also as the “Choral” Symphony in England and America, was completed in February, 1824. The conclusion of the work upon it, Schindler says, had a cheering effect upon Beethoven’s spirits. He no longer grudged himself occasional recreation and was again seen strolling through the streets of Vienna, gazing into the shop-windows through eyeglasses which dangled at the end of a black ribbon, and, after a long interregnum, greeting friends and acquaintances as they passed. The history of the work is far more interesting than that of any of his compositions, with the possible exception of the Mass in D. Nottebohm has painstakingly extracted from the sketchbooks all the evidence which they afford, touching the origin and development of the work, and presented it in a chapter of his “Zweite Beethoveniana”;[106] and his conclusions have been adopted in the presentation of facts which follow.

Growth of the Choral Symphony

Thoughts of a symphony to succeed the Symphonies in A and F major (Nos. 7 and 8), were in the composer’s mind while he was making sketches for those two works in 1812; but the memoranda there found tell us only in what key the new symphony was to be; they are mere verbal notes: “2nd Sinfonie, D minor” and “Sinfonie in D minor—3rd Sinfonie.” A fugue-theme, identical, so far as the first three measures go, with that of the Scherzo of the Ninth Symphony, presented itself to him and was imprisoned in his note-book in 1815, being recorded among the sketches for the[145] Sonata for Pianoforte and Violoncello in D, Op. 102, No. 2.[107] There is another sketch with a note[108] to show that Beethoven was thinking of a new symphony at the time; but the sketch cannot be associated with the Ninth Symphony, the composition of which really began when the beginning of the first movement was sketched. Of this fragments are found on loose leaves belonging to the year 1817. By the end of that year and the beginning of 1818 (presumably from September to May) extended sketches of the movement were made. The principal subject is definitively fixed, but the subsidiary material is still missing. The fugue-theme of 1817 is assigned to the third movement. There is no suggestion of the use of Schiller’s “Ode to Joy,” but a plain intimation of an instrumental finale. In 1818 a plan is outlined for the introduction of voices into the slow movement of a symphony which is to follow the “Sinfonie in D.” It is as follows:

Adagio Cantique.

Pious song in a symphony in the ancient modes—Lord God we praise Thee—alleluia—either alone or as introduction to a fugue. The whole 2nd sinfonie might be characterized in this manner in which case the vocal parts would enter in the last movement or already in the Adagio. The violins, etc., of the orchestra to be increased tenfold in the last movement. Or the Adagio might be repeated in some manner in the last movement, in which case the vocal parts would enter gradually—in the text of the Adagio Greek myth, Cantique Ecclesiastique—in the Allegro feast of Bachus [sic].

It will be recalled that in 1822 Beethoven told Rochlitz that he had two symphonies in his mind which were to differ from each other. One difference at least is indicated here by the purpose to use voices in a movement to be written in the old modes. His well-known love for classic subjects, no doubt, prompted the thought of the “pious orgies” of a Pagan festival. Schiller’s hymn is still absent from his mind. These sketches were all sidewise excursions undertaken while Beethoven was chiefly occupied with the composition of the Pianoforte Sonata, Op. 106. What progress, if any, was made with the Symphony during the next four years can not well be determined. The work was interrupted by[146] the composition of other works, notably the Mass in D, the last three Pianoforte Sonatas and the overture and chorus for “The Consecration of the House.” It was not until the Mass and the Josephstadt Theatre music were finished in the sketches that he gave his attention largely to the Symphony. In the sketches of 1822, there are evidences of considerable progress on the first movement, little if any on the Scherzo (designed to take third place in the scheme of movements), the fugue-themes of 1815 and 1817 appearing in them almost unchanged. There is no hint as yet of the slow movement, but among the sketches appears the beginning of the melody of the “Ode to Joy” with the underlying words, assigned as a Finale. The thought of using the ode for a concluding movement had presented itself, but only tentatively, not as a fixed determination. Following this sketch, but of another date (to judge by the handwriting and the contents), comes a memorandum indicating that the symphony in mind was to consist of four movements—the first (no doubt, though it is not mentioned) being the present first, the second in 2-4 time, the third (presumably) in 6-8, while the fourth was to be built on the fugal theme of 1817 and to be “well fugued.” The next recognizable sketch is for a Presto in 2-4 designated as a second movement and this is followed by the beginning of the first movement preceded by four measures in triple time marked “Alla Autrichien.” A third sketch is marked as belonging to a “Sinfonie allemand.” It is a new melody to the words beginning Schiller’s ode to be used in a chorus; and again the accompanying memorandum reads: “Sinfonie allemand,” but now with this addition: “either with variations after which the chorus Freude schöner Götterfunken Tochter aus Elysium enters or without variations. End of the Sinfonie with Turkish music and vocal chorus.” It is possible that the melody had an earlier origin than that which appears first in the sketches and was eventually used. The last relevant sketch in the book of 1822 is a sort of thematic index to the symphony as it now lay planned in Beethoven’s purpose:

Comincia Adagio Presto

The second movement was to be a fugued Scherzo with the theme of 1815, the fourth the Presto in 2-4 time which first appeared in[147] this year, the fifth the “Ode to Joy.” In the midst of these sketches appears the significant remark: “Or perhaps instead of a new symphony, a new overture on Bach, well fugued with 3——.”[109]

Two Symphonies in Contemplation

The conclusions to be drawn from the sketches thus far are that, as was the case in 1812 when the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies were brought forth as a pair, Beethoven was again contemplating the almost simultaneous production of two symphonies. He did not adhere to the project long, so far as we can know from the written records, and the remark about the substitution of an overture on B-a-c-h probably marks the time when he began seriously to consider the advisability of abandoning what would then have been the Tenth Symphony. With the exception of a portion of the first movement, the Ninth Symphony was still in a chaotic state. Taken in connection with negotiations which had been concluded with the Philharmonic Society of London, it may be assumed, however, that the present Symphony in D minor was associated in Beethoven’s mind with the English commission, and that the second, which he had thoughts of abandoning in favor of the overture, was to have been a “Sinfonie allemand.” For a time, at least, Beethoven is not likely to have contemplated a choral movement with German words in connection with the symphony for the London Philharmonic Society: this was to have an instrumental finale. The linguistic objection would be invalid in the case of the German symphony, however, and to this was now assigned the contemplated setting of Schiller’s poem.

Work now proceeded with little interruption (except that occasioned by the composition of the Variations, Op. 120), and most of the first half of 1823 was devoted to the first movement, which was nearly complete in sketch-form before anything of the other movements appeared beyond the themes which have already been cited. When the foundation of the work is firmly laid we have the familiar phenomenon of work upon two or three movements simultaneously. In a general way it may be asserted that the year 1823 saw the birth of the Symphony, though work was carried over into 1824. The second movement was complete in the sketches before the third—this was about August; the third before the fourth—about the middle of October. The second theme of the slow movement was perfected before the sketches for the first movement were finished. In a Conversation Book used in the fall of the year 1823 the nephew writes: “I am glad that you have brought in the beautiful andante.” The principal theme of the movement appears to have been conceived between May and[148] July, 1823, but it had to submit to much alteration before it acquired the lovely contours which we now admire. This was the case, too, with the simple folksong-like tune of the Finale.

Introducing the Ode to Joy

Sketches for the Finale show that Beethoven had made considerable progress with the setting of Schiller’s ode before he decided to incorporate it with the Symphony. In June or July, 1823, he wrote down a melody in D minor which he designated “Finale instromentale,” and which, transposed into another key and slightly altered, was eventually used in the finale of the Quartet in A minor, Op. 132. That it was intended for the Finale of the symphony is proved by the fact that it is surrounded with sketches for the Symphony in D minor and Beethoven recurred to it twice before the end of the year; there was no thought of the quartet at the time.

When he began work on the Finale, Beethoven took up the choral part with the instrumental variations first and then attacked the instrumental introduction with the recitatives. The present “Joy” melody, as noted in the fall of 1822, was preceded by a different one conceived later, if the sketches are taken as a guide. After adoption the tune, especially its second period, underwent many transformations before its definitive form was established. Among the musical sketches occur several verbal memoranda containing hints which were carried out in part, for instance: “Turkish music in Wer das nie gekonnt stehle”; in sketches for the Allegro alla marcia: “Turkish music—first pianissimo—a few sounds pianissimo—a few rests—then the full strength”; a third: “On Welt Sternenzelt forte trombone blasts”; a fourth (in studies for the final chorus): “the height of the voices to be more by instruments” (which may be interpreted to mean that Beethoven realized that he was carrying the voices into dangerous altitudes and intended to give them instrumental support). Other sketches indicate that Beethoven intended for a considerable time to write an instrumental introduction with new themes for the Finale. For this prelude there are a number of sketches of different kinds, some of them conceived while sketches for the first movement were still in hand. Before July, 1823, there are no hints of a combined vocal and instrumental bridge from the Adagio to the setting of the “Ode to Joy.” After that month there are evidences that he had conceived the idea of introducing the “Joy” melody played upon wind-instruments with a prelude in the recitative style, a reminiscence of the first movement and premonitory suggestions of the fundamental melody. This was the first step towards the eventual shape of the finale. The lacking element was the verbal link which should[149] connect the instrumental movements with the choral conclusion. The sketches bear out Schindler’s remark: “When he reached the development of the fourth movement there began a struggle such as is seldom seen. The object was to find a proper manner of introducing Schiller’s ode. One day entering the room he exclaimed ‘I have it! I have it!’ With that he showed me the sketchbook bearing the words, ‘Let us sing the song of the immortal Schiller Freude.’”

By grouping a number of sketches it is now possible to make a graphic representation of the ideas which passed through Beethoven’s mind while seeking a way to bridge the chasm between instrumental and vocal utterance by means of the formula of recitative. The sketches are in parts illegible, in parts so obscure that Nottebohm and Deiters differ in their readings; regard has been had for both in the following version:
music (a)
Over a portion of an instrumental recitative (a) occur the words: “Nein diese ... erinnern an unsere Verzweifl.” (No, these ... remind (us) of our despair); other sketches follow in the order here indicated:
Heute ist ein feierlicher Tag
(To-day is a solemn day)
meine Fru (Freunde?) dieser sei gefeiert
my fri (friends?) let it be celebrated
durch mit Gesang und [Tanz? Scherz?]
with song and [Dance? Play?]


O nein dieses nicht etwas
O no not this something
ist es was ich fordere
anderes gefällig
sondern nur etwas heiterer
but only a little merrier
auch dieses nicht ist nur Possen
or (“besser”)
etwas schöneres und bessers
nor this either it is but sport
(or no better)
auch dieses es ist zu zärtl zärtl
(nor this it is too tender tender)
etwas aufgewecktes[?] muss man suchen
(for something animated we must seek)
ich werde sehn dass ich selbst euch etwas
(I shall see to it that I myself intone something
vorsinge alsdann stimmt nur nach
then do you sing after me)
Dieses ist es Ha es ist nun gefunden Ich
This it is Ha now it is found I
selbst werde vorsingen Freude schöner
myself will intone it
Ha dieses ist es Es ist nun gefunden
Ha this it is it now is discovered
Freu- - -



Later comes the memorandum which Beethoven showed Schindler (“I asst uns das Lied des unsterblichen Schillers singen, Freude, etc.”) and then:

Bass nicht diese Töne fröhlichere
Voce Freude! Freude
(“not these tones, more joyful ones”)

The entire Symphony was finished in sketch-form at the end of 1823 and written out in score in February, 1824. Omitting from consideration the theme of the second movement, noted in 1815 and again in 1817 (probably with an entirely different purpose in mind), the time which elapsed between the beginning of the first movement (1817-1818) and the time of completion was about six and a half years. Within this period, however, there were extended interruptions caused by other works. Serious and continuous labor on the Symphony was not taken up until after the completion of the Missa solemnis; it began in 1822, occupied the greater part of 1823 and ended in the early part of 1824. Beethoven, therefore, worked on the Symphony a little more than a year.

Instrumental and Vocal Parts United

Those who cherish the fantastic notion that the Symphony was conceived ab initio as a celebration of joy, and therefore feel obliged to go back to Beethoven’s first design to compose music for Schiller’s ode, have a large territory for the play of their fancy. Beethoven formed the plan of setting the ode while still living in Bonn in 1793. It is heard of again in a sketchbook of 1798, where there is a melodic phrase adapted to the words, “Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.” Amongst sketches for the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies (say in 1811) there crops up a melody for the beginning of the hymn, and possibly a little later (1812) a more extended sketch amongst material used in the Overture, Op. 115, into which he appears at one time to have thought of introducing portions of it. All these sketches, of course, preceded the melody of 1812, conceived for use in a “Sinfonie allemand.” When Beethoven first took up the ode for setting it was to become a “durchkomponirtes Lied,” i. e., each stanza was to have an illustrative setting; when he planned to incorporate it in an overture he proposed to use only selected portions of the poem, for he accompanies the melodic sketch with the note: “Disjointed fragments like Princes are beggars, etc., not the whole”; and a little[152] later: “disjointed fragments from Schiller’s Freude connected into a whole.”[110]

The questions which have been raised by the choral finale are many and have occupied the minds of musicians, professional and amateur, ever since the great symphony was first given to the world. In 1852 Carl Czerny told Otto Jahn that Beethoven had thought, after the performance, of composing a new finale without vocal parts for the work. Schindler[111] saw the note in Jahn’s papers and wrote in the margin: “That is not true”; but it must be remembered that there was a cessation of the great intimacy between Beethoven and Schindler which began not long after the Symphony had been produced, and lasted almost till Beethoven was on his deathbed. Schindler can not have been present at all of the meetings between Beethoven and his friends at which the Symphony was discussed. Nevertheless he is upheld, in a measure, by the fact (to which Nottebohm directed attention) that Beethoven, if he made the remark, either did not mean it to be taken seriously or afterwards changed his mind; for after keeping the manuscript in his hands six months he sent it to the publisher as we have it. Seyfried, writing in “Cäcilia” (Vol. IX, p. 236), faults Beethoven for not having taken the advice of well-meaning friends and written a new finale as he did for the Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130. Even if one of the well-meaning friends was Seyfried himself, the statement has value as evidence that Beethoven was not as convinced as Czerny’s story would have it appear that the choral finale was a mistake. Sonnleithner, in a letter to the editor of the “Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung” in 1864, confirmed Jahn’s statement by saying that Czerny had repeatedly related as an unimpeachable fact that some time after the first performance of the Symphony Beethoven, in a circle of his most intimate friends, had expressed himself positively to the effect that he perceived that he had made a mistake (Misgriff) in the last movement and intended to reject it and write an instrumental piece in its stead, for which he already had an idea in his head. What that idea was the reader knows. That Beethoven may have had scruples touching the appropriate[153]ness of the choral finale, is comprehensible enough in view of the fact that the original plan of the Symphony contemplated an instrumental close and that Beethoven labored so hard to establish arbitrarily an organic union between the ode and the first three movements; but it is not likely that he gave long thought to the project of writing a new finale. He had witnessed the extraordinary demonstration of delight with which the whole work had been received and he may have found it as easy as some of his commentators to believe that his device for presenting the choral finale as the logical and poetically just outcome of the preceding movements had been successful despite its obvious artificiality.

Preparing for the First Performance

For the chief facts in the story of the first performance of the D minor Symphony in Vienna we are largely dependent on Schindler, who was not only a witness of it but also an active agent. Beethoven was thoroughly out of sympathy with the musical taste of Vienna, which had been diverted from German ideals by the superficial charm of Rossini’s melodies. He wanted much to produce his symphony, but despaired of receiving adequate support or recognition from his home public. His friends offered him encouragement, but his fear and suspicion that his music was no longer understood by the Viennese and he no longer admired, had grown into a deep-rooted conviction. The project of a concert at which the Mass in D should be performed had been mooted months before. One day Sontag visited him and asked, “When are you going to give your concert?” We have a record of her speeches only; what Beethoven said must be supplied from the reader’s fancy. It is plain enough that instead of answering the question he expressed a doubt as to a successful financial outcome. “You give the concert,” said the singer, “and I will guarantee that the house will be full.” Still a moody suspicion, which the lady thinks it her right to rebuke: “You have too little confidence in yourself. Has not the homage of the whole world given you a little more pride? Who speaks of opposition? Will you not learn to believe that everybody is longing to worship you again in new works? O obstinacy!” This was in January. Beethoven had inquired of Count Brühl in Berlin whether or not a performance of the new Mass and Symphony might be given in that city, and Brühl had favored the plan. When news of this fact became known in Vienna, a number of Beethoven’s friends addressed him in the following memorial:

An Address to the Composer

To Herrn Ludwig van Beethoven.

Out of the wide circle of reverent admirers surrounding your genius in this your second native city, there approach you to-day a small[154] number of the disciples and lovers of art to give expression to long-felt wishes, timidly to prefer a long-suppressed request.

But as the number of spokesmen bears but a small proportion to the many who joyfully acknowledge your worth and what you have grown to be to the present as well as the future, so the wishes and requests are by no means restricted to the number of those who are like-minded with themselves and who, in the name of all to whom art and the realization of their ideals are something more than means and objects of pastime, assert that their wish is also the wish of an unnumbered multitude, their request is echoed loudly or in silence by every one whose bosom is animated by a sense of the divine in music.

It is the wish of those of our countrymen who reverence art to which we desire more especially to give expression; for though Beethoven’s name and creations belong to all contemporaneous humanity and every country which opens a susceptible bosom to art, it is Austria which is best entitled to claim him as her own. Among her inhabitants appreciation for the great and immortal works which Mozart and Haydn created for all time within the lap of their home still lives, and they are conscious with joyous pride that the sacred triad in which these names and yours glow as the symbol of the highest within the spiritual realm of tones, sprang from the soil of their fatherland. All the more painful must it have been for you to feel that a foreign power has invaded this royal citadel of the noblest, that above the mounds of the dead and around the dwelling-place of the only survivor of the band, phantoms are leading the dance who can boast of no kinship with the princely spirits of those royal houses; that shallowness is abusing the name and insignia of art, and unworthy dalliance with sacred things is beclouding and dissipating appreciation for the pure and eternally beautiful.

For this reason they feel a greater and livelier sense than ever before that the great need of the present moment is a new impulse directed by a powerful hand, a new advent of the ruler in his domain. It is this need which leads them to you to-day, and following are the petitions which they lay before you in behalf of all to whom these wishes are dear, and in the name of native art.

Do not withhold longer from the popular enjoyment, do not keep longer from the oppressed sense of that which is great and perfect, a performance of the latest masterworks of your hand. We know that a grand sacred composition has been associated with that first one in which you have immortalized the emotions of a soul, penetrated and transfigured by the power of faith and superterrestrial light. We know that a new flower glows in the garland of your glorious, still unequalled symphonies. For years, ever since the thunders of the Victory at Vittoria ceased to reverberate, we have waited and hoped to see you distribute new gifts from the fulness of your riches to the circle of your friends. Do not longer disappoint the general expectations! Heighten the effect of your newest creations by the joy of becoming first acquainted with them through you! Do not allow these, your latest offspring, some day to appear, perhaps, as foreigners in their place of birth, introduced, perhaps, by persons to whom you and your mind are strange! Appear soon among your friends, your admirers, your venerators! This is our nearest and first prayer.


Other claims on your genius have been made public. The desires expressed and offers made to you more than a year ago by the management of our Court Opera and the Society of Austrian Friends of Music had too long been the unuttered wish of all admirers of art, and your name stimulated the hopes and expectations of too many not to obtain the quickest and widest publicity, not to awaken the most general interest. Poetry has done her share in giving support to these lovely hopes and wishes. Worthy material from the hand of a valued poet waits to be charmed into life by your fancy. Do not let that intimate call to so noble an aim be made in vain. Do not delay longer to lead us back to those departed days when the song of Polyhymnia moved powerfully and delighted the initiates in art and the hearts of the multitude!

Need we tell you with what regret your retirement from public life has filled us? Need we assure you that at a time when all glances were hopefully turned towards you, all perceived with sorrow that the one man whom all of us are compelled to acknowledge as foremost among living men in his domain, looked on in silence as foreign art took possession of German soil, the seat of honor of the German muse, while German works gave pleasure only by echoing the favorite tunes of foreigners and, where the most excellent had lived and labored, a second childhood of taste threatens to follow the Golden Age of Art?

You alone are able to insure a decisive victory to the efforts of the best amongst us. From you the native Art Society and the German Opera expect new blossoms, rejuvenated life and a new sovereignty of the true and beautiful over the dominion to which the prevalent spirit of fashion wishes to subject even the eternal laws of art. Bid us hope that the wishes of all who have listened to the sound of your harmonies will soon be fulfilled! This is our most urgent second prayer.

May the year which we have begun not come to an end without rejoicing us with the fruits of our petition and may the coming Spring when it witnesses the unfolding of one of our longed-for gifts become a twofold blooming-time for us and all the world of art!

Vienna, February, 1824.

This address was signed by thirty of Beethoven’s friends and admirers, among them being Prince Lichnowsky, Count Dietrichstein, Count Lichnowsky, Abbé Stadler, Count Palfy, Count Fries, Dr. Sonnleithner, and the publishers Diabelli, Artaria, Leidesdorf and Steiner and Co. The most active agent in securing signatures was Count Lichnowsky. It was published in Bäuerle’s “Theater-Zeitung” and also in Kanne’s journal. This publication, and gossip to the effect that he had prompted both writing and printing, annoyed Beethoven greatly. He gave vent to his rage in a remark which he himself wrote in a Conversation Book: “Now that the thing has taken this turn I can no longer find joy in it. The atrocity of attributing such an act to me sickens me with the whole business and I am scarcely able to address even a few words to men of such intellectual prominence. Not a single critic can boast of having received a letter from me. I have never——”[156] there his outburst breaks off; he did not finish the sentence in writing. Schindler tried to ease his mind! “Your fears are groundless,” he wrote; “your honor has not been compromised—let that suffice you; nobody will accuse you of having been directly concerned in it.” Court Secretary von Felsburg and J. N. Bihler, a tutor in the imperial household, waited upon Beethoven one afternoon to present the address, and talk over its suggestions. Beethoven said he wanted to read it when alone. Later Schindler went to him and found him with the letter in his hand. He was manifestly moved by its expressions and handed it to Schindler to read while he went to the window and gazed out for quite a while. Then he returned to Schindler, said briefly: “It is very beautiful!—it rejoices me greatly!” and when Schindler also had expressed his delight added: “Let us go out for a walk.” During the walk he remained sunk in thought.

A Conspiracy of Friends

The object had in view by the designers of the memorial was accomplished;—Beethoven was lifted out of his despondent mood and inspired with new determination. By March Schindler had been informed that the concert would be given in Vienna. He lauded Beethoven’s decision and begged him not to distress himself with vain imaginings about the outcome—everything would go gloriously and everybody would esteem it an honor to participate. Expressions of satisfaction poured in on the composer from all quarters, and also offers of help. Beethoven’s friends gathered together and discussed the details in the liveliest fashion—the time, the place, the programme, the choir and orchestra, who should sing the solos, the price of seats, the number of rehearsals. The concert-season was drawing to a close and delay was hazardous; but delay there was, for Beethoven was vacillating, full of doubtings and suspicions, and there was a too great multiplicity of counsellors. Schindler was kept extremely busy; Lichnowsky and Schuppanzigh bestirred themselves mightily; Brother Johann came to the fore with advice and suggestions, especially about the business administration; Nephew Karl, much to Schindler’s dissatisfaction, not only ran errands but volunteered his opinion on many topics. A page from a Conversation Book will disclose how the consultations with Beethoven were carried on—for Beethoven’s consent to every step had to be obtained, which was a pity. In the following excerpt it is Schuppanzigh who is speaking to the composer, whom he, as was his wont, addresses in the third person—as was fitting to the dignity of “Mylord Falstaff.”

How about the concert? It is getting late—Lent will not last much longer. He ought to give three movements [the mass is meant, of course].[157]—Under no circumstances a piano piece. There are no piano players here. He will need Buringer [Piringer] to provide the best dilettante, Sonnleithner to look after the singers, and Plachetka [Blahetka] for the announcements and bills—Young Sonnleithner has all the amateur singers under his thumb. It would be a good idea for him [Beethoven] to pay a visit to Duport to talk to him once more about me.

The significance of the concluding remark will appear later. At another time Karl is reporting progress:

Piringer has said that he would undertake the appointment of the instrumentalists, Sonnleithner the chorus, Schuppanzigh the orchestra, Blahetka the announcements, tickets, etc. So everything is looked after. You can give two concerts.... When will you have it announced? Schuppanzigh is coming to-morrow.... Blahetka offered to stamp the tickets, etc., but I think that all such matters ought to be [entrusted] to your brother. It would be safer.... Piringer has enough to do with the choruses. Piringer is a very capable man but not the man that Schuppanzigh is; in any event it would be unjust to disregard S., as he has taken so much pains and spurred on the others.

At first it was agreed that the place should be the Theater-an-der-Wien. Count Palfy, who had signed the memorial, was willing to provide the theatre and all the forces, vocal as well as instrumental, for 1200 florins, let Beethoven have as many rehearsals as he desired and fix the prices of admission. But a difficulty presented itself at once. At the Theater-an-der-Wien Seyfried was chapelmaster and Clement leader of the orchestra. Beethoven wanted Umlauf to be general conductor of the concert and Schuppanzigh leader of the orchestra. Count Palfy was willing to sacrifice Seyfried, but not Clement—at least, he asked that if Clement was to be displaced it be done with as little injury to his feelings as possible. He therefore suggested that Beethoven write a letter of explanation to Clement, which he felt sure would solve the difficulty. Meanwhile Schindler had begun negotiations with Duport, director of the Kärnthnerthor Theatre. Duport was favorably inclined towards the enterprise and also towards Schuppanzigh; but troublesome questions of another kind were now precipitated—questions about prices of admission, the solo singers and the number of rehearsals. On all these points Beethoven was so irresolute that the project seemed likely to fall by the wayside; in which crisis the leading spirits thought themselves entitled to resort to a stratagem to give stability to the wavering mind of Beethoven. In at least one instance the Conversation Book record was given the appearance of a formal journal of proceedings. It was now planned that Lichnowsky, Schindler and Schuppanzigh should simultaneously call upon Beethoven as if by[158] accident, turn the conversation on the points on which it was necessary for Beethoven to reach a decision and that his utterances should then be put into writing and he be asked, half in jest, half in earnest, to affix his signature to the document. The ruse succeeded for the nonce, but the result would eventually have been woeful had Beethoven been less irresolute. After the conspirators had gone away Beethoven saw through the trick which had been played on him and, scenting treachery as was his wont, decided off-hand to abandon the concert. He issued his pronunciamento to the three friends in this characteristic fashion:

To Count Moritz Lichnowsky. I despise treachery. Do not visit me again. No concert.

To Herrn Schuppanzigh. Let him not visit me more. I shall give no concert.

To Schindler. I request you not to come again until I send for you. No concert.

The three friends refused to take umbrage at Beethoven’s rudeness; the notes were not accompanied by a silken rope; they gave him time to get over his wrath and suspicion and then went on with the preparations for the concert. In the Conversation Book there appears a record of a consultation which may fairly be set down as that of the meeting at which Beethoven’s helpers employed their stratagem.[112] Schindler opens a page formally thus:

Protocol of March 2.


Not yet present to-day:

Looking After Details

At this consultation Schindler reports an offer from Palfy to furnish the Theater-an-der-Wien, orchestra, lights, etc., appertinentia for 1000 florins, provided a second or third concert be given. At a moderate charge for admission (which would be necessary) he says the receipts would be 4000 florins, which would yield a profit of 2000 florins at the first concert and about 3000 at the second, when there would be no copying charges. The prices would not be so high as at the Ridotto Room. If Duport were to charge only 300 florins, there would still be a further charge of 300 florins for building the platform and no end of vexation and labor. Palfy wanted only his expenses. Would Beethoven[159] authorize him (Schindler) and Lichnowsky to complete arrangements with Palfy? He need not be paid, and it would be possible to withdraw from the arrangement at any time. Haste was necessary, for a supervisor must be appointed—Umlauf or somebody else—so that rehearsals might begin. If Schuppanzigh were given too much to do and anything went ill the conductor would lay the blame on insufficient study. From the record of a subsequent consultation (in March) the following excerpts are made:

Lichnowsky: It is right that the orchestra be doubled, but superfluous to engage more than are necessary; after Schuppanzigh and Umlauf know what is at their service at the Wiedener Theatre we can tell what is needed.

Schindler: Lichnowsky says that a smaller orchestra is more effective at the Theater-an-der-Wien than a large one in the Ridotto Room. You need not take all at the Theater-an-der-Wien—none at all if you do not need them,—that is the arrangement with Palfy.

Lichnowsky: Unnecessary expenses must be avoided.

Schindler: You will not have to pay the forces at the Theater-an-der-Wien at all—so that may be deducted. The days of performance if agreeable to you would be the 22nd or 23rd or 24th of this month.

Lichnowsky: You will make money, and more if you give a second concert, when it will not be necessary that all the pieces be new; you will have the same symphony and two other missal movements.

Schindler: The prices of admission will be considerably modified at 2 florins for the parterre, 2 florins for the gallery and 15 florins for the seats.—You ought not to seek difficulties where there are none; if the worst comes to the worst, everything will be settled—The question is not whether there are more difficulties at the theatre or the Ridotto Room—I shall see Schuppanzigh to-day noon; but before then Lichnowsky will go to Palfy tentatively to report your decision.

The conversation continued (probably the next day):

Schindler: Schuppanzigh is greatly pleased that you have come to an understanding with Palfy. He will make use of the entire orchestra of the theatre. He is coming to the Ridotto Room to-day, as he hopes to find you there. The choruses at the theatre are also good; Schuppanzigh says that the women’s choir of the society is not of the best because they are all young girls; which is true.—The Baron took the tempo just once again as fast, therefore your advice was highly important; not until the second time did it go well.—Besides, the women’s choir is thoroughly bad. Falstaff was also convinced and is now glad that nothing but the men’s choir will be needed. The solo voices are much too weak for the room and too—young.—The soprano singer is sixteen years old at the most. Palfy is sending you word that he will send you his offer, which you know, and the promise which he made, to-morrow in writing.—You are choosing the lesser of two evils.—Twenty to twenty-four for each part in the chorus are already on hand.—Of the twelve violins for each part we to-day selected the six best, who are to be arranged in rank and file.—The only wish that Palfy has, as he admitted to Lichnowsky to-day, is that Klement[160] be handled as gently as possible so that his feelings may not be hurt. For this reason we all request you to write a billet to Klement and tell the truth as it is. But as there is no question but that he will come to the second concert, I suggest that the direction be then given to him.—Schuppanzigh is agreed to this. And as Piringer of the Theater-an-der-Wien pretends that as a high R. I. official he cannot take part, Klement might take first place among the second violins at the first concert and Schuppanzigh at the second.—Palfy does not at all want that you shall take Klement, but only that you shall take the trouble to write him a billet and tell him about the matter. He will certainly be agreeable.—He [Schuppanzigh] has become much quieter and more commode since he was in Russia—his paunch is already beginning to embarrass him. Böhm will play first violin, Piringer will not play at the An-der-Wien, which is all one to Schuppanzigh.

Composition of the Performing Force

But matters were not so easily arranged with Clement as Schindler had imagined. He did not want to be deprived of the honor of playing at the concert, the orchestra of the Theater-an-der-Wien sided with him and declared that it would not play under Schuppanzigh. Schindler appealed to Count Palfy, who knew that though you can lead a horse to water you cannot make him drink. He said that he could command the men to play under Schuppanzigh, but he did not want to be answerable for the mischief which would result. Schindler advised Beethoven that if Palfy stood by Clement the contract for the Kärnthnerthor Theatre be closed with Duport. Up to late in April it was as good as settled that the concert would be given at the Theater-an-der-Wien, though Beethoven’s fatal indecision left the point uncertain. With negotiations pending with both theatres the Ridotto Room came up for consideration, and finally (it would seem as a consequence of advice by the Steiner firm), also a fourth locale. This was the Landständischer Saal, a small room in which the Concerts Spirituels took place. Lichnowsky, when he heard that Beethoven was considering such a step, hurried to him with representations that if the hall were taken there would be trouble with Palfy and he himself humiliated and embarrassed, since he had come to an agreement with the manager in his name. He as well as Schindler was sorely tried by the new turn of affairs and represented to Beethoven that the room was too small, holding only 500 persons, and that the court would not go there. But Nephew Karl favored the hall because its choice would avoid the difficulties (Sauerei) incident to the selection of either of the theatres. Lichnowsky and Schindler did not seek to hide their displeasure from Beethoven because of his willingness to take the advice of others (meaning, no doubt, Brother Johann, Nephew Karl and Steiner), in preference to theirs, but at length circumstances[161] compelled him to abandon all other plans and agree to take the Kärnthnerthor Theatre. He considered the noon hour as the time for the concert, but Johann told him that an evening concert was worth 1500 florins more than one given in the daytime; he clung to the Landständischer Saal, but Schindler told him that on the day which had been fixed upon there was to be a concert at the Ridotto Room in which Sontag, Unger and the Italian singers would take part. “The girls” would therefore be unavailable for his concert and the court would, of course, go to the fashionable place and affair. As late as April 21, it was publicly announced that the concert would be given in the Theater-an-der-Wien, but at length Beethoven made up his mind, and Schindler was empowered to close with Duport for the Kärnthnerthor Theatre. Palfy yielded to the composer’s wishes, but regretfully, saying that he would rather lose 1000 florins than the honor of having the concert in his house. It would seem as if it was the cabal in the orchestra against Schuppanzigh which ended Beethoven’s irresolution. Beethoven now decided to take the Court theatre for 400 florins, chorus and orchestra being included as well as the lighting, with the privilege of a repetition on the same terms in seven or eight days. In the letter which Beethoven sent to Duport, were named Sontag, Unger and Preisinger (bass) as solo singers, Umlauf and Schuppanzigh as leaders, the orchestra and chorus were to be augmented from the amateur forces of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. There were to be 24 violins, 10 violas, 12 contrabasses and violoncellos, and the number of wind-instruments was to be doubled, for which reason room would have to be provided for the orchestra on the stage. Duport was requested to fix the date not later than May 3rd or 4th and was informed that the reason why the agreement with Count Palfy had been cancelled was that the Theater-an-der-Wien was lacking in capable solo singers and that Palfy wanted Clement to lead the orchestra, whereas Beethoven had long before selected Schuppanzigh for the post. With a change of date to May 7 this arrangement was formally confirmed.

But many details remained to be settled, the most vexatious to Beethoven being the prices of admission. Beethoven wanted an advance on the regular tariff. Duport appealed to the Minister of Police, but permission to raise the prices was refused. In the selection of solo singers Therese Grünbaum had been considered, but she was eventually set aside in favor of Henrietta Sontag, for whom Beethoven had a personal admiration (he[162] could not know much, if anything, about her voice and art). She and Unger, who had a sincere love for Beethoven’s music, were the composer’s “pretty witches” and had been invited by him to dinner. Jäger had been suggested for the tenor part, but Anton Haitzinger was chosen because, in a spirit of professional courtesy, Jäger refused to take a part away from a Kärnthnerthor singer. Forti and Preisinger were rival candidates for the solo bass parts. The latter was considered the more musical of the two and better fitted for Beethoven’s music, and was therefore selected. He took part in the rehearsals, and for him Beethoven made a change in the music of the recitative in the Symphony (Schindler gives it in his biography); but at the last the tessitura of the part was found to be too high for him and Preisinger had to withdraw. It was impossible under the circumstances now to appeal to Forti, and the part was entrusted to Seipelt of the company at the Theater-an-der-Wien.

It was originally intended that the programme should consist of the new Overture (Op. 124), the Mass in D and the new Symphony; but realizing that this would make the concert unduly long Beethoven first decided to omit the Gloria of the mass, and after the rehearsals had already begun he curtailed the list still more by eliding the Sanctus. The large amount of copying involved was done by a staff of men some of whom worked, apparently, under the supervision of the widow of Schlemmer, Beethoven’s favorite copyist who had died the year before. The composer angrily rejected Haslinger’s suggestion that the chorus parts be engraved, but consented to have them duplicated by lithographic process. The church authorities were opposed to the performance of missal music in a theatre and the censor therefore withheld his approval of the programme. So, in April, at the suggestion of Schindler, Beethoven wrote a letter to the censor, Sartorius, in which he pleaded for his consent to the performance on the ground that he was giving the concert by request, had involved himself in costs by reason of the copying, there was no time in which to produce other novelties, and if consent were refused he would be compelled to abandon the concert and all his expenditures would have been in vain. The three ecclesiastical pieces which were to be performed were to be listed on the programme as hymns. The letter failed of its mission; not until an appeal was made to Count Sedlnitzky, the Police President, through the agency of Count Lichnowsky, was the performance sanctioned.

The Composer and Honorary Titles

One further detail of the preparations, as disclosed by a discussion in Beethoven’s ministerial cabinet, is too interesting to be[163] omitted. The time is come when bills must be posted in front of the theatre. Schindler is the first speaker:

Master! Listen! I have something to say, so follow me: How shall the placard be worded (it must be printed to-day); shall I put in Member of the Royal Academy at Stockholm and Amsterdam? Tell me briefly. What a tremendous title!!

Schuppanzigh: I am not in favor of it. Beethoven is dictator and president of all the academies in the world and sensible people will look upon this title as vanity on his part.

Schindler: My lord is not wrong. At any rate it will be made public by the last notices in the newspapers. The name of Beethoven shines brightest without affix of any kind and when most unassuming; all the world knows who and what you are. It will do your posterity no good.—Who knows what a later time will bring forth.... I must go now to get the bill ready for to-morrow. It is half-past 5.

This was, no doubt, another case in which it was thought judicious to get Beethoven’s consent beyond equivocation. There is record of another conversation on the subject. Schindler speaks again:

Well then, it shall appear on the bill to-morrow, Member of the Royal Academies of Stockholm and Amsterdam. Nothing more; that sounds best.—Then it ought to read of Arts and Sciences.—But when one says Roy. Acad. the epitheton Arts and Sciences is understood.

In neither of these consultations, which took place two days before the concert, is there any indication that Beethoven objected to the use of the title; on the contrary, he seems to have desired to make it more explicit by the inclusion of the words “Arts and Sciences.” But Schindler relates that when Bernard, in preparing an announcement for the public press, added to Beethoven’s name: “Honorary Member of the Academies of Arts and Sciences at Stockholm and Amsterdam and also Honorary Citizen of the R. I. Capital and Residential City Vienna,” he rebuked the editor severely, not wanting to have such “silly and ridiculous playthings” figure in the announcement. As a matter of fact, all titles were omitted in the affiches of the two concerts, though Otto Jahn found one for the second meeting in the Fuchs Collection which contained them. It would seem that after one had been thus printed it was after all rejected by Beethoven.

The rehearsals were now in progress. Dirzka was making good headway with the choruses and was satisfied; Schuppanzigh was holding rehearsals for the strings in the rehearsal-room of the Ridotto; the solo singers were studying under the supervision of Beethoven, sometimes in his lodgings, Umlauf assisting. Accustomed to Rossini’s music, the principal singers found it difficult[164] to assimilate the Beethovenian manner, especially as it is exemplified in the concluding movement of the symphony. They pleaded with the composer for changes which would lighten their labors, but he was adamant. Unger called him a “tyrant over all the vocal organs” to his face, but when he still refused to grant her petitions she turned to Sontag and said: “Well, then we must go on torturing ourselves in the name of God!” The choirmaster requested that the passage in the fugue of the Credo where the sopranos enter on B-flat in alt be altered, because none of the singers could reach the note; but though Umlauf reinforced that argument, a refusal was the only reply. In only one alteration did Beethoven acquiesce;—he changed the concluding passage of the bass recitative, because Preisinger could not sing the high F-sharp; but Preisinger did not sing at all at the concert. The consequences of his obduracy were not realized by Beethoven at the concert, for though he stood among the performers and indicated the tempo at the beginning of each movement he could not hear the music except with his mental ear. The obvious thing happened;—the singers who could not reach the high tones simply omitted them. Duport had allowed two full rehearsals. There was to have been a third, but it was prevented by a rehearsal for a ballet. At the final meeting on May 6, Beethoven was “dissolved in devotion and emotion” at the performance of the Kyrie, and after the Symphony stationed himself at the door and embraced all the amateurs who had taken part.[113] The official announcement of the concert read as follows:

which will take place
To-morrow, May 7, 1824
in the R. I. Court Theatre beside the Kärnthnerthor.

The musical pieces to be performed are the latest works of Mr. Ludwig van Beethoven.


First: A Grand Overture.

Second: Three Grand Hymns with Solo and Chorus Voices.

Third: A Grand Symphony with Solo and Chorus Voices entering in the finale on Schiller’s Ode to Joy.

The solos will be performed by the Demoiselles Sonntag and Unger and the Messrs. Haizinger and Seipelt. Mr. Schuppanzigh has undertaken the direction of the orchestra, Mr. Chapelmaster Umlauf the direction of the whole and the Music Society the augmentation of the chorus and orchestra as a favor.

Mr. Ludwig van Beethoven will himself participate in the general direction.

Prices of admission as usual.
Beginning at 7 o’clock in the evening.
Incidents of the Performance

The overture was that to “The Consecration of the House.” Duport had a hand in the drafting of the announcement and wanted to include in it the statement that Beethoven would conduct with Umlauf. Schindler in reporting the fact to Beethoven added: “I did not know what to reply and so it was omitted this time. You could surely conduct the overture alone. It would put too severe a strain upon your ears and for that reason I would not advise you to conduct the whole.”

The theatre was crowded in every part except the imperial box; that was empty. Beethoven had gone in person, accompanied by Schindler, to invite the Imperial Family, and some of its members promised to attend; but the Emperor and Empress had left Vienna a few days before and Archduke Rudolph, who had naturally displayed interest in the affair, was in Olmütz. But we hear of several of Beethoven’s present and former friends seated in various parts of the house;—poor, bedridden Zmeskall was carried to his seat in a sedan chair. Some of the foremost musicians of Vienna were in the band—Mayseder, Böhm, Jansa, Linke, etc. The performance was far from perfect. There was lack of a homogeneous power, a paucity of nuance, a poor distribution of lights and shades. Nevertheless, strange as the music must have sounded to the audience, the impression which it made was profound and the applause which it elicited enthusiastic to a degree. At one point in the Scherzo, presumably at the startling entry of the tympani at the ritmo di tre battute, the listeners could scarcely restrain[166] themselves, and it seemed as if a repetition then and there would be insisted upon. To this Beethoven, no doubt engrossed by the music which he was following in his mind, was oblivious. Either after the Scherzo or at the end of the Symphony,[114] while Beethoven was still gazing at his score, Fräulein Unger, whose happiness can be imagined, plucked him by the sleeve and directed his attention to the clapping hands and waving hats and handkerchiefs. Then he turned to the audience and bowed.

After the concert Beethoven’s friends, as was natural, came together to exchange comments and felicitate him. From Schindler Beethoven received a report which is preserved in the Conversation Book. It gives us a glimpse of his own joy and the composer’s happy pride in having been more enthusiastically greeted than the court:

Never in my life did I hear such frenetic and yet cordial applause. Once the second movement of the Symphony was completely interrupted by applause—and there was a demand for a repetition. The reception was more than imperial—for the people burst out in a storm 4 times. At the last there were cries of Vivat!—The wind-instruments did very bravely—not the slightest disturbance could be heard.—When the parterre broke out in applauding cries the 5th time the Police Commissioner yelled Silence!—The court only 3 successive times but Beethoven 5 times.—My triumph is now attained; for now I can speak from my heart. Yesterday I still feared secretly that the Mass would be prohibited because I heard that the Archbishop had protested against it. After all I was right in at first not saying anything to the Police Commissioner. By God, it would have happened!—He surely never has been in the Court Theatre. Well, Pax tecum!

Joseph Hüttenbrenner went with Schindler when he escorted the composer to his lodgings. At this point there appears to be something like a flight of the imagination in Schindler’s narrative.[167] Arrived at home Schindler hands Beethoven the box-office report. He takes it, gives it a glance and falls in a swoon. The two friends raise him from the floor and carry him to a sofa, where he lies without uttering a word until far into the night. Then they observe that he has fallen asleep, and depart. Next morning Beethoven is found on the sofa, still in his concert-clothes. Schindler should have taken a glance at the Conversation Books before writing this dramatic story. There he would have found a record of his own words which shows that he came to Beethoven on the day after the concert and asked him to send his nephew to meet him in the afternoon at the box-office of the theatre where the accounts were to be settled. He did not know what the receipts were even then, for he remarks to Beethoven, “In Paris and London the concert would certainly have yielded from 12 to 15 thousand florins; here it may be as many hundreds.” And then he goes on: “After yesterday you must now too plainly see that you are trampling upon your own interests by remaining longer within these walls. In short, I have no words to express my feelings at the wrong which you are doing yourself.... Have you recovered from yesterday’s exertions?”

Friends Accused of Dishonesty

The financial results of the concert fell far short of Beethoven’s expectations. The gross receipts were 2200 florins in the depreciated Vienna money, of which only 420 florins remained after paying the cost of administration and copying; and against this pitiful sum some petty expenses were still chargeable. Beethoven was not only disappointed; he was chagrined and thrown into a fuming ill-humor. He invited Schindler, Umlauf and Schuppanzigh to dine with him at the restaurant “Zum wilden Mann” in the Prater. The composer came with his nephew; “his brow was clouded, his words were cold, peevish, captious,” says Schindler. He had ordered an “opulent” meal, but no sooner had the party sat down to the table than the “explosion which was imminent” came. In plainest terms he burst out with the charge that the management and Schindler had cheated him. Umlauf and Schuppanzigh tried to convince him that that was impossible, as every penny had passed through the hands of the two theatre cashiers, whose accounts tallied, and that though it was contrary to custom, his nephew had acted in behalf of his brother as comptroller. Beethoven persisted in his accusation, saying that he had his information from an entirely credible source. Thereupon Schindler and Umlauf abruptly left the room. Schuppanzigh remained behind just long enough to get a few stripes on his broad back and then joined his companions in misery. Together they finished[168] their meal at a restaurant in the Leopoldstadt.[115] Schindler, after a disquisition on Beethoven’s habit of estranging his friends by insulting them and then winning them back by the frankness of his confessions and the sincerity of his contrition, says that after the composer’s return from Baden in November, he approached him in this winning mood, “and the entire occurrence was at once drowned in the waters of Lethe.” But Schindler was not only in error as to the time of the incident—he says it was after the second concert—he also seems to have forgotten that he received a letter which on its face shows that he had written to Beethoven defending himself against the charges made. Beethoven’s letter was as follows:

I did not accuse you of any wrongdoing in connection with the concert; but unwisdom and arbitrary actions spoiled much. Besides I have a certain fear lest some great misfortune shall some time happen to me through you. Clogged drains often open suddenly, and that day in the Prater I thought you were offensive in several things. Moreover there are many times when I would rather try to repay the services which you perform for me with a little gift than with a meal, for I admit that I am often too greatly disturbed. If you do not see a pleasant face you say at once: “Bad weather again to-day”; for being commonplace yourself how can you help misunderstanding that which is not commonplace?

In short I love my independence too much. There will be no lack of opportunities to invite you, but it is impossible to do so continually, inasmuch as thereby all my affairs are disarranged.

Duport has consented to next Tuesday for the concert. For the Landständischen Saal, which I might have had for to-morrow, he again refuses to let me have the singers. He has also again referred me to the police; therefore please go there with the bill and learn if there is any objection to the second time. I would never have accepted the favors done me gratis and will not. As for friendship that is a difficult thing in your case. In no event would I like to entrust my welfare to you since you lack judgment and act arbitrarily, and I learned some time ago to know you from a side which is not to your credit; and so did others. I must confess that the purity of my character does not permit me to recompense mere favors with friendship, although I am ready willingly to serve your welfare.


Financial Failure Repeated

A second concert had been contemplated from the outset, or at least since the opening of negotiations with Palfy. Schindler says[169] that Duport offered to pay all expenses and guarantee 500 florins Convention Coin (1200 florins Vienna Standard) with the understanding that the profits should be divided equally between Beethoven and the exchequer of the theatre. But he wanted a change made in the programme. To this change, obviously designed as a concession to the popular taste, Beethoven seems to have given his consent. The concert took place on Sunday, May 23rd, at midday—half-past 12 o’clock. Of the missal hymns only one, the Kyrie, was performed; between the overture and it Beethoven’s trio, “Tremate, empj, tremate,” was sung by Madame Dardanelli and Signori Donzelli and Botticelli. The original solo singers sang in the Kyrie and the Symphony, which numbers were separated by Rossini’s “Di tanti palpiti” in a transposed key sung by the tenor David “almost throughout in a falsetto voice.” Schindler says that Sontag also sang her favorite aria di bravura by Mercadante, but of this number there is no mention on the affiche. The delightful weather lured the people into the open air, the house was not half full and there was, in consequence, a deficit of 800 florins. Nor was the popular demonstration of enthusiasm over the music so great as at the first concert, and Beethoven, who had not favored the repetition, was so disheartened that he was with difficulty persuaded to accept the 500 florins which Duport had guaranteed to him. He was also vexed to find his old trio announced as a novelty (it was composed more than twenty years before and had been performed in 1814), and so was Tobias Haslinger, who had bought but had not published it. Moreover, Haslinger had been overlooked in the distribution of complimentary tickets. Beethoven had to apologize to him for the oversight, which he protested was due to an inadvertence, and also to explain that the announcement of the trio as a new work was of Duport’s doing, not his.


Chapter VI

Incidents and Labors of 1824—Bernard’s Oratorio—Visitors at Baden—New Publishers—A Visitor from London—Beethoven’s Opinion of his Predecessors—The Quartet in E-flat, Op. 127.

At the end of the chapter preceding the last, which recorded the doings of the year 1823, Beethoven was left in his lodgings in the Ungargasse, occupied with work upon the Ninth Symphony, which was approaching completion, oppressed with anxiety concerning his health and worried about his brother’s domestic affairs. As the story of his life is resumed with the year 1824, there has been no serious change in his physical condition, but complaints of ill health are frequent in his communications with his friends. His eyes continue to trouble him till late in March; Schindler cautions him not to rub them, as that might increase the inflammation; Karl suggests buying a shade to protect them from the glare of the light; and when Count Brunswick wants to take him along with him to Hungary, Schindler advises him to take the trip, as it might be beneficial for his eyes.

Kind Interest in Karl’s Mother

For a moment we have a glimpse at the gentler side of the composer’s nature in a letter which he sends when the year is about a week old to the widow of his brother, the wicked mother of his adopted son, in lieu of the New Year’s call which they had been prevented by work from making. He should have come to wish her happiness for the year, he says, had he been able: “but I know that, nevertheless, you expect nothing but the best of good wishes for your welfare from me as well as Karl.” She had complained of being in need, and he says he would gladly have helped her, but had himself too many expenditures, debts and delayed receipts to prove his willingness at the moment; but he would now give it to her “in writing” that thenceforth she might retain the portion of her pension which had been set apart for her son. If, in the future, he could give her money to better her condition, he would willingly do so; moreover, he had long before[171] assumed the debt of 280 florins and 20 kreutzers which she owed Steiner. Manifestly a truce had been established between the woman and her brother-in-law, and in the absence of any evidence that she was in any way concerned in an escapade of Karl’s later in the year, it would appear that she never violated it; it was not the woman whom Beethoven hated, but the youth whom he loved, who brought grief and an almost broken heart into his last days. Nevertheless, there is more than passive contentment exhibited in this letter; there is also an active magnanimity which finds even warmer expression in a letter which he seems to have written at an earlier date to his friend Bernard. Bernard[116] had been helpful to Beethoven in drawing up the memorial to the court in the matter of the guardianship and was among the friends whom Beethoven consulted about Karl’s education and bringing up. To him Beethoven writes:

I beg of you before the day is over to make inquiries about F. v. B. [Frau van Beethoven] and if it is possible, to have her assured through her physician that from this month on so long as I shall live she shall have the enjoyment of the whole of her pension, and I will see to it that if I die first, Karl shall not need the half of her pension. It was, moreover, always my intention to permit her to keep the whole of her pension so soon as Karl left the Institute, but as her illness and need are so great she must be helped at once. God has never deserted me in this heavy task and I shall continue to trust in Him. If possible I beg of you to send me information yet to-day and I will see to it that my tenacious brother also makes a contribution to her.

The nephew was now attending the philological lectures at the university and living in the winter and spring months with his uncle. He had left Blöchlinger’s Institute in August 1823 and matriculated at the university. He was active in the service of Beethoven, doing work as his amanuensis, carrying messages, making purchases, and so on; in fact, Beethoven seems to have taken up more of his time than was good for his studies. He loved him tenderly and was unceasingly thoughtful of his welfare; but the jealousy of his affection led him to exercise a strictness of discipline over him which could not fail to become irksome to a growing stripling. He left him little liberty, and, yielding to a disposition prone to passion, he not seldom treated him with great severity. The youth appears in the Conversation Books as lively, clever and shrewd, and Beethoven, proud of his natural gifts of mind, was indulgent of his comments on others, permitting him[172] apparently to speak lightly and discourteously of the men upon whose help and counsel he was obliged to depend. The result of Beethoven’s extremes of harsh rebuke and loving admonition, of violent accusation and tender solicitude, was to encourage him in his innate bent for disingenuousness and deception, and he continued the course which he had begun as a boy of repeating words of disparagement touching those against whom his uncle levelled his criticisms, and of reporting, no doubt with embellishments of his own invention, the speeches which told of the popular admiration in which the great composer was held. By this species of flattery he played upon the weakness of his uncle and actually obtained an influence over him in the course of time which he exploited to his own advantage in various directions. He was naturally inclined to indolence and self-indulgence, and it is not strange that Beethoven’s self-sacrifice in his behalf never awakened in him any deep sense of gratitude, while his unreasonable and ill-considered severity aroused a spirit of rebellion in him which grew with his advance towards adolescence. Beethoven never seems to have realized that he had outgrown the period when he could be treated as a child, and it was a child’s submission which he asked of him.

Grillparzer’s opera-book was a frequent subject of conversation between Beethoven and his friends in the early months of 1824, but petitions and advice were alike unfruitful. He did not go to work upon it nor yet upon a composition which presented a more urgent obligation. This was the oratorio which he had agreed to write for the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde and on which he had received an advance of money in 1819. Here the fatal procrastination, though it may have been agreeable to Beethoven, was not altogether his fault. Bernard began the book, but seems to have put it aside after a few weeks. In April, 1820, he tells Beethoven in a Conversation Book, “I must finish the oratorio completely this month so that it may be handed to you in Mödling.” In August, possibly, somebody writes: “I have put it seriously to Sanctus Bernardus that it is high time that it be done; that Hauschka was urging a completion. He will finish it this month, id est in 5 days, and see you this evening at Camehl’s.... When I told Bernard that Hauschka had come to you about it he was embarrassed and—it seems to me that he is throwing the blame on you. He does not want to show his poetical impotency.”

Growing Impatience About an Oratorio

For four years after giving the commission, the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde waited before it put any signs of impatience on[173] record. Towards the close of October, 1823, Bernard gave a copy of the text of the oratorio, which was entitled “Der Sieg des Kreutzes” (“The Victory of the Cross”), to Beethoven and also one to Sonnleithner for the society. After waiting nearly three months, the directorate of the society at a meeting held on January 9, 1824, took action, the nature of which was notified to both Beethoven and Bernard. The latter was informed that as the society had left the choice of the text which he was to compose to Beethoven, it could not say whether or not the society would make use of the poem which he had sent until Beethoven had set it to music, and the censor had given it his sanction. He was also asked to coöperate with the society in stimulating Beethoven to finish the work “so long expected by the musical world.” Beethoven was told that the choice of a book for the oratorio which the society had commissioned him to write four years before had been left to him; that it had been informed that Bernard had undertaken to write it; that its inquiries as to when the music would be completed had always been answered by the statement that the poem had not been received. Not presuming to ask a composer of his eminence to outline the plan of a musical composition before he had become familiar with the work as a whole and had satisfied himself touching its plan and execution, the society, therefore, had thitherto always directed its inquiries to Bernard, who had delivered the book in October. In view of the fact that the society could not use the text until it had been set and he (Beethoven) had repeatedly expressed his intention to write a work of the kind and confirmed the receipt of earnest money paid at his request, the society asked him explicitly to say whether or not he intended to compose Bernard’s poem, and, if so, when the work might be expected.

Beethoven answered the letter at great length. He said that he had not asked Bernard to write the text but had been told that the society had commissioned him to do so; Bernard being the editor of a newspaper it was impossible for him to consult him often; moreover, consultations of this character would be long drawn out and personally disagreeable, as Bernard had written nothing for music except “Libussa,” which had not been performed at the time, but which he had known since 1809 and which had required many alterations; he was compelled to be somewhat skeptical about the collaboration and have the book before him in its entirety. He had once received a portion of the book, but Bernard, to the best of his recollection, had said that it would have to be changed and he had given it back to him. At last he had[174] received the whole text at the time that the society received it, but other obligations which illness had retarded had had to be fulfilled, since, as the society probably knew, he was compelled to live from his compositions. Many changes, some of which he had indicated to Bernard, would have to be made in the book. He would finish his suggestions and consult with Bernard, for,

though I find the material good and the poem has a value, it cannot remain as it is. The poet and I wrote “Christus am Ölberg” in 14 days, but that poet was musical and had written several things for music and I could consult with him at any moment. Let us leave out of consideration the value of poems of this sort; we all know what allowances are to be made—the merit lies in the middle. So far as I am concerned I would rather set Homer, Klopstock, Schiller to music; if they offer difficulties to be overcome these immortal poets at least deserve it. As soon as I am through with making changes in the oratorio with Bernard I shall have the honor to inform you of the fact and at the same time let the society know when it may with certainty count upon it. That is all that I can say about it at present. Respecting the 400 florins, Vienna standard, sent to me without demand I would have sent them back long ago had I been able to foresee that the matter would last much longer than I had imagined; it was grievous to me not to be able to express myself on the subject. Concerning it I had a notion, in order to provide at least the interest on the sum, to unite with the society in a concert; but neither Herr Schindler nor my brother was authorized to say anything on the subject, and it was farthest from my thoughts that it should be done in such a manner. Please inform Herrn von Sonnleithner of this. I also thank the society heartily for the offer of the platform and its aid which it proffered me and in time I shall make use of them. I shall be glad to hear whether the society wishes to make use of my works after my concert, among which is a new symphony. The Grand Mass is really rather in the oratorio style and particularly adapted to the society. I shall be especially pleased if my unselfishness and also my zealous desire to serve the society in whose benevolent deeds in behalf of art I always take the greatest interest, are recognized.

It is interesting to note in connection with this letter that Beethoven resents the statement that he had asked for the money given as an earnest; that he was unwilling to assume responsibility for the selection of Bernard as his collaborator (though Bernard was among his friends and advisors and he had expressed satisfaction with his choice when he accepted the commission, only insisting that the poet be paid by the society); that he gave at least moderate approval to the book as a whole but insisted on some alterations which were essential; that he had been contemplating co-operation with the society in a concert, and that he had received an offer of assistance from it in a concert which he was to give. The letter was written on January 23, some time before the receipt of the memorial which was the first official step toward the great[175] concerts of May 7 and 23. There is evidence of a kindly feeling between the society and him, and, indeed, that feeling was never interrupted, though the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde never got the oratorio nor received back the money advanced on its commission. The society afterward elected him to honorary membership.

Contradictory Advice as to Bernard’s Book

Beethoven was frequently urged to set to work on the music of “The Victory of the Cross”; but he was also advised not to compose it. Archduke Rudolph accepted the dedication of the poem and wrote to Beethoven telling him of the fact and expressing a wish that he would set it to music. But Schikh said to him: “If I were Beethoven I would never compose the extremely tiresome text of this oratorio.” Beethoven had expressed satisfaction with the subject and the quality of the lines; he discussed changes which he wished to have made with Bernard after he had had time to consider the work as a whole; he promised Hauschka in September that he would compose it as soon as he returned to the city, and asked him to pay Bernard his fee; but he never set seriously to work upon it, though at the end of the letter to Hauschka (which bears date September 23, 1824) he reiterated his promise so that he might, with mock solemnity, attest it by affixing his hand and seal.

The book of “The Victory of the Cross” was based upon the ancient story of the apparition of the cross and the legend “In hoc signo vinces” to Constantine the Great. Constantine has crossed the Alps into Italy and lies encamped confronting his enemy Maxentius before Rome. His daughter Julia, who is represented as wife to Maxentius, attempts to avert the battle, but the vision strengthens Constantine’s resolve. Julia hears the angelic canticles which accompany the apparition and is converted to the true faith, persisting in it to martyrdom, to which she is condemned by her husband. Maxentius also hears the voices, but his augurs (allegorical figures representing Hate and Discord) interpret them to his advantage, whereas similar figures (Faith, Hope and Charity) inspire the Christian army. Pious canticles on the one hand, harsh songs on the other, precede the battle, the progress of which is related by a solo voice. Constantine promises to raise the cross on the forum in Rome; the victory is won and celebrated with Christian hymns, “Hosanna!” and “Glory to God!” Beethoven’s copy of the libretto has been preserved, and in it there are indications that he made some heroic excisions. He permitted Faith, Hope and Charity to remain, but banished Hate and Discord. It is pretty plain that Beethoven found nothing inspiring in the work. Holz told Jahn that he said to him, “How[176] could I get up any enthusiasm about it?” Schindler says that Beethoven’s failure to set the book caused a rupture of the friendship which existed between him and Bernard. The directors of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde dropped the matter, neither importuning Beethoven more nor taking any steps to recover the money paid on account.

One outcome of the concerts of May was the appearance of a new portrait of Beethoven. It was a lithographic reproduction of a crayon drawing made by Stephen Decker and was printed as a supplement to the “Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung” edited by F. A. Kanne, on June 6, 1824. In this and two subsequent numbers of the journal (June 9 and 16) Kanne reviewed the concerts with discriminating appreciation, ending with an enthusiastic encomium of the composer. In 1827 Steinmüller made a plate of Decker’s drawing for Artaria. Schindler and Frimmel agree in saying that the well-known portrait by Kriehuber is an imitation of Decker’s drawing, which was made, as Kanne’s journal stated, “a few days after his great concert in May, 1824.”[117]

During the preparations for the concerts, thought was also given to the usual summer sojourn, and various places—Grinzing, Heiligenstadt, Penzing, Breitensee, Hietzing, Hetzendorf—were canvassed in consultation with Beethoven by his friends. His brother had again offered him a home on his estate and it was expected that Count Brunswick would come for the concert and take Beethoven back with him to Hungary. In all of the excursions which were made in the vicinity of Schönbrunn in search of a summer home, Schindler accompanied the composer to see, to advise, to negotiate. The choice fell upon Penzing, where an apartment was found in the first storey of the house numbered 43 belonging to a tailor in Vienna named Johann Hörr, who was rejoiced to have so distinguished a tenant. Beethoven took it for the summer beginning on May 1, for a rental of 180 florins, C. M. The receipt is in existence, with a characteristic memorial of Beethoven’s violent and abrupt change of mind concerning men and things. The lodgings were in all things adapted to his needs and Beethoven, entirely satisfied, moved into them soon after the second concert. An old couple lived in the parterre, but otherwise he was the only tenant of the house. But the house lay close to a foot-bridge over the little stream called the Wien Fluss and people[177] crossing it frequently stopped to gaze into his rooms. He could have saved himself the annoyance by drawing the curtains, but instead he flew into a rage, quarrelled with his landlord, against whom he recorded his anger by scrawling the epithet “Schurke” (rogue, wretch, scoundrel, etc.) under his name on the receipt, and removing to Baden (Gutenbrunn). He had been in the house six weeks; in Baden he staid from about the 1st of August till some time in November; and thus was again paying rent for three lodgings at the same time.

Two New Offers of the Mass in D

The matter of the subscriptions for the Mass being disposed of (except so far as the deliveries of some of the scores was concerned), and the Symphony completed, Beethoven now had time, while getting ready for their performance, to think also of their publication. As he had promised to deliver the Mass to Simrock long before, so also he had contracted to give exclusive possession of the Symphony for eighteen months to the Philharmonic Society of London, in March, 1823. It was eleven months after that date that the score was finished and thirteen months before it was placed in the hands of the Philharmonic Society’s agent in Vienna. Hogarth in his history of the Philharmonic Society is only technically correct when he says that it was not “received” by the society until “after it had been performed at Vienna.” It was handed to Ries’s representative on April 26 or 27, 1824; the first concert took place on May 7th. When Beethoven took up the matter of publication again he ignored Simrock, Peters, Schlesinger and the Vienna publishers and turned to Schott and Sons of Mayence and H. A. Probst of Leipsic. Schott and Sons had sent him their journal “Cäcilia” with the request that he recommend a correspondent in the Austrian capital, and also send them some compositions for publication. He answered on March 10, 1824, that he would gladly serve the paper if it were not that he felt it to be a higher and more natural calling to manifest himself through his musical compositions; but he had instigated a search for a fit man to act as Viennese reviewer. Of his compositions he offered “a new Grand Mass with solo and chorus and full orchestra” which he considered his “greatest work,” and a new Grand Symphony with a finale in the style of his Pianoforte Fantasia with chorus “but on a much larger scale”; also a new quartet for strings.[118] The fees demanded were 1000 florins C. M. for the Mass, 600 florins for the Symphony and 50 ducats for the Quartet. “This business only to oblige you.” On the same day he wrote to H. A.[178] Probst offering the Mass and Symphony at the same prices but stipulating that the latter should not be published before July, 1825, though, to recompense the publisher for the delay, he would let him have the pianoforte arrangement gratis. Only a portion of this letter has been preserved, but the contents of the lost fragment can be gathered from Probst’s answer under date March 22, in which he promises to deposit at once with Joseph Loydl and Co. 100 imperial ducats to Beethoven’s account, to be paid over on delivery of three songs with pianoforte accompaniment (two of them to have parts for other instruments, the third to be an arietta), six bagatelles for pianoforte solo, and a grand overture with pianoforte arrangement for 2 and 4 hands. What these works were may easily be guessed. After this business had been arranged to the satisfaction of both parties, Probst said, he would communicate his decision respecting the Mass. Beethoven wrote, probably on July 3, explaining his delay on the score that the compositions “had just been finished” but were now ready for delivery at any moment to Herrn Glöggl, to whom he requested that the money be sent. On August 9, Probst informed Beethoven that the 100 ducats had already been sent to Loydl and Co., in Vienna. A letter written by Beethoven on the same day has been lost, but a portion of its contents can be deduced from Probst’s reply a week later—August 16. The Leipsic publisher admitted that his action in depositing the money to be delivered in exchange for the manuscripts had been due to reports which had reached him touching difficulties which another publisher had had with the composer. In purchasing manuscripts without examination he was departing from his established rule of action and he trusted to the admiration which he felt for the composer’s genius that the latter had set apart works of excellence for him. He would gladly have published the Symphony, but was deterred by the danger of piracy which was peculiarly great in Austria. He promised a speedy and handsome publication of the works purchased. A memorandum by Beethoven indicates that he answered this letter, but the nature of his reply is not known. It is to be presumed that he withdrew his offer of the Symphony. The correspondence with Probst ended and the negotiations, which had again reached the point of a deposit of the fee against the delivery of the manuscripts, came to nothing; Schott and Sons secured not only the Mass, Symphony and Quartet, but the smaller pieces also. Schott and Sons Buy the Mass The firm accepted the offer of the Quartet at once, but asked either a reduction of the fees for the Symphony and Mass, or permission to pay the money in installments at intervals of six months. Subsequently the firm[179] offered to provide a guaranty for the deferred payments and to consider any proposition which Beethoven had to make. The two letters, dated respectively March 24 and April 10, remaining unanswered, Schott and Sons again wrote on April 19 and still again on April 27; introducing with the former letter Christian Rummel, Chapelmaster of the Duke of Nassau, and asking a contribution to “Cäcilia” in the latter. In the midst of his preparations for the concert, Beethoven replied and repeated his offer of the Mass and Symphony, but held the matter of the Quartet in abeyance. He asked that payment for the other works be made by bills drawn on a Vienna bank payable 600 florins in one month, 500 florins in two months and 600 florins in four months. On July 3 he also conceded the Quartet, which he promised to deliver inside of six weeks. With this the business was concluded and, as an undated letter of Beethoven’s shows, much to his gratification; the business methods of Schott and Sons were extremely satisfactory to him. But the year came to an end, and the Mayence publishers were still waiting for their manuscripts, while Beethoven was kept busy writing explanations in answer to their questions and requests. On September 17 Beethoven says he will attend to the copying of the works as soon as he has returned to Vienna, and send the Quartet by the middle of October; in November he is obliged to give two lessons a day to Archduke Rudolph and has no time to look after the matter; on December 5 the works are most certainly to be delivered to Fries and Co. within the current week; on December 17 it will be another week before the works can be delivered—the Archduke has but gone and he must look through the copy of the score several times—and he begs his correspondents not to think ill of him, for he had “never done anything wrong,” intimating that a certain publisher in Vienna was trying to seduce him from the Mayence firm and to that end was seeking to make them suspicious, etc.; meanwhile he offers for publication the overture which had been performed at his concert, six bagatelles and three songs in behalf of his brother to whom they belong, the price 130 ducats in gold. These were the works which Probst had agreed to purchase for 100 ducats and the money for which had been sent to Vienna. Schott agreed to buy them for 130 ducats and Beethoven wrote to his brother in Gneixendorf on December 24: “I inform you that Mayence will give 130 ducats in gold for your works: if Herr Probst will not pay as much, give them to Mayence, who will at once send you a cheque; these are really honest, not mean, business men.” Johann promptly put himself in communication with Schott and Sons[180] and graciously confirmed the sale of the works at 130 florins, “out of respect” for his brother.

Peters, who had been informed of the state of affairs concerning the Mass, evidently sent a complaint, or protest, to Beethoven, for on December 12, 1824, the latter informs the publisher that the case has been closed by his promise of the work to another publisher. He (Peters) should have received a quartet had the publishers who took the Mass not made the Quartet a condition of his acceptance. But he should surely have another quartet soon, or he was ready to make him a proposition for a larger work, in which case the sum which had been paid might be deducted from the new fee. Let Peters but be patient and he should be completely satisfied. Then follows this rebuke:

You did wrong to yourself and to me, and you are still doing the latter in, as I hear, accusing me of having sent you inferior works. Did you not yourself ask for songs and bagatelles? Afterward it occurred to you that the fee was too large and that a larger work might have been had for it. That you showed yourself to be a poor judge of art in this is proved by the fact that several of these works have been and will be published, and such a thing never happened to me before.[119] As soon as I can I will liquidate my indebtedness to you, and meanwhile I remain, etc.

In September of this year the interest of Beethoven’s old friend Andreas Streicher, whose wife was a visitor at Baden, seems to have been awakened in a marked degree, and he gave himself to the devising of plans to ameliorate the composer’s financial position. He revived the project for a complete edition of the compositions which, as he outlines it, he thinks might yield a profit of 10,000 florins, good money; proposes six high-class subscription concerts in the approaching winter, which, with 600 subscribers, would yield 4,800 florins; finally he suggests that manuscript copies of the Mass in D with pianoforte or organ accompaniment be sold to a number of singing societies. Though this project had in a measure been attempted in the case of the Singverein of Berlin and achieved in that of the Cäcilienverein of Frankfort, Beethoven seems to have authorized Streicher to make an effort in the direction proposed, for two copies of a letter evidently written to be communicated to singing societies or representative members have been found. In the letter Beethoven suggests that owing to the cost of copying, etc., the price be 50 ducats—just as much as he had asked of his royal subscribers for the full orchestral score. None of the projects came to execution,[181] though the first, which lay close to Beethoven’s heart, came up for attention at a later date.

Praise for England and the English

Towards the end of September, Johann Stumpff, a native of Thuringia but a resident of London, was among the visitors at Baden who were admitted to intimate association with Beethoven. This was another Stumpff, not the one who came to Vienna in 1818 with a letter from Thomas Broadwood, and who tuned the new English pianoforte. He was a manufacturer of harps and an enthusiastic admirer of Beethoven’s music. Anticipating a meeting with the composer, he had provided himself with a letter of introduction to Haslinger, whose help to that end he asked. He had also gotten a letter from Streicher, whose acquaintance he had made in London. He accomplished his end and wrote a long and enthusiastic account of his intercourse with Beethoven at Baden, whither Haslinger had accompanied him on his first visit.[120] He was received by Beethoven with extraordinary cordiality. The composer accepted an invitation to dinner, entertained his host at dinner in return, played for him on his Broadwood pianoforte (after Stein, at Stumpff’s request, had restored its ruins), and at parting gave him a print of one of his portraits and promised to alight at his house if ever he came to London. Much of his conversation, which Stumpff records, is devoted to a condemnation of the frivolity and bad musical taste of the Viennese, and excessive laudation of everything English. “Beethoven,” Stumpff remarks, “had an exaggerated opinion of London and its highly cultured inhabitants,” and he quotes Beethoven as saying: “England stands high in culture. In London everybody knows something and knows it well; but the man of Vienna can only talk of eating and drinking, and sings and pounds away at music of little significance or of his own making.” He spoke a great deal about sending his nephew to London to make a man of him, asked questions about the cost of living there and, in short, gave proof that an English visit was filling a large part of his thoughts. The incidents of the conclusion of the dinner which he gave to Stumpff may be told in the latter’s words:

Beethoven now produced the small bottle. It contained the precious wine of Tokay with which he filled the two glasses to the brim.[182] “Now, my good German-Englishman, to your good health.” We drained the glasses, then, extending his hand, “A good journey to you and to a meeting again in London.” I beckoned to him to fill the glasses again and hurriedly wrote in his notebook: “Now for a pledge to the welfare of the greatest living composer, Beethoven.”—I arose from my chair, he followed my example, emptied his glass and seizing my hand said: “To-day I am just what I am and what I ought to be,—all unbuttoned.” And now he unbosomed himself on the subject of music which had been degraded and made a plaything of vulgar and impudent passions. “True music,” he said, “found little recognition in this age of Rossini and his consorts.” Thereupon I took up the pencil and wrote in very distinct letters:

“Whom do you consider the greatest composer that ever lived?”

“Handel,” was his instantaneous reply; “to him I bow the knee,” and he bent one knee to the floor.

“Mozart,” I wrote.

“Mozart,” he continued, “is good and admirable.”

“Yes,” wrote I, “who was able to glorify even Handel with his additional accompaniments to ‘The Messiah’.”

“It would have lived without them,” was his answer.

I continued writing. “Seb. Bach.”

“Why is he dead?”

I answered immediately “He will return to life again.”

“Yes, if he is studied, and for that there is now no time.”

I took the liberty of writing: “As you yourself, a peerless artist in the art of music, exalt the merits of Handel so highly above all, you must certainly own the scores of his principal works.”

“I? How should I, a poor devil, have gotten them? Yes, the scores of ‘The Messiah’ and ‘Alexander’s Feast’ went through my hands.”

If it is possible for a blind man to help a cripple, and the two attain an end which would be impossible to either one unaided, why might not in the present case a similar result be effected by a similar coöperation? At that moment I made a secret vow: Beethoven, you shall have the works for which your heart is longing if they are anywhere to be found.

Stumpff relates that Beethoven’s brother, who came into the room during his visit, seemed glad to greet him and begged him most amiably to call on him, as he desired to talk with him about a number of things. In saying farewell Beethoven accompanied him to the door and said: “That is my brother—have nothing to do with him—he is not an honest man. You will hear me accused of many wrong actions of which he has been guilty.” Stumpff returned to London on December 6. He fulfilled his vow touching the gift of Handel’s works two years later.

On November 17, 1824, as the autograph attests, Beethoven wrote a four-part canon on the words “Schwenke dich ohne Schwänke,” which he sent to Schott and Sons for publication in the “Cäcilia,” where it appeared in April, 1825. There the title is “Canon on one who was called Schwenke.” The person whose[183] name has thus been perpetuated was Carl Schwenke, son of Christian Friedrich Gottlieb Schwenke, Director of Church Music and Cantor at the Johanneum in Hamburg. Of the acquaintanceship between Beethoven and him, the canon is the only relic.

In the latter part of the summer Beethoven accepted a commission from Diabelli for “a Sonata in F for pianoforte, four hands.” The project seems to have originated with the publisher, who asked for such a composition and specified the key in a letter dated August 7, 1824. Beethoven waited a fortnight before replying and then agreed to compose the work for a fee of 80 ducats in gold, although a sonata for four hands was not in his line. He mentioned the composition and the fee which he was to receive for it in the draft for a letter to Schlesinger next year, but never wrote the work; nor have any certain traces of it been found in the sketchbooks.

The Quartet in E-flat, Op. 127

There is only one other work which calls for attention as having largely occupied Beethoven’s mind this year. It is the Quartet for Strings in E-flat, Op. 127. When Beethoven in January, 1823, accepted the invitation of Prince Galitzin to write three quartets for him, he had for some time been contemplating a return to the field which he had cultivated so successfully but had permitted to lie fallow after the completion of the quartet in F minor, Op. 95, in October, 1810. He had held out a promise for speedy delivery of a quartet to Peters on June 5, 1822, but Peters declined the work in his next letter. Galitzin sent the stipulated fee of 50 ducats promptly to his bankers in Vienna, but subsequently yielded to Beethoven’s request and permitted the money to be applied to his subscription for the Mass. On March 10, 1824, Beethoven offered “a new quartet” to Schott and Sons for 50 ducats and the publishers promptly notified their acceptance of the offer to him. Neate was informed by a letter dated March 19 that the Quartet was finished; but, as usual, the word was used in a Pickwickian sense. The correspondence with Schott and Sons sings the same tune with respect to the Quartet that it does regarding Mass and Symphony. On May 20 Beethoven cannot positively promise it; on July 3 he is sure that the publishers will receive it in six weeks; on September 17 the time of delivery is postponed to the middle of October; in November to the beginning of December; and on December 17 he says there is still something to be written on it. All the works which Schott and Sons have bought are to be delivered at one time, yet when they receive the Mass and Symphony on January 16, 1825, the Quartet is withheld but promised in another week, and, after a month has passed,[184] in still another week. The Quartet is performed for the first time by Schuppanzigh on March 6, 1825. At last Beethoven writes to Schott and Sons on May 7, 1825: “You will have received the Quartet by this time—it is the one promised to you.” In March, 1826, its publication is announced in the “Cäcilia.” The autograph of the first movement is dated “1824” and no doubt the bulk of the work upon it was done in the latter part of the year, though it must have existed at least in a fragmentary form in Beethoven’s head when he wrote to Neate in March that it was finished.

At the close of the year Beethoven’s nephew Karl is still pursuing his philological studies at the university and living with his uncle. During the summer his holidays are spent in the country with Beethoven, to whom he is the cause of no little anxiety, especially when towards the end of the year he repeats his youthful escapade of running away from home. Beethoven, thinking of his foster-child’s welfare and apparently made ill at ease by symptoms which made him apprehend that he was likely to die suddenly of an apoplectic stroke (“like my good grandfather, whom I resemble,” he wrote), sent a letter to Dr. Bach on August 1, begging him to draw up a formal will and reiterating his intention to make his nephew inheritor of all his property. He also directed: “As it is customary to make a bequest to relatives even if they are in no wise related,” that his French pianoforte be given to his brother. “As regards Steiner, let him be content with the assurance that he shall be paid in full by the end of September—for if anything comes of the Mayence business it will not be before then and the first 600 florins must go to two of the noblest of mankind who, when I was almost helpless, most kindly and disinterestedly came to my assistance with this sum.” No doubt the Brentanos were meant; Steiner had evidently been dunning him for the old debt.

About the beginning of November, Beethoven returned again to Vienna, where he took up a new residence—probably at No. 969 Johannesgasse, a house owned by a family named Kletschka. He did not remain there long, however, as the other tenants complained of his pianoforte playing and the disturbance caused by his quarrels with his nephew and the housekeeper. He received notice to quit and removed, presumably, to apartments in the second storey of a house in the Krügerstrasse, now known as No. 13.

An English Visit Again Contemplated

Thoughts of a visit to England had been revived early in the year by a letter from Neate and, while the plans of the concert were making, it had been determined, so far as it was possible to do so,[185] that the visit should be undertaken in the fall and that Schindler should accompany him. This is the key to Schindler’s forceful observation after the financial fiasco of the concert. A second letter bearing on the subject was written by Neate on December 20. Consideration of it belongs in the next chapter.


Chapter VII

The Year 1825—The London Philharmonic Society again—Karl Holz—The Early Biographies—Visits of Rellstab, Kuhlau, Smart and Others—Stephan von Breuning—The A Minor Quartet, Op. 132.

The letter from Neate referred to at the conclusion of the last chapter brought with it an invitation from the Philharmonic Society of London which kept the thought of an English visit alive in Beethoven’s irresolute mind for a considerable space longer. Neate wrote in an extremely cordial vein. He had long wished to see Beethoven in England, he said, where he believed that his genius was appreciated more than in any other country; and now he had received the pleasant charge from the Philharmonic Society to invite him to come. He made no doubt but that in a short time he would earn enough money richly to compensate him for all the inconveniences of the journey. The Philharmonic Society was disposed to give him 300 guineas for conducting at least one of his works at each of the Society’s concerts in the coming season, and composing a new symphony which was to be produced during his visit but to remain the composer’s property. As an additional pecuniary inducement he held out that Beethoven could give a concert of his own at which he would make at least £500, besides which there were many other avenues of profit open to him. If he were to bring along the quartets of which he had written, they would yield him £100 more, and he might therefore be sure of carrying back a large sum of money, enough, indeed, to make all the remainder of his life much pleasanter than the past had been. He told Beethoven that the new Symphony had arrived and the first rehearsal of it set for January 17. He hoped that Beethoven would be on hand to direct it at the first concert of the Society and trusted that a report that a copy of it was in Paris was not true.

Plans for the Trip to London

Beethoven replied: He was delighted with the terms which the Society offered, but would like to have 100 guineas more to pay for[187] the expenses of the trip, it being necessary that he buy a carriage for the journey, and take a companion with him. He would bring a new quartet. The rumor that there was a copy of the Symphony was not true; it would, indeed, be published in Germany, but not before the year was past during which it was to remain the society’s property.[121] He urged that separate string rehearsals be held and the choruses be thoroughly studied above all, and directions for the reprise in the second movement, the marks for which had been forgotten in the copy. An early reply was asked, as he had been requested to write a large work upon which he did not wish to begin before receiving an answer, for while he did not write in the hope of gaining a fortune it was necessary that he have assurance that he would earn a living. To this letter Neate replied on February 1. He had conveyed the contents of Beethoven’s letter to the directors of the Philharmonic Society and had now regretfully to report that they had declined to make any change in their offer. He was personally willing to give the advance asked, but the individual directors were not masters of their conduct in all things; they had to abide by the laws of the Society. He hoped that under the circumstances Beethoven would come; he was sure the trip would pay him, and the directors would impatiently await his presence at the second concert, it being already too late for the first. There was to be another rehearsal of the Symphony that evening.

Again Beethoven had to struggle with the question as to whether or not he should make the journey to London. He was strongly urged to go by his desire to earn a large sum of money. His friends pressed him with arguments in favor of the trip. Karl admonished him to make up his mind without giving heed to his insatiably sordid brother, but reminded him that Neate had assured him he would make enough money to be free of care for the rest of his life. Johann did not talk of the financial advantage alone but said that he would benefit physically, travel being good for the health. Apparently answering an objection of Beethoven’s on the score of his age, Karl reminded him that Haydn also went to London when he was fifty years old and he was “not so famous.” Schuppanzigh bursts out with his brusque third person singular: “I wish he would pluck up enough courage to make the trip; he would not regret it.” Who should accompany him? Schindler had been recommended by Neate, but his name[188] does not occur in these conversations; instead, there is talk of Schuppanzigh and young Streicher. But as it turned out, no one was to accompany him, nobody alight with him either at the house of Stumpff or the Hotel de la Sablonière in Leicester Square which Neate had recommended as a French house much visited by foreigners. His doubts, suspicions, fears for his health, anxiety about his nephew, his fatal indecision, prevailed;—he would make the visit some other time—perhaps in the fall, as he wrote to Neate. Meanwhile would Neate aid him in the matter of the quartets? He had finished one and was at work on a second, which would be completed soon. Then he wrote again—on May 25; he was satisfied with the offer of £100 for the three quartets, was Neate agreed to his plan of sending them to a banker to be delivered on payment of the fee? If so he would send the first quartet at once and the fee might be paid after he had given notice of the completion of the other two.

The Ninth Symphony at Aix-la-Chapelle

The absence of Ries’s name in these negotiations is explained by the fact that he was no longer in London. He had purchased an estate in Godesberg, near Bonn, and removed thither in 1824. He had invited Beethoven to be his guest there and it would seem that he was advised about the English situation. At least in a letter, presumably written early in 1825, Beethoven deems it incumbent to inform Ries that the present efforts to dispose of the Ninth Symphony were tentative and that the period during which the Philharmonic Society was to hold the work would be scrupulously respected. It had never been sent to Bremen or to Paris as had been reported. The occasion for this letter was one from Ries requesting metronome marks for “Christus am Ölberg,” and for the score of the Ninth Symphony for the approaching Lower Rhenish Music Festival, which he had been engaged to conduct. These Niederrheinische Musikfeste had come into existence in 1817. The seventh meeting was to be held at Aix-la-Chapelle. Reports of the Vienna performance had been spread and it was desired to make the Symphony a feature of the festival scheme. In January, Schott and Sons were asked if the score would be in print by May and replied in the negative. Thereupon Ries was asked to write to Beethoven for a manuscript copy. Ries did not favor the production of the Symphony[122] but wrote for the music nevertheless, and Beethoven sent him the score of the purely instrumental[189] movements and the parts of the finale. This was about March 12; a week later, on March 19 (two days, by the way, before the first performance in London), he sent the chorusmaster’s score of the finale and suggested that the instrumental score might be written out and appended. In the earlier letter in which Beethoven had promised to send the Symphony and in which he enclosed the metronome marks for the “Christus am Ölberg,” Beethoven offered to send also the Mass in D, an overture which he had written “for the Philharmonic Society,” and some smaller things for orchestra and chorus, which would enable the festival managers to give two or three concerts instead of one. He suggested that 40 Carolines would, perhaps, not be too much as a fee. Beethoven explained to Ries that he had only one copy of the score of the Ninth Symphony, and as there was a concert in prospect he could not send it; so Ries had a score made of the finale for the festival performance. Beethoven had also sent the “Opferlied,” the Overture in C (Op. 115, of course), the Kyrie and Gloria of the Mass and an Italian duet. He was still to send a grand march and chorus (from “The Ruins of Athens”), and might add an overture which was as yet unknown outside of Vienna, but thought he had sent enough. The Symphony and “Christus am Ölberg” were performed on the second day of the festival. The time was too short for the difficult music thoroughly to be learned and at the performance portions of the slow movement and Scherzo of the Symphony were “regretfully” omitted. There were 422 performers in chorus and orchestra, and the popular reception of the music was enthusiastic enough to enable Ries to report to Beethoven that the performance had been a success; and he sent him 40 Louis d’ors as a fee. Ries recognized the symphony as a work without a fellow and told Beethoven that had he written nothing else it would have made him immortal. “Whither will you yet lead us?” he asked. Very naturally, Beethoven had reported the negotiations touching a visit to England to Ries, who expressed his satisfaction that he had not accepted the engagement and added: “If you want to go there you must make thorough preparations. Rossini got £2500 from the Opera alone. If Englishmen want to do an extraordinary thing, they must all get together so as to make it worth while. There will be no lack of applause and marks of honor, but you have probably had enough of these all your life.”

Mass and symphony had been delivered to Fries, the banker, on January 16, to be forwarded to Schott and Sons. Beethoven informed the firm by letter and took occasion to deny the report that it had been printed elsewhere. However, he does not seem[190] to be entirely at ease in the matter. “Schlesinger is not to be trusted, for he takes where he can; both Père et fils bombarded me for the Mass, etc., but I did not deign to answer either of them, since after thinking them over I had cast them out long before.”[123] He asks their attention to his plan for a complete edition of his works, which he would like to prepare and take a lump sum as an honorarium. He sends two canons for publication in the journal “Cäcilia,” and attempted a joke on his friend Haslinger which exercised his mind not a little during the next month or two. This was a skit purporting to be an outline or draft for an article on Haslinger’s career. The Schotts, either not understanding the joke or desiring to injure a rival who had spoken ill of them to Beethoven, printed the communication together with the two canons as if they belonged together. Beethoven either felt or affected to feel great anger at the proceeding; he sent a letter to the publishers and demanded its publication without change or curtailment. In this he rebuked them for printing what was intended as a pleasantry but might easily be construed as an intentional insult. He had not destined it for publication, and it was contrary to his nature intentionally to give offence to anybody. He had never resented anything that had been said about him as an artist, but he felt differently about things which affected him as a man. Haslinger was a respected old friend and he had thought to heighten the effect of the joke by suggesting that his consent to the publication be obtained. The printing was an abuse of the privileges of private correspondence, especially as the canons printed,[124] being set forth as a supplement to the skit, thereby became inexplicably incongruous. He would have a care that such a thing should not occur again. Whether or not the communication was ever printed does not appear; neither does it appear that Beethoven took the matter so greatly to heart as his letter was calculated to make the public believe, had it been printed. In August he wrote to his new friend Karl Holz: “I hear with amazement that the Mayence street-boys really abused a joke! It is contemptible; I assure you it was not at all my intention. What I meant was to have Castelli write a poem on these lines under the name of the musical Tobias, which I would set to music. But since it has so happened, it must be accepted as a dispensation from heaven. It will form a companion-piece to Goethe’s Bardt sans compa[191]raison with all other authors. But I believe Tobias has wronged you a little, etc.,—Voila it is better to be revenged than to fall into the maw of a monster.[125] I can’t shed tears over it but must laugh like—.” To his nephew he wrote: “It was not right for Mayence to do a thing like that, but as it is done it will do no harm. The times demand strong men to castigate these petty, tricky, miserable little fellows”; and then, as if repenting him of the sounding phrase, he wrote in the margin: “much as my heart rebels against doing a man harm; besides it was only a joke and I never thought of having it printed.” A Joke on Haslinger Miscarries It would seem that Haslinger must have known of the skit before it was sent to Schott, for in a letter of February 5, Beethoven suggested to the firm, as a joke, to ask Haslinger for the “romantic biography” which Beethoven had written of him, and added: “That is the way to handle this fellow, a heartless Viennese, who is the one who advised me not to deal with you. Silentium!” And he describes Steiner as a “rascally fellow and skinflint,” and Haslinger as a “weakling” whom he made useful to himself in some things. Haslinger may have felt incensed at the publication, but he eventually accepted it in an amiable spirit and it did not lead to any rupture of friendship between the men.

An amusing illustration of how Beethoven could work himself into a rage even when alone is preserved at the Beethoven Museum in Bonn, in the shape of some extraordinary glosses on a letter from a copyist named Wolanek, who was in his employ in the spring of the year. Wolanek was a Bohemian. Beethoven had railed against him whenever sending corrections to a publisher or apologizing for delays, and it is not difficult to imagine what the poor fellow had to endure from the composer’s voluble tongue and fecund imagination in the invention and application of epithets. In delivering some manuscripts by messenger some time before Easter, Wolanek ventured a defense of his dignity in a letter which, though couched in polite phrase, was nevertheless decidedly ironical and cutting. He said that he was inclined to overlook Beethoven’s conduct towards him with a smile; since there were so many dissonances in the ideal world of tones, why not also in the world of reality? For him there was comfort in the reflection that if Beethoven had been copyist to “those celebrated artists, Mozart and Haydn,” he would have received similar treatment. He requested that he be not associated with those wretches of copyists[192] who were willing to be treated as slaves simply for the sake of a livelihood, and concluded by saying that nothing that he had done would cause him to blush in the slightest degree in the presence of Beethoven. It did not suffice Beethoven to dismiss the man from his employ; such an outcome seemed anticipated in the letter. He must make him feel that his incompetency was wholly to blame and realize how contemptible he looked in the eyes of the composer. The reference to Mozart and Haydn was particularly galling. Beethoven read the letter and drew lines across its face from corner to corner. Then in letters two inches long he scrawled over the writing the words: “Dummer,Eingebildeter, Eselhafter Kerl” (“Stupid, Conceited, Asinine Fellow”). That was not enough. There was a wide margin at the bottom of the sheet, just large enough to hold Beethoven’s next ebullition: “Compliments for such a good-for-nothing, who pilfers one’s money?—better to pull his asinine ears!” Then he turned the sheet over. A whole page invited him—and he filled it, margins and all. “Dirty Scribbler! Stupid Fellow! Correct the blunders which you have made in your ignorance, insolence, conceit and stupidity—this would be more to the purpose than to try to teach me, which is as if a Sow were to try to give lessons to Minerva!” “Do YOU do honor to Mozart and Haidn by never mentioning their names.” “It was decided yesterday and even before then not to have you write any more for me.”

First Performances of the E-flat Quartet

The E-flat Quartet was now finished and about to be performed by Schuppanzigh and his companions. Beethoven was greatly concerned about the outcome and, as if at once to encourage and admonish them, he drafted a document in which all pledged themselves to do their best and sent it to them for signature. They obeyed, Linke adding to his name the words: “The Grand Master’s accursed violoncello.” and Holz: “The last—but only in signing.” The performance took place on March 6, and the result was disappointing. The music was not understood either by the players or the public and was all but ineffective. Schuppanzigh was held responsible and his patience must have been severely taxed by Beethoven’s upbraidings and his determination to have an immediate repetition by other players. Schuppanzigh defended himself as vigorously as possible and was particularly vexed because Beethoven cited his brother’s opinion of the performance—that of a musical ignoramus. He wanted to play the Quartet a second time, but told Beethoven that he had no objections to the work being handed over to Böhm; yet he protested with no little energy, that the fault of the fiasco was not his individually, as[193] Beethoven had been told. He could easily master the technical difficulties, but it was hard to arrive at the spirit of the work: the ensemble was faulty, because of this fact and too few rehearsals. Beethoven decided that the next hearing should be had from Böhm, and though Schuppanzigh had acquiesced, he harbored a grievance against the composer for some time. Böhm had been leader of the quartet concerts in Vienna during Schuppanzigh’s long absence. He has left an account of the incident, in which he plainly says that Schuppanzigh’s attitude toward the work was not sympathetic and that he had wearied of the rehearsals, wherefore at the performance it made but a succès d’estime. Beethoven sent for him (Böhm) and curtly said: “You must play my Quartet”—and the business was settled; objections, questionings, doubts were of no avail against Beethoven’s will. The Quartet was newly studied under Beethoven’s own eyes, a circumstance which added to the severity of the rehearsals, for, though he could not hear a tone, Beethoven watched the players keenly and detected even the slightest variation in tempo or rhythm from the movement of the bows. Böhm tells a story in illustration of this:

At the close of the last movement of the quartet there occurred a meno vivace,[126] which seemed to me to weaken the general effect. At the rehearsal, therefore, I advised that the original tempo be maintained, which was done, to the betterment of the effect. Beethoven, crouched in a corner, heard nothing, but watched with strained attention. After the last stroke of the bows he said, laconically “Let it remain so,” went to the desks and crossed out the meno vivace in the four parts.

The Quartet was played twice by Böhm and his fellows at a morning concert in a coffee-house in the Prater, late in March or early in April, and was enthusiastically received. Steiner, who had attended one or more of the rehearsals, was particularly enraptured by it and at once offered to buy it for publication for 60 ducats—a fact which Beethoven did not fail to report to Schott and Sons when he sent the manuscript to them. Subsequently Mayseder also played it at a private concert in the house of Dembscher, an official or agent of the war department of the Austrian Government, and this performance Holz described as a réparation d’honneur. Beethoven was now completely satisfied and, no doubt, went to work on its successor with a contented mind.

Karl Holz Supplants Schindler

It is now become necessary to pay attention to the new friend of Beethoven whose name has been mentioned—the successor of Schindler, as he had been of Oliva, in the office of factotum in[194] ordinary. This was Karl Holz, a young man (he was born in 1798) who occupied a post in the States’ Chancellary of Lower Austria. He had studied music with Glöggl in Linz and was so capable a violinist that, on Schuppanzigh’s return from Russia in 1823, he became second in the latter’s quartet. He seems to have come into closer contact with Beethoven early in the spring of 1825, probably when, having to conduct a performance of the B-flat Symphony at a concert in the Ridotto Room, he asked an audience of the composer in order that he might get the tempi for that work. Though not a professional musician, he gave music lessons, later occasionally conducted the Concerts spirituels and eventually became the regular director of these affairs. Emboldened by the kindness with which he was first received he gradually drew nearer to the composer and in August, 1825, an intimate friendship seems imminent, as is indicated by Beethoven’s remark in a letter to his nephew: “It seems as if Holz might become a friend.” He was good at figures, a quality which made him particularly serviceable to Beethoven (who was woefully deficient in arithmetic)[127] at a time when he was dealing with foreign publishers and there was great confusion in money values and rates of exchange. He was also a well-read man, a clever talker, musically cultured, a cheery companion, and altogether an engaging person. All these qualities, no less than the fact that he was strong and independent in his convictions and fearless in his proclamation of them, recommended him to Beethoven, and he does not seem to have hesitated to take advantage of the fact that he entered the inner circle of Beethoven’s companions at a time when the composer had begun to feel a growing antipathy to Schindler. He promptly embraced the opportunity which his willing usefulness brought him, to draw close to the great man, to learn of him and also to exhibit himself to the world as his confidential friend. He was not obsequious, and this pleased Beethoven despite the fact that he himself was not indisposed to play upon his friends for his own purposes “like instruments,” as he himself once confessed. In a short time Holz made himself indispensable and acquired great influence over the composer. He aided him in the copying of his works, looked into the affairs of Nephew Karl and reported upon them, advised him in his correspondence, and directed his finances at a time when he was more than ordinarily desirous to acquire money so that he might leave a competency on his death[195] to his foster-son. In time Beethoven came to entrust weighty matters to his decision, even the choice of publishers and his dealings with them. His prepossessing address, heightened by his independence of speech, made it less easy to contradict him than Schindler. Moreover, the recorded conversations show that he was witty, that he had a wider outlook on affairs than Beethoven’s other musical advisers, that his judgments were quickly reached and unhesitatingly pronounced. His speeches are not free from frivolity nor always from flattery, but he lived at a time and among a people accustomed to extravagant compliments and there can be no doubt of his reverence for Beethoven’s genius. Beethoven could endure a monstrous deal of lip-service, as all his friends knew, and surely took no offence when Holz said to him: “I am no flatterer, but I assure you that the mere thought of Beethovenian music makes me glad, first of all, that I am alive!”

We owe much of our knowledge of the relations between Beethoven and Holz to Schindler’s statements as they appear in his biography,[128] two articles which appeared in the “Kölnische Zeitung” in 1845, and among the glosses on the Conversation Book. But many of his utterances show ill-feeling, which it is not unfair to trace to a jealousy dating back to the time when Holz crowded Beethoven’s “Secretary sans salary” out of Beethoven’s service and good graces. There was no open rupture between Beethoven and Schindler, but a feeling of coolness and indifference which grew with the advancement of the younger man in the favor of the composer. There is considerably more to be read between Schindler’s lines than on their surface, and because of their personal equation they ought to be received with caution. True, he does not deny that Holz was possessed of excellent artistic capacities, that he was well educated and entirely respectable as a man. He describes him as a prime specimen of the Viennese “Phæacians” of whom Beethoven was wont to speak with supreme contempt; and there is ample evidence that Holz was indeed given to the pleasures which Beethoven attributed to the denizens of Scheria. But the results of Beethoven’s fellowship with a cheery companion were certainly not so great as Schindler says, nor so evil and grievous as he intimates. His earlier insinuation, that in order to exhibit his influence to the public Holz led Beethoven into company and practices which he would otherwise have avoided, among them to the frequenting of taverns and to excessive wine-bibbing, were subsequently developed into an accusation that Holz had spread[196] a report that the composer had contracted dropsy from vinous indulgence. Beethoven was accustomed to drink wine from youth up, and also to the companionship which he found in the inns and coffee houses of Vienna, which are not to be confounded with the groggeries with which straitlaced Americans and Englishmen are prone to associate the words. It was, moreover, undoubtedly a charitable act to drag him out of his isolation into cheerful company. We know that he was so accustomed to take wine at his meals that his physicians found it difficult to make him obey their prohibition of wine and heating spices when he was ill; but that he was more given to wine-drinking in 1825 and 1826 than at any other period, we learn only from Schindler, whose credibility as a witness on this point is impeached by the fact that, as he himself confesses, he seldom saw Beethoven between March 1825 and August 1826. Nor is it true, as Schindler asserts, that Beethoven’s habits now cost him the loss of old friendships. On the contrary, it was in this period that the cordial relations between him and Stephan von Breuning, which had been interrupted many years before, were restored and became peculiarly warm. Czerny told Jahn that Beethoven’s hypochondria led to many estrangements; but when he was ill, Count Lichnowsky, Haslinger and Piringer were visitors at his bedside, and not even Schindler seems to have been able to name a man whose sympathy the composer had sacrificed. His life was solitary; but not more than it had been for years.[129] In Gerhard von Breuning’s recollections, as recorded in “Aus dem Schwarzspanierhause,” there is scarcely a mention of Holz and none at all of the dangers into which Beethoven is alleged to have been led by him.

Beethoven’s letters bear witness to the fond regard in which he held him. His name, which in German signifies wood and in the literature of the church also cross, provided Beethoven with a welcome chance to indulge his extravagant fondness for punning. Thus in the composer’s jovial address-book, not distinguished by reverence for anything sacred or profane, Holz becomes “Best Mahoghany,” “Best Splinter from the Cross of Christ,” “Best lignum crucis.” The tone of the letters is always respectful, and once he begs his friend to forget an undescribed happening. Holz had his entire confidence, and when the great catastrophe of 1826 came, Holz was the strongest prop upon which he leaned. Schindler[197] says that Beethoven was godfather to Holz’s child, but that is plainly an error; Holz was married in the early winter of 1826, only three or four months before Beethoven’s death. The extent to which he had won Beethoven’s confidence and Beethoven’s high opinion of his character and ability are attested by the following document, which was signed only a short time after the intimacy began:

Holz Authorized to Write a Biography

With pleasure I give my friend, Karl Holz, the assurance which has been asked of me, that I consider him competent to write my eventual biography, assuming that such a thing should be desired, and I repose in him the fullest confidence that he will give to the world without distortion all that I have communicated to him for this purpose.

Ludwig van Beethoven.

Vienna, August 30, 1826.

There can be no question as to the sincerity of the desire which finds utterance in this declaration. It was made in the midst of a period when Holz was of incalculable service to him, and he had every reason to believe that Holz had both the ability and the disposition to write the truthful, unvarnished account of his life which he wanted the world to have. Schindler says that he subsequently changed his mind, said that the document was the result of a surprise sprung upon him in the confusion of occurrences, and asked von Breuning to request Holz to return it. Breuning declined to do so, says Schindler, and Beethoven, not having courage himself to make the request, contented himself with doubting the validity of a paper which was written only in pencil. On his deathbed, Schindler continues,[130] Beethoven, in answer to a question directly put to him by Breuning, unhesitatingly declared that Rochlitz was his choice as biographer; and at a later date, realizing that death was approaching, he requested Breuning and Schindler to gather up his papers, make such use of them as could be done in strict truth, and to write to Rochlitz. Two months after Beethoven had passed away Breuning followed him, and Schindler was left alone to fulfil the composer’s wish. He wrote to Rochlitz, who regretfully declined the pious task on the ground that the state of his health did not permit him to undertake so large a work. Thereupon Schindler let the matter rest, waiting for time and circumstances to determine the course which he should follow.

Stephan von Breuning had informed his brother-in-law, Dr. Wegeler, of Beethoven’s charge with reference to the papers, and Wegeler had sent Schindler notes on Beethoven’s boyhood years and his life in Bonn. In 1833 Schindler visited Wegeler in[198] Coblenz and consulted with him about the biography which, as Wegeler knew, Rochlitz had been asked, but declined, to write. Wegeler thereupon suggested that Schindler, he and Ferdinand Ries collaborate in the writing. Ries was consulted and agreed, but work had scarcely been begun before differences arose between Schindler and Ries as to the propriety of giving to the world matters which Schindler (who insisted that Ries was paying a grudge which he owed his erstwhile teacher) thought of no interest or too offensive for publication. Ries contended that to tell the whole truth about great men was right and could do them no injury. Schindler says he then persuaded Wegeler to continue the collaboration without Ries, but, delays resulting from correspondence with persons in Vienna, Wegeler became impatient and in October, 1844,[131] announced that his notes were about to be published. They did not appear, however, and Schindler tried again to work in company with Ries; but the latter persisted in his purpose, and the project fell through a second time. This was in 1837, and the next year, shortly after Ries’s sudden death, appeared the “Biographische Notizen über Ludwig van Beethoven” by Wegeler and Ries. In the remarks with which the men prefaced their reminiscences there is no reference to the projected collaboration described by Schindler, nor can it truthfully be said that anything in Ries’s observations bears out Schindler’s charge that he felt a grudge against Beethoven and sought to feed it by telling unpleasant truths about him.

To continue the story of these early biographies: Schindler now asked counsel of Dr. Bach, who advised him to betake himself to the task of writing the life of Beethoven alone. He did so, and his book appeared in 1840. Holz never made use of the imprimatur which he had received from Beethoven, but in 1843 formally relinquished his authorization to Dr. Gassner, of Carlsruhe, promising to deliver all the material which he held into his hands and to use his influence in the procurement of dates from authentic sources, “so that the errors in the faulty biographies which have appeared up to the present time may be corrected.” That this was a fling at Schindler’s book is evident from a document[132] in which, on November 1, 1845, Holz, at that time director of the Concerts spirituels in Vienna, declares that the forthcoming biography (by Gassner) would “not derive its dates from fictitious or stolen conversation books, and unsophisticated evidence will also give more intimate information about Mr. Schindler.”[199] Twice did Schindler attack Holz in the “Kölnische Zeitung” in 1845 and once, it would appear, Holz answered him, but anonymously. The subject need not be continued here, however; it has a bearing only on the credibility of the two men in the discussion of each other. Gassner’s biography never appeared.

Perhaps it was characteristic of Beethoven, and also of the friends who came to his help in need, that though Schindler had been written down in his bad books before Holz established himself in his confidence, and though there was never a serious estrangement between Beethoven and Holz, it was Schindler upon whom Beethoven leaned most strongly for help when the days of physical dissolution arrived—Schindler, not Holz. The latter’s devotion had either undergone a cooling process or been interfered with by his newly assumed domestic obligations. But Schindler’s statement that he was “dismissed” in December, 1826, is an exaggeration, to say the least; Beethoven wrote him a letter a month before he died, asking his help in collecting money from the Archduke. Holz died on November 9, 1858. He had been helpful to Otto Jahn when the latter was gathering material for a life of Beethoven.[133]

Strict Physicians and an Unruly Patient

The E-flat Quartet had been successfully brought forward, a pause had been reached in the correspondence with Schott and Sons and Neate, a summer home for Beethoven was in prospect, and considerable progress had been made in the draft for a new quartet designed for Prince Galitzin, when an illness befell Beethoven which kept him within doors, and for a portion of the time in bed, from about the middle of April to the beginning of May, 1825. Beethoven had been told by his physician that he was in danger of an inflammation of the bowels, and as such Beethoven described his ailment in letters to his brother and to Schott and Sons. Dr. Staudenheimer had been in attendance on him before and had insisted upon strict obedience to his prescriptions. Beethoven now called in Dr. Braunhofer, who proved to be even less considerate of the patient’s wilfulness; he was so blunt and forceful in his demands for obedience that Beethoven was somewhat awed, and beneficial results followed. Were it possible for the readers of these pages who are curious on such subjects to consult the Conversation Books of this period, they would there find interesting information as to diagnosis and treatment in the case of the distinguished patient. Dr. Braunhofer did not want to “torment” Beethoven long with medicines, but he gave orders for a strict diet. “No wine; no coffee; no spices of any kind. I’ll[200] arrange matters with the cook.”—“Patience, a sickness does not disappear in a day.” “I shall not trouble you much longer with medicine, but you must adhere to the diet; you’ll not starve on it.” “You must do some work in the daytime so that you can sleep at night. If you want to get entirely well and live a long time, you must live according to nature. You are very liable to inflammatory attacks and were close to a severe attack of inflammation of the bowels; the predisposition is still in your body. I’ll wager that if you take a drink of spirits you’ll be lying weak and exhausted on your back inside of an hour.” The doctor inspired him with courage and hope, and admonished him to keep quiet and be patient. In dry weather he was to take walks, but even after going to Baden he must take no baths so long as the weather remained damp and symptoms of his illness remained.

Beethoven went to Baden early in May and probably within a week of his arrival he reported his condition to Dr. Braunhofer in a semi-humorous manner by writing down a dialogue between doctor and patient in which the latter suggests desired changes in his treatment. He asks for something strengthening to help him get to his desk, thinks that he might be permitted to drink white wine and water, as the “mephitic beer” revolts him; he is still very weak, expectorates blood freely “probably from the bronchial tubes,” etc. The physician had asked for a few notes written by his own hand as a souvenir. Beethoven complies with the request by sending him a canon written while taking a walk on May 11. It looks like a sign of mingled apprehension and returning spirits:

Doktor sperrt das Thor dem Tod, Note hilft auch aus der Noth.
Close the door ’gainst Death, I plead, Doctor, notes will help in need.

On May 17, he reports to his nephew that he is beginning to do considerable work.

Ludwig Rellstab Visits Beethoven

It was while Beethoven was ill in Vienna that Ludwig Rellstab made several visits to him, of which he has left enthusiastic reports.[134] He was 26 years old at the time and had made a mark as essayist and poet; the chief object of his journey to Vienna from Berlin, on which he set out on March 21, was to see the composer. He reached the Austrian capital in the last days of March or the[201] first days of April. His account of the meeting is like many others except that it is written with literary elegance, albeit with that excessive fervor, that Überschwänglichkeit, which is characteristic of German hero-worshippers. Zelter had given him a letter of introduction and had written that Rellstab wanted to write the libretto of an opera to be set by the composer, and this was the first subject broached after Beethoven had warmly greeted his visitor and expressed delight with Zelter’s letter. Beethoven is pleased at the prospect of getting an opera-book from Rellstab:

It is so difficult to get a good poem. Grillparzer promised me one. He has already made one for me but we can not come to an understanding with each other. I want one thing, he wants another. You’ll have trouble with me!... I care little what genre the works belong to, so the material be attractive to me. But it must be something which I can take up with sincerity and love. I could not compose operas like “Don Juan” and “Figaro.” They are repugnant to me. I could not have chosen such subjects; they are too frivolous for me!

Rellstab had had it in mind to write an opera-book for Weber and had pondered over many subjects, and he now gave a list of these to Beethoven—“Attila,” “Antigone,” “Belisarius,” “Orestes” and others. Beethoven read the names thoughtfully and then apologized for the trouble he was causing his visitor. Rellstab, seeing an expression of weariness in his face, took his departure, after saying that he would send him a specimen of his handiwork. In a Conversation Book used in the middle of April there is further talk between Rellstab and Beethoven about opera, but the notes, which are fragmentary, give no indications of Beethoven’s views. The most interesting incident of the meetings occurred at a subsequent visit. Rellstab had told that he had been deeply moved (he dared not express a more specific opinion on the subject, being in doubt himself) by the Quartet in E-flat, which he had heard performed twice in succession.[135] He continues:

Beethoven read and remained silent; we looked at each other mutely, but a world of emotions surged in my breast. Beethoven, too, was unmistakably moved. He arose and went to the window, where he remained standing beside the pianoforte. To see him so near the instrument gave me an idea which I had never before dared to harbor. If he—Oh! he needed only to turn half way around and he would be facing the keyboard—if he would but sit down and give expression to his feelings in tones! Filled with a timid, blissful hope, I approached him and laid my hand upon the instrument. It was an English pianoforte by Broadwood. I struck a chord lightly with my right hand in order to induce Beethoven to turn around; but he seemed not to have heard it. A few[202] moments later, however, he turned to me, and, seeing my eyes fixed upon the instrument he said: “That is a beautiful pianoforte! I got it as a present from London. Look at these names.” He pointed to the cross-beam over the keyboard. There I saw several names which I had not before noticed—Moscheles, Kalkbrenner, Cramer, Clementi, Broadwood himself.... “That is a beautiful gift,” said Beethoven looking at me, “and it has such a beautiful tone,” he continued and moved his hands towards the keys without taking his eyes off me. He gently struck a chord. Never again will one enter my soul so poignant, so heartbreaking as that one was! He struck C major with the right hand and B as a bass in the left, and continued his gaze uninterruptedly on me, repeated the false chord several times in order to let the sweet tone of the instrument reverberate; and the greatest musician on earth did not hear the dissonance! Whether or not Beethoven noticed his mistake I do not know; but when he turned his head from me to the instrument he played a few chords correctly and then stopped. That was all that I heard from him directly.

Rellstab had planned a short excursion to Hungary and then intended to leave Vienna for his home. Fearful that he might not see Beethoven on his return to the city he went to him to say farewell:

Beethoven spoke very frankly and with feeling. I expressed my regret that in all the time of my sojourn in Vienna I had heard, except one of his symphonies and a quartet, not a single composition of his in concert; why had “Fidelio” not been given? This gave him an opportunity to express himself on the subject of the taste of the Vienna people. “Since the Italians (Barbaja) have gotten such a strong foothold here the best has been crowded out. For the nobility, the chief thing at the theatre is the ballet. Nothing can be said about their appreciation of art; they have sense only for horses and dancers. We have always had this state of things. But this gives me no concern; I want only to write that which gives me joy. If I were well it would be all the same to me!”

On his departure Beethoven, who had been absent from his lodgings when Rellstab called for his final leavetaking, sent him a letter to Steiner and Co., containing a canon on the words from Matthison’s “Opferlied” of which he had made use on at least one earlier occasion (“Das Schöne zu dem Guten”).

An Utterance on Ecclesiastical Music

Karl Gottfried Freudenberg, a young musician who afterwards became Head Organist at Breslau and wrote a book of reminiscences entitled “Erinnerungen eines alten Organisten,” visited Beethoven in July of the year and has left a record which is none the less interesting because its lack of literary flourish is offset by succinct reports of the great composer’s estimate of some of his contemporaries, and his views on ecclesiastical music. Beethoven, according to Freudenberg, described Rossini as a “talented and a melodious composer; his music suits the frivolous[203] and sensuous spirit of the time, and his productivity is such that he needs only as many weeks as the Germans do years to write an opera.” He said of Spontini: “There is much good in him; he understands theatrical effects and the musical noises of warfare thoroughly”; of Spohr: “He is too rich in dissonances, pleasure in his music is marred by his chromatic melody”; of Bach: “His name ought not to be Bach (brook) but Ocean, because of his infinite and inexhaustible wealth of combinations and harmonies. He was the ideal of an organist.” This led Beethoven into the subject of music for the church. “I, too, played the organ a great deal in my youth,” he said, “but my nerves could not stand the power of the gigantic instrument. I place an organist who is master of his instrument, first among virtuosi.” Pure church music, he remarked, ought to be performed only by voices, unless the text be a Gloria or something of the kind. For this reason he preferred Palestrina to all other composers of church music, but it was folly to imitate him unless one had his genius and his religious beliefs; moreover, it was practically impossible for singers to-day to sing the long-sustained notes of this music in a cantabile manner.

Karl August Reichardt, afterwards Court Organist in Altenburg, S. M. de Boer, a member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam, Carl Czerny, Friedrich Kuhlau, Sir George Smart and Moritz Schlesinger were among the visitors to Baden in the summer to whose meetings with the composer the Conversation Books bear always interesting and sometimes diverting witness. Reichardt’s visit seems to have been brief, and it is safe to presume that the young man received scant encouragement to remain long, for his talk was chiefly about himself, his desire to get advice as to a good teacher and to have Beethoven look at some of his music. The man from Holland, who probably had used his predicate as a member of the Academy which had elected Beethoven an honorary member to gain an audience, must have diverted the composer with his broken German, which looks no more comical in the Conversation Book than it must have sounded; but a canon without words which he carried away with him may be said to bear witness to the fact that he made a good impression on Beethoven, to whom he gave information concerning the state of music in the Dutch country. Czerny, apparently, was urged by his erstwhile teacher to get an appointment and to compose in the larger forms. Beethoven was curious to learn how much Czerny received for his compositions and Czerny told him that he attached no importance to his pieces, because he scribbled them down so easily, and that he took music from the publishers in exchange.


The visit of the Danish composer, flautist and director, Friedrich Kuhlau, led to a right merry feast, for a description of which Seyfried found a place in the appendix of his “Studien.” That the boundaries of nice taste in conversation and story-telling may have been strained a bit is an inference from the fact that several pages of the Conversation Book containing the recorded relics of the affair are missing. After a promenade through the Helenenthal in which Beethoven amused himself by setting all manner of difficult tasks in hill-climbing, the party sat down to dinner at an inn. Champagne flowed freely, and after the return to Beethoven’s lodgings red Vöslauer, brought from his closet or cellar, did its share still further to elevate the spirits of the feasters. Beethoven seems to have held his own in the van of the revel. Kuhlau improvised a canon on B-a-c-h, to which Beethoven replied with the same notes as an opening motive and the words “Kühl, nicht lau” (“Cool, not lukewarm”)—a feeble play on the Danish musician’s name, but one which served to carry the music. Beethoven wrote his canon in the Conversation Book. The next day Kuhlau confessed to Schlesinger that he did not know how he had gotten home and to bed: Beethoven’s post-festal reflections may be gathered from the letter which accompanied a copy of the canon which he sent to Kuhlau by the hands of Holz:

Baden, September 3, 1825.

I must admit that the champagne went too much to my head also, yesterday, and that I was compelled again to make the experience that such things retard rather than promote my capacities; for easy as it generally is for me to meet a challenge on the instant, I do not at all remember what I wrote yesterday.

In handing over letter and canon to Holz for delivery he wrote to him that he had scarcely reached home before it occurred to him that he might have made a dreadful mess of it on the day before.

A Garrulous Parisian Publisher

Schlesinger, of Paris, son of the Berlin publisher, was a very insistent as well as persistent courtier, with an auspicious eye to business at all times. He wanted to purchase the two new quartets and did succeed in getting one of them, and he aroused Beethoven’s suspicions by the pertinacity with which he pleaded for permission to attend a rehearsal of the second; the pride of the composer revolted, evidently, at the thought that a publisher should ask to hear a work of his which he purposed buying. But Schlesinger, who had Nephew Karl as his advocate at court in all things, made it appear that he was eager only for the inestimable[205] privilege of hearing the new works of the master, and put in a plea that he might also hear the Quartet which had already been sold to Schott and Sons. Holz discloses a distrust of him very plainly and misses no occasion to warn Beethoven against entangling alliances with the Parisian publisher. Schlesinger wins his way to a very familiar footing with Beethoven, going so far once as to ask him if a report which he had heard that Beethoven had wanted to marry the pianist, Cibbini, was true.[136] The old page does not tell us what answer Beethoven gave, but Schlesinger, who had disclosed his own heartwounds and railed against the fair sex because of his experiences, tells the composer that he shall be the first to make the bride’s acquaintance should he ever get married. Schlesinger appears desirous to become a sort of dealer en gros in Beethoven’s products; he would like the two new Quartets (in A minor and B-flat major); he will publish a Complete Edition and begin with the chamber pieces, to which ends he wants still another quartet and three quintets; he seeks to awaken a literary ambition in the writer of notes—the journal published by the Schlesingers in Berlin will be glad to republish whatever Beethoven may write to the Mayence journal about the joke on Haslinger, and Beethoven ought really to write some essays—on what a symphony and an overture ought to be and on the art of fugue, of which he was now the sole repository. He knows how to approach genius on its most susceptible side. Beethoven must go to England, where he is so greatly admired; he reports that Cherubini had said to his pupils at the Conservatoire in Paris: “The greatest musical minds that ever lived or ever will live, are Beethoven and Mozart.” At dinner, at the suggestion of the same garrulous talker, the company drink the healths of Goethe and Cherubini. Again Schlesinger urges Beethoven to go to London: “I repeat again that if you will go to England for three months I will engage that, deducting your travelling expenses, you will make 1000 pounds, or 25,000 florins W. W. at least, if you give only two concerts and produce some new music.... The Englishmen are proud enough to count themselves fortunate if Beethoven would only be satisfied with them.” When the toast to Cherubini is drunk, Schlesinger takes occasion to satisfy the curiosity of Beethoven touching the status of the composer whom he most admired among living men.


Cherubini has now received the title of Baron from the government as well as the order of the Legion of Honor. It is a proof of the recognition of his talent, for he did not seek it. Napoleon, who appreciated him highly, once found fault with one of his compositions and Cherubini retorted: “Your Majesty knows no more about it than I about a battle.” Napoleon’s conduct was contemptible. Because of the words that I have quoted he took away all of Cherubini’s offices and he had nothing to live on. Nevertheless, he did an infinite amount of good for popular culture. If Napoleon, instead of becoming an insatiable world-conqueror, had remained First Consul, he would have been one of the greatest men that ever existed.

Schlesinger had his way about hearing the new Quartet (in A minor, Op. 132), for it was rehearsed at his rooms on Wednesday, September 7, preparatory to the performance, which was to take place at the tavern “Zum wilden Mann” at noon on September 9. Beethoven wanted the players to come to him at Baden for the final rehearsal, but that was found to be impracticable. On the day after the meeting at Schlesinger’s, however, Holz went out to Beethoven to tell him all about it. He reported that Wolfmayr “at the Adagio wept like a child?” and that “Tobias scratched himself behind the ears when he heard the Quartet; he certainly regrets that the Jew Steiner did not take it.”

We have an account of the performance at the “Wilden Mann” from the English visitor whom Beethoven received at this time. This was Sir George Smart, who, in the summer of 1825, made a tour of Germany in company with Charles Kemble. He was with Mr. Kemble when that gentleman made the agreement with Weber for “Oberon,” but his “principal reason for the journey,” as he himself put it, “was to ascertain from Beethoven himself the exact times of the movements of his characteristic—and some of his other—Sinfonias.”[137] Sir George recorded the incidents of his meetings with Beethoven in his journal, from which the following excerpts are taken:

Sir George Smart’s Journal

On the 7th of September, at nine in the morning, I called on Mayseder, who received me most politely.... We conversed about Beethoven’s Choral Symphony; our opinion agrees about it. When it was performed here Umlauf conducted it and Kletrinsky and Schuppanzigh were the[207] leaders. All the basses played in the recitative, but they had the story that it was written for Dragonetti only.

Friday, September 9th.—We then went to Mecchetti’s music shop, they, too, are publishers, and bought three pieces for Birchall.... Mr. Holz, an amateur in some public office and a good violin player, came in and said Beethoven had come from Baden this morning and would be at his nephew’s—Karl Beethoven, a young man aged twenty—No. 72 Alleegasse.... At twelve I took Ries[138] to the hotel Wildemann,[139] the lodgings of Mr. Schlesinger, the music seller of Paris, as I understood from Mr. Holz that Beethoven would be there, and there I found him. He received me in the most flattering manner. There was a numerous assembly of professors to hear Beethoven’s second[140] new manuscript quartette, bought by Mr. Schlesinger. This quartette is three-quarters of an hour long. They played it twice. The four performers were Schuppanzigh, Holz, Weiss, and Lincke. It is most chromatic and there is a slow movement entitled “Praise for the recovery of an invalid.” Beethoven intended to allude to himself I suppose for he was very ill during the early part of this year. He directed the performers, and took off his coat, the room being warm and crowded. A staccato passage not being expressed to the satisfaction of his eye, for alas, he could not hear, he seized Holz’s violin and played the passage a quarter of a tone too flat. I looked over the score during the performance. All paid him the greatest attention. About fourteen were present, those I knew were Boehm (violin), Marx (’cello), Carl Czerny, also Beethoven’s nephew, who is like Count St. Antonio, so is Boehm, the violin player. The partner of Steiner, the music seller, was also there. I fixed to go to Baden on Sunday and left at twenty-five minutes past two.

Saturday, September 10th. I called for the music at Artaria’s for Birchall, for which I paid, and on our return found a visiting-card from Earl Stanhope and also from Schlesinger of Paris with a message that Beethoven would be at his hotel to-morrow at twelve, therefore of course I gave up going to Baden to visit Beethoven, which he had arranged for me to do.... In the morning Mr. Kirchoffer called to say he should invite me to his house. It was he who, through Ries, had the arrangement of procuring the Choral Symphony for our Philharmonic Society.

Sunday, September 11th.... From hence I went alone to Schlesinger’s, at the “Wildemann,” where was a larger party than the previous one. Among them was L’Abbé Stadler, a fine old man and a good composer of the old school, to whom I was introduced. There was also present a pupil of Moscheles, a Mademoiselle Eskeles and a Mademoiselle Cimia [Cibbini?], whom I understood to be a professional player. When I entered Messrs. C. Czerny, Schuppanzigh and Lincke had just begun the Trio, Op. 70, of Beethoven, after which the same performers played Beethoven’s Trio, Op. 79—both printed by Steiner. Then followed Beethoven’s quartette, the same that I had heard on September the 9th and it was played by the same performers. Beethoven was seated near the pianoforte beating time during the performance[208] of these pieces. This ended, most of the company departed, but Schlesinger invited me to stop and dine with the following company of ten: Beethoven, his nephew, Holz, Weiss, C. Czerny, who sat at the bottom of the table, Lincke, Jean Sedlatzek—a flute player who is coming to England next year, and has letters to the Duke of Devonshire, Count St. Antonio, etc.—he has been to Italy—Schlesinger, Schuppanzigh, who sat at the top, and myself. Beethoven calls Schuppanzigh Sir John Falstaff, not a bad name considering the figure of this excellent violin player.

We had a most pleasant dinner, healths were given in the English style. Beethoven was delightfully gay but hurt that, in the letter Moscheles gave me, his name should be mixed up with the other professors. However he soon got over it. He was much pleased and rather surprised at seeing in the oratorio bill I gave him that the “Mount of Olives” and his “Battle Symphony” were both performed the same evening. He believes—I do not—that the high notes Handel wrote for trumpets were played formerly by one particular man. I gave him the oratorio book and bill. He invited me by his nephew to Baden next Friday. After dinner he was coaxed to play extempore, observing in French to me, “Upon what subject shall I play?” Meanwhile he was touching the instrument thus


to which I answered, “Upon that.” On which theme he played for about twenty minutes in a most extraordinary manner, sometimes very fortissimo, but full of genius.[141] When he arose at the conclusion of his playing he appeared greatly agitated. No one could be more agreeable than he was—plenty of jokes. We all wrote to him by turns, but he can hear a little if you halloo quite close to his left ear. He was very severe in his observations about the Prince Regent never having noticed his present of the score of his “Battle Symphony.” His nephew regretted that his uncle had no one to explain to him the profitable engagement offered by the Philharmonic Society last year.

Smart accepted Beethoven’s invitation to visit him at Baden on September 16, and at this meeting accomplished the specific purpose of his visit to Vienna by getting Beethoven to give him the tempo of various movements from his symphonies, by playing portions of them on the pianoforte.[142]


Beethoven’s Interest in English Matters

Though he had been warned not to write in Beethoven’s book, Sir George did not, or was not always able to, obey the injunction. A considerable portion of the conversation at the meeting is preserved in a Conversation Book which covers three dates, September 16, 19, and 24. From this book some excerpts are made here, since they bear on the subject which filled so large a place in the plans of Beethoven for several years, and were in his mind up to the time of his death—the English tour. Other matters bearing on points of history which have been or may be mentioned, are included. The nephew has translated for Beethoven the announcement of the Ninth Symphony as it appeared on the programme of the Philharmonic’s concert of March 21, viz.: “New Grand Characteristic Sinfonia, MS. with vocal finale, the principal parts to be sung by Madame Caradori, Miss Goodall, Mr. Vaughn and Mr. Phillips; composed expressly for this Society.” No doubt Beethoven gave expression, as he frequently had done, to his admiration for the English people and possibly also for their national hymn, for Karl translates the stanza:

Long may he reign!
May he defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice:
God save the king!

The one-sided conversation proceeds:

Smart.—You understand English writing?—Extremement bien.——Winter me dit que on l’intention de donner Fidelio a music.

Karl.—He would like to know the tempi of the finale of the last symphony. Haven’t you it here?—

How long you worked on the symphony?—How long does it last?—1 hour and 3 minutes—¾ hour—We are now going to take a walk.


According to Smart’s journal, Beethoven now ordered dinner “with his funny old cook,” told his nephew to look after the wine, and the party of five took a walk in the course of which Schuppanzigh told Smart that it was while sketching in the open air that Beethoven caught his deafness. “He was writing in a garden and was so absorbed that he was not sensible of a pouring rain, till his music paper was so wet that he could no longer write.” The story is inconsequential unless Schuppanzigh had it from Beethoven who, as we have seen in an earlier volume (Vol. I, p. 263 et seq.), gave an entirely different account of the origin of his deafness to Neate. Holz talks to Beethoven now about Schlesinger, telling him that it was the publisher’s purpose to print the quartets in succession, which would postpone the appearance of the thirteenth for two years, and advises Beethoven hereafter to make immediate publication a condition of purchase. He suggests that if he were to threaten not to compose the quintets under the circumstances it might help.

Smart.—Elle est morte.—Kalkbrenner est à Paris.—Broadwood, Stodart, Tomkinson, Clementi and Co.—Les meilleurs Pièces à vendre à Londres sont les Duettos pour le Piano Forte.—Mais je dis pour nous de composer à présent.—Cramer, Moscheles, Neate, Potter.... J’ai voyagé par le Rhine et par la Donau.—Je suis Protestant; le premier chose est d’être honnête homme.... Esterhazy.—Le nom de Capitaine, ou comme tous les autres.—On faites de badinage contre moi en Allemagne—contre lui—moi je suis Garçon.

Karl.—He asked why you had not come before now; he said the 300 pounds of the Philhar. Society were not be to looked upon as the principal thing. For that you needed only to appear 2 or 3 times in the orchestra and make money with your own concerts.—He said that in a short time you could make at least 1000 pounds and carry it away with you.—10,000 florins, Vienna money.—If you would only go. The 1,000 pounds would be easily earned and more.—You can do better business with the publishers there than here.—And you’ll find 1,000 friends, Smarth [sic] says, who will do everything to help you.—The sea fish.—In the Thames.... We’ll wait till the year is over before going to England.... You’ll not leave London so quickly if we are once there.—Others are living there too, like Cramer, etc.—In two years at least 50,000 florins net. Concerts.—I am convinced that if you were to want to go away from here they would do everything to keep you here.

We shall let Smart conclude the story of the meeting:

On our return [from the walk] we had dinner at two o’clock. It was a most curious one and so plentiful that dishes came in as we came out, for, unfortunately, we were rather in a hurry to get to the stage coach by four, it being the only one going to Vienna that evening. I overheard Beethoven say, “We will try how much the Englishman can drink.” He had the worst of the trial. I gave him my diamond pin as[211] a remembrance of the high gratification I received by the honour of his invitation and kind reception and he wrote me the following droll canon as fast as his pen could write in about two minutes of time as I stood at the door ready to depart.

Ars longa vita brevis

“Written on the 16th of September, 1825, in Baden, when my dear talented musical artist and friend Smart (from England) visited me here.

Ludwig van Beethoven.”

A Visitor from America

Smart left Vienna on his return journey to London on September 20. Three months later Beethoven received a visit from one who must have raised more curious questionings in his mind than did the brilliant young Englishman. With Smart he had corresponded years before. Smart had produced his oratorio and his “Wellington’s Victory” in England and conducted the first performance in London of his Ninth Symphony; there were direct bonds of sympathy between them. The other visitor brought a message of appreciation from across the wide Atlantic. It was Theodore Molt, evidently a German or a man of German birth, who, a music teacher in Quebec, was making a European tour and gained the privilege of telling Beethoven to his face how greatly he admired him, then asked the favor of a souvenir which he could carry back on a journey of “3,000 hours” as a precious keepsake. For him, on December 16, Beethoven wrote the canon, “Freu dich des Lebens” (Ges. Aus. Series XXV, 285, 5).[143]

To this period belongs an anecdote which is almost a parallel of one related by Zelter to Goethe. It was told[144] by Mittag, a bassoon player who had taken part in a performance of the Septet at a concert on December 11. Going home one evening, Mittag stepped into a tavern known as “Zum Dachs” to drink a glass of beer. Smoking was not allowed in the place and there were few guests. In a corner, however, sat Beethoven in the attitude of one lost in thought. After Mittag had watched him a few minutes he jumped up and called to the waiter: “My bill!” “Already paid!” shrieked the waiter in his ear. Mittag, thinking that Beethoven[212] ought not to be left alone, followed him without betraying himself and saw him enter his house safely.

On November 29, 1825, Beethoven was one of fifteen men elected to honorary membership in the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde by the directors (Cherubini, Spontini, Spohr, Catel and Weigl being among them); the election was confirmed by the society on January 26, 1826, but the diploma was not issued until October 26, and thus reached Beethoven’s hands only a few months before his death. On November 25, Beethoven wrote to Schott and Sons promising to send them the metronome marks for the Mass in D soon, telling them to print the list of subscribers before the dedication, asking delay in the matter of the dedication of the Ninth Symphony, and requesting that the publication of both works be postponed three months. He gives the title of the mass as follows:

Composita et
Serenissimo ac Eminentissimo Domino Domino
Rudolpho Joanni Cæsareo Principi et Archiduci Austriæ S. R. E.
Tit. S. Petri in monte aureo Cardinali Archiepiscopo Olomucensi
profundissima cum veneratione dicata
Ludovico van Beethoven

On the same day he wrote to Peters in Leipsic to the effect that his recent letters had not been definite and certain. He wanted a specific statement that the amount which he (Beethoven) had received as an advance was 360 florins. If Peters was willing to take a quartet for that sum he would send him one as soon as possible; if not, and he preferred to have the money, he would return it to him. “If you had done this at once you might have had two quartets; but you can not ask me to be loser. If I wanted to draw the strings tighter I could ask a larger price. I will send nothing for examination.” This, then, was Beethoven’s ultimatum: Peters must pay 360 florins for the Quartet or receive back the money advanced three years before. Peters asked for the money and it was paid over to Steiner and Co., on his order on December 7.

Intimacy with the Breunings Renewed

In the renting season of St. Michael (September 29 to October 12) Beethoven signed a lease for lodgings in the Schwarzspanierhaus, Alservorstadt Glacis 200. Into this, which was the last[213] lodging occupied by Beethoven, he moved presumably on October 15. The house, which is fully described and pictured in Gerhard von Breuning’s book “Aus dem Schwarzspanierhause,” derived its name from the fact that it had been built by the Benedictines of Spain. In it Beethoven occupied four rooms on the second floor, besides a kitchen and servant’s quarters. One of the most important results of Beethoven’s removal to these quarters was a reëstablishment of the intimate relations which had existed for so many years with the friend of his youth Stephan von Breuning, a Councillor in the War Department of the Austrian Government, who lived hard by. Though there had been no open rupture between him and Beethoven an estrangement had existed from the time when von Breuning had advised against Beethoven’s assumption of the guardianship over his nephew. They had met occasionally ad interim, but it was not until they became neighbors that the intimate friendship which had existed in earlier years was restored. A beginning in this direction was made when, on a visit to Vienna in August, Beethoven met the Breuning family in the street. It was necessary that changes be made in the lodgings and while waiting for them Beethoven became a frequent visitor at the Breunings, dining with them frequently and sometimes sending them a mess of fish, of which he was very fond. Madame von Breuning meanwhile looked after the fitting out of his kitchen and saw to the engagement of his servants. Concerning the relations which existed between Beethoven and her father’s family, Marie, a daughter of Stephan von Breuning, wrote many years after:[145]

My mother once met Beethoven when on her way to the Kaiserbad on the Danube; he accompanied her for the rather long distance from the Rothes Haus, where she lived. She spent about an hour in the bath-house (the bath being a warm one) and on coming out was surprised to find Beethoven waiting to accompany her home. She often said that he was always gallant towards women and had paid court to her for a while.

She related, too, that his animated gestures, his loud voice and his indifference towards others surprised the people in the street, and that she was often ashamed because they stopped and took him for a madman. His laugh was particularly loud and ringing.

My mother often and repeatedly deplored the fact that she had never heard him play—but my father, in his unbounded tenderness, always replied when she expressed a desire to hear him: “He doesn’t like to do it, and I do not want to ask him because it might pain him not to hear himself.”


Beethoven repeatedly invited my mother to coffee, or, as the Viennese say, zur Jause; but my mother almost always declined, as his domestic arrangements did not appear altogether appetizing.

My mother often said to my father that Beethoven’s habit of expectorating in the room, his neglected clothing and his extravagant behavior were not particularly attractive. My father always replied: “And yet he has a great deal of success, especially with women.”

Beethoven often told my mother that he longed greatly for domestic happiness and much regretted that he had never married.

Beethoven was fond of Stephan von Breuning’s son Gerhard, whom, because of his attachment to his father, he dubbed Hosen-knopf (Trousers-button) and because of his lightness of foot Ariel. He once had the boy play for him, criticized the position of his hands and sent him Clementi’s Method as preferable to Czerny’s which the lad was using.

There can be no doubt that the renewed association with von Breuning frequently turned his thoughts to his old home and his boyhood friends in the Rhine country, and his delight must have been keen when in this year, he received letters from Wegeler, whom he had not seen since he left Vienna twenty-eight years before, and his wife, who had been Eleonore von Breuning. They were tender letters, full of information about their family, each other, friends and relations—real home letters telling of births, marriages, careers and deaths. One would think that they ought to have been answered at once, but Beethoven did not find time or occasion to write a reply until the next year, despite this obvious challenge in Dr. von Wegeler’s letter:

Why did you not avenge the honor of your mother when, in the Encyclopædia, and in France, you were set down as a love-child? The Englishman who tried to defend you gave the filth a cuff, as we say in Bonn, and let your mother carry you in her womb 30 years, since the King of Prussia, your alleged father, died already in 1740—an assertion which was altogether wrong since Frederick II ascended the throne in 1740 and did not die till 1786. Only your inborn dread of having anything but music of yours published is, probably, the cause of this culpable indolence. If you wish it I will set the world right in this matter.

The Last String Quartets

The great contributions which Beethoven made to music in the year 1825, were the Quartets in A minor, Op. 132 and in B-flat major, Op. 130, which were composed in the order here mentioned; but the second, being published before its companion, received the earlier opus number. The A minor Quartet was the second of the three which Beethoven composed on invitation of Prince Galitzin, the first being that in E-flat, Op. 127, the third that in B-flat. It was taken up immediately on the completion of the E-flat Quartet.[215] In March Beethoven had written to Neate that the first of the three quartets which he thought of bringing with him to London was written, that he was at work on the second and that it and the third would be finished “soon.” On the same day he wrote to Schott and Sons: “The violin quartets are in hand; the second is nearly finished.” The sketches of the A minor (as established by Nottebohm) date back to 1824. The work was originally to have the customary four movements; labor on it was interrupted by the illness of April and then the plan was changed to include the “Song of Thanksgiving in the Lydian mode,” the short march before the last movement, and the minuet. The work was finished by August at the latest. The passage in eighth-notes in the second part of the first movement is practically a quotation from one of the German dances written for the Ridotto balls fully thirty years before, with the bar-lines shifted so that the change of harmony occurs on the up-beats of the measures. In a Conversation Book used in May or June, 1825, Beethoven wrote Dankeshimne eines Kranken an Gott bei seiner Genesung. Gefühl neuer Kraft und wiedererwachtes Gefühl (“Hymn of Thanksgiving to God of an Invalid on his Convalescence. Feeling of new strength and reawakened feeling”). In the original score this was changed to the reading: “Sacred Song of Thanksgiving of a Convalescent to the Divinity, in the Lydian Mode. N. B. This piece has always B instead of B-flat.” As has already been mentioned in the history of the Ninth Symphony, the principal theme of the last movement was originally conceived for the finale of that work. The B-flat Quartet was begun early in the year, as the letters to Neate and Schott indicate. On August 29, Beethoven wrote to his nephew that it would be wholly finished in ten or twelve days. In November he himself writes in the Conversation Book: “Title for the Quartet,” and a strange hand adds: “31ème Quatuor. Pour deux Violons, Viola et Violoncello composé aux désirs de S. A. Monseigneur le Prince Nicolas Galitzin et dédié au même,” to which Beethoven adds: “par L. v. B.” The Quartet, though more than half-promised to Schlesinger, who got the A minor Quartet, was sold to Artaria, and in January, 1826, Holz writes, “The Quartet will be printed at once; thus the third Quartet will appear before the first two.” This was the case, which accounts for the incorrect numbering of them. It had its first public performance in March, 1826. The Fugue in B-flat, Op. 133, originally formed the finale of the work but was put aside after the first performance and the present finale, which was composed in Gneixendorf in 1826, was substituted.


After securing the A minor Quartet and an assurance that he should also have that in B-flat (he had offered to deposit 80 ducats with a Viennese banker against its completion and delivery and Beethoven had accepted his offer), Schlesinger said that he would purchase the first of the three Quartets from Schott and Sons so as to have all three for his Complete Edition. Karl, in reporting the fact to Beethoven, expressed his belief that the Schotts would sell for fear that if they did not Schlesinger would reprint the work in Paris without permission. The latter made a strenuous effort to get the autograph score of the A minor, but had perforce to content himself with a copy. Holz represented to Beethoven that the autograph would be an asset for Karl in the future, and Karl was of the same opinion; he supported Holz’s assertion with the argument that such Capitalien grew more valuable with age and that he was sure Schlesinger would get 30 ducats for the manuscript. Beethoven expressed indifference as to which publisher got the works so long as he was promptly paid. In urging haste upon Holz, who had undertaken to look after the copying of the B-flat, he wrote:

It is immaterial which hellhound licks and gnaws my brains, since it must needs be so, only see that the answer is not delayed too long. The hellhound in L. can wait and meanwhile entertain himself with Mephistopheles (the Editor of the Musik. L. Zeit.) in Auerbach’s Cellar; he will soon be plucked by the ears by Belzebub the chief of devils.

The Leipsic “hellhound” thus consigned to Belzebub was, of course, Peters. It was about this time that Karl told his uncle an anecdote to the effect that Cherubini, asked why he did not compose a quartet, replied: “If Beethoven had never written a quartet I would write quartets; as it is, I can not.” After the meetings at Schlesinger’s room in the inn “Zum wilden Mann” the Quartets in E-flat and A minor were played again at a concert in which Schuppanzigh was prevented from taking part, and Holz played the first violin. Beethoven grew merry at his expense and wrote a canon in the Conversation Book to the words: “Holz fiddles the quartets as if they were treading Kraut.”

Praise from the Bepraised

Two trifles which kept company with the Quartets in this year were a Waltz in D and an Écossaise in E-flat for pianoforte, which were published in a collection of light music by C. F. Müller. There are several allusions to the oratorio commissioned by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in the Conversation Books of 1825, in one of which Grillparzer is mentioned as a likely author for another book; but so far as is known no work was done on “The Victory of the Cross,” though Bernard shortened the book.[217] Before the end of the year the principal theme of the Quartet in C-sharp minor, Op. 131, is noted, accompanied by the words written by Beethoven: “Only the praise of one who has enjoyed praise can give pleasure”;—it is, no doubt, a relic of some of the composer’s classic readings.[146]


Chapter VIII

A Year of Sickness and Sorrow: 1826—The Quartets in B-Flat, C-Sharp Minor and F Major—Controversy with Prince Galitzin—Dedication of the Ninth Symphony—Life at Gneixendorf—Beethoven’s Last Compositions.

A Request for the German Bible

The year which witnessed the last of Beethoven’s completed labors, and saw what by general consent might be set down as the greatest of his string quartets, that in C-sharp minor, Op. 131, beheld also the culmination of the grief and pain caused by the conduct of his nephew. The year 1826 was a year of awful happenings and great achievements; a year of startling contradictions, in which the most grievous blows which an inscrutable Providence dealt the composer as if utterly to crush him to earth, were met by a display of creative energy which was amazing not only in its puissance but also in its exposition of transfigured emotion and imagination. The history of the year can best be followed if it be told in two sections, for which reason we have chosen to group the incidents connected with the nephew in a chapter by themselves and review first the artistic activities of the composer. After the history of the year has been set forth there will remain to be told only the story of the gathering of the gloom which early in the next year shut down over his mortal eyes forever. The figure which stands out in highest relief throughout the year beside that of the composer is that of Holz, whose concern for his welfare goes into the smallest detail of his unfortunate domestic life and includes also the major part of the labors and responsibilities caused by the tragical outcome of the nephew’s waywardness—his attempt at self-destruction. Schindler appears at intervals, but with jealous reserve, chary of advice, waiting to be asked for his opinion and pettishly protesting that after it once has been given it will not be acted upon. Stephan von Breuning appears in all the nobility of his nature; and in the attitude and acts of Brother Johann, though they have been severely faulted and, we fear, maligned, there is evidence of something as near[219] affectionate sympathy and interest as Beethoven’s paradoxical conduct and nature invited of him. Among the other persons whom the Conversation Books disclose as his occasional associates are Schuppanzigh, Kuffner, Grillparzer, Abbé Stadler and Mathias Artaria, whose talk is chiefly about affairs in which they are concerned, though Kuffner at one time entertains Beethoven with a discourse on things ancient and modern which must have fascinated the artist whose mind ever delighted to dwell on matters of large moment. Beethoven was troubled with a spell of sickness which began near the end of January and lasted till into March. Dr. Braunhofer was called and we read the familiar injunctions in the Conversation Book. The composer has pains in the bowels, gouty twinges, and finds locomotion difficult. He is advised to abstain from wine for a few days and also from coffee, which he is told is injurious because of its stimulating effect on the nerves. The patient is advised to eat freely of soups, and small doses of quinine are prescribed. There are postponed obligations of duty—the oratorio, the opera, a Requiem—upon the composer which occupy him somewhat, but his friends and advisers more. His thoughts are not with such things but in the congenial region of the Quartets; for the little community of stringed instruments is become more than ever his colporteur, confidant, comforter and oracle. Kuffner tells him through Holz that he has read Bernard’s oratorio book but cannot find in it even the semblance of an oratorio, much less half-good execution. Perhaps there is something of personal equation in this judgment, for Kuffner is ready to write not only one but even two oratorio texts if Beethoven will but undertake their composition. He presents the plan of a work to be called “The Four Elements,” in which man is to be brought into relationship with the imposing phenomena of nature, but Beethoven has been inspired by a study of Handel’s “Saul” with a desire to undertake that subject and Kuffner submits specimens of his poetical handiwork to him. He had become interested in the ancient modes (as his Song of Thanksgiving in the Lydian mode in the A minor quartet had already witnessed) and was now eager to read up on the ancient Hebrews. He sends Holz to get him books on the subject and to a visitor, who to us is a stranger (so far as the handwriting in the C. B. is concerned), he expresses a desire to get Luther’s translation of the Bible. He is also interested in religious questions, as a long talk with his nephew shows. Kuffner intended in his treatment of the story of Saul to make it a representation of the triumph of the nobler impulses of man over untamed desire, and said that he would be[220] ready to deliver the book in six weeks. Holz shows Beethoven some of the specimen sheets and points out a place in which Beethoven might indulge in an excursion into antique art. “Here you might introduce a chorus in the Lydian mode,” he says. He also explains that Kuffner intended to treat the chorus as an effective agent in the action, for which purpose it was to be divided into two sections, like the dramatic chorus of the Greek tragedians. Kuffner was sufficiently encouraged to write the book and Holz says that Beethoven finished the music of the first part “In his head”; if so, it staid there, so far as the sketchbooks bear testimony.

Works which were Never Written

Grillparzer still hopes that the breath of musical life will be breathed into “Melusine”; Duport, having secured the Court Opera, asks for it, and Brother Johann and Karl urge that an opera is the most remunerative enterprise to which he can now apply himself. Schlesinger, in Berlin, had told Count von Brühl that Beethoven was disposed to write an opera for the Royal Opera at the Prussian capital and Brühl had written to the composer that he would be glad to have an opera from him and expressed a desire that he collaborate with Grillparzer in its making; but he did not want “Melusine,” because of the resemblance between its subject and that of de la Motte-Fouqué’s “Undine.” An adaptation to operatic uses of Goethe’s “Claudine von Villa Bella” was discussed, apparently with favor, but Kanne, who was designated to take the adaptation in hand, was afraid to meddle with the great poet’s drama. So nothing came of the Berlin project or of “Melusine,” though Grillparzer talked it over again with Beethoven and told Holz that though he was not inclined to attach too great importance to it, he yet thought it would be hard to find an opera text better adapted to its purpose than it, from a musical and scenic point of view. To Schindler, Beethoven once held out a prospect that “something would come” of the idea of music for “Faust” which Rochlitz had implanted in Beethoven’s mind; but it shared the fate of opera and oratorio. His friends also urged him to compose a Requiem mass and such a composition belongs in the category with the oratorio as a work which he had been paid to undertake. Among the ardent admirers of Beethoven and most zealous patrons of the Schuppanzigh Quartets was Johann Nepomuk Wolfmayer, a much respected cloth merchant. One of the methods chosen by Wolfmayer to show his appreciation of the composer was occasionally to have a new coat made for him which he would bring to Beethoven’s lodgings, place upon a chair and then see to it that an old one disappeared from his wardrobe.[221] We have already heard a similar story from Mayseder. It is said that Wolfmayer sometimes had difficulty in getting the composer’s consent to the exchange, but always managed to do it. Early in the second decade of the century Wolfmayer commissioned Beethoven to write a Requiem for him and paid him 1,000 florins as an advance on the honorarium. Beethoven promised, but never set to work: though Holz says that he was firmly resolved to do so and, in talking about it, said that he was better satisfied with Cherubini’s setting of the text of the Mass for the Dead than with Mozart’s. A Requiem, he said, should be a sorrowful memorial of the dead and have nothing in it of the noises of the last trump and the day of judgment.

The sketchbooks bear witness, though not voluminously, to two other works of magnitude which were in Beethoven’s thoughts in this year but never saw completion. These were a symphony and a string quintet. In a book used towards the end of 1825, containing sketches for the last movement of the Quartet in B-flat, there is a memorandum of a Presto in C minor, 3-4 time, and of a short movement in A-flat, Andante, which Schindler marked as belonging to “the tenth symphony.” There are also some much longer sketches for an overture on B-a-c-h, in the midst of which Beethoven has written: “This overture together with the new symphony and we shall have a new concert (Akademie) in the Kärnthnerthor.” Schindler published the sketches of the symphony in Hirschbach’s “Musikalisch-kritisches Repertorium” of January, 1844, and started the story of an uncompleted tenth symphony. Nottebohm, in his “Zweite Beethoveniana” (p. 12), scouts the idea that Beethoven occupied himself seriously with the composition of such a work. “It is not necessary,” he says, “to turn over many leaves of the sketchbooks to prove the untenableness of the view that if Beethoven had written a Tenth Symphony it would have been on the basis of these sketches. We see in them only such momentary conceits as came to Beethoven by the thousand and which were as much destined to be left undeveloped as the multitude of other abandoned sketches in the other books. To be big with a symphony argues persevering application to it. Of such application there can be no talk in this case. The sketches in question were never continued; there is not a vestige of them in the books which follow. If Beethoven had written as many symphonies as he began we should have at least fifty.” Nottebohm’s argument does not dispose of the matter, though we shall presently find occasion to think well of it. Lenz says that Holz wrote to him that Beethoven had played “the whole of the Tenth[222] Symphony” for him on the pianoforte, that it was finished in all of its movements in the sketches, but that nobody but Beethoven could decipher them. Holz, however, made no such broad statement to Otto Jahn, a much more conscientious reporter than Lenz. To Jahn he said that there was an introduction in E-flat major, a soft piece, and then a powerful Allegro in C minor, which were complete in Beethoven’s head and which he had played to him (Holz) on the pianoforte. This is very different from an entire symphony. But in the letter to Moscheles which Schindler says Beethoven dictated to him on March 18, 1827, bearing a message of thanks to the Philharmonic Society of London, Beethoven says: “An entire sketched symphony lies in my desk, also a new overture and other things”; and a few days later Schindler writes to Moscheles: “Three days after receiving your letter he was greatly excited and demanded the sketches of the Tenth Symphony, concerning the plan of which he told me a great deal. He has now definitely decided that it shall go to the Philharmonic Society.” The reader is familiar with Beethoven’s habit of speaking of works as finished though not a note of them had been put on paper (as in the case of the additional movements for the Mass in D, for instance), and if there were sketches for a finished symphony in Beethoven’s desk when he died, it is passing strange that Schindler did not produce them when he started the world to talking about its loss of a successor to the Ninth. What Nottebohm saw in the books deposited by Schindler in the Royal Library in Berlin seems to justify what he said, at least. Moreover, Schindler says that the sketches for the Symphony dated back to 1824, and the incorrectness of this statement can be shown beyond all peradventure by Nottebohm’s study of the sketchbooks. Of the other works which play a part in the story of 1826, something will be said hereafter.

Beethoven’s Favorite Quartet

Opera, oratorio, the mass for the dead, symphony, beckoned to him, but his affections were fixed in the higher and purer regions of chamber music, the form which represents chaste ideals, lofty imagination, profound learning; which exacts a mutual sympathy between composer, performer and listener and binds them in something like that angelic wedlock which Weber said to Planché ought to unite librettist and composer. When the year 1826 opened, Beethoven was looking forward with no little eagerness to the first performance of the Quartet in B-flat—his “Liebquartett” it is once called in the Conversation Books. Schuppanzigh and his fellows had taken it in hand. They found the concluding fugue extremely troublesome, but the Cavatina entranced them at[223] once; Schuppanzigh entered a record against any change in it. The performance took place on March 21. The second and fourth movements had to be repeated, but the fugue proved a crux as, no doubt, the players had expected it would. Some of Beethoven’s friends argued that it had not been understood and that this objection would vanish with repeated hearings; others, plainly a majority, asked that a new movement be written to take its place. Johann van Beethoven told the composer that “the whole city” was delighted with the work. Schindler says that the Danza alla tedesca, one of the movements which were demanded a second time, was originally intended for another quartet, presumably that in A minor. Lenz objects to the theory on critical grounds, but Nottebohm points out that the first sketches appear in A before the sketches for the B-flat Quartet and assigns them to the A minor Quartet without qualification of any kind. Dr. Deiters suggests that the movement was written for the A minor Quartet and put aside when the Song of Thanksgiving presented itself to Beethoven’s mind. There is another reason for believing that Nottebohm is right and Lenz, as he so frequently is, is wrong. As has been mentioned, Beethoven recurred to one of his old German dances, written for the Ridotto balls, in the first movement of the A minor Quartet; what more likely than that, thinking over the old German dance, he should have conceived the idea of a Danza tedesca? Schuppanzigh’s high opinion of the Cavatina was shared by many and also by Beethoven himself. Holz said that it cost the composer tears in the writing and brought out the confession that nothing that he had written had so moved him; in fact, that merely to revive it afterwards in his thoughts and feelings brought forth renewed tributes of tears.

The doubts about the effectiveness of the fugue felt by Beethoven’s friends found an echo in the opinions of the critics. Mathias Artaria, the publisher, who seems in this year to have entered the circle of the composer’s intimate associates, presented the matter to him in a practicable light. He had purchased the publishing rights of the Quartet and after the performance he went to Beethoven with the suggestion that he write a new finale and that the fugue be published as an independent piece, for which he would remunerate him separately. Beethoven listened to the protests unwillingly, but, “vowing he would ne’er consent, consented” and requested the pianist Anton Halm, who had played in the B-flat Trio at the concert, to make the pianoforte arrangements for which there had already been inquiries at Artaria’s shop. Halm accepted the commission and made the arrangement, with which[224] Beethoven was not satisfied; “You have divided the parts too much between prim and second,” he remarked to Halm,[147] referring to a device which the arranger had adopted to avoid crossing of hands—giving passages to the right hand which should logically have been given to the left, the effect being the same to the ear but not to the eye. Nevertheless, Halm presented a claim for 40 florins to Artaria for the work, and was paid. Beethoven then made an arrangement and sent it to Artaria, also demanding a fee. To this Artaria demurred and asked Beethoven for Halm’s manuscript. Beethoven sent it by a messenger (probably Holz) with instructions to get his arrangement in return for it, but at the same time told Artaria, that while he did not ask that Artaria publish his work, he was under no obligations to give it to him; he might have it for twelve ducats. Artaria reconciled himself to the matter and paid Beethoven his fee on September 5. Schindler incorrectly states that the arrangement which Artaria announced on March 10, 1827, as Op. 134 (the original score being advertised at the same time as Op. 133), was Halm’s.

Other performances of the Quartet were planned, but it does not appear that any took place. Schuppanzigh was indisposed to venture upon a repetition, but Böhm and Mayseder were eager to play it. The latter with his companions gave quartet parties at the house of Dembscher, an agent of the Austrian War Department, and wanted to produce the Quartet there. But Dembscher had neglected to subscribe for Schuppanzigh’s concert and had said that he would have it played at his house, since it was easy for him to get manuscripts from Beethoven for that purpose. He applied to Beethoven for the Quartet, but the latter refused to let him have it, and Holz, as he related to Beethoven, told Dembscher in the presence of other persons that Beethoven would not let him have any more music because he had not attended Schuppanzigh’s concert. Dembscher stammered in confusion and begged Holz to find some means to restore him to Beethoven’s good graces. Holz said that the first step should be to send Schuppanzigh 50 florins, the price of the subscription. Dembscher laughingly asked, “Must it be?” (Muss es sein?). When Holz related the incident to Beethoven he too laughed and instantly wrote down a canon on the words: “It must be! Yes, yes, yes, it must be. Out with the purse!”[148]


Origin of “Es muss sein!

Out of this joke in the late fall of the year grew the finale of the last of the last five quartets, that in F major. Op. 135, to which Beethoven gave the superscription: “The difficult resolution” (Der schwergefasste Entschluss). The story, almost universally current and still repeated, that the phrases: Muss es sein? Es muss sein, and Der schwergefasste Entschluss had their origin in

Es muss sein! Es muss sein! ja, ja, ja, ja
It must be! It must be! yes, yes, yes, yes

Es muss sein! ja, ja, ja, ja Es muss sein! ja, ja, ja, ja
It must be! yes, yes, yes, yes, It must be! yes, yes, yes, yes

Heraus mit dem Beutel! Heraus! Heraus: Es muss sein!
Come down with the rhino! Come down! Come down! It must be!

Ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, Es muss sein!
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, It must be!

a scene frequently repeated when Beethoven’s housekeeper came to him of a Saturday for the weekly house-money, was spread by Schindler, who was familiar in a way with the Dembscher incident but assigned it to the Quartet in E-flat. Holz was an actor in the scene and is the better witness, being confirmed, moreover, by the Conversation Book. Schindler probably took his clue from a page in the Conversation Book used in December, 1826, in which Beethoven writes the phrases “Must it be?” and “It must be,” and Schindler, after a conversation in which Schuppanzigh takes part, concludes with: “It must be. The old woman is again in need of her weekly money.” The joke played a part in the conversations with Beethoven for some time.

Holz says that when once he remarked to Beethoven that the one in B-flat was the greatest of his Quartets the composer replied: “Each in its way. Art demands of us that we shall not stand still. You will find a new manner of voice treatment (part writing) and, thank God! there is less lack of fancy than ever before.” Afterward he declared the C-sharp minor Quartet to be his greatest. The first form of the fugue-theme in this work, as has been noted, was written down in a Conversation Book in the last days of December, 1825. The theme of the variations, in a form afterwards altered, was also noted amid the records of conversations before the end of January, 1826. It is likely that a goodly portion of the work was written within a month and ready[226] for the copyist, for Schuppanzigh once in January suggests that something from the work in hand be tried. Whether or not it was ever played in the lifetime of the composer can not be said with certainty. Schindler says positively that it was not. It was ready for the publisher in July and Schott and Sons, who had bought it for 80 ducats payable in two installments, sent the drafts early to accommodate Beethoven, who spoke of being on the eve of a short journey—of which nothing is known save that he did not make it. The score was turned over to Schott’s agent in Vienna on August 7. On the copy Beethoven had written “Put together from pilferings from one thing and another” (Zusammengestohlen aus Verschiedenem diesem und Jenem). This alarmed the publishers, who wrote to Beethoven about it and in reply received a letter stating: “You wrote me that the quartet must be an original one. As a joke I wrote on the copy ‘Put together, etc....’; but it is brand new.” It was published by Schott and Sons very shortly after Beethoven’s death in April, 1827, under the opus number 129. Beethoven originally intended to dedicate it to Wolfmayer but out of gratitude to Baron von Stutterheim, Lieutenant Fieldmarshal, who had made a place for Nephew Karl in his regiment, placed his name upon the title-page.

Prince Galitzin and His Quartets

With the Quartet in B-flat, Beethoven had completed the three works of its kind which he had been commissioned to compose by Prince Nicolas Galitzin. He had taken three years to perform the task, but in the end the patience of his patron had been nobly rewarded—rewarded, indeed, in a manner which insured him as large a share of immortality as falls to the lot of a man—and meanwhile he had been privileged to shine in the musical circles of St. Petersburg as one who stood peculiarly close to the greatest of living composers. During the delay Prince Galitzin’s conduct was in the highest degree honorable. In his letters he was most generous in his offers of assistance, practically giving Beethoven carte blanche to draw on his bankers in case of need. He organized a performance of the Missa solemnis (the first given of the work or any portion of it), and presented his copy of the written score to the Philharmonic Society of St. Petersburg. He was so proud of his collection of Beethoven’s music that he applied to the composer himself to help him make it complete. Too eager to wait for the publishers, he commissioned Beethoven to have copies made of new works, like the Ninth Symphony and the overture to “The Consecration of the House,” at his expense. He entertained the idea of repeating in St. Petersburg the concert which Beethoven had given in Vienna, at which the Symphony[227] had received its first performance. For a while he contemplated a repetition of the Mass. Beethoven had dedicated the overture to him and he had written that he would requite the act with a gift of 25 ducats. All this before he received the Quartets. Then a strange and unaccountable change came over his attitude towards the composer. Beethoven sent the first Quartet to him in January, 1825; the second and third sometime in February, 1826. He had followed up his commission in 1823 with an order to his bankers, Henikstein and Co. in Vienna, to pay Beethoven 50 ducats, the fee agreed upon, for each Quartet. The money was paid over in October, 1823, but with his express consent, at Beethoven’s request, was applied to the payment of his subscription for the Mass. If there could be any doubt on this point it would be dissipated by the letter in which Henikstein and Co., forwarded Beethoven’s receipt. This letter was written on October 15, 1823, and stated that the sum had been paid comme honoraire de la messe que nous expediée par l’entremise de la haute chancellerie de l’État. On December 5, 1824, let us say six weeks or two months before he received the first Quartet, he sent another 50 ducats, which it is fair to assume was the fee for that work and took the place of the sum diverted to the payment for the Mass. These facts must be carefully noted and borne in mind, for the question of Galitzin’s indebtedness to Beethoven became the subject of a scandalous controversy a long time after the composer’s death; it endured down to 1838 and might be opened again were there a disposition in any quarter to do so. For the present the story of the Quartets during Beethoven’s lifetime may be pursued as it is disclosed by records in the Conversation Books and so much of the correspondence as has been preserved.

In February, 1826, one of the Quartets, perhaps both of them, had been sent to St. Petersburg by special courier. (“Everything written by Beethoven ought to be sent to its destination by special courier,” is one of Schuppanzigh’s magnificent remarks when the question of sending the Quartet to the Prince is under discussion.) The money did not come and Beethoven grew impatient and anxious. Karl tried to reassure him. The Prince had written Je vais, he remarks in the Conversation Book, plainly referring to a letter dated January 14, 1826, in which Prince Galitzin had said: “Je vais faire remettre à M. Stieglitz (his banker) la valeur de 75 ducats pour vous être remis par M. Fries; 50 pour le quatuor et 25 pour l’ouverture qui est magnifique et que je vous remercie beaucoup de m’avoir dédiée.” Still the money did not come. In the middle of May Holz reports to Beethoven that a[228] letter had been received from the courier, whose name was Lipscher. He had called on Prince Galitzin, who had begged to be excused; “he had not time—call another day.” He had repeated the visit five or six times, but each time was denied an audience on one pretext or another. Finally, he had bribed a domestic with five florins and found his way to the Prince, who seemed greatly embarrassed, fumbled amongst his scores for a time and then asked him to come again before his departure and he would give him the money. The courier had added that he considered it a “Russian trick” but that he was not to be disposed of so easily. Lipscher would be back in Vienna in four or five days, Holz added, and advised Beethoven to await his coming before writing to him. Schindler, a short time after, gives his views in a style characteristic of his attitude toward Beethoven during the period of Holz’s factotumship: “The matter of the Prince Galitzin is getting critical and I wish you a happy outcome. If you had obeyed me he would have had only one quartet and with that basta. You never permitted yourself to be deceived by flattery as you have by this princely braggart.” Again: “Voila, the letter to Count Lebzeltern (Russian Ambassador) and the banker Stieglitz. They can go to-day as it is great postday. What more is there to be considered? Wait, and wait—and no results. Breuning is agreed. If Prince Galitzin could act in such contradiction to his letters nothing good is to be expected of him.” At a later date there came another letter from the courier. He had tried seven times to see the Prince, but all in vain. Later (it was now July) he had gone again; the Prince had been polite, but denied him admittance. Still later in the same month Karl tells his uncle that he wants to write to Stieglitz, the Prince’s banker, upon whom Beethoven had been told to draw in case he needed money. Karl does not use general terms as to the sum involved, but specifically says “the 125 ducats.” On August 2 Beethoven wrote to Stieglitz and Co., from whom he received a letter dated August 13 saying that the Prince was absent, but his attention should be directed to the matter. Evidently the bankers kept their word, for on November 10-22, Prince Galitzin wrote to Beethoven saying that he had received the two Quartets but had been the victim of great losses and other misfortunes; he was now obliged to go to the wars in Persia, but before going would pay the “125 ducats” which he owed, thus admitting the debt in specific terms. On January 10, 1827, Beethoven, already on his deathbed, dictated a letter of inquiry to Stieglitz and Co., and the bankers again answered promptly: they were still waiting for an answer from the Prince. Five days[229] before his death Beethoven made his last appeal to Stieglitz and Co., reviewing the recent correspondence and Galitzin’s promise and asking the bankers, if the money had been received, to forward it to Arnstein and Eskeles, as he was greatly in need of it because of his protracted sickness. Beethoven dictated the letter, but signed it himself and endorsed the draft: “To Prince Galitzin, concerning 125 ducats, March 21, 1827.” He died on March 26.

Did Galitzin Pay for the Quartets?

Thus stands the record at the time of Beethoven’s death. Prince Galitzin was back from the wars, but sent no money. On March 20, 1829, Hotschevar as guardian of Karl van Beethoven appealed to the Imperial Chancellary to ask the Embassy at St. Petersburg to collect the debt of 125 ducats from the Prince. Galitzin demanded an explanation, but after repeated requests from Karl agreed to pay 50 ducats in two installments of 20 and 30 ducats each. The sums were paid, the latter, as Karl’s receipt shows, on November 9, 1832. Karl continued to make representations to the Prince touching a balance of 75 ducats still due and on June 2-14, 1835, Galitzin promised to pay the sum, not as a balance due on his business transactions with Beethoven, but as a memorial pour honorer sa mémoire, que m’est chère. Even now the money was not paid, but after a controversy had broken out between Schindler and the Prince over the former’s charge that Beethoven had never been paid for the Quartets, Galitzin sent the 75 ducats, and Karl complaisantly acquiesced in the Prince’s request and signed a receipt for the money, not as in payment of the debt, but as a voluntary tribute to the dead composer.[149]


Dedication of the Ninth Symphony

Schott was ready with the Ninth Symphony in July, 1826, but Beethoven asked him to delay the despatch of the printed score to the King of Prussia, to whom it was dedicated, until he had had an opportunity to send the monarch a manuscript copy, which, he said, would have no value after the publication. The reward which he was looking forward to in return was a decoration. The Conversation Books have considerable to say about the dedication, but if the London Philharmonic Society ever entered Beethoven’s mind in connection with it, the record has been lost. He wanted an Order, and had he received one in time for the concert, its insignia would, in great likelihood, have graced his breast on that occasion. He had repeatedly expressed contempt for the outward signs of royal condescension, but the medal sent by the King of France had evidently caused a change of heart in this regard. He was eager to see a description and illustration of the medallion in the newspapers; and that he thought of hanging it about his neck, appears from a remark to him made by Karl before the concert, telling him that it was too heavy to wear and would pull down his collar. Visitors called to see it and he permitted his intimate friends to show it about, until Holz cautioned[231] him to do so no more, as it was showing marks of damage from a fall. In one conversation, Johann suggests that the Symphony be dedicated to the Czar of Russia and from a remark in one of Prince Galitzin’s letters telling him that, by a recent decree, all foreigners who wished to dedicate works of art to the Czar would have to obtain permission to do so from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, it would appear that Johann’s suggestion, or approval, had also received his sanction. Ferdinand Ries was also a candidate for the distinction (Beethoven had promised him the dedication in a letter), his claim being put forward, without particular urgency, by Franz Christian Kirchhoffer, a bookkeeper with whom Beethoven was acquainted and through whom Ries carried on his correspondence with the composer. On April 8, 1824, Karl wrote in a Conversation Book: “As soon as the Symphony has been sent to England it must be copied again handsomely on vellum paper and sent with an inscription to the King of France.” On the same day, apparently, Schindler asks: “Who has the preference in the matter of the dedication of the Symphony—Ries or the King of Prussia?—It ought to be offered as a proof of your gratitude, in these words.—There could be no better opportunity than just[232] now for this purpose.” It is obvious that Schindler favors the King of France, for a day or two later he writes: “Schwaebl sends his compliments and is highly delighted that you are pleased with the gift. As regards the you-know-what he wants you to write to the Duke de la Chârtre [d’Âchats] yourself, but for the present nothing about the dedication—leave the reference till later.” The advice is repeated and the subject concluded with: “Good, then you will stick to France.”

These facts belong chronologically to the history of 1824, but they have been made pertinent by the discussion of the dedication and presentation of the Ninth Symphony to the King of Prussia, which took place in 1826. They are also valuable to correct a misapprehension which has prevailed ever since the publication of Hogarth’s history of the London Philharmonic Society and was no doubt current before then. Hogarth says that the directors of the society resolved to offer Beethoven £50 for a manuscript symphony on November 10, 1822, and adds, “the money was immediately advanced.” In a note to his translation of one of Beethoven’s letters (Kalischer-Shedlock, Vol. II, p. 448) Mr. Shedlock calls attention to the fact that there is a document in the British Museum, acknowledging receipt of £50 for a symphony composed for the society, dated April 27, 1824. This document proves the date on which Beethoven received the remuneration for the Symphony to have been that indicated in the receipt beyond peradventure. On April 26 or 27 Karl writes, in the Conversation Book from which we have been quoting:

He [presumably Johann van Beethoven] is not at home at noon. He will himself come soon after 7. He says you owe him 500 florins which is squared by the payment for the Symphony. Moreover Ries begs you to dedicate the Symphony to him.—Shares—You must not refuse bluntly, but give him an evasive answer, until you have the shares. Is the Symphony ready to be taken away?—Then you can go out and the brother will come here. The Symphony must not be published for a year.[150] Did you dedicate the overture to him? You might dedicate it to him.

Johann (a short time afterward).—Kirchhoffer was here and said that ducats have depreciated in value and we ought to inform ourselves at once. He wants me to bring him the two documents and the Symphony, when he will at once hand over the two shares. I beg you therefore to sign this now so that I can be with him at 10 o’clock. I will bring the two shares at once.—The girl can carry the Symphony with me now.—As regards the dedication of the Symphony it was only a question put for Ries by Kirchhoffer and must in no case be. He would have liked to[233] see Ries [get it?] because he is going to leave London soon.—I told him it could not well be in the case of this work, whereupon he said no more. In no event does he count on it longer.

When finally, in 1826, Beethoven decided that the Symphony should be dedicated to the King of Prussia, he obtained permission of Prince Hatzfeld, the Prussian Ambassador, to do so. Dr. Spicker, the King’s librarian, was in Vienna at the time and arrangements were made to transmit a copy of the score to Berlin through him. Holz had a talk with him and he advised him concerning the preparation of the presentation copy and also discussed the possibility of a decoration. Spicker told Holz to have Beethoven copy the title of the printed work on the title-page in his natural and habitual handwriting without any attempt at beautification. This would enhance the value of the score in the eyes of the King and he would put it in his private library. To get the order would be an easy matter, for the King was predisposed in Beethoven’s favor. Spicker also visited Beethoven, being presented by Haslinger, but, unfortunately, the pages of the book which must have recorded the conversation have not been preserved; or, if preserved, not been made known. Beethoven wrote the title-page, the score was handsomely bound by Steiner and Co. and placed in the hands of Dr. Spicker with the following letter:

Your Majesty:

It is a piece of great good fortune in my life that Your Majesty has graciously allowed me to dedicate the present work to you.

Your Majesty is not only the father of your subjects but also protector of the arts and sciences; how much more, therefore, must I rejoice in your gracious permission since I am also so fortunate as to count myself a citizen of Bonn and therefore one of your subjects.

I beg of Your Majesty graciously to accept this work as a slight token of the high reverence which I give to all your virtues.

Your Majesty’s
Most obedient servant
Ludwig van Beethoven.

A Royal Gift of Small Value

The King’s acknowledgment was as follows:

In view of the recognized worth of your compositions it was very agreeable for me to receive the new work which you have sent me. I thank you for sending it and hand you the accompanying diamond ring as a token of my sincere appreciation.

Friedrich Wilhelm.

Berlin, November 25, 1826

To the composer Ludwig van Beethoven.

Schindler says that when the case containing the King’s gift was opened it was found to contain, not a diamond ring as the letter had described it, but one set with a stone of a “reddish” hue[234] which the court jeweller to whom it was shown appraised at 300 florins, paper money. Beethoven was very indignant and was with difficulty dissuaded from sending it back to the Prussian Ambassador; eventually he sold it to the jeweler at the value which he had set upon it. Whether or not the ring was the one really sent from Berlin or one which had been substituted for it (as was suspected in some quarters), has never been determined.

Despite the cordial relations between Beethoven and Haslinger, which endured to the end of the composer’s life, there was continual friction between him and the Steiner firm, for which it would seem that Holz was at this time responsible in a considerable degree; and it may have been he who put the notion into Beethoven’s head that it would be a stroke of business to buy back all of his manuscripts which Steiner had acquired but had not yet published. Dissatisfaction with the policy of publishers, however, was in Beethoven a confirmed mood; we have heard him rail against the men who wanted to withhold his works till he was dead, so as to profit from the public curiosity which would follow. Beethoven made the proposition in a jocular letter to Haslinger offering to pay the same “shameful” price for all his unpublished manuscripts which the firm had paid him. The transaction was not consummated; if it had been there can be no doubt but that it would have been highly advantageous to him, since both Schott and Artaria were now eager to have his works.

A Defense of Mozart’s “Requiem”

Among Beethoven’s intimate friends was Abbé Stadler, an old man and an old-fashioned musician, the horizon of whose æsthetic appreciation was marked by the death-date of his friend Mozart. Castelli says that he used to call Beethoven’s music “pure nonsense”; certain it is that he used to leave the concert-room whenever a composition by Beethoven was to be played. Schuppanzigh offered as an excuse for him that he had a long way home, and it does not appear that Beethoven ever took umbrage at his conduct. Holz, telling Beethoven in February, 1825, that as usual he had left the room when an overture by Beethoven was about to be played, added: “He is too old. He always says when Mozart is reached, ‘More I cannot understand.’” But once he staid and not only listened to a Beethoven piece but praised it. It was the Trio for Strings, Op. 9, which had been composed nearly a generation before! Holz becomes sarcastic: “One might say A. B. C. D. (Abbé cédait).” Stadler now had occasion to court Beethoven’s favor, or at least to betray the fact that even if he could not appreciate his music he yet had had a vast respect for his genius and reputation. In 1825, Gottfried[235] Weber had written an essay, which was published in the “Cäcilia” journal, attacking the authenticity of Mozart’s “Requiem.” The article angered Beethoven, as is evidenced by his marginal glosses on the copy of the journal which he read, now in the possession of Dr. Prieger in Bonn. The glosses are two in number: “Oh, you arch ass!” and “Double ass!” Such a disposition of an attack on the artistic honor of his friend did not suffice Stadler. He published a defence of Mozart (“Vertheidigung der Echtheit des Mozartschen Requiems”) and sent a copy to Beethoven, who acknowledged it thus:

On the 6th of Feby., 1826.

Respected and venerable Sir:

You have done a really good deed in securing justice for the manes of Mozart by your truly exemplary and exhaustive essay, and lay and profane, all who are musical or can in anywise be accounted so must give you thanks.

It requires either nothing or much for one like Herr W. to bring such a subject on the carpet.

When it is also considered that to the best of my knowledge such an one has written a treatise on composition and yet tries to attribute such passages as


to Mozart, and adds to it such passages as

Agnus Dei
peccata mundi


qui tollis peccata qui tollis peccata

we are reminded by Herr W’s amazing knowledge of harmony and melody of the old and dead Imperial Composers Sterkel, ...... (illegible), Kalkbrenner (the father), Andre (nicht der gar Andere) etc.

Requiescat in pace.—I thank you in especial, my honored friend, for the happiness which you have given me in sending me your essay. I have always counted myself among the greatest admirers of Mozart and will remain such till my last breath.

Reverend Sir, your blessing soon.[151]

The concluding supplication recalls an anecdote related by Castelli in his memoirs: Beethoven and Abbé Stadler once met[236] at Steiner’s. About to depart, Beethoven kneeled before the Abbé and said: “Reverend Sir, give me your blessing.” Stadler, not at all embarrassed, made the sign of the cross over the kneeling man and, as if mumbling a prayer, said: “Hilft’s nix, schadt’s nix” (“If it does no good, ’twill do no harm”). Beethoven thereupon kissed his hand amid the laughter of the bystanders. Jahn heard the same story from Fischoff.[152]

A remark in a Conversation Book of 1826 indicates that Stadler had urged Beethoven to write a mass. Holz says: “If Stadler tells you to write a mass it is certain that something will be done for it. He knows best of anybody which way the wind blows.—He has Dietrichstein and Eybler in his pocket.—You are well cared for if Stadler favors it.” The conversations of Holz also provide a fleeting glimpse of Schubert in this year. Holz tells Beethoven that he had seen the young composer with either Artaria or Mosel (the allusion is vague) and that the two were reading a Handel score together. “He (Schubert) was very amiable and thanked me for the pleasure which Mylord’s [Schuppanzigh’s] Quartets gave him; he was always present.—He has a great gift for songs.—Do you know the ‘Erlking’? He spoke very mystically, always.”

Beethoven and Friedrich Wieck

Friedrich Wieck, father of Clara Schumann, spent three hours with Beethoven in May, having been presented by Andreas Stein, the pianoforte maker. He told about the visit long afterward in a letter to his second wife which was reprinted in the “Signale” No. 57, in December, 1873, from the “Dresdener Nachrichten.” Beethoven gave his guest wine (to which Wieck[237] was not accustomed), improvised for him over an hour and talked voluminously about

musical conditions in Leipsic—Rochlitz—Schicht—Gewandhaus—his housekeeper—his many lodgings, none of which suited him—his promenades—Hietzing—Schönbrunn—his brother—various stupid people in Vienna—aristocracy—democracy—revolution—Napoleon—Mara—Catalani—Malibran—Fodor—the excellent Italian singers Lablache, Donzelli, Rubini and others, the perfection of Italian opera (German opera could never be so perfect because of the language and because the Germans did not learn to sing as beautifully as the Italians)—my views on pianoforte playing—Archduke Rudolph—Fuchs in Vienna, at the time a famous musical personality—my improved method of pianoforte teaching, etc.

Wieck says the meeting was in Hietzing, and that Beethoven played upon the pianoforte “presented to him by the city of London”—three obvious mistakes, since Beethoven was not in Hietzing in May, but in Vienna, and the Broadwood pianoforte, which was not presented to him by the city of London but by Thomas Broadwood, was in the hands of Graf for repairs in May.

After Karl’s attempt to end his ill-spent life, with its crushing effect upon the composer, the friends, Holz in particular, made many efforts to divert Beethoven’s mind from his disappointment and grief. They accompanied him on brief excursions into the country which he loved so passionately and which had been closed to him, for the customary happy season, by his nephew’s act. Again did his brother offer him a haven at Gneixendorf in August, only to receive the curt answer: “I will not come. Your brother??????!!!! Ludwig.” His nephew was lying in the hospital. He could not leave him then nor did he go until it had become necessary to find an asylum for Karl as well as a resting-place for himself. His brother came to the city late in September; it was necessary that Karl should remain out of Vienna until he could join a regiment of soldiery, and so Beethoven accepted Johann’s renewed invitation to make a sojourn at Gneixendorf. Meanwhile he was far from idle. He had begun a new quartet, in F major, and Schlesinger, père, who had come from Berlin, negotiated with him for its publication. He had the new finale for the B-flat Quartet on his mind and, as will appear later, several other works occupied him. With Schlesinger he talked about the Complete Edition and some military marches which the King of Prussia was to pay for, as they were to be written for the Royal Band. The chief obstacle to Beethoven’s acceptance of his brother’s repeated invitations to visit him at Gneixendorf came from[238] the presence there of the brother’s wife. Her scandalous conduct had begotten an intense hatred in Beethoven’s mind. Urged on by his brother, Johann had once planned to put her away, but there was an obstacle in the shape of a marriage contract, which gave her half of his property, and though she was willing to surrender the contract at one time, she was not content to be turned out upon the world with neither character nor means of subsistence. Besides, Johann was loath to take the drastic methods which alone were open to him. He was inclined, much to the indignation of his brother, to be complaisant; he needed a housekeeper and for that she would serve. “I go my way and let her go hers,” he said, and he told his brother when trying to persuade him to spend his summers, perhaps eventually all his time, at Gneixendorf, that he need pay no heed whatever to his sister-in-law. Much of the ill-feeling was due to the fact that Beethoven wanted to insure his brother’s fortune for Karl. The nephew did eventually become his sole heir and inherited 42,000 florins from him.

Beethoven at Gneixendorf

On September 28, Beethoven and his nephew left Vienna for Gneixendorf, intending to stay a week. A night was passed at a village en route, and Johann’s estate was reached in the afternoon of the next day—the 29th—but not too late for the composer to walk through the fields with his brother to take a look at the property. The next day the walk was extended to the vineyards on the hill in the forenoon and to Imbach in the afternoon. There Karl pointed out to his uncle some historical monuments: “This is the cloister where Margarethe, Ottocar’s wife, died; the scene occurs in Grillparzer’s piece.” Thus, with other excursions the next day, life at Gneixendorf began. [153] Gneixendorf is a little village on a high plateau of the Danube Valley about an hour’s walk from Krems. It is a mean hamlet, with only one street and that narrow, rough and dirty. The houses are low huts. Wasserhof, as the place is now called, the Beethoven estate, lies opposite the village and is reached by a wagon road which runs a large part of the way along the edge of a ravine, which torrents have cut out of the clayey soil. The plateau is almost treeless but covered with fields and vines. In Beethoven’s time there were two houses on the estate, both large and handsome, each with its garden and surrounding wall. The houses were separated from each other by a road. A generation after Beethoven had been a visitor there the gardens were found neglected and the trees which surrounded the house, a two-[239]storey structure strongly built of stone with a covering of mortar, shut out a view of the surrounding country.[154] Beethoven’s rooms were on the east side, and unless the trees interfered the composer had a magnificent view of the Danubian valley stretching to the distant Styrian mountains. Johann van Beethoven’s possessions compassed nearly 400 acres, most of which he leased to tenants. A lover of hills and forests like Beethoven must have found Wasserhof dreary and monotonous in the extreme, yet the distant view of the Danube seems to have compensated him in a measure, for it reminded him of the Rhine.

Gerhard von Breuning gives a distressful account of Beethoven’s reception and treatment at Gneixendorf. It is, indeed, too distressful to be implicitly accepted as true, nor are all his accusations against Johann borne out by the evidence of the Conversation Books and other indubitable facts. If the account in Breuning’s book “Aus dem Schwarzspanierhause” were literally true, we should have to picture to ourselves Beethoven, arrived at his brother’s place, being assigned rooms which were unfit for occupation in the cold, wet November weather which ensued, denied facilities for proper heating, having fire-wood stingily doled out to him, compelled to eat miserable food and forced to be content with too little even of that, and three days after his arrival informed that he would be expected to pay for his board and lodging. One would think while reading the account that Johann van Beethoven, who had been offering hospitalities to his brother for years, had done so only to make money out of him and had at last succeeded in his design by taking advantage of the overwhelming sorrow which had come upon him.[155] Beethoven is said to have[240] made complaints in the nature of von Breuning’s accusations in a letter written from Gneixendorf to Stephan von Breuning, and also to have given expression to his feelings at being obliged to submit to the repulsive companionship of his brother’s wife and step-daughter. The letter is lost and was not printed by Breuning’s son in proof of the charges; but if it had been it would not be conclusive in the minds of dispassionate judges. Against it there would lie the evidences of the brother’s numerous acts of helpfulness, the many instances of Beethoven’s unreasonable suspicion and unjust judgment and, above all, the testimony of the Conversation Books. As to the matter of an insufficient supply of fire-wood, there is a remark of Karl’s, made after a return to Vienna is already in contemplation: “As regards expenses, wood is so cheap that it is inconceivable that your brother should be at any considerable cost, for you can heat a long time with a cord and he is already overpaid.” Long before when Johann had been trying in vain to induce him to come to Gneixendorf for the summer he rebukes him for his unwillingness to accept his hospitality gratis. Once during the sojourn he says explicitly: “You do not need money here”; and at another time: “If you want to live with us you can have everything for 40 florins Convention money a month, which makes only 500 florins for a whole year,” and again: “You will need only half of your pension” and “I will charge nothing for the first fortnight; I would do more if I were not so hard-pressed with taxes.” Beethoven had planned at the outset to stay only a week, just long enough for the scar on Karl’s head to disappear sufficiently to make him presentable to his commanding officer. Instead, the visit lasted two months and Johann was short of money. He had still two payments to make on the purchase-money for the estate, and collections were not good.

Beethoven was sick when he went to Gneixendorf. He had not recovered from his illness of the early months of the year when Karl attempted to kill himself, and this was not calculated to improve the physical or mental condition of so nervous and irritable a being as he. On October 7, eight days after his arrival in[241] Gneixendorf, he wrote a letter from a sickbed and Breuning, to whom it was sent, who knew his physical condition well, remarked that he was in danger of becoming seriously ill, possibly dropsical. Nothing was more natural than that his letters should be full of complaints, some of which might well be measurably founded on fact without convicting his brother of inhumanity. He had never been a comfortable or considerate guest or tenant at the best, and his adaptability to circumstances was certainly not promoted by the repugnance which he felt towards his sister-in-law and his want of honest affection for his brother.

Anecdotes of a Rural Sojourn

Concerning his life in Gneixendorf, a number of interesting details were told in an article entitled “Beethoven in Gneixendorf,” published in the “Deutsche Musikzeitung” in 1862,[156] some of which are worth reciting again. One day Johann went to Langenfeld and Beethoven and other people from Gneixendorf went with him. The purpose was to visit a surgeon named Karrer, a friend of the brother. The surgeon was absent on a sick-call, but his wife, flattered by a visit from the landowner, entertained him lavishly. Noticing a man who held himself aloof from the company, sitting silently on the bench behind the stove, and taking him for one of her guest’s servants, she filled a little jug with native wine and handed it to him with the remark: “He shall also have a drink.” When the surgeon returned home late at night and heard an account of the incident he exclaimed: “My dear wife, what have you done? The greatest composer of the century was in our house to-day and you treated him with such disrespect!”

Johann had occasion to visit the syndic Sterz in Langenlois on a matter of business. Beethoven accompanied him. The conference lasted a considerable time, during all of which Beethoven stood motionless at the door of the official’s office. At the leavetaking Sterz bowed often and low to the stranger, and after he was gone asked his clerk, named Fux, an enthusiastic lover of music, especially of Beethoven’s; “Who do you think the man was who stood by the door?” Fux replied: “Considering that you, Mr. Syndic, treated him with such politeness, his may be an exceptional case; otherwise I should take him for an imbecile (Trottel).” The consternation of the clerk may be imagined when told the name of the man whom he had taken for an idiot.

Johann’s wife had assigned Michael Krenn, son of one of her husband’s vinedressers, to look after Beethoven’s wants. At first the cook had to make up Beethoven’s bed. One day, while[242] the woman was thus occupied, Beethoven sat at a table gesticulating with his hands, beating time with his feet, muttering and singing. The woman burst into a laugh, which Beethoven observed. He drove her out of the room instanter. Krenn tried to follow her, but Beethoven drew him back, gave him three 20-kreutzer pieces, told him not to be afraid, and said that hereafter he should make the bed and clean the floor every day. Krenn said that he was told to come to the room early, but generally had to knock a long time before Beethoven opened the door. It was Beethoven’s custom to get up at half-past 5 o’clock, seat himself at a table and write while he beat time with hands and feet and sang. This frequently stirred Krenn’s risibles, and when he could no longer restrain his laughter he used to leave the room. Gradually he grew accustomed to it. The family breakfast was eaten at half-past 7 o’clock, after which Beethoven hurried out into the open air, rambled across the fields shouting and waving his arms, sometimes walking very rapidly, sometimes very slowly and stopping at times to write in a sort of pocketbook. This book he once lost and said: “Michael, run about and hunt my writings; I must have them again at any cost.” Michael luckily found them. At half-past 12 Beethoven would come home for dinner, after which he went to his room until about 3 o’clock; then he roamed over the fields until shortly before sunset, after which he never went out of doors. Supper was at half-past 7, and after eating he went to his room, wrote till 10 o’clock and then went to bed. Occasionally Beethoven played the pianoforte, which did not stand in his room but in the salon. Nobody was permitted to enter his rooms except Michael, who had to put them in order while Beethoven was out walking. In doing so he several times found money on the floor, and when he carried it to its owner, Beethoven made him show him where he had picked it up and then gave it to him. This happened three or four times, after which no more money was found. In the evening Michael had to sit with Beethoven and write down answers to questions which he asked. Generally Beethoven wanted to know what had been said about him at dinner and supper.

One day the wife of the landowner sent Michael to Stein with 5 florins to buy wine and a fish; but Michael was careless and lost the money. He came back to Gneixendorf in consternation. As soon as Madame van Beethoven saw him she asked for the fish, and when he told her of the loss she discharged him from her service. When Beethoven came into dinner he asked at once for his servant and the lady told him what had happened. Beethoven grew[243] fearfully excited, gave her 5 florins, and angrily demanded that Michael be called back at once. After that he never went to table any more but had his dinner and supper brought to his rooms, where Michael had to prepare breakfast for him. Even before this occurrence Beethoven scarcely ever spoke to his sister-in-law and seldom to his brother. Beethoven wanted to take Michael with him to Vienna, but when a cook came to call for the composer the plan was abandoned.

Beethoven Scares a Yoke of Oxen

Two old peasants told the owner of Wasserhof in 1862 stories which confirm Krenn’s account of Beethoven’s unusual behavior in the fields. Because of his unaccountable actions they at first took him for a madman and kept out of his way. When they had become accustomed to his singularities and learned that he was a brother of the landlord they used to greet him politely; but he, always lost in thought, seldom if ever returned their greetings. One of these peasants, a young man at the time, had an adventure with Beethoven of a most comical nature. He was driving a pair of young oxen, scarcely broken to the yoke, from the tile-kiln toward the manor-house when he met Beethoven shouting and waving his arms about in wild gesticulations. The peasant called to him: A bissel stada! (“A little quieter”) but he paid no attention to the request. The oxen took fright, ran down a steep hill and the peasant had great difficulty in bringing them to a stand, turning them and getting them back on the road. Again Beethoven came towards them, still shouting and gesticulating. The yokel called to him a second time, but in vain; and now the oxen rushed towards the house, where they were stopped by one of the men employed there. When the driver came up and asked who the fool was who had scared his oxen the man told him it was the proprietor’s brother. “A pretty brother, that he is!” was the answering comment.

On October 7 Beethoven answered the letter which he had received many months before from Wegeler. He wrote a long letter in the cordial and intimate tone which is to be found only in the correspondence with persons to whom he was bound by ties of affectionate friendship, but made no reference to Karl. On the subject of his paternity he wrote:

You write that I am written down somewhere as a natural son of the deceased king of Prussia; this was mentioned to me long ago. I have made it a principle never to write anything about myself nor to reply to anything written about me. For this reason I gladly leave it to you to make known to the world the honesty of my parents, and my mother in particular.


He tells with pride of the gift from the King of France, of other distinctions which he had received, and of King Frederick William’s desire to have the autograph of his new Symphony for the Royal Library, and adds: “Something has been said to me in this connection about the order of the Red Eagle, second class.[157] What the outcome will be I do not know; I have never sought for such marks of honor, but at my present age they would not be unwelcome, for several reasons.”

On October 13 he wrote a merry letter to Haslinger, whom he addresses in music as “First of all Tobiasses,” asking him to deliver a quartet (the one in F major published as Op. 135) to Schlesinger’s agent and collect and forward the money, of which he stands in need. On the same day he wrote to Schott and Sons enclosing the metronome marks for the Ninth Symphony which the Conversation Book shows had been dictated to Karl before the departure from Vienna. That he was not as grievously disappointed by his surroundings at Gneixendorf as might have been expected is evidenced by the remark: “The scenes among which I am sojourning remind me somewhat of the Rhine country which I so greatly long to see again, having left them in my youth.”

Works Written at Gneixendorf

The Quartet in F was completed at Gneixendorf. Beethoven sent it to Schlesinger’s agent on October 30, and had probably put the finishing touches on it about the time when he wrote to Haslinger about its delivery a fortnight before. Schlesinger had agreed to pay 80 ducats for it. It had been in hand four months at least, for in July he told Holz that he intended to write another quartet and when Holz asked, “In what key?” and was told, he remarked, “But that will be the third in F. There is none in D minor. It is singular that there is none among Haydn’s in A minor.” If there were positive evidence in the “Muss es sein?” incident, a still earlier date would have to be set for its origin, but here we are left to conjecture. There was considerable merry-making over the Dembscher joke, and it is at least probable that the first sketches for the Quartet and the Canon were written about the same time. The point which cannot be definitely determined is whether or not the motif of the Canon was destined from the first for the finale of the Quartet. It may have been in Beethoven’s mind for that purpose and the sudden inspiration on hearing the story of Dembscher’s query “Muss es sein?” may have gone only to the words and the use of them with the music for the Canon. That the Quartet was to be shorter than the others was known before Beethoven left Vienna. Holz once says to Beethoven[245] before the departure that Schlesinger had asked about it and that he had replied that Beethoven was at work upon it, and added: “You will not publish it if it is short. Even if it should have only three movements it would still be a quartet by Beethoven, and it would not cost so much to print it.”[158]

The new finale for the Quartet in B-flat was also completed in Gneixendorf, though it, too, had been worked out almost to a conclusion in Vienna. It was delivered on November 25 to Artaria, who gave him 15 ducats for it. Schuppanzigh gave it a private performance in December and told Beethoven that the company thought it köstlich and that Artaria was overjoyed when he heard it. There were other compositions on which Beethoven worked in Gneixendorf when he compelled laughter from the cook and frightened the peasant’s oxen. At Diabelli’s request he had said that he would write a quintet with flute. Sketches for a quintet have been found, showing that the work was in a considerable state of forwardness, but in them there are no signs of a flute. Holz told Jahn that the first movement of a quintet in C for strings which Diabelli had bought for 100 ducats was finished in the composer’s head and the first page written out. In the catalogue of Beethoven’s posthumous effects No. 173 was “Fragment of a new Violin Quintet, of November, 1826, last work of the composer,” which was officially valued at 10 florins. It was bought by Diabelli at the auction sale and published in pianoforte arrangements, two and four hands, with the title: “Ludwig van Beethoven’s last Musical Thought, after the original manuscript of November, 1826,” and the remark: “Sketch of the Quintet which the publishers, A. Diabelli and Co., commissioned Beethoven to write and purchased from his relics with proprietary rights.” The published work is a short movement in C in two divisions, having a broad theme of a festal character, Andante maestoso and Polonaise rhythm. The autograph having disappeared it can not now be said how much of the piece was actually written out by Beethoven. Nottebohm shows (“Zweit. Beeth.,” p. 79 et seq.) that the sketches for the quintet were written after Beethoven had begun to make a fair copy of the last movement of the B-flat Quartet. Lenz, in volume V of his work on Beethoven (p. 219), tells a story derived from Holz to the effect that when Beethoven sent him the last movement of the B-flat Quartet with injunctions to collect 12 ducats from Artaria, he accompanied it with a Canon[246] on the words “Here is the work; get me the money” (Hier ist das Werk, schafft mir das Geld). According to a report circulated in Vienna in 1889, a copy of this Canon was purchased from Holz’s son for the Beethoven Collection in Heiligenstadt. The lines and notes were described as having been written by Beethoven, the words: Hier ist das Werk, sorgt für das Geld—1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Dukaten, by Holz to Beethoven’s dictation. The story is not altogether convincing. The movement was completed in Gneixendorf and Artaria received and paid for it in November. He paid 15, not 12, ducats; and it is not patent how Beethoven in Gneixendorf could dictate to Holz in Vienna. He did not return to Vienna till December 2. There are references to other works in the Conversation Books which are not clear. In January Mathias Artaria writes: “I hear of six fugues.—We will empty a bottle of champagne in their honor.” Holz asks: “Is it true that you sold a rondo to Dominik Artaria which he has not yet received? It is said that you took it back and have not returned it.”—It is possible that the Rondo Caprice which was published by Diabelli as Op. 129, the history of which is a blank, is the work alluded to; but there is no evidence on the subject.


Chapter IX

Karl van Beethoven—A Wayward Ward and an Unwise Guardian—Beethoven and His Nephew—An Ill-advised Foster-father and a Graceless, Profligate Nephew—Effect on Beethoven’s Character of the Guardianship—An Unsuccessful Attempt at Self-destruction—Karl is Made a Soldier.

We are now to learn of the calamitous consequences of Beethoven’s effort to be a foster-father to the son of his dead brother Kaspar. The tale is one that has been fruitful of fiction in most of the writings which have dealt with the life-history of the great composer; nor is the circumstance to be wondered at. There is still some obscurity in the story, and if there is anything in the melancholy lot of the great man, next to his supreme affliction, calculated to challenge the pity of the world, it is the manner in which his efforts to attach to himself the one human being for whom he felt affection were requited. There is no more pitiful picture in the history of great men than that presented by his devotion to the lad in whom, for a reason which must have seemed to him more inscrutable than his own physical calamity, he could not inspire a spark of love or a scintilla of gratitude. It was an unwise devotion and an ill-directed effort, but that does not alter the case. From the beginning, all of his friends recognized Beethoven’s unfitness for the office of guardian of his nephew. He was incapacitated for it by his occupation, his irregular mode of life, his lack of understanding of a child’s nature, his irresolute mind, his infirmities of temper, and the wretchedness of his domestic surroundings due to his ignorance of and indifference to the things essential to the amenities and comforts of social life. He did not assume the guardianship in a spirit of gentle obedience to a dying brother’s request; he violently wrested it unto himself alone in defiance of that brother’s last entreaties. There can be no doubt but that he believed that in doing so he was performing a pious duty toward his own flesh and blood and acting for the good of the child and the welfare of[248] the community. He was proud of the boy’s intellectual gifts, which were out of the ordinary; he dreamed of seeing him great and respected in the eyes of the world; he wanted loving companionship now, and in his old age; he hungered for sympathy and for help which would not keep him in bonds of obligation to men whose disinterestedness he could not understand because of his suspicious disposition; he desired to see by his side and in his kin an incarnation of that polite learning and that practical knowledge of worldly affairs which had been denied to him. All his aims were laudable, all his desires natural and praiseworthy; but he was the last man in the world to know how to attain them. There can be no doubt that his stubborn insistence upon making himself the sole director of the welfare of his ward cost him the sympathy, perhaps also the respect and regard, of many of those whose counsel he was perforce compelled to seek. For a long time until the final and woeful trial came it separated him from the oldest and truest friend that he had in Vienna—Stephan von Breuning. It tested the patience and tried the forbearance of those who helped him in his mistaken zeal.

Beethoven’s Moral Nature Marred

Moreover, it may be said without harshness or injustice to his memory that its consequences to his own moral nature were most deplorable. In a mind and heart prone to equity and tenderness it developed a strange capacity for cruel injustice. Aided by his native irresolution it twisted his judgment and turned his conduct into paradox. To satisfy his own love for the boy he strove fiercely to stifle a child’s natural affection for its mother. He thought that love for himself would grow out of hatred of the woman, though the passion which he tried to evoke was abhorrent to every instinct of nature. It matters not that the mother of Karl was profligate and lewd. Once a glimmer of that fact dawned upon him. It was while he was struggling to prevent all intercourse between the widow and her child in the early years that he was compelled to admit that to a child under all circumstances a mother is a mother still; but he made the confession to extenuate the conduct of the boy, not to justify the solicitude of the woman. His memory of his own mother, the sweet, patient sufferer of Bonn, was to him like a benison his whole life long. “Who was happier than I when I could still speak the sweet word ‘mother’ and have it heard,” he wrote to Dr. Schade, who had helped him on his sorrowful journey from Vienna to Bonn in 1787. But from the time that his brother Kaspar died until he himself gave up the ghost he was unswervingly occupied in preventing communication between Kaspar’s widow and her son. After more than twelve[249] years he found that what he had tried to eradicate in the child, still lived in the youth. He had fought against nature and failed; and the failure filled him with bitterness, added to his hatred of the woman and his disappointment with the son. Such intensity of malevolence, though it may have had its origin in the profoundest conviction of virtuous purpose, could not fail to be prejudicial to his own moral character. So, also, his solicitude for his ward’s material welfare, which extended to a time when he should no longer be able to make provision for him, seems to have warped his nature. It weakened his pride; distorted his moral view; subjected him, not always unjustly, to accusation of dishonesty in his dealings with his patrons and publishers; made him parsimonious, and at the last brought upon him the reproach of having begged alms of his English friends, though possessed of property which might easily and quickly have been converted into money to supply his last needs more than generously.

To protect him against indictment for these moral flaws, many of Beethoven’s biographers thought, and still think, it necessary or justifiable to veil the truth and magnify the transgressions of his kindred and friends. His earliest apologists may have had other reasons besides these for so doing; his present biographers have none. By his own decree the world is entitled to know the truth. Schindler was embittered against Holz; Holz against Schindler; both against Johann van Beethoven, the brother; Beethoven himself taught his nephew to despise his uncle Johann as well as Schindler; and all three—Schindler, Holz and Johann—commissioned to that end, reported their observations of the lad’s shortcomings to his guardian. He accepted everything they said against the boy as he did everything they said against each other; indeed, his suspicious nature made him prone to believe evil of everyone near to him; and we do not know of a certainty that their reports were always within the bounds of strict veracity. After the tragedy they were unanimous in condemnation of the misguided, wayward, wicked youth and in praise of Beethoven’s magnanimity and self-sacrifice; but the evidence of helpful advice, warning and admonition to the mariner who was sailing a craft on a sea full of dangers to which nature had made him blind is not plentiful. Holz was young. He had scarcely finished sowing his own wild oats, and he seems to have been more lenient in his judgment than his elders, though just as convinced of the dangers into which the young man was running during the fateful last two years; but the few practical suggestions which we find him making do not seem to have been accepted. He was[250] himself, like everybody else, under suspicion in Beethoven’s mind.

Concerning the details of the always disgraceful and at the end tragical conduct of Beethoven’s nephew much obscurity is left after the most painstaking study of the evidence to be found in the contemporary documents which have been preserved; but it is to these documents that appeal must be made if the truth is to be learned, not to the generalizations of romancing biographers. Twenty-nine letters written by Beethoven to the youth came into the hands of Beethoven after the attempt at suicide and through Schindler into the Royal Library at Berlin. However they may be viewed, they are a pathetic monument. They are a deeply affecting memorial of his almost idolatrous love for one wholly unworthy to receive it; but they also help measurably to explain why Beethoven defeated his own benevolent intentions. In them the paradoxes in his nature are piled one on top of the other. Alternately they breathe tender affection, gentle admonition and violent accusation; pride in the lad’s mental gifts, hope for his future, and loathing of his conduct; proclamations of his own self-sacrificing devotion set off against his ward’s ingratitude; pleadings that the boy love him and hate his mother; proud condemnation and piteous prayers for forgiveness; petitions for the boy’s reformation and promises of betterment in his own conduct. They give out the light in which the story must be told, though they contribute but little to the record of concrete facts. They leave us to conjecture and surmise as to many of the nephew’s motives and actual doings. It is from the pages of the Conversation Books of 1825 and 1826 that practically all of the attested truth concerning the happenings, their causes and effects, must be learned. Letters and these records of conversations are at the base of the following recital.[159]

Study Becomes Irksome to Karl

Karl was taken from his studies at the Blöchlinger Institute in the fall of 1823 and matriculated at the University of Vienna, where he pursued studies in philology from that time until the summer of 1825. Though his gifts were unquestioned and his attainments such as to make Beethoven eager to exploit them, he was not an industrious student. He seems to have experienced a desire to abandon the career which his uncle wished him to follow—[251]that of a professor of languages, no doubt—before he had sat under the university lectures a year. His zeal for study soon evaporated, he spent much time in idle amusements, neglected to visit his uncle with the regularity expected from him, and soon broached the subject of a change in his intended pursuits. As early as 1824 he expressed a desire to enter the army. The thought was little short of appalling to Beethoven, who was obliged, however, at last to listen to arguments in favor of a mercantile career. Karl pointed out that a bookkeeper earned a great deal more money than a professor, that trade was honorable, and that he intended to keep on with his study of the languages, especially Greek, for his own pleasure and intellectual profit. Meanwhile he had continued his attendance on the lectures at the university, and it was not until towards the end of the Easter semester of 1825 that Beethoven consented to the change, entered him in the Polytechnic Institute, and arranged to have the vice-director of the Institute, Dr. Reisser, appointed co-guardian in place of Peters, with whom he took counsel as he also did, in great likelihood, with Stephan von Breuning. There were two great admirers of Beethoven’s music in the Institute, Reisser and Dr. Ignaz von Sonnleithner, one of the teachers, and after Karl had been placed under the supervision of a government official named Schlemmer, who lived in the Alleegasse adjacent to the Karlskirche, with whom the lad took lodgings, all seemed again to be well. He entered the Institute about Easter, 1825, and, if his own statements are to be accepted (Dr. Reisser, too, makes favorable reports of him), he made a good beginning in his new studies. His Sundays and holidays during the ensuing summer were spent with his uncle at Baden, where he was kept at work, too assiduously perhaps, writing Beethoven’s letters, and filling numerous other commissions. But his zeal did not endure. He became negligent in his studies; work became irksome and the pleasures of the city alluring. He was drawn willingly into the maelstrom of Viennese life. He grew fond of billiards, dancing and the theatre; he kept low company. Of all this there can be no doubt. Beethoven kept himself informed as to his conduct through Holz, through his brother, and sometimes went to Vienna himself to make inquiries. When Karl comes to Baden, Beethoven charges him with his shortcomings and there are unseemly scenes between the two. At first Karl seeks to be conciliatory, but it is only too plain that he is not always frank and truthful in his replies. The chronological course of events as learned from the Conversation Books cannot be set down with exactitude; nor is it necessary that it should.[252] A young rake’s progress can easily be imagined, but some incidents may be included in this narrative, as showing the changing attitude of guardian and ward, uncle and nephew, toward each other, and some of the steps which led to the final catastrophe.

At an early date in this period Beethoven had become suspicious of the character of some of Karl’s associates, particularly of a lad of his own age named Niemetz, whose acquaintance, it was said, he made at his mother’s. Whether or not this is true cannot be proved; but if Beethoven believed it that fact sufficed to convince him of the young man’s moral turpitude. Certain it is that the mother knew Niemetz and thought as well of him as the uncle thought ill, for one of her exclamations after the attempt at self-destruction, reported to Beethoven, was, “What will good Niemetz say!” Beethoven forbade the association and a violent quarrel ensued in Baden, where Karl introduced his friend to his uncle. It seems likely that the encounter took place in a public room and that Beethoven could not wait until he had reached the privacy of his lodgings before expressing his dissatisfaction with the young man; for his remarks to Karl as well as the latter’s replies are written in the book. Beethoven’s denunciations stir up a spirit of defiance in his ward; he finally declares flatly that Niemetz had cheered his unhappy hours at Blöchlinger’s and that he would not now lie by saying that he would cease loving his friend or admit that he had a bad character.

Beethoven Pleads with His Nephew

Beethoven learns that Karl goes to the theatre, has been seen in the company of lewd women, frequents dancing places, plays billiards and borrows money. Holz, who once suggests the advisability of assuming the co-guardianship, thinks it might be a good thing could he attach the young man to himself by becoming his often companion. He invites him to a beerhouse to learn his drinking habits and reports favorably upon them. He talks with Karl about the theatre and advises him to go less to the Josephstadt playhouse and oftener to the Burg, where classical pieces are played; and learning that Karl attends the former because it costs him nothing, ventures the statement that his uncle will allow him money for the theatre if he will but go to the better place. Beethoven’s views on the subject are expressed in a letter: “Let the theatre alone for the present.” After the wicked deed, Holz reminded Beethoven that Johann van Beethoven had said that Karl knew every strumpet in Vienna and that investigation had disclosed that he was right. Karl goes to dances; Beethoven is so solicitous as to their character that he expressed a desire to go to some of them with Holz so as to learn what they are like,[253] and Holz dissuades him on the ground that he would be stared at and it would cause public comment; but he offers to take him to a hall “of the reformed” in the Apollo Room, where he would be less observed. Beethoven fears that Karl’s passion for billiards will lead him astray, and Holz says he will sometime go with the lad to see how well he plays and thus learn whether or not he plays much.[160] Karl is now nearly 20 years old, but Beethoven does not, or will not, know that he is no longer to be disciplined as a child. He commands Schlemmer that he is not to be permitted to go out at night except on written permission signed by him. He exhausts Dr. Reisser’s patience with his frequent calls to learn of the young man’s habits and conduct. He takes upon himself the task of the ancient pedagogue and waits for him upon the steps of the Institute to accompany him home. His illness and melancholy, due to his solitary life in Baden, increase and he is haunted by premonitions of death. In a Conversation Book he once writes what seems to be the title of an imaginary composition “On the Death of Beethoven.” On June 9, 1825, he writes to Karl: “You know how I live here. To this is added the cold weather. This solitude weakens me still more, for my weakness really often borders on a swoon. O, do not pain me more! The man with the scythe will not give me much more time.” In the same summer: “God will set me free from them. Libera me domine de illis etc.” and “God be with you and me. It will soon be all over with your faithful father.” His loneliness oppresses him more and more as fears for his nephew’s fate and recognition of his own impotency to avert it pursue him. “God has never deserted me. Somebody will be found who will close my eyes,” he writes on September 14. Tenderness and reproach alternate in the letters written from Baden in the summer of 1825. With the young man’s habits of extravagance he has no patience whatever. He insists on a strict accounting for every florin which he allows him and is enraged when he hears that Karl has not forgotten his boyish trick of borrowing from the servants. He contrasts his own habits of thrift with the prodigence of his ward: “I should have gotten along two years with the walking-coat. True, I have the bad habit of always wearing an old coat at home, but Mr. Karl—O, what a shame! And why? The money-bag Mr. L. v. B-n is here only for this purpose.”

The thought of laying down the guardianship occupies his mind over and over again and his friends without exception urge[254] him to do it; but he clings to the office, hoping against hope for his nephew’s reclamation. Crises of apprehension and foreboding produce tender appeals and piteous expostulations like these:

If you find me violent, ascribe it to my great concern for yourself, beset as you are by many dangers.

I hope at least to receive a letter from you to-morrow. Do not make me fear. O, think of my sufferings! By good right I ought to have no cares of this kind; but what have I not experienced!

Reflect that I am sitting here and might easily fall ill.

God is my witness, I dreamed only of being rid of you and of this miserable brother and the hideous family which he foisted upon me. God hear my prayer for I can never trust you again. Unfortunately your father—or rather, not your father.

In the beginning of October, 1825, Karl absented himself from his lodgings for several days. Where he went and what he did is a secret held by the dead; but repentance of some sort, or consideration of the fact that he was dependent upon his uncle, seems to have persuaded him to write to Beethoven and beg his forgiveness. On the 5th of the month Beethoven wrote from Baden:

Precious, dear son!

I have just received your letter. Already filled with anxiety I had to-day determined to hurry to Vienna. God be thanked, it is not necessary. Do but obey me and love and happiness of the soul paired with human happiness will be at our side and you will consort an intensive existence with the external, but it were better that the former dominate the latter.—il fait trop froid—I am to see you on Saturday, then, write whether you are coming in the morning or evening so that I may hasten to meet you.—I embrace you and kiss you a thousand times not my lost (prodigal) but my new-born son. I wrote to Schlemmer—do not think harshly on that account—I am still so full of fear.

The letter has been mutilated and the remainder is unintelligible, all but a request in bad French for matches. But his impatience to see the returned prodigal was stronger than his purpose to wait for him in Baden. He went to Vienna and evidently sent the following letter from Karl’s lodgings:

My precious son:

Go no further—Come but to my arms, not a harsh word shall you hear. O God, do not rush to destruction.... You shall be received lovingly as ever. What to consider, what to do in the future—this we will talk over affectionately. On my word of honor no reproaches, since they would in no case do good now. Henceforth you may expect from me only the most loving care and help. Do but come. Come to the faithful heart of your father.

Volti sub.


Come home at once on getting this.

Si vous ne viendres pas rous me tuerés surement lisès la lettre et restés a la maison chez vous, venes de m’embrasser votre pere vous vraiment adonné soyes assurés, que tout cela resterá entre nous.

(On the margin): Only for God’s sake come back home to-day. It might bring you, who knows what danger. Hurry, hurry!

The Nephew Resents Discipline

In the summer of 1826, Beethoven’s plans with reference to the supervision of his nephew are divided between an abandonment of the guardianship and taking the young man back into his own lodgings. The latter alternative at least did not meet with Karl’s approval, who pleads against it the great loss of time in coming and going to the distant Institute; besides, he says, “it is only one year more and then there will be no more separation.” With such feigned expressions of gentle feeling, with smiles and occasional cajolings, Karl had learned that he could at any time bend “the old fool,” as he once called him in a letter to Niemetz, to his wishes. The fact is that Beethoven’s attempts at discipline had long ago become irksome to his nephew and his authority a burden which it was pleasant to forget in the opportunities which freedom brought. He absents himself more and more from Beethoven’s lodgings and spends less and less time at his own. The “miserable brother” is told by Beethoven to find out why, and reports the result of a talk which he had upon the subject with Karl, who had replied, in effect: the reason he did not come oftener was that he dreaded the noisy encounters which always followed and the continual reminders of past transgressions. Also the turbulent scenes between his uncle and the servants. Johann takes occasion to tell his brother that he might win the young man to him by a different mode of treatment. He is apprehensive of the consequences of idleness and urges that as soon as Karl completes his studies at the Institute, a place be found for him in either a local or foreign business house. “In the latter case,” he continues, “place the guardianship in Bach’s hands. You are as little able as I to run after him always.” Beethoven’s concern is so great that he is willing to take counsel of Schindler, whom he had so unsparingly and, we believe, unjustly denounced to his nephew. Schindler is ready with advice, but first takes advantage of the opportunity to air his grudge against Holz: “do not depend upon him in this matter,” he says in a recorded conversation. Karl’s requests for money excite his guardian’s misgivings and he demands to see the receipts for tuition fees and other expenditures. The growing feeling between guardian and ward, and some of its causes, are reflected in the record of a conversation at Karl’s[256] lodgings in 1826, when the crisis is rapidly approaching. It is Karl who speaks, but the tenor of Beethoven’s utterances is easily to be surmised:

You consider it insolence if, after you have upbraided me for hours undeservedly, this time at least, I cannot turn from my bitter feeling of pain to jocularity. I am not so frivolous as you think. I can assure you that since the attack on me in the presence of this fellow I have been so depressed that the people in the house observed it. The receipt for the 80 florins which were paid in May I now positively know, after a search at home, I gave you; it must and no doubt will be found. If I continue to work while you are here it is not in a spirit of insolence, but because I believe that you will not be offended if I do not permit your presence to keep me from my labors, which are now really piling up on me—all the more since we see each other here, where there is time, enough to talk over all needful things. You are mistaken, too, when you think that I wait for your coming to become industrious. You also seem to accept as my views what I repeat to you as the opinions of others as, for instance, the word of Haslinger and the twaddle of Frau Passy. I know very well what to think of such gossip, but did not consider it my duty to inform you about it. I hope that what I have said will serve to convince you of my real views and feelings and put an end to the strain which has existed of late between us, though not on my side by any means.

This is not the speech of filial love and obedience, but neither is it the language of a naughty child. There ought to be no doubt but that such exhibitions of independence and resentment, coupled with intimations of still greater independence of conduct, frequently filled Beethoven with consternation and apprehension. Once, to judge of a recorded remark by Holz, Karl seems to have raised his hand in physical violence against the uncle. Holz says: “I came in just as he took you by the breast. At the door, as he was coming out.” It is the only allusion to the incident in the book and we know none of the particulars; but it and other scenes of tumult and the utterances which they provoked must have inspired the dreadful conflict of emotions which finds expression in a letter written at this time:

If for no other reason than that you obeyed me, at least, all is forgiven and forgotten; more to-day by word of mouth, very quietly—Do not think of me otherwise than as governed wholly by thoughts for your well-being, and from this point of view judge my acts. Do not take a step which might make you unhappy and shorten my life. I did not get asleep until 3 o’clock, for I coughed all night long. I embrace you cordially and am convinced that you will soon cease longer to misjudge me; it is thus that I also judge of your conduct yesterday. I expect you surely to-day at 1 o’clock. Do not give me cause for further worry and apprehension. Meanwhile farewell!

Your real and true Father.


We shall be alone, for which reason I shall not permit H. to come—the less since I do not wish anything about yesterday to be known.

Do come—Do not permit my poor heart to bleed longer.

Beethoven Grows Apprehensive

A poor heart, indeed! One that knew not how to win the love for which it hungered; and a mind “perplex’d in the extreme.” That love still went out to the unworthy mother in spite of entreaties, warnings, lamentations, threats. In May, 1826, already at Baden, Beethoven hears that Karl has again visited her; and on the 22nd he writes:

Till now only suspicions, although I have received assurances from one that there is again secret intercourse between you and your mother. Am I again to experience the most abominable ingratitude?! No; if the bond is broken, be it so. You will make yourself hated by all impartial persons who hear of this ingratitude.... I ought not to mix into these miserable affairs. If the pact oppresses you then in God’s name—I leave you to Divine Providence. I have done my duty and am ready to appear before the Supreme Judge. Do not fear to come to me to-morrow. As yet I only suspect—God grant that nothing be true, for your misfortune would truly be incalculable indifferently as the rascally brother and possibly your—mother would take it.

Late in July, 1826, an intimation of some desperate purpose formed and expressed by the nephew was carried to Beethoven. The date is uncertain, but it was probably on Saturday, the 29th. The intention may have been self-destruction, but it needed to be no more than a purpose to go out into the world, beyond an irksome supervision, to fill Beethoven’s soul with a terrible fear. He called Holz and together they went to Schlemmer’s house in the Alleegasse. Schlemmer told all he knew in a few phrases which must have seemed shrouded with a pall as they fell upon the page of his book:

I learned to-day that your nephew intended to shoot himself before next Sunday at the latest. As to the cause I learned only this much, that it was by reason of his debts,—but not of a certainty; he admitted only in part that they were the consequences of former sins. I looked to see if there were signs of preparations. I found a loaded pistol in a chest together with bullets and powder. I tell you this so that you may act in the case as his father. The pistol is in my keeping. Be lenient with him or he will despair.

Holz went at once to the Polytechnic Institute and there found Karl, who agreed to go back with him to Schlemmer’s, but said that he must first go to a friend’s house and get some papers. Holz engaged Dr. Reisser in conversation while he waited for Karl to return. “A pistol!” remarked Reisser, “the young comedy hero!” But Karl had lied; he did not come back to the Institute and Holz returned to Beethoven with his story:


He will not stay here. I could not detain him. He said he would go to Schlemmer’s, but wanted to get his papers from a friend while I talked with Reisser. He would not be gone more than a quarter of an hour.

Beethoven apparently rebukes him for letting his ward out of his sight. Holz:

He would have run away from you just the same. If he has made up his mind to injure himself no one can prevent him. He has till September 3 to make up his examinations.... He said to me: “What good will it do you to detain me? If I do not escape to-day I will at another time.”

Schlemmer reported the finding of another pistol. A new suspicion seized upon the mind of Beethoven. For some reason, though he may also have uttered it orally, he wrote it down in the book: “He will drown himself.” Probably he did not want the bystanders to know his thoughts, and the fear was therefore committed to the written page for the instruction of Holz. What else was said at the time we do not know, for the book here shows a mutilation; some pages are missing. Perhaps Schindler removed them in later years to save the integrity of his account; or they may have been torn out by Beethoven himself when, some weeks later, Holz advised him to look through his books against their possible demand for examination by the police magistrate; they might contain references to affairs which he did not want to bring into public discussion. The missing pages might have helped us in the chronology of the story, but the main facts are before us without them. It was resolved first to go to the house of Niemetz, who it was thought might be privy to Karl’s intentions, and then if necessary, to call in the help of the police.

A Bungling Attempt at Suicide

Meanwhile Karl, having given Holz the slip, went straight to a pawnbroker and pledged his watch. With the money he bought two pistols, powder and balls. He did not dare go to his lodgings for the pistols which he had in readiness for the contemplated deed, and the new ones were therefore necessary. For him the circumstance proved fortunate. He drove out to Baden, and spent the night in writing letters. One was to his uncle, and this he enclosed in one to his friend Niemetz. The next morning, it being a Sunday, he climbed up to the ruins of Rauhenstein, in the lovely Helenenthal which his uncle loved so well, and there discharged both pistols toward his left temple. He was a bungler with firearms. The first bullet flew past harmlessly; the second ripped up the flesh and grazed the bone, but did not penetrate the[259] skull. Holz said afterwards that, had he taken with him the pistols which he was obliged to leave at his lodgings, he would have been a dead man; their barrels were charged with powder and ball to above the middle. A teamster came upon him lying among the ruins and, no doubt at his request, carried him to his mother’s house in the city. There Beethoven found him, whether in a search for him or because of intelligence brought by the teamster is not clear. The uncle is anxious to learn the particulars of the tragedy, but he receives a sullen answer; “It is done. Now, only a surgeon who can hold his tongue. Smetana, if he is here. Do not plague me with reproaches and lamentations; it is past. Later all matters may be adjusted.” “When did it happen?” Beethoven asks and the mother writes the answer: “He has just come. The teamster carried him down from a rock in Baden and has just driven out to you.—I beg of you to tell the surgeon not to make a report or they will take him away from here at once, and we fear the worst. There is a bullet in his head on the left side.”

Smetana was the physician who had treated Karl when he was a boy at Giannatasio’s school. Beethoven knew him as a friend. To him he wrote:

A great misfortune has happened to Karl accidentally by his own hand. I hope that he can yet be saved, especially by you if you come quickly. Karl has a bullet in his head, how, you shall learn—only quick, for God’s sake, quick!

In order to save time it was necessary to take him to his mother’s, where he now is—the address follows.

Holz took this letter for delivery but before he left the place a surgeon named Dögl had been called in. Smetana said that Dögl was a capable practitioner and that in order not to compromise him he would not come unless Dögl desired to see him in consultation. Karl expressed himself as satisfied and the case was left for the time being in Dögl’s hands. Beethoven went home, but Holz remained some time longer. The matter had to be reported to the police and Holz thought it best to do this himself, as he wanted to be able to inform Beethoven what the consequences of the young man’s act were likely to be in case of his recovery. He learned, and so reported, that there would be a severe reprimand and thereafter police surveillance. He told Beethoven that, after he had left him, Karl had said, “If he would only not show himself again!” and “If he would only quit his reproaches!” He had also threatened to tear the bandage from the wound if another word was spoken to him about his uncle.


On August 7th, the day being a Monday,[161] the wounded youth, who by his act was fallen into the hands of the law, was removed from his mother’s house to the general hospital by the police authorities. The deed was committed on a Sunday, as appears from parts of the conversations which took place between Holz and Beethoven after the fact was known. Holz says: “He left me yesterday, went straight into the city, bought the pistols and drove to Baden”; and later: “He sold his watch on Saturday and with the proceeds bought two new pistols.” The obvious conclusion would seem to be that Karl shot himself on Sunday, August 6; but there is evidence pointing to an earlier date. The police authorities were not informed until somewhat late in the day. An investigation had to be made and formalities complied with before the removal to the hospital could take place. Schlemmer, in reply to a question touching Karl’s indebtedness while Beethoven and Holz were probing for a cause, said that he had been paid “for this month, but not for August,” which indicates that the inquiry was made in July. On September 11th, discussing the disposition to be made of the nephew when he should leave the hospital and trying to persuade Beethoven to grant Karl’s request that he be permitted to visit his mother, Holz says: “In my opinion one day will make no difference, inasmuch as she was with him whole days after the shooting.” There are, besides, evidences that conversations were held for several days during which he was in the care of his mother. It is therefore probable that the nephew made the attempt upon his life on Sunday, July 30. Schindler says “in August” without giving a specific date. The evidence is not entirely conclusive; but if Beethoven consented to leave the would-be suicide in the hands of his mother for an entire week it was most likely because the police authorities commanded it; he did not yield her a day after her son came out of the hospital. At first, however, Beethoven’s spirit was broken by the awful blow and he may have been more pliant than usual. Holz, reporting to Beethoven, tells of an interview at the hospital when he met the woman at her son’s bedside. “If you have anything on your mind,” she enjoined, “tell your uncle now. You see, this is the time; he is weak, and now he will surely do anything you want.” Karl replied, sullenly: “I know nothing.” “How,” Holz explains to Beethoven, “can any one find out a single trace so long as he persists in remaining silent?”[261] And he tells his friend of the lack of “mercy” in the weeping mother for denouncing the conduct of the guardian of her son!

No doubt the blow was a crushing one to Beethoven. On the fateful Sunday, or the day after, he met the wife of Stephan von Breuning and told her the tragical story. “And is he dead?” she inquired in tender solicitude. “No,” was the answer, “it was a glancing shot; he lives and there is hope that he will be saved. But the disgrace which he has brought upon me! And I loved him so!” The occurrence was soon noised about the city and much sympathy was expressed for Beethoven, as Holz took occasion to inform him. Schindler says that the blow bowed the proud figure of the composer and he soon looked like a man of seventy. To add to his sufferings he was compelled to learn that many persons placed part of the blame for the rash act upon him. Karl was placed in the “men’s three-florin” ward, which was under the care of a Dr. Gassner. He had an assistant named Dr. Seng, who told Gerhard von Breuning long after, how Beethoven had come to visit his nephew and described him as a “dissolute fellow” and “rascal,” one “who did not deserve to be visited” and had been “spoiled by kindness.”

Reasons for the Deed

Strenuous efforts were made by Beethoven through Holz and others to discover what direct cause had led the misguided young man to attempt to end his life. The inquiries made of him at the hospital during the weeks spent there brought scarcely more information from his lips than the first question asked by his mother. Schindler seems to have been persuaded that it was his failure to pass his examinations at the Polytechnic Institute; but this theory is not tenable. Aside from the fact that he had time till September 3 to make up his neglected studies, he never himself advanced this as an excuse or explanation, but explicitly denied it. In the hospital he told Holz that it would have been easy for him to make himself fit to pass, but that, having made up his mind to do away with himself long before, he had not thought it worth while to continue his studies. “He said that he was tired of life,” Holz reports to Beethoven, “because he saw in it something different from what you wisely and righteously could approve.” He also phrased it thus: “Weariness of imprisonment.” To the examining police magistrate Karl said that his reason for shooting himself was that Beethoven “tormented him too much,” and also “I grew worse because my uncle wanted me to be better.” To Beethoven’s question if Karl had railed against him, Schlemmer replied: “He did not rail, but he complained that he always had trouble.” Holz’s explanation many years after to Otto Jahn was[262] that Beethoven was “rigorous to excess in his treatment and would not allow him the slightest extravagance.” The chief cause, in greatest probability, was that he had hopelessly involved himself in debts by a dissolute life. Schindler told Beethoven that he not only played billiards but played with low persons, coachmen and the like; and that he did not always play honestly. There is a memorandum in a Conversation Book which discloses that Beethoven received specific reports about his conduct, and noted them for reference: “One night in the Prater.—2 nights did not sleep at home.” Beethoven stinted him the matter of pocket-money, and the scores of reckonings in the Conversation Books show how close was the watch kept upon every kreutzer placed in his hands. So he had recourse to borrowing and no doubt, though the fact does not appear plainly in the books, he went into debt at the places which he frequented for pleasure. When he shot himself he had paid his lodging bill for the month but owed his tutor. A matter which gave Beethoven great concern was the discovery that he had disposed of some of the composer’s books at an antiquary’s. This was theft, a penal offence, and Beethoven seems to have been in great trepidation lest the fact, and something more dreadful still which he did not know, be discovered by the magistrate charged with an examination into the case. Under the Austrian code an attempt at suicide seems to have been an offence against the Church and guilty persons were remanded in the care of priests who imparted religious instruction until a profession of conversion could be recorded. In the case of Karl, this medicine for the mind and soul was administered by a Redemptorist, and, the Liguorian penances being proverbially strict, Holz inspired the hope in Beethoven that Karl’s secret would be discovered by the priest. “These Liguorians are like leeches,” is one of his remarks to the composer while Karl is lying at the hospital. It is pathetic to note that Beethoven himself, willing as he was to charge his nephew with prevarication, extravagance, deception and frivolity, yet sought an explanation for the act outside of these delinquencies. In his hand appears a note in a Conversation Book: “Mental aberration and insanity; the heat, too—afflicted with headaches since childhood.”

Planning a Military Life for Karl

Immediately after Karl’s removal to the hospital Holz visited him and made a long report to Beethoven, from which it appears that there was no delay in considering plans for the future. In fact, a prompt decision was necessary, for it was the penal aspect of the case which had the greatest terrors for Beethoven. Holz says: “Here you see ingratitude as clear as the sun! Why do[263] you want further to restrain him? Once with the military, he will be under the strictest discipline, and if you want to do anything more for him you need only make him a small allowance monthly. A soldier at once.... Do you still doubt? This is a marvellous document.” The last remark may have been called out, indeed, it seems more than probable that it was, by the letter written by the nephew on the eve of his attempt—a letter which has never been found. Holz also urges: “Resign the guardianship; this will make an impression on him.” Beethoven must now needs listen to upbraidings because of his lenient treatment of his ward: “If your good nature had not so often got the better of your firmness you would have driven him away long ago”; but Beethoven still hungers for the ingrate’s love. He asks about his feelings towards himself. Holz answers: “He said it was not hatred of you which he felt, but something entirely different”; and then he puts the question: “Did he mean fear?”

The day after the deed, Stephan von Breuning, himself unable to come, sent Gerhard to his friend with a message: his parents wanted him to take his meals with them so as not to be alone. Then Breuning comes, and now he will receive advice on the advisability of a military life from one fitted to give it, for von Breuning is a court councillor in the war department. “A military life will be the best discipline for one who cannot endure freedom; and it will teach him how to live on little,” is one of Breuning’s first utterances.

Holz continues his visits to the hospital and his reports. His help was now invaluable and he gave it unselfishly and ungrudgingly, winning that measure of gratitude from Beethoven which found expression in the letter empowering him to write his biography. He tells Beethoven that Karl receives visits from four physicians four times a day. That the magistrate is investigating the case and will send a priest to give the patient religious instruction, and that his release from the hands of the police authorities must wait upon his “complete conversion”; but so long as there is danger of too much mental strain this instruction will not be given. At ease in his mind touching the physical condition of his ward, Beethoven is kept in a state of anxiety about the inquiry, which is so protracted as to excite his apprehension that something awful may be disclosed. He wants to go himself to see the “Minister” (of Police, evidently) and dreads the ordeal of examination. “The court will not annoy you,” Holz, tells him; “the mother and Karl at the worst.”

Dr. Bach joined Breuning, Schindler and Holz in advising Beethoven to resign the guardianship; but while the other three[264] favored placing Karl in the army, Bach urged that he be sent off at once to some business house in Trieste, Milan or Hamburg without waiting for him to make up his studies and pass the examination which seems necessary to Beethoven. “Away with him from Vienna!” is the general cry, but Beethoven hesitates; he still thinks that he must keep his ward under his eye. In the Conversation Book he writes: “I wanted only to accomplish his good; if he is abandoned now, something might happen.” Meanwhile von Breuning in pursuance of his plan consulted Baron von Stutterheim and persuaded him to give the young man a cadetship in his regiment, and on September 11 Breuning is able to communicate the success of his efforts to Beethoven who, as soon as he began to consider the military proposition at all, had thought of his old friend, General von Ertmann, the husband of his “Dorothea-Cäcilia.” But the project failed, and Breuning carried the day for his plan and agreed to accept the guardianship which had been laid down by Reisser. The Court Councillor goes at matters in a practical way; he brings to Beethoven von Stutterheim’s advice as to the allowance: he must not give more than 12 florins in silver a month, as that was all that the richest cadet in the service received.

Karl was unwilling to see his uncle, and Beethoven knew it. The latter wrote to his nephew, however, and the affectionate tenor of the letters met with the disapproval of both Holz and Schindler. Beethoven hoped with them to win back his nephew’s love, but his advisers told him they would do no good. He seems to have thought it necessary to learn Karl’s opinion before consenting to von Breuning’s plan. He visited Karl at the hospital, who, after asking his uncle to say as little as possible about that which was past alteration, said that a military life was the one in which he could be most satisfied and that he was entirely capable of making a firm resolve and adhering to it. As a cadet, promotion would be open to him. Beethoven, in planning to keep the young man in Vienna, had suggested to his advisers that the mother might be sent away—to Pressburg or Pesth. After it had been fixed that Karl should enter the army as soon as possible after his discharge from the hospital, the question arose as to what disposition should be made of him in the interim. Beethoven was unalterably opposed to his being with his mother even for a day. In an interview he brought the subject up and began to berate her as usual; but Karl interrupted him:

A Son Defends His Mother

I do not want to hear anything derogatory to her; it is not for me to be her judge. If I were to spend the little time for which I shall be here[265] with her it would be only a small return for all that she has suffered on my account. Nothing can be said of a harmful influence on me even if it should happen, if for no other reason than the brevity of the time. In no event shall I treat her with greater coldness than has been the case heretofore ... let be said what will.... (He tells his uncle that his mother will offer no objection to his new calling.) All the less, therefore, can I deny her wish to be with me now, as I shall in all likelihood not be here again soon. It is self-evident that this will not prevent you and me from seeing each other as often as you wish.

Very reluctantly Beethoven gave his consent that his nephew should become a soldier, and he continued his solicitude for him, as is disclosed by letters to Holz and von Breuning. His first thought was to send him to a military institute and have him graduated as an officer. This proved impracticable. Now he lays down three conditions as to the cadetship: he must not be treated as a culprit, not be compelled to live so meanly as to preclude his advancement, not be too much restricted as to food and drink. The plans for this disposition were made. He was to be presented to von Stutterheim as soon as he was discharged from the hospital, take the oath of service the next day, and leave Vienna for Iglau, where von Stutterheim’s regiment was stationed, within five or six days. He was discharged as cured on September 25. Breuning, who had assumed the guardianship, now found himself confronted by a serious embarrassment. Where should the young man be sent while the preparations for his entry into the military service were making? Karl did not want to go to his uncle’s, nor did von Breuning want to send him there, and frankly tells Beethoven his reason: “If he were here you would talk to him too much and that would cause new irritation; for he testified in the police court that the reason why he had taken the step was because you harassed him too much.” Beethoven feared that the magistrate might allow him to go to his mother’s, and to guard against this he wrote two letters to that official, a man kindly disposed toward him, named Czapka. In the first he wrote:

I earnestly beg of you, since my nephew will be well in a few days, to direct that he be not permitted to leave the hospital with anybody but me and Mr. v. Holz. It must not possibly be allowed that he be near his mother, this utterly depraved person. Her bad and wickedly malicious character, the belief that she often tempted Karl to lure money from me, the probability that she divided sums with him and was also in the confidence of Karl’s dissolute companion, the notice which she attracts with her illegitimate daughter, the likelihood that at his m—’s he would make the acquaintance of women who are anything but virtuous, justify my solicitude and my request. Even the mere habit of being in the company of such a person cannot possibly lead a young man to virtue.


In a second letter he suggests that the magistrate admonish the young man and give him to understand that he will be under police surveillance while he is with his uncle. Beethoven’s brother was again in Vienna. He had repeated his offer to give the composer a temporary home and his nephew a harbor of refuge at Gneixendorf; but haste was imperative, both on account of his business affairs and Karl’s status. In three days the business of finishing the corrections in the manuscript copy of the Ninth Symphony which was to be sent to the King of Prussia, placing it in the hands of Haslinger, who was to have it bound, and writing the letter to the King, was disposed of and on September 28 the two brothers and their nephew set out for Gneixendorf.


Chapter X

The Last Days in Gneixendorf—A Brother’s Warning—Beethoven and his Kinspeople—The Fateful Journey to Vienna—Sickness—Schindler’s Disingenuousness—Conduct of the Physicians—Death and Burial.

The Conversation Books add nothing to the picturesque side of the account of Beethoven’s sojourn in Gneixendorf as it has been drawn from other sources. They indicate that there were some days of peace and tranquility, and that not only Johann, but his wife and nephew also, were concerned with making the composer comfortable and providing him with such diversion as place and opportunity afforded. At the outset Beethoven seems to have been in a conciliatory mood even towards the woman whom he so heartily despised; and her willingness to please him is obvious. She talks with him about various things, praises Karl’s musical skill, which the nephew demonstrates by playing four-hand marches with his great uncle. She discusses his food with him, and if he ever was suspicious of the honesty in money matters of herself and her family, he hides his distrust and permits her brother, the baker, to collect money for him in Vienna, and the woman to go thither to fetch it. There are frequent walks into the country round about and drives to neighboring villages, and it would seem from one of Karl’s speeches that sometimes argument and warning were necessary to dissuade Beethoven from undertaking promenades in inclement weather. Characteristic of the suspicious nature which his dreadful malady had developed in him to an abnormal degree, and confirmatory also of Michael Krenn’s remark that he was always called upon to give an account of the conversations at table, is the evidence that the wife, Karl and even a woman boarder are questioned as to the goings-out and comings-in of the inmates of the house. Before the departure from Gneixendorf, Karl begins to chafe under his uncle’s discipline. Johann is occupied with the affairs of the estate and Karl does errands for[268] him as well as his greater uncle in Krems, whither he is willing to journey on foot as often as necessary, perhaps oftener, for there are soldiers stationed at the village, there is a theatre, English circus riders give an exhibition (to which Karl offers to accompany the composer) and, what is perhaps more to the young man’s liking, there is a billiard-room. Of this fact, however, we are informed later by a remark recorded in the Conversation Books by Johann after the return to Vienna. The old suspicions touching the reasons for Karl’s absence from Wasserhof again arise to plague Beethoven’s mind, nor are they dissipated by Madame van Beethoven’s repeated assurances that he will return soon. It is plain that the young man is taken to task, not only for these absences, but also for what his uncle looked upon as moody and defiant silences when suffering rebuke. Thus we read:

You ask me why I do not talk. Because I have enough. Yours is the right to command; I must endure everything.... I can give no answer as to what you say; the best I can do is to hear and remain silent, as is my duty.

At a later period, when Beethoven has apparently upbraided the young man for his unwillingness to return to Vienna, Karl retorts:

If you want to go, good; if not, good again. But I beg of you once more not to torment me as you are doing; you might regret it, for I can endure much, but not too much. You treated your brother in the same way to-day without cause. You must remember that other people are also human beings.—These everlastingly unjust reproaches!—Why do you make such a disturbance? Will you let me go out a bit to-day? I need recreation. I’ll come again later.—I only want to go to my room.—I am not going out, I want only to be alone for a little while.—Will you not let me go to my room?

A Return to Vienna Precipitated

Karl was a young man of nearly twenty years; thriftless, no doubt; indolent, no doubt; fond of his ease and addicted to idle pleasures, no doubt—but still a man; and no matter how much he ought to have been willing to sacrifice himself to make his uncle happy, it is a question if there was any way in the world to that sure and permanent result. He was not wise enough, nor self-sacrificing enough, to do that which not a single one of the composer’s maturer friends, not even Stephan von Breuning, had been able to do. Once in the Books he shows a disposition to resort to the wheedling tactics which had been frequently successful in earlier years, and urges as a reason for tarrying longer in Gneixendorf that it will make possible their longer companionship. He is pleading for a week’s longer stay: Breuning had said[269] that he should not present himself to the Fieldmarshal until no evidences of the recent “incident” were longer visible; in a week more the scar would not be noticeable, nor would a stay be necessary had he provided himself with pomade; then he remarks: “The longer we are here the longer we shall be together; for when we are in Vienna I shall, of course, have to go away soon.” It was after this speech that he made the remark already referred to about the cheapness of fire-wood. Karl had plainly grown more than content with his life in Gneixendorf and there is evidence to show that Beethoven had begun to fear that he was wavering in his determination to enter the army. Some drastic measure or occurrence was necessary to change the native irresolution of Beethoven’s mind. Schindler, in his desire to paint all the Beethovens, with the exception of the composer, with the blackest pigments on his imaginative palette, does not scruple to accuse Karl of undue intimacy with his aunt and offers this as a reason for the departure. To this no reference can be found in the pages of the Conversation Books, unless it be a remark which preceded Karl’s outburst, last recorded. Here he tells his uncle that all his “talk about intrigues needs no refutation.” The reference is vague and it is extremely unlikely that the intrigues meant were those involved in the vile insinuation of Schindler, for a reason which will be made apparent presently. The house at Gneixendorf was not fitted for tenancy in winter; the weather was growing boisterous; Madame van Beethoven had left the men to their own devices and gone to her town-house. This, apparently, was the state of affairs when Johann handed a letter to his brother which could have no other result than to bring about a decision to go back to Vienna at the earliest possible moment, and to carry with him a heart full of bitterness which could only be intensified by the sufferings which attended upon his journey. The letter bears no date, but an allusion to the fact that von Breuning had allowed Karl a fortnight for recuperation and he had already been two months at Gneixendorf, is proof that it was written near the end of November. That the brothers discussed it and cognate matters while it was in their hands is evidenced by the fact that it contains on its back the words in Johann’s writing: “Let us leave this until the day you go.—An old woman.—She has her share and will get no more.” The letter was as follows:

My dear Brother:

I can not possibly remain silent concerning the future fate of Karl. He is abandoning all activity and, grown accustomed to this life, the longer he lives as at present, the more difficult will it be to bring him back[270] to work. At his departure Breuning gave him a fortnight to recuperate in, and now it is two months. You see from Breuning’s letter that it is his decided wish that Karl shall hasten to his calling; the longer he is here the more unfortunate will it be for him, for the harder will it be for him to get to work, and it may be that we shall suffer harm.

It is an infinite pity that this talented young man so wastes his time; and on whom if not on us two will the blame be laid? for he is still too young to direct his own course; for which reason it is your duty, if you do not wish to be reproached by yourself and others hereafter, to put him to work at his profession as soon as possible. Once he is occupied it will be easy to do much for him now and in the future; but under present conditions nothing can be done.

I see from his actions that he would like to remain with us, but if he did so it would be all over with his future, and therefore this is impossible. The longer we hesitate the more difficult will it be for him to go away; I therefore adjure you—make up your mind, do not permit yourself to be dissuaded by Karl. I think it ought to be by next Monday, for in no event can you wait for me, inasmuch as I cannot go away from here without money, and it will be a long time before I collect enough to enable me to go to Vienna.

How Beethoven received this letter must be left to the imagination. Its wisdom temporarily disarmed Schindler, who forgot all of his frequently wicked charges against Johann long enough to admit that the document proved that he was not utterly without good qualities of character. He adds that he was in a position to assert that Ludwig took his brother’s suggestion with bad grace and that before his departure from Gneixendorf there was an exceedingly acrimonious quarrel between the brothers, growing out of Ludwig’s demand that Johann make a will in favor of Karl, thus cutting off his wife. It is to this that the penciled endorsement on the letter refers. This subject, Schindler says, was the real cause of the estrangement between the brothers during the last five or six years of Ludwig’s life. The blame, he adds, rested with Ludwig, who, “constantly at odds with himself and all the world, loved and hated without reason.” Weeks afterward, while he lay dying in Vienna, Beethoven’s thoughts were still occupied with the purpose of persuading his brother to make a will in Karl’s favor.[162] A moment’s reflection on a single fact will serve to give the quietus to Schindler’s insinuation as to[271] improper relationship between the young man of 19 and his aunt of 40; at the time that Karl is pleading to stay in the country, Johann is urging his brother to send him about his duty, and Beethoven is halting in irresolution, the woman is in Vienna.

The Fateful Journey from Gneixendorf

It must be assumed that the Monday referred to in Johann’s letter was Monday, November 27; but several days must have elapsed between this date and the time when Beethoven and Karl set out on the fateful journey to Vienna. A determination seems to have been reached when the Book shows Johann as saying: “If you are to start on Monday the carriage must be ordered on Sunday.” There is no recorded conversation touching the use of Johann’s carriage, which, so far as anything is known to the contrary, may have still been in Vienna, whither, it is safe to assume, it had carried Johann’s wife, and whither it was to carry its owner as soon as he could make a satisfactory adjustment of his financial affairs. That means of conveyance were discussed is proved by Johann’s remark and also by a report made by Karl to the composer: “There is no postchaise to Vienna, but only to St. Pölten.... From here there is no opportunity except by a stagecoach.”

Exactly when and how the travellers set out it is not possible to determine. Schindler says that owing to Johann’s refusal to let his brother use his closed carriage, Beethoven was obliged to make the journey in an “open calash.” This is his statement in the first edition of the biography, but in the third, for an unexplained reason, the “open calash” is the vehicle used from Gneixendorf to Krems only, a distance which was easily traversed on foot inside of an hour. If Dr. Wawruch, Beethoven’s attending physician during the illness which ended in his death, is correct, Beethoven told him that he had made the journey “in the devil’s most wretched vehicle, a milk-wagon.” Later Dr. Wawruch calls the vehicle in which he arrived in Vienna a “Leiterwagen,” from which we might gather, which is utterly preposterous, that it was a rack vehicle. Beethoven arrived in Vienna on Saturday, December 2, and as there is a reference to only one night spent in transit (as there had been one on the journey from Vienna to Gneixendorf), it is likely that he left Gneixendorf early in the morning of Friday, December 1. “That December,” says Dr. Wawruch, “was raw, wet and frosty; Beethoven’s clothing anything but adapted to the unfriendly season of the year, and yet he was urged on by an internal unrest and a gloomy foreboding of misfortune. He was compelled to spend a night in a village tavern where, besides wretched shelter, he found an unwarmed[272] room without winter shutters. Towards midnight he experienced his first fever-chill, a dry hacking cough accompanied by violent thirst and cutting pains in the sides. When seized with the fever he drank a few measures of ice-cold water and longed, helplessly, for the first rays of the morning light. Weak and ill, he permitted himself to be lifted into the Leiterwagen and arrived, at last, weak, exhausted and without strength, in Vienna.” Wawruch derived his information from Beethoven, possibly in part also from Karl, the only witness from whom a succinct and absolutely correct account was to have been expected; unhappily the tale, which Karl must have been called upon to tell many times, was never reported. The untrustworthiness of Schindler’s statements about the incidents of which he had no personal knowledge is emphasized by obvious efforts made to falsify and emasculate the record in the Conversation Books, concerning which it will soon become necessary to speak.

One Of Schindler’s Slanders Refuted

It was Saturday, December 2nd, 1826, then, that Beethoven arrived in Vienna from Gneixendorf and went to his lodgings in the Schwarzspanierhaus. It does not appear that he considered himself seriously ill, for in a letter to Holz which must have been written two, or more likely three, days later, he says merely that he is “unpässlich,” that is, indisposed. The letter was the second of its kind, the first having been mislaid. In this letter he asked Holz to come to him. It was written from dictation, but before appending his signature Beethoven wrote, “Finally, I add to this ‘We all err, only each in a different way’,” setting the quoted words to music for a canon. This canon, of which an autograph copy on a separate sheet of paper is preserved in the Royal Library at Berlin, points to a possibility that some misunderstanding had arisen between Beethoven and Holz just before the former started for Gneixendorf. Inasmuch as Holz is at Beethoven’s side at least ten days before Schindler appears there, and gives his services to the sick man until the end, though not to the extent that Schindler does after his coming, the latter’s efforts to create the impression that Beethoven had sent Holz away from him is disingenuous, to say the least. Holz’s first act convicts Schindler of an error which can scarcely be set down as an innocent one. The story involves one of the slanders against Karl which has been repeated from Schindler’s day to this, although its refutation needed only a glance into the Conversation Books of December, 1826. Schindler says that he did not learn of Beethoven’s condition until “several days” after his return to Vienna. That he then hurried to him and learned that neither Dr. Braunhofer nor Dr. Staudenheimer,[273] though sent for by Beethoven, had answered the summons and that Dr. Wawruch’s coming was due to something only a little better than an accident. Karl, though charged with the duty of summoning a physician, had forgotten, or neglected, to so do, for several days. His commission occurred to him while playing at billiards, and he incidentally asked a marqueur (scorer) in the billiard-room to send a physician to his uncle. The marqueur, not being well, could not do it at the time, but mentioned the matter some time later to Dr. Wawruch at the hospital to which he had been taken. This story of unexampled heartlessness, to which Dr. Gerhard von Breuning also gave currency, Schindler said he had heard from Dr. Wawruch; but it is branded as a shameless fabrication by Dr. Wawruch’s published statement and the evidence of the Conversation Book. Dr. Wawruch wrote a history of Beethoven’s illness entitled “Ärztlicher Rückblick auf Ludwig van Beethoven’s letzte Lebensepoche” under date of May 20, 1827, which was published by Aloys Fuchs in the “Wiener Zeitschrift” of April 30, 1842. In this report Dr. Wawruch says, “I was not called in until the third day.” This third day would be December 5th, and the date has twofold confirmation in the Conversation Book. A fortnight after Beethoven’s return to Vienna there is an entry in Karl’s handwriting of the physician’s visits beginning with December 5th and ending with December 14, which shows that within this period Dr. Wawruch made daily visits and on one day came twice. Schindler’s name does not appear until some time after this entry, and it is recorded in a manner which indicates plainly that it was his first meeting with the sick man. As the book was folded and renumbered by Schindler the page on which this entry appears is made to look as if it preceded others which are filled with evidences of Holz’s helpfulness, but the records of the first call of the physician are plain and undisputable. It was Holz who sent for him and he did so on December 5, the day on which the first visit is noted. Evidently Holz had hastened to Beethoven on receiving the letter asking him to come which Karl seems to have delivered to him on the 4th or 5th. What passed at the first meeting does not appear, but this remark in the handwriting of Holz does:

I have had Professor Wawruch called for you; Vivenot is himself sick. I do not know Wawruch personally, but he is known here as one of the most skillful physicians.—He is Bogner’s doctor.—He is professor in the hospital.—He will come after dinner.

Vivenot was a physician. In all probability Beethoven had exhausted the list of physicians of his acquaintance (Smetana, a[274] surgeon, may not have been considered and Malfatti could not be at the time for reasons which Beethoven knew and was made painfully to feel later), before Holz succeeded in securing the attendance of Wawruch.[163] According to the accepted story, Braunhofer, who had been the last physician to treat Beethoven before the misfortunes of the summer, had declined the call because of the too great distance between his house and Beethoven’s, and Staudenheimer, whom Braunhofer had displaced, promised to come but did not. The latter, probably both, took part later in the consultations. Wawruch was an amateur violoncello player and an ardent admirer of Beethoven’s music. When he comes to his august patient, though he permits Karl to write the questions, he takes the pencil himself to tell who he is: “One who greatly reveres your name will do everything possible to give you speedy relief—Prof. Wawruch.” In his history of the case Wawruch writes:

I found Beethoven afflicted with serious symptoms of inflammation of the lungs. His face glowed, he spat blood, his respiration threatened suffocation and a painful stitch in the side made lying on the back a torment. A severe counter-treatment for inflammation soon brought the desired relief; his constitution triumphed and by a lucky crisis he was freed from apparent mortal danger, so that on the fifth day he was able, in a sitting posture, to tell me, amid profound emotion, of the discomforts which he had suffered. On the seventh day he felt considerably better, so that he was able to get out of bed, walk about, read and write.

Dr. Gerhard von Breuning, who was concerned in proving that Dr. Wawruch was a bungling practitioner, protests that Beethoven was not suffering from inflammation of the lungs but from inflammation of the peritoneum, which alone, he says, could have brought on the dropsy of the belly from which it has been thought until recently Beethoven died. He based his opinion on the fact, which, though only a boy of 13, he may have observed in the sick-room, that the patient did not cough, had no difficulty in breathing, and that afterwards his lungs were found to be sound.[275] Wawruch, however, an experienced physician, is speaking of what he observed on his first visit and is not likely to have erred in so obvious a matter as incipient lobar pneumonia, the general history of which as now understood agrees with the recorded account of Beethoven’s case, even in such details as the critical period reached on the fifth day. The subsequent strength of the lungs is not inconsistent with the theory that in the first week Beethoven weathered an attack of pneumonia.

Beethoven’s Health in the Country

There are few references to the state of Beethoven’s health during the sojourn at Gneixendorf, but that he was ill when he arrived there is indicated by an early remark by Johann attributing an improvement in the condition of his eyes to the good air “without rosewater.” Johann wrote later that, when with him, Beethoven ate little. When the food was not prepared to his taste he ate soft-boiled eggs for dinner “and drank all the more wine.” He had frequent attacks of diarrhœa. His abdomen also became distended so that he wore a bandage for comfort. Wawruch had no knowledge of his patient’s previous medical history and was compelled to discover for himself what his colleagues, to whom the sick man’s call was first extended, would have known from their earlier experiences with him. Schindler attacks Wawruch on the ground that he had said that Beethoven was addicted to the use of spirituous liquors. The Conversation Books and other testimony plentifully indicate that the great composer was fond of wine and that his physicians had difficulty in enforcing abstinence upon him; but the only one who, by indirection, accused Beethoven of drinking to excess, was Schindler, whose statements on that point are not free from the suspicion that they were made only for the purpose of hitting Holz over Wawruch’s shoulders.[164]

Wawruch’s report continues:

But on the eighth day I was alarmed not a little. At the morning visit I found him greatly disturbed and jaundiced all over his body. A frightful choleraic attack (Brechdurchfall) had threatened in the preceding night. A violent rage, a great grief because of ingratitude and undeserved humiliation, was the cause of the mighty explosion. Trembling and shivering he bent double because of the pains which raged in his liver and intestines, and his feet, thitherto moderately inflated, were tremendously swollen. From this time on dropsy developed, the segregation of urine became less, the liver showed plain indication of hard nodules, there was an increase of jaundice. Gentle entreaties[276] from his friends quieted the threatening mental tempest, and the forgiving man forgot all the humiliation which had been put upon him. But the disease moved onward with gigantic strides. Already in the third week there came incidents of nocturnal suffocation; the enormous volume of collected water demanded speedy relief and I found myself compelled to advise tapping in order to guard against the danger of bursting.

After Dr. Wawruch had reached this decision, Dr. Staudenheimer was called in consultation and he confirmed the attending physician’s opinion as to the necessity of an operation. Beethoven was told. “After a few moments of serious thought he gave his consent.” The servant Thekla, who had, apparently, come from Gneixendorf (as her name appears in the Conversation Book used there), in the midst of the preparations for the operation had been found to be dishonest and dismissed. The composer’s brother had arrived in Vienna about December 10 and thereafter is found constant in his attendance, a fact which it becomes necessary to mention because of the obvious effort of Schindler to create the impression that the burden of the care of Beethoven had been assumed by him, von Breuning and the latter’s son Gerhard. Wawruch had retained Dr. Seibert, principal surgeon (Primärwundarzt) at the hospital, to perform the operation. The date was December 20 (not 18, as Schindler says). Those present were Johann, Karl and Schindler. Beethoven’s sense of humor did not desert him. When, the incision having been made, Dr. Seibert introduced the tube and the water spurted out, Beethoven said: “Professor, you remind me of Moses striking the rock with his staff.”[165] Wawruch writes in the Conversation Book:

Thank God, it is happily over!—Do you already feel relief?—If you feel ill you must tell me.—Did the incision give you any pain?—From to-day the sun will continue to ascend higher.—God save you! [This in English.] Lukewarm almond milk.—Do you not now feel pain?—Continue to lie quietly on your side.—Five measures and a half.—I hope that you will sleep more quietly to-night.... You bore yourself like a knight.

Multiplication and Handel’s Scores

In the early days after Beethoven’s return to Vienna there is a continuation of the correspondence with Schott and Sons concerning the publication of the works which they had purchased, and before the end of December, probably in the third week, occurs the incident of the disappointing gift from the King of Prussia which makes its appearance in the record with something like a shout of “Good news!” from Schindler. Karl is busily occupied[277] in preparations for his military career and upon him, until the arrival of Holz, appears to devolve the labor of writing and of carrying messages. The Conversation Book used by him on the 4th of December and the two following days bears a pathetic proof of Beethoven’s helplessness in the matter of figures. A page or so is filled with examples in simple multiplication—tables, without answers, of threes, fours, sevens, etc.—and the remark, “Then backwards.” Later Karl writes an explanation: “Multiplication is a simplified form of addition, wherefore examples are performed in the same manner. Each product is set under its proper place. If it consists of two digits, the left one is added to the product of the next. Here a small illustration: 2348 multiplied by 2.” It was thus that the great genius approaching his 56th birthday was employing his time while waiting in vain for the physicians who would not or could not answer his summons!

One joyful event brightened the solitary gloom of the sick-chamber in the middle of December. From Stumpff, of London, Beethoven received the 40 volumes of Dr. Arnold’s edition of the works of Handel which the donor had resolved to send Beethoven on his visit in 1824. Gerhard von Breuning pictures the joy of Beethoven at the reception of the gift, which he described as royal compared with that of the King of Prussia. One day the boy was asked to hand the big books from the pianoforte where they rested to the bed. “I have long wanted them,” said the composer to his faithful little friend, “for Handel is the greatest, the ablest composer that ever lived. I can still learn from him.” He leaned the books against the wall, turned over the pages, and ever and anon paused to break out into new expressions of praise. Von Breuning places these incidents in the middle of February, 1827, but his memory was plainly at fault. Schindler says the books arrived in December, and he is right, for Stumpff preserved the receipt for them, a letter and Reichardt’s “Taschenbuch für Reisende,” which is dated “December 14, 1826.” The gift was sent through the son of Stumpff’s friend Streicher.

Stephan von Breuning had called on Beethoven shortly after his arrival and the work of making a soldier of Karl was begun at once. It was expected that the preparations would occupy only a few days, but they dragged themselves through the month of December, owing partly, no doubt, to an illness which befell the Councillor. There were formal calls to be made upon the Lieut. Field Marshal and other officers, a physical examination to be undergone (it was most perfunctory), uniforms to be provided, the oath of service to be taken, and his monthly allowance to be[278] fixed. All this was disposed of by the date of the first tapping, and it was expected that he would set out to join his regiment at Iglau before the Christmas holidays. There is no evidence of a change in the attitude towards each other of uncle and nephew. Some of Karl’s entries in the Conversation Books betray a testiness which is in marked contrast to Beethoven’s obvious solicitude for the young man’s position and comfort in his regiment; but the entries also indicate that illness had not sweetened the disposition of the sufferer. His outbursts of rage are the subject of warnings from physicians and friends. We have Schindler’s word for it that Beethoven became cheerful after the graceless youth’s departure for Iglau on January 2nd, and the testimony of the Conversation Book that the old year closed upon a quarrel between the two. Karl writes this greeting on New Year’s day: “I wish you a happy new year, and it grieves me that I should have been compelled already in the first night to give cause for displeasure. It might easily have been avoided, however, if you had but given the order to have my meal taken to my room.”

It is very possible that Beethoven’s spirits grew lighter after the departure of his nephew. The service which Karl gave his uncle seems frequently to have been given grudgingly and no doubt looked more ungracious than it may really have been, when accompanied by protests that he would not be found failing in duty and petulant requests that he be spared upbraidings and torments. To satisfy the singular mixture of affectionate solicitude and suspicion which filled Beethoven’s heart and mind would perhaps have taxed the philosophy of a wiser as well as gentler being than this young man, who, as Johann’s wife told the composer in Gneixendorf, had inherited the testy family temper. When open quarrels were no longer possible, it is likely that a greater contentment than had lodged there for a long time filled Beethoven’s soul. There is no record of the parting, and it is safe to assume that it passed off without emotional demonstration of any kind. But Beethoven’s thoughts went swiftly towards his self-assumed duty of providing for the young man’s future. The very next day he wrote the following letter to Dr. Bach:

Providing for the Nephew’s Future

Vienna, Wednesday January 3, 1827.

Before my death I declare my beloved nephew my sole and universal heir of all the property which I possess in which is included chiefly seven bank shares and whatever money may be on hand. If the laws prescribe a modification in this I beg of you as far as possible to turn it to his advantage. I appoint you his curator and beg his guardian, Court Councillor von Breuning, to take the place of a father to him. God[279] preserve you. A thousand thanks for the love and friendship which you have shown me.

(L. S.) Ludwig van Beethoven

From Gerhard von Breuning’s account of the last days of Beethoven it would seem that this letter, though written on January 3rd, and then addressed to his legal adviser, was not signed until shortly before his death, and that at intervals in the interim it was the subject of consultations between the composer, Bach, Breuning, Schindler and Johann. Certain it is that before dispatching the letter to Bach, Beethoven submitted it to von Breuning for an opinion. Gerhard carried it to his father and brought back an answer which may have postponed its formal execution and delivery till two days before Beethoven died. Stephan von Breuning was not willing that Karl should enter upon unrestricted possession of the property immediately upon the death of his uncle. In his letter he pointed out that till now Karl had shown himself frivolous and that there was no knowing what turn his character might take as a result of the new life upon which he had entered. He therefore advised that for the young man’s own good and future safety he be prohibited from disposing of the capital of his inheritance, either during his lifetime or for a term of years after he had reached his majority, which under the Austrian law then prevailing was the age of 24 years. He argued that the income from the legacy would suffice for his maintenance for the time being and that to restrict him in the disposition of the capital would ensure him against the possible results of frivolous conduct before he should ripen into a man of solid parts. He recommended that Beethoven talk the matter over with Bach and wanted then to consult with both of them, as he feared that even a temporary restriction would not suffice to restrain Karl from making debts which in time would devour the inheritance when he should enter upon it. How Beethoven received this advice we shall learn later.

There is little that need be added to the story of the nephew. He was with his regiment at Iglau. Through Schindler, Beethoven wrote him a letter. It is lost, but apparently it contained an expression of dissatisfaction with Dr. Wawruch, for in the reply, which has been preserved, Karl says: “Concerning yourself I am rejoiced to know that you are in good hands. I, too, had felt some distrust of the treatment of your former (or, perhaps, present?) physician; I hope improvement will now follow.” He reports about his situation in the regiment, asks for money and the flute part of the Pianoforte Concerto in B-flat (Op. 19), which[280] one of the officers of the regiment wished to play, and adds in a postscript: “Do not think that the little privations to which I am now subjected have made me dissatisfied with my lot. On the contrary, rest assured that I am living in contentment, and regret only that I am separated so far from you. In time, however, this will be different.” But communications from the young man are not many, and Schindler’s rebukes and complaints in the Conversation Books about his undutifulness are probably only a reflex of Beethoven’s moods and utterances. One cause of dissatisfaction was the fact that a letter to Smart had been sent to him for translation and was not promptly returned. But he acknowledges the receipt of money towards the end of February, and on March 4th he writes another letter, which has been preserved. He sends his thanks for a pair of boots, says the translation of the letter to Smart must have been received, and adds:

To-day a cadet returned to his batallion who had been in Vienna on a furlough; and he reports having heard that you had been saved by an ice and are feeling well. I hope the report is true, no matter what the means may have been... Write me very soon about the state of your health ... I kiss you. Your loving son Charles.

Here Karl van Beethoven practically disappears from this history. He never saw his uncle in life again, nor even in death, for he was not present at the funeral—as indeed in those days of tardy communication and slow conveyance he could not be.

Scenes in the Composer’s Sick-room

Notwithstanding that they do not make a complete record, since the slate was also, and indeed largely, used by Beethoven’s visitors, and despite the fact that they have not been left intact, but bear evidences of mutilation and falsification, the Conversation Books furnish a more vivid and also a more pathetic picture of Beethoven’s sick-room than the writings of Schindler and Gerhard von Breuning. Busy about the couch of the patient we see his brother Johann and his nephew Karl, besides Schindler, Holz and Stephan von Breuning. The visits of the last are interrupted by illness and his official labors, but his son, the lad Gerhard, frequently lends a gracious touch to the scene by his familiar mode of address, his gossip about his father’s domestic affairs and his suggestions of intellectual pabulum for his august friend. He is a daily message-bearer between the two households. Even at a sacrifice of space it is necessary to recount a few incidents of small intrinsic interest in order that some errors in history may be rectified. Notwithstanding Schindler’s obvious efforts to have the contrary appear, Holz continues to be faithful in attendance, though his visits are not so numerous as they were during the[281] weeks of Beethoven’s great trial in the summer. The reason was obvious and certainly not to his discredit, though Schindler attempted to belittle it. Holz took unto himself a wife about the time that Beethoven returned to Vienna. Thitherto he had been able to devote a large portion of the time not given to official duties to his friend. Now, this was no longer possible; nor was it necessary after Dr. Wawruch had assumed care of the case. Beethoven’s brother also returned to Vienna and Schindler found his way back to the composer’s side within a fortnight. It is Holz, however, who looks after the correction and publication of the last compositions, and collects his annuity; and if it were necessary, his apologists might find evidence of Beethoven’s confidence in his friendship and integrity in the fact that there is no indication that he ever questioned his honesty in money matters, while there is proof in Schindler’s own handwriting that Beethoven thought him capable of theft. It is pitiful that while Schindler is sacrificing himself in almost menial labors, Beethoven forces him to a pained protestation that he had returned the balance of a sum placed in his hands wherewith to make purchases. Schindler himself records the fact of Beethoven’s suspicion with sorrow. A livelier sense of gratitude took possession of the sufferer later and found expression in gifts of autograph scores (of the Ninth Symphony, for instance, now in the Royal Library[166] at Berlin), and a promise, which he was unable to fulfill, to take part in a concert for Schindler’s benefit.

Whether Schindler was always as scrupulously honest in his attitude towards the public as he was in his dealings with Beethoven may be doubted. There are mutilations, interlineations and erasures in the Conversation Books which it is difficult to believe were not made for the purpose of bolstering up mistaken statements in his biography, which had already been published when the documents passed out of his hands into the possession of the Royal Library. Here is a case in point: Schuppanzigh has[282] called and reported that one of Beethoven’s quartets had been enthusiastically received by the public at a performance on the preceding Sunday (December 10, 1826). To what seems to have been an oral comment, Beethovens adds the words and music of the motto from the Quartet in F: “Muss es sein? Es muss sein.” This moves Schuppanzigh to say: “But does he”—(Beethoven, of course, whom Schuppanzigh addresses in the third person as usual)—“does he know that the dirty fellow has become my enemy on that account?” Here we have an unmistakable allusion to the anecdote about Dembscher and the origin of the Canon on the theme of the finale of the F major Quartet. A few pages later Schindler is the writer and has just brought the news of the arrival of the ring presented to Beethoven by the King of Prussia. He had been asked to carry the ring to Beethoven, but had been unwilling to accept it unless he could give Beethoven’s receipt for it in exchange. He adds the words “Es muss sein” as if in answer to a question by Beethoven. Now appear squeezed in between the music and the edge of the sheet the words: “The Old Woman (Die Alte) is again in need of her weekly allowance.” The handwriting is plainly of a different date and at the time of the conversation the “Old Woman” was not in Beethoven’s employ.[167] It is not easy to acquit Schindler of a sinister motive here nor to avoid the suspicion that it was his hand which made an attempt to obliterate the entry on December 5, which proves that Holz sent for Dr. Wawruch on that date and thus gives the lie to the infamous story about Karl and the billiard marqueur. The evidences of Schindler’s eagerness to encourage Beethoven’s detestation of his brother and his suspicion of his nephew are too numerous to be overlooked, and some of them may call for mention later.

An offer by Gerhard von Breuning to bring one of his school-books containing pictures of classic antiquities is an evidence of the lad’s familiarity with Beethoven’s literary tastes. It was Brother Johann, however, who suggested the novels of Sir Walter Scott for his entertainment, and the impression conveyed by the story that after beginning “Kenilworth” Beethoven threw the volume down with the angry remark: “To the devil with the scrib[283]bling! The fellow writes only for money,” that the composer would have no more of the novelist, is rudely disturbed by evidence that Beethoven read all of Scott’s works which were to be found in translation in the circulating library. Beethoven later himself calls for Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”; and his interest in international politics is so keen that he is not content with an abstract of Channing’s great speech of December 12, 1826, but expresses a desire to read a full report.

Dissatisfied with His Physician

While Beethoven’s friends are discussing with Dr. Wawruch the necessity of a second tapping, and Karl is packing his boxes for Iglau, the year 1826 ends. The surgeon Seibert seems to have advised a postponement of the operation. In a conversation on January 6, 1827, Schindler says to Beethoven: “Then Hr. Seibert was really right in still postponing the second operation, for it will probably make a third unnecessary.” There are now signs of Beethoven’s dissatisfaction with the attending physician. Gerhard von Breuning has much to say on the point in his little book, and Schindler joins in the criticism many years after Beethoven’s death; but in the Conversation Books he appears more than once as Wawruch’s defender. From von Breuning we learn that while at a later date Malfatti’s coming was awaited with eagerness and hailed with unfeigned gladness, Wawruch’s visits were ungraciously received, Beethoven sometimes turning his face to the wall and exclaiming “Oh! the ass!” when he heard his name announced. But in the first week of January, Schindler is still concerned in keeping up the patient’s faith in the skill of his physician. In a Conversation Book he writes shortly after the remark about the surgeon:

He understands his profession, that is notorious, and he is right in following a safe course.—I have a great deal of confidence in him, but I can not speak from experience.—However, he is known as an able man and is esteemed by his students. But as we are here concerned with a carum caput my advice from the beginning has been always to take into consultation a physician who is familiar with your constitution from medical treatment; such an one generally adopts very different measures.

Evidently, Beethoven renews his expression of distrust. Schindler continues:

Yet it is better and more advisable not to lose confidence in the physician, for after all he has done a great deal.—It is a very well-known fact that dropsy is very slow of cure.—Shall I come when the doctor is here?

A few days later (January 8, says Schindler, who was present) the second operation took place. There were no[284] complications, the tapping was accomplished without difficulty and Dr. Seibert reported that the water was clearer and the outflow greater than the first time. Ten measures were drawn off. On January 11 there was a consultation of physicians to which, besides either Dr. Braunhofer or Staudenheimer, Dr. Malfatti had been called. It had become an ardent wish of Beethoven’s that Malfatti undertake his case, but Malfatti had refused, pleading professional ethics, but no doubt actuated by reasons of a more personal character. Many years before, probably as early as 1813, he had been not only Beethoven’s physician but also his friend; indeed, he was an uncle of the Therese Malfatti to whom the composer once made an offer of marriage. He made, what it is easy to imagine to have been, the experience of all the medical men who undertook the care of the great man. Beethoven was ever a disobedient and impatient patient. He became dissatisfied with Dr. Malfatti’s treatment and commented upon it and him in such a manner as to cause a serious and lasting estrangement. Ten years at least had elapsed between this incident and the time when Beethoven’s longing went out towards his one-time professional friend. Schindler’s story of the disappointments which he suffered when first he tried to persuade Dr. Malfatti to take the case in hand was printed in the “Frankfurter Konversationsblatt” of July 14, 1842. It was a long time afterward, and we can not withhold a suspicion that it is rather highly colored, but since the coming of Malfatti was a matter of large moment to Beethoven and the treatment which he recommended (strictly speaking, he can not be said to have prescribed it, for Dr. Wawruch remained in charge of the case to the end) has a large bearing upon Beethoven’s physical condition and its causes, it may be told here. Schindler writes, in his communication to the Frankfort newspaper:

Never shall I forget the harsh words of that man which he commissioned me to bear to the friend and teacher who lay mortally ill, when after the second operation (January 8) I repeatedly carried to him the urgent requests of Beethoven that he come to his help or he should die. Dr. Wawruch did not know his constitution, was ruining him with too much medicine. He had already been compelled to empty 75 bottles, without counting various powders, he had no confidence in this physician, etc. To all of these representations Malfatti answered me coldly and drily: “Say to Beethoven that he, as a master of harmony, must know that I must also live in harmony with my colleagues.” Beethoven wept bitter tears when I brought him this reply, which, hard as it was, I had to do, so that he might no longer look for help to that quarter.... Though Malfatti finally took pity on poor Beethoven and abolished Wawruch’s medicine bottles at once and prescribed an entirely different course of treatment, despite the pleadings of the patient he refused to remain his[285] ordinarius and visit him often. On the contrary, he came only at long intervals and contented himself with occasional reports from me as to the sick man’s condition. He was not willing even to send one of his assistants to Beethoven and consequently Dr. Wawruch remained his daily visitor in spite of Beethoven’s protests.

Reconciliation with Dr. Malfatti

On January 19, after a second visit to Dr. Malfatti, Schindler wrote to Beethoven saying that the Doctor would come to him and begging him to seek a reconciliation, inasmuch as Malfatti still cherished resentment because of the treatment which he had received a decade before at Beethoven’s hands. Malfatti came, a reconciliation was effected, and under the inspiration of the changed treatment which Malfatti introduced Beethoven’s spirits rose buoyantly, his physical condition responded and the despair which had begun to fill the sufferer gave way to a confident hope of recovery. The treatment was simple, but the improvement which it brought about was not lasting. Malfatti put away the drugs and decoctions and prescribed frozen punch, and rubbing the patient’s abdomen with ice-cold water. Dr. Wawruch in his history of the case confirms Schindler’s statement of the beneficial results which were at first attained. He says:

Then Dr. Malfatti, who thenceforth supported me with his advice, and who, as a friend of Beethoven of long years’ standing understood his predominant inclination for spirituous liquors, hit upon the notion of administering frozen punch. I must confess that the treatment produced excellent effects for a few days at least. Beethoven felt himself so refreshed by the ice with its alcoholic contents that already in the first night he slept quietly throughout the night and began to perspire profusely. He grew cheerful and was full of witty conceits and even dreamed of being able to complete the oratorio “Saul and David”[168] which he had begun. But this joy, as was to have been foreseen, did not last long. He began to abuse the prescription and applied himself right bravely to the frozen punch. The spirits soon caused a violent pressure of the blood upon the brain, he grew soporous, breathed stertorously like an intoxicated person, began to wander in his speech, and a few times inflammatory pains in the throat were paired with hoarseness and even aphony. He became more unruly and when, because of the cooling of the bowels, colic and diarrhœa resulted, it was high time to deprive him of this precious refreshment.

Wawruch’s remark here about Beethoven’s predilection for spirituous liquors formed the basis for Schindler’s charge, which[286] has already been discussed, that the physician had slandered Beethoven and had tried to create the impression that he had contracted dropsy by inordinate use of alcoholic drinks. The account of the beneficial effect of Malfatti’s coming, no less than the treatment which he prescribed, is reasonable enough. Beethoven no doubt, in the warm glow of a recovered friendship, gave the physician a full measure of confidence and hailed in him much more than the ordinary professional leech. It is also safe to assume that Malfatti knew from the beginning that a cure was impossible and strove at once for temporary relief, which in Beethoven’s case was the surest of means for cheering him up and reanimating hope within him. By administering frozen punch he stimulated the jaded organs more successfully than Wawruch had succeeded in doing; at the same time he warned against excess in its use and forbade the patient taking it in a liquid form. But this was only at the beginning; when he saw the inevitable end approaching he waived all injunctions as to quantity. Schindler says:

The quantity of frozen punch permitted in the first weeks was not more than one glass a day. Not until after the fourth operation (February 27th), when it was seen that the case was hopeless, were all restrictions removed. The noble patient, feeling the marked effects of a doubled and even trebled allowance meanwhile, thought himself already half saved and wanted to work on his tenth symphony, which he was allowed to do to a small extent. From these days, so extraordinary in the sight of the friends who surrounded him, the last lines are dated which he wrote to me on March 17—nine days before his death—the very last page which the immortal master wrote with his own hands:

“Miracles! Miracles! Miracles! The highly learned gentlemen are both defeated! Only through Malfatti’s science shall I be saved. It is necessary that you come to me for a moment this forenoon.”

The reiteration of the word “miracles” is indicated by the usual musical sign of repetition 𝄎. There is no date in Beethoven’s handwriting, but Schindler has endorsed it: “Beethoven’s last lines to Schindler on March 17, 1827.” The endorsement is of a later date and marks another obvious error of memory. It is not possible that Beethoven wrote the letter after he had himself abandoned all hope of recovery, as he had before the date affixed by Schindler. Most obviously the pathetic document is an outburst of jubilation on feeling the exhilaration consequent on Malfatti’s prescription, as mentioned in Dr. Wawruch’s report. Schindler says that the “learned gentlemen” referred to were Wawruch and Seibert. Wawruch says that Beethoven abandoned hope after the fourth tapping; Johann van Beethoven records[287] that the physicians declared him lost on March 16. Schindler in his biography describes a letter written in February as the last letter actually written by the composer.

Treatment of the Patient

Gerhard von Breuning, prejudiced as he was against Dr. Wawruch, was yet far from unqualified in his praise of Malfatti. He says:

But the usually brilliant physician seems to have been little inspired in the presence of Beethoven. The frozen punch which he prescribed to restore the tone of the digestive organs, excessively weakened by Wawruch’s overload of medicaments, had, indeed, the desired restorative effect; but it was too transient. On the other hand a sort of sweat-bath prescribed a few days after the second[169] operation was so obviously injurious to the patient, filled with longing and hope, that it had to be abandoned at once. Jugs filled with hot water were arranged in a bath-tub and covered thickly with birch leaves on which the patient was seated, all of his body but the head being covered with a sheet. Malfatti hoped for a beneficient action upon the skin and to put the organs into a productive perspiration. But the very opposite effect resulted. The body of the patient, which had been emptied of its water by the scarcely completed tapping, attracted the moisture developed by the bath like a block of salt; it swelled visibly in the apparatus and in a few days compelled the introduction anew of the tube into the still unhealed puncture.

The story of this sweat-bath needs to be told, if for no other reason than because it is the basis of another of the romances still current, which were retailed for the single purpose of presenting Beethoven as a sufferer from the niggardliness of Johann. On January 25 (the date is fixed by a remark of Johann’s in the Conversation Book) Schindler brought word to Beethoven that the mother of the singer Fräulein Schechner had sent for him that morning to tell him about two remedies which had proved efficacious in the case of her father, who had also been afflicted with dropsy. One of these was Juniperberry tea, the other a vapor bath from a decoction, the ingredients of which were a head of cabbage, two handfuls of caraway seeds and three handfuls of hayseed (Heublumen). These remedies had been prescribed by the physician of the late King of Bavaria and had worked a cure in the case of Madame Schechner’s father when he was 70 years old. Dr. Malfatti seems to have been told of these remedies and to have prescribed the bath, which, it is said in the Conversation Books, he recognized at once as a cure used by Dr. Harz, the Royal Physician mentioned. Within a day or two Schindler notes in the book, that he had asked Johann for some hay and the latter had replied that his hay was not good enough for the purpose; but the next day,[288] on seeing the hay, which had been procured from another source, Johann had said that he had plenty of that sort and that his was dryer. Unwilling, apparently, to admit that Johann might have been honest in his belief that the hay from his stable was not fit for medicinal purposes, Schindler writes for Beethoven’s perusal: “Is it not abominable that he is unwilling even to give hay for a single bath!” Yet this monster of inhumanity, unwilling to sacrifice even a wisp of hay for a dying brother, was at the time in daily attendance upon that brother and had taken upon himself a great deal of the onerous and disagreeable labor of the sick-room!

Among Beethoven’s visitors in February, near the end of the month, when Beethoven was at an extremity of his suffering, was the singer Demoiselle Schechner, who almost forced her way to the bedside to tell him of her great admiration for his music, of her successes in “Fidelio,” and that it was through singing his “Adelaide” that she had won her way to the operatic stage. Under date of February there also came to the composer a cheery letter from his old playmate Wegeler, calling to his mind some of his early flames—Jeanette Honrath and Fräulein Westerholt—and playfully outlining a plan by which the old friends might enjoy a reunion: he would send, he said, one of his patients to Carlsbad and go there with him as soon as Beethoven should arrange also to go there for his convalescence. Then, after a three weeks’ trip through South Germany, there should be a final visit to the home of their childhood. And, as before, Eleonore sends a postscript emphasizing the pleasures of the reunion. Beethoven answered the letter on February 17, and told his old friend how he had tried to send him a letter and portrait through Stephan von Breuning on December 10, but the plan had miscarried. Now the matter was to be entrusted to the Schotts.

Zmeskall, faithful to the old friendship, a bound prisoner to his room through gout, sends greetings and inquiries through Schindler. From his sick-bed Beethoven answers him, not in the jocular spirit which marked his voluminous notes of old, but in terms which breathe sincerity and real friendship:

A thousand thanks for your sympathy. I do not despair. The most painful feature is the cessation of all activity. No evil without its good side. May heaven but grant you amelioration of your painful existence. Perhaps health is coming to both of us and we shall meet again in friendly intimacy.

Comfort Received from England

Though Beethoven had received the Handel scores in December, he does not seem to have had an opportunity to enjoy Stumpff’s gift thoroughly until he turned to them for intellectual[289] refreshment on his bed of pain. He had signed the receipt for them in December, but it was not until his thoughts turned to his English friends in the hope of pecuniary relief that he wrote a letter to Stumpff under date of February 8.[170]

How great a joy the sending of the works of Handel of which you made me a present—for me a royal present!—this my pen cannot describe. An article about it was even printed by the newspaper, which I enclose. Unfortunately I have been down with the dropsy since the 3rd of December. You can imagine in what a situation this places me! I live generally only from the proceeds of my brain, to make provision of all things for myself and my Carl. Unhappily for a month and a half I have not been able to write a note. My salary suffices only to pay my semi-annual rent, after which there remains only a few hundred florins. Reflect now that it cannot yet be determined when my illness will end, I again be able to sail through the air on Pegasus under full sail. Doctor, surgeon, everything must be paid.

I recall right well that several years ago the Philharmonic Society wanted to give a concert for my benefit. It would be fortunate for me if they would come to this determination now. It might save me from all the needs which confront me. On this account I am writing to Mr. S. [Smart] and if you, my dear friend, can do anything toward this end I beg of you to coöperate with Mr. S. Moscheles will also be written to about it and if all my friends unite I believe that something can be done for me in this matter.

Concerning the Handel works for H. Imperial Highness Archduke Rudolph, I cannot as yet say anything with certainty. But I will write to him in a few days and remind him of it.

While thanking you again for your glorious gift, I beg of you to command me if I can be of service to you here in any way, I shall do it with all my heart. I again place my condition as I have described it close to your benevolent heart and while wishing you all things good and beautiful, I commend myself to you.

Stumpff had already been informed of Beethoven’s illness by Streicher. It is evident that he went at once to Smart and Moscheles, and knowledge of Beethoven’s condition and request was communicated to the directors of the Philharmonic Society forthwith. Beethoven, meanwhile, had written to both Smart and Moscheles, enclosing the letter of the former in the letter to the latter; but the quick and sympathetic action of the Society was no doubt due primarily to the initiative of Stumpff, for the letters could by no means have reached London when the directors held a meeting on February 28. Mr. Dance presided, and those[290] present, as recorded in the Society’s minutes, were F. Cramer, Horsley, Moralt, Dragonetti, Neate, Dizi, Beale, T. Cooke, Sir G. Smart, Welsh, Latour, Spagnoletti, Calkin, J. B. Cramer, Cipriani Potter and Watts. The minutes continue:

It was moved by Mr. Neate, and seconded by Mr. Latour:

“That this Society do lend the sum of One Hundred Pounds to its own members to be sent through the hands of Mr. Moscheles to some confidential friend of Beethoven, to be applied to his comforts and necessities during his illness.”

Carried unanimously.

Both Stumpff and Moscheles wrote the good news to Beethoven the next day. Moscheles’s letter appears in his translation, or rather paraphrase, of Schindler’s biography. In it he said:

The Philharmonic Society resolved to express their good will and lively sympathy by requesting your acceptance of 100 pounds sterling (1,000 florins) to provide the necessary comforts and conveniences during your illness. This money will be paid to your order by Mr. Rau, of the house of Eskeles, either in separate sums or all at once as you desire.

He added an expression of the Philharmonic Society’s willingness to aid him further whenever he should inform it of his need of assistance. Beethoven’s impatience was so great that, having found Smart’s address among his papers, he wrote him a second letter on March 6th, being able now to mention the fact of the fourth tapping on February 27th and to utter the apprehension that the operation might have to be repeated—perhaps more than once. On March 14th he was still without the answer of his English friends and he wrote again to Moscheles telling him of the two letters sent to Smart, urging action and concluding with

Whither is this to lead, and what is to become of me if this continues for a while longer? Verily, a hard lot has befallen me! But I yield to the will of fate and only pray God so to order it in his Divine Will that so long as I must endure this death in life I may be protected against want. This will give me strength to endure my lot, hard and terrible as it may be, with submission to the will of the Most High.... Hummel is here and has already visited me a few times.

Schindler says that the appeal to London, which had been suggested by Beethoven, had been discussed with the composer by himself and Breuning, who agreed in questioning the advisability of the step which, they said, would make a bad impression if it became known. They reminded Beethoven of his bank-shares, but he protested vigorously against their being touched; he had set them apart as a legacy for his nephew which must not be encroached upon. The letters to Smart and Moscheles are mentioned several times in the Conversation Books, but there is no[291] record of a protest by Schindler or Breuning. Inasmuch, however, as much of the conversation with Beethoven was at this time carried on with the help of a slate, it is very likely that Schindler’s statement is correct. At any rate it serves to give a quietus to the fantastic notion of the romancers that Beethoven had forgotten that he had the shares. Not only were they talked about by his friends, but they were the subject of discussion in the correspondence and congratulations between Beethoven, Bach and Breuning on the subject of the will.

The last letters to Smart and Moscheles were scarcely dispatched before advices were received from London. Beethoven dictated the following acknowledgment which Schindler, though he held the pen, did not reproduce in full in his biography:

Money from the London Philharmonic

Vienna, March 18, 1827.

My dear good Moscheles:

I can not describe to you in words with what feelings I read your letter of March 1. The generosity with which the Philharmonic Society anticipated my petition has touched me in the innermost depth of my soul. I beg you, therefore, my dear Moscheles, to be the agency through which I transmit my sincerest thanks for the particular sympathy and help, to the Philharmonic Society.

I found myself constrained to collect at once the entire sum of 1,000 florins C. M. being in the unpleasant position of raising money which would have brought new embarrassments.

Concerning the concert which the Philharmonic Society has resolved to give, I beg the Society not to abandon this noble purpose, and to deduct the 1,000 florins already sent to me from the proceeds of the concert. And if the Society is disposed graciously to send me the balance I pledge myself to return my heartiest thanks to the Society by binding myself to compose for it either a new symphony, which lies already sketched in my desk, a new overture or whatever else the Society shall wish.

May heaven very soon restore me again to health, and I will prove to the generous Englishmen how greatly I appreciate their interest in my sad fate. Their noble act will never be forgotten by me and I shall follow this with especial thanks to Sir Smart and Mr. Stumpff.

Schindler relates that Beethoven on March 24, whispered to him, “write to Smart and Stumpff,” and that he would have done so on the morrow had Beethoven been able to sign his name. In a translation of the letter to Moscheles printed in a pamphlet published by the Philharmonic Society in 1871,[171] it concluded as follows:


Farewell! with the kindest remembrances and highest esteem
From your friend
Ludwig van Beethoven.

Kindest regards to your wife. I have to thank you and the Philharmonic Society for a new friend in Mr. Rau. I enclose for the Philharmonic Society a metronomic list of the movements of my ninth Symphony.

Allegro ma non troppo88 = 𝅘𝅥
Molto vivace116 = 𝅗𝅥
Presto116 = 𝅗𝅥
Adagio primo60 = 𝅘𝅥
Andante moderato63 = 𝅗𝅥
Finale presto96 = 𝅘𝅥
Allegro ma non tanto88 = 𝅘𝅥
Allegro assai80 = 𝅗𝅥
Alla marcia84 = 𝅘𝅥
Andante maestoso72 = 𝅗𝅥
Adagio divoto60 = 𝅗𝅥
Allegro energico84 = 𝅗𝅥
Allegro ma non tanto120 = 𝅗𝅥
Prestissimo132 = 𝅗𝅥
Maestoso60 = 𝅘𝅥

The history of the Philharmonic Society’s benefaction may properly be completed at this point. The money, as is to be seen from Beethoven’s acknowledgment, was collected by the composer at once. Herr Rau, of the banking-house of Eskeles to whom it had been entrusted, called upon Beethoven immediately on receiving advices from London. It was on March 15, and two days later he enclosed Beethoven’s receipt (dated March 16) in a letter to Moscheles which the latter transmitted to Mr. W. Watts, Secretary of the Philharmonic Society. Rau wrote:

I have with the greatest surprise heard from you, who reside in London, that the universally admired Beethoven is so dangerously ill and in want of pecuniary assistance, while we, here at Vienna, are totally ignorant of it. I went to him immediately after having read your letter to ascertain his state, and to announce to him the approaching relief. This made a deep impression upon him, and called forth true expressions of gratitude. What a satisfactory sight would it have been for those who so generously relieved him to witness such a touching scene! I found poor Beethoven in a sad way, more like a skeleton than a living being. He is suffering from dropsy, and has already been tapped four times; he is under the care of our clever physician Malfatti, who unfortunately gives little hope of his recovery.

How long he may remain in his present state, or if he can at all be saved, can not yet be ascertained. The joyous sensation at the sudden relief from London has, however, had a wonderful effect upon him; it made one of the wounds (which since the last operation had healed) suddenly burst open during the night, and all the water which had gathered since a fortnight ran out freely. When I came to see him on the following day he was in remarkably good spirits and felt himself much relieved. I hastened to Malfatti to inform him of this alteration and he considers the event as very consolatory. He will contrive to keep the wound open for some time and thus leave a channel for the water which gathers continually. Beethoven is fully satisfied with his attendants, who consist of a cook and housemaid. His friend and ours, Mr. Schindler,[293] dines with him every day and thus proves his sincere attachment to him. S. also manages his correspondence and superintends his expenses. You will find enclosed a receipt from Beethoven for the 1,000 florins (or 100 pounds). When I proposed to him to take half of the sum at present, and to leave the rest with Baron Eskeles, where he might have it safely deposited, he acknowledged to me openly that he considered this money as a relief sent him from heaven; and that 500 florins would not suffice for his present want. I therefore gave him, according to his wish, the whole sum at once. Beethoven will soon address a letter to the Philharmonic Society by which he means to express his gratitude. I hope you will again accept my services whenever they can be of any use to Beethoven. I am, etc.

In a letter, dated March 24, Schindler wrote to Moscheles:

I much regret that you did not express more decidedly in your letter the wish that he should draw the 100 pounds by installments, and I agreed with Rau to recommend this course, but he (Beethoven) preferred acting on the last part of your letter. Care and anxiety seemed at once to vanish when he had received the money, and he said to me quite happily, “Now we can again look forward to some comfortable days.” We had only 340 florins, W. W. remaining and we had been obliged to be very economical for some time in our housekeeping.... His delight on receiving this gift from the Philharmonic Society resembled that of a child. A letter from that worthy man Stumpff arrived here two days before yours and all this affected Beethoven very much. Numberless times during the day he exclaimed. “May God reward them a thousandfold.”

On March 28 Rau wrote again to Moscheles:

Beethoven is no more; he died on the 26th inst. at five o’clock in the afternoon, in the most dreadful agonies of pain. He was, as I mentioned to you in my last letter, according to his own statement, without any relief, without any money, consequently in the most painful circumstances; but on taking an inventory of his property after his death, at which I was present, we found in an old half-mouldy chest, seven Austrian bank bills which amount to about 1,000 pounds. Whether Beethoven concealed these purposely, for he was very mistrusting, and hoped for a speedy recovery, or whether he was himself ignorant of his possession, remains a riddle. We found the whole of the 100 pounds which the Philharmonic Society sent him, and I reclaimed them according to your former orders.[172] but was compelled to deposit them with the magistrate until a further communication from that Society arrives. I could, of course, not permit the expenses of the burial to be paid out of this money without the[294] consent of the Society. Beethoven’s nephew now succeeds to all his property. I hope to hear from you soon and explicitly what I am to do, and you may rest perfectly assured of my promptness and exactitude.

Moscheles Reports to London

Moscheles, “by return post,” as he assures Mr. Watts, asked Rau to send the £100 back to the Philharmonic Society “according to the conditions under which the money was sent.” A correspondence ensued between Moscheles and Hotschevar, who was appointed guardian of the nephew after Breuning’s death (on June 4, 1827), which ended in Moscheles’ (as he himself says) laying before the Philharmonic Society the case of young Beethoven (then under age) and soliciting them “not to reclaim the £100, but, in honor of the great deceased, to allow the small patrimony to remain untouched.” Meanwhile it appears from a letter from Schindler to Smart dated March 31,[173] that Schindler and Breuning applied a portion of the sum to the payment of the funeral expenses; “otherwise,” says the letter, “we could not have had him decently buried without selling one of the seven bank-shares which constitute his entire estate.” The sum thus expended is shown to have been 650 florins C. M. by the inventory preserved by Fischoff.

There are evidences outside of the importunate letters to London that Beethoven had frequent spells of melancholy during the period between the crises of his disease, which culminated in the third operation on February 2,[174] and the fourth. Some of them were, no doubt, due to forebodings touching the outcome of his illness; some to the anxiety which his financial condition gave him (more imaginary than real in view of the easily convertible bank-shares), and some presumably to disappointment and chagrin at the conduct of his nephew, who had not answered his letter to Iglau. Breuning explained that the negligence might be due to Karl’s time and attention being engrossed by the carnival gayeties at the military post, and warned Beethoven that to give way to melancholy was to stand in the way of recovery. We learn this from the Conversation Books, which also give glimpses of friendly visits calculated to divert the sick man’s mind and keep him in touch with the affairs of the city, theatre and the world at large. Doležalek, Schuppanzigh, and apparently Linke also, came in a group; Beethoven showed them the Handel scores and the conversation ran out into a discussion of international politics. Moritz Lichnowsky made a call and[295] entertained him with the gossip of the theatres. Gleichenstein made several visits, and once brought with him his wife and son. The Countess was a sister of Therese Malfatti, to whom Beethoven had once made an offer of marriage, and was disappointed when Beethoven did not recognize her. About the middle of February Diabelli gave Beethoven a print-picture of Haydn’s birthplace, which he had published; Beethoven showed it to his little friend Gerhard von Breuning and said: “Look, I got this to-day. See this little house, and in it so great a man was born!”

Friends Around the Death-bed

On February 25 Holz is called by letter to look after the collection of Beethoven’s annuity. His visits have been infrequent, but evidently there are some things which Beethoven either cannot or will not entrust to anybody else. Schindler is ceaselessly and tirelessly busy with Beethoven’s affairs, but his statement that Breuning and he were the only persons who were much with the composer during his illness, except the lad, Gerhard von Breuning, must be taken with some grains of allowance. On 123 pages of the Conversation Books, covering the months of January and February, 1827 (the evidence of which can not be gainsaid, since the books were long in the hand of Schindler to do with as he willed), there are forty-eight entries by Johann van Beethoven, forty-six by Gerhard von Breuning and thirty by Breuning the elder. Schindler’s entries number 103. Other writers in the Books are Bernhard (1), Holz (7), Bach (2), Piringer (6), Haslinger (11), Schikh (1), Doležalek (4), Schuppanzigh (6), Moritz Lichnowsky (1), Gleichenstein (1), Jekel (1), Marie Schindler, Anton’s sister (1) and Wolfmayer (1).

Sometime in February—it was probably at the time when Beethoven’s mind was so fixedly bent on obtaining help from London—Schindler was either ill or suffering from an accident which kept him for a brief space from Beethoven’s bedside. The composer sent him a gift—a repast, evidently—and a letter of sympathy so disjointed in phrase as to give pitiful confirmation of Schindler’s statement that it was the last letter which Beethoven wrote with his own hand, and that at the time he could no longer think connectedly. It ran:

Concerning your accident, since it has happened, as soon as we see each other I can send to you somebody without inconvenience—accept this—here is something—Moscheles, Cramer—without your having received a letter—There will be a new occasion to write one Wednesday and lay my affairs to his heart, if you are not well by that time one of my—can take it to the post against a receipt. Vale et fave, there is no need of my assuring you of my sympathy in your accident—do take the meal from me, it is given with all my heart—Heaven be with you.


More pathetic than even this letter is the picture of the sufferer in his sick-room at the time of the fourth operation (February 27). So wretched are his surroundings that it is scarcely impossible to avoid the conviction that not poverty alone but ignorance and carelessness were contributary to the woeful lack of ordinary sick-room conveniences. Gerhard von Breuning says that after the operation the fluid which was drained from the patient’s body flowed half-way across the floor to the middle of the room; and in the C. B. there is a mention of saturated bedclothing and the physician suggests that oilcloth be procured and spread over the couch. Beethoven now gave up hope. Dr. Wawruch says: “No words of comfort could brace him up, and when I promised him alleviation of his sufferings with the coming of the vitalizing weather of Spring he answered with a smile: ‘My day’s work is finished. If there were a physician could help me his name should be called Wonderful.’ This pathetic allusion to Handel’s ‘Messiah’ touched me so deeply that I had to confess its correctness to myself with profound emotion.” The incident so sympathetically described bears evidence of veracity on its face; Handel’s scores were always in Beethoven’s mind during the last weeks of his life.

Among Beethoven’s visitors in February was Wolfmayer, whose coming must have called up a sense of a long-standing obligation and purpose in the composer’s mind.[175] On February 22nd he dictated a letter to the Schotts asking that the Quartet in C-sharp minor be dedicated to “my friend Johann Nepomuk Wolfmayer.” The letter then proceeds:

Now, however, I come with a very important request.—My doctor orders me to drink very good old Rhinewine. To get a thing of that kind unadulterated is not possible at any price. If, therefore, I were to receive a few small bottles I would show my gratitude to you in the Cæcilia. I think something would be done for me at the customs so that the transport would not cost too much. As soon as my strength allows you shall receive the metronomic marks for the Mass, for I am just in the period when the fourth operation is about to be performed. The sooner, therefore, that I receive the Rhinewine, or Moselle, the more beneficial it may be to me in my present condition; and I beg of you most heartily to do me this favor for which I shall be under an obligation of gratitude to you.

On March 1st he repeated his request:

I am under the necessity of becoming burdensome to you again, inasmuch as I am sending you a packet for the Royal Government[297] Councillor Wegeler at Coblenz, which you will have the kindness to transmit from Mayence to Coblenz. You know without more ado that I am too unselfish to ask you to do all these things gratuitously.

I repeat my former request, that, namely, concerning old white Rhinewine or Moselle. It is infinitely difficult to get any here which is genuine and unadulterated, even at the highest price. A few days ago, on February 27, I had my fourth operation, and yet I am unable to look forward to my complete recovery and restoration. Pity your devoted friend


Wine and Delicacies for the Sufferer

On March 8 the Schotts answered that they had forwarded a case of twelve bottles of Rüdesheimer Berg of the vintage of 1806, via Frankfort, but in order that he might the sooner receive a slight refreshment, they had sent that day four bottles of the same wine, two pure and two mixed with herbs, to be used as a medicine which had been prescribed for his disease. The prescription had come, they said, from a friend who had cured many persons of dropsy with it. Before the wine reached Vienna, on March 10, Beethoven wrote again to the Schotts:

According to my letter the Quartet was to be dedicated to one whose name I have already sent to you. Since then there has been an occurrence which has led me to make a change in this. It must be dedicated to Lieut.-Fieldmarshal von Stutterheim to whom I am deeply indebted. If you have already engraved the first dedication I beg of you, by everything in this world, to change it and I will gladly pay the cost. Do not accept this as an empty promise; I attach so much importance to it that I am ready to make any compensation for it. I enclose the title. As regards the shipment to my friend, the Royal Prussian Government Councillor v. Wegeler in Coblenz, I am glad to be able to relieve you wholly. Another opportunity has offered itself. My health, which will not be restored for a long time, pleads for the wines which I have asked for and which will certainly bring me refreshment, strength and health.

There are evidences that the wine was received on March 24. On March 29 the Schotts, under the impression that Beethoven was still alive, wrote him again. Baron Pasqualati, in whose house he had lived for a long time, an old friend, joined his new friends, the publishers, in an effort to contribute to his physical comfort and well-being. There are several little letters in which Beethoven acknowledges the receipt of contributions from his cellar and larder. One of these, most likely the first, has been endorsed by a strange hand as having been sent or received on March 6. It reads:

Hearty thanks for your health-gift; as soon as I have found out which of the wines is the most suitable I will let you know, but I shall[298] abuse your kindness as little as possible. I am rejoicing in the expectation of the compotes and will appeal to you often for them. Even this costs me an exertion. Sapienta pauca—Your grateful friend


And a little while afterwards he writes:

I beg you again to-day for a cherry compote, but without lemons, entirely simple; also I should be glad to have a light pudding, almost a suggestion of a gruel—my good cook is not yet adept in food for the sick. I am allowed to drink champagne, but for the time being I beg you to send a champagne glass with it. Now as regards the wine: At first Malfatti wanted only Moselle; but he asserted that there was none genuine to be obtained here; he therefore himself gave me several bottles of Krumpholz-Kirchner and claims that this is the best for my health, since no Moselle is to be had. Pardon me for being a burden and ascribe it to my helpless condition.

And again:

How shall I thank you enough for the glorious champagne? How greatly has it refreshed me and will continue to do so! I need nothing to-day and thank you for everything—whatever conclusions you may draw in regard to the wines I beg of you to note that I would gladly recompense you to the extent of my ability.—I can write no more to-day. Heaven bless you for everything and for your affectionate sympathy.

Still another:

Many thanks for the food of yesterday, which will also serve for to-day.—I am allowed to eat game; the doctor thinks that Krametsvögel (Fieldfares) are good and wholesome for me. This for your information, but it need not be to-day. Pardon my senseless writing—Weary of night vigils—I embrace and reverence you.

And finally this, presumably last, letter:

My thanks for the food sent yesterday. A sick man longs for such things like a child and therefore I beg you to-day for the peach compote. As regards other food I must get the advice of the physicians. Concerning the wine they consider the Grinzinger beneficial but prefer old Krumpholz Kirchener over all others.—I hope this statement will not cause you to misunderstand me.

Others who sent him gifts of wine were Streicher and Breuning, and, as we see from one of the letters, Malfatti himself. There is considerable talk in the C. B. about wine. His days were numbered—why should any comfort be denied him?

The Reputed Visit by Schubert

Concerning the last few days of his life the Conversation Books provide absolutely no information. There is no record of the visit of Schubert to the bedside of the dying man, but the account given by Schindler is probably correct in the main. On[299] page 136 of the second volume of his biography of Beethoven, Schindler says:

As only a few of Franz Schubert’s compositions were known to him and obsequious persons had always been busily engaged in throwing suspicion on his talent, I took advantage of the favorable moment to place before him several of the greater songs, such as “Die junge Nonne,” “Die Bürgschaft,” “Der Taucher,” “Elysium” and the Ossianic songs, acquaintance with which gave the master great pleasure; so much, indeed, that he spoke his judgment in these words: “Truly, the divine spark lives in Schubert,” and so forth. At the time, however, only a small number of Schubert’s works had appeared in print.

Here no date is fixed for the incident and a little suspicion was cast upon the story because of the fact that only “Die junge Nonne” of all the songs mentioned had been published at the time of Beethoven’s death. Schindler helped himself measurably out of the dilemma by saying in an article published in the “Theaterzeitung” of May 3, 1831, that many of the songs which he laid before Beethoven were in manuscript. He contradicts his statement made in the biography, however, by saying: “What would the great master have said had he seen, for instance the Ossianic songs, ‘Die Bürgschaft,’ ‘Elysium,’ ‘Der Taucher’ and other great ones which have only recently been published?” As usual, Schindler becomes more explicit when he comes to explain one of his utterances. Now he says:

As the illness to which Beethoven finally succumbed after four months of suffering from the beginning made his ordinary mental activity impossible, a diversion had to be thought of which would fit his mind and inclinations. And so it came about that I placed before him a collection of Schubert’s songs, about 60 in number, among them many which were then still in manuscript. This was done not only to provide him with a pleasant entertainment, but also to give him an opportunity to get acquainted with Schubert in his essence in order to get from him a favorable opinion of Schubert’s talent, which had been impugned, as had that of others by some of the exalted ones. The great master, who before then had not known five songs of Schubert’s, was amazed at their number and refused to believe that up to that time (February, 1827) he had already composed over 500 of them. But if he was astonished at the number he was filled with the highest admiration as soon as he discovered their contents. For several days he could not separate himself from them, and every day he spent hours with Iphigenia’s monologue, “Die Grenzen der Menschheit,” “Die Allmacht,” “Die junge Nonne,” “Viola,” the “Müllerlieder,” and others. With joyous enthusiasm he cried out repeatedly: “Truly, a divine spark dwells in Schubert; if I had had this poem I would have set it to music”; this in the case of the majority of poems whose material contents and original treatment by Schubert he could not praise sufficiently. Nor could he understand how Schubert had[300] time to “take in hand such long poems, many of which contained ten others,” as he expressed it.... What would the master have said had he seen, for instance, the Ossianic songs, “Die Bürgschaft,” “Elysium,” “Der Taucher” and other great ones which have only recently been published? In short, the respect which Beethoven acquired for Schubert’s talent was so great that he now wanted to see his operas and pianoforte pieces; but his illness had now become so severe that he could no longer gratify this wish. But he often spoke of Schubert and predicted of him that he “would make a great sensation in the world,” and often regretted that he had not learned to know him earlier.

It is likely that the remark, “Truly, the divine spark dwells in Schubert,” as Schindler quoted it in his biography, came more than once from Beethoven’s lips. Luib heard Hüttenbrenner say that one day Beethoven said of Schubert, “He has the divine spark!” Schindler’s article in the “Theaterzeitung” was a defense of the opinion which he had expressed that Schubert was a greater song-composer than Beethoven, and for this reason it may be assumed that it was a little high-pitched in expression. Beethoven knew a little about Schubert, but not much, as appears from a remark quoted from Holz in one of the Conversation Books of 1826. It may have been Schindler’s ambition to appear as having stood sponsor for Schubert before Beethoven which led him to ignore Holz’s remark concerning Schubert’s unique genius as a writer of songs, his interest in Handel and his patronage of Schuppanzigh’s quartet parties. Beethoven and Schubert had met. Anselm Hüttenbrenner wrote to Luib:[176]

But this I know positively, that about eight days before Beethoven’s death Prof. Schindler, Schubert and I visited the sick man, Schindler announced us two and asked Beethoven whom he would see first. He said: “Let Schubert come first.”

It is characteristic of Schindler that he makes no mention of this incident. Another incident recorded by Gerhard von Breuning deserves to be told here. When Beethoven’s friends called they usually reported to Beethoven about the performances of his works. One day Gerhard von Breuning found that a visitor had written in the Conversation Book: “Your Quartet which Schuppanzigh played yesterday did not please.” Beethoven was asleep when Gerhard came and when he awoke the lad pointed to the entry. Beethoven remarked, laconically: “It will please them some day,” adding that he wrote only as he thought best and would not permit himself to be deceived by the judgment of the day, saying at the end: “I know that I am an artist.”


Ferdinand Hiller’s Last Visit

In a letter which Schindler wrote to Moscheles, forwarding Beethoven’s, he said: “Hummel and his wife are here; he came in haste to see Beethoven once again alive, for it is generally reported in Germany that he is on his deathbed. It was a most touching sight last Thursday to see these two friends meet again.” The letter was written on March 14 and the “last Thursday” was March 8th. We have an account of this meeting in Ferdinand Hiller’s “Aus dem Tonleben unserer Zeit.”[177] Hiller was then fifteen years old and had come to the Austrian Capital with Hummel, who was his teacher. Hummel had heard in Weimar that Beethoven was hopelessly ill and had reached Vienna on March 6; two days later he visited his dying friend. Hiller writes:

Through a spacious anteroom in which high cabinets were piled with thick, tied-up parcels of music we reached—how my heart beat!—Beethoven’s living-room, and were not a little astonished to find the master sitting in apparent comfort at the window. He wore a long, gray sleeping-robe, open at the time, and high boots reaching to his knees. Emaciated by long and severe illness he seemed to me, when he arose, of tall stature; he was unshaven, his thick, half-gray hair fell in disorder over his temples. The expression of his features heightened when he caught sight of Hummel, and he seemed to be extraordinarily glad to meet him. The two men embraced each other most cordially. Hummel introduced me. Beethoven showed himself extremely kind and I was permitted to sit opposite him at the window. It is known that conversation with Beethoven was carried on in part in writing; he spoke, but those with whom he conversed had to write their questions and answers. For this purpose thick sheets of ordinary writing-paper in quarto form and lead-pencils always lay near him. How painful it must have been for the animated, easily impatient man to be obliged to wait for every answer, to make a pause in every moment of conversation, during which, as it were, thought was condemned to come to a standstill! He always followed the hand of the writer with hungry eyes and comprehended what was written at a glance instead of reading it. The liveliness of the conversation naturally interfered with the continual writing of the visitor. I can scarcely blame myself, much as I regret it, for not taking down more extended notes than I did; indeed, I rejoice that a lad of fifteen years who found himself in a great city for the first time, was self-possessed enough to regard any details. I can vouch with the best conscience for the perfect accuracy of all that I am able to repeat.

The conversation at first turned, as is usual, on domestic affair,—the journey and sojourn, my relations with Hummel and matters of that kind. Beethoven asked about Goethe’s health with extraordinary solicitude and we were able to make the best of reports, since only a few days before the great poet had written in my album. Concerning his own state, poor Beethoven complained much. “Here I have been lying for four months,” he cried out, “one must at last lose patience!” Other things in Vienna did not seem to be to his liking and he spoke with the[302] utmost severity of “the present taste in art,” and “the dilettantism which is ruining everything.” Nor did he spare the government, up to the most exalted regions. “Write a volume of penitential hymns and dedicate it to the Empress,” he remarked with a gloomy smile to Hummel, who, however, made no use of the well-meant advice. Hummel, who was a practical man, took advantage of Beethoven’s condition to ask his attention to a matter which occupied a long time. It was about the theft of one of Hummel’s concertos, which had been printed illicitly before it had been brought out by the lawful publisher. Hummel wanted to appeal to the Bundestag against this wretched business, and to this end desired to have Beethoven’s signature, which seemed to him of great value. He sat down to explain the matter in writing and meanwhile I was permitted to carry on the conversation with Beethoven. I did my best, and the master continued to give free rein to his moody and passionate utterances in the most confidential manner. In part they referred to his nephew, whom he had loved greatly, who, as is known, caused him much trouble and at that time, because of a few trifles (thus Beethoven at least seemed to consider them), had gotten into trouble with the officials. “Little thieves are hanged, but big ones are allowed to go free!” he exclaimed ill-humoredly. He asked about my studies and, encouraging me, said: “Art must be propagated ceaselessly,” and when I spoke of the exclusive interest in Italian opera which then prevailed in Vienna, he gave utterance to the memorable words: “It is said vox populi, vox dei. I never believed it.”

On March 13 Hummel took me with him a second time to Beethoven. We found his condition to be materially worse. He lay in bed, seemed to suffer great pains, and at intervals groaned deeply despite the fact that he spoke much and animatedly. Now he seemed to take it much to heart that he had not married. Already at our first visit he had joked about it with Hummel, whose wife he had known as a young and beautiful maiden. “You are a lucky man,” he said to him now smilingly, “you have a wife who takes care of you, who is in love with you—but poor me!” and he sighed heavily. He also begged of Hummel to bring his wife to see him, she not having been able to persuade herself to see in his present state the man whom she had known at the zenith of his powers. A short time before he had received a present of a picture of the house in which Haydn was born. He kept it close at hand and showed it to us. “It gave me a childish pleasure,” he said, “the cradle of so great a man!” Then he appealed to Hummel in behalf of Schindler, of whom so much was spoken afterwards. “He is a good man,” he said, “who has taken a great deal of trouble on my account. He is to give a concert soon at which I promised my coöperation. But now nothing is likely to come of that. Now I should like to have you do me the favor of playing. We must always help poor artists.” As a matter of course, Hummel consented. The concert took place—ten days after Beethoven’s death—in the Josephstadt-Theater. Hummel improvised in an obviously exalted mood on the Allegretto of the A major Symphony; the public knew why he participated and the performance and its reception formed a truly inspiring incident.

Shortly after our second visit the report spread throughout Vienna that the Philharmonic Society of London had sent Beethoven £100 in[303] order to ease his sick-bed. It was added that this surprise had made so great an impression on the great poor man that it had also brought physical relief. When we stood again at his bedside, on the 20th, we could educe from his utterances how greatly he had been rejoiced by this altruism; but he was very weak and spoke only in faint and disconnected phrases. “I shall, no doubt, soon be going above,” he whispered after our first greeting. Similar remarks recurred frequently. In the intervals, however, he spoke of projects and hopes which were destined not to be realized. Speaking of the noble conduct of the Philharmonic Society and in praise of the English people, he expressed the intention, as soon as matters were better with him, to undertake the journey to London. “I will compose a grand overture for them and a grand symphony.” Then, too, he would visit Madame Hummel (she had come along with her husband) and go to I do not know how many places. It did not occur to us to write anything for him. His eyes, which were still lively when we saw him last, dropped and closed to-day and it was difficult from time to time for him to raise himself. It was no longer possible to deceive one’s self—the worst was to be feared.

Hopeless was the picture presented by the extraordinary man when we sought him again on March 23rd. It was to be the last time. He lay, weak and miserable, sighing deeply at intervals. Not a word fell from his lips; sweat stood upon his forehead. His handkerchief not being conveniently at hand, Hummel’s wife took her fine cambric handkerchief and dried his face several times. Never shall I forget the grateful glance with which his broken eye looked upon her. On March 26, while we were with a merry company in the art-loving house of Herr von Liebenberg (who had formerly been a pupil of Hummel’s), we were surprised by a severe storm between five and six o’clock. A thick snow-flurry was accompanied by loud peals of thunder and flashes of lightning, which lighted up the room. A few hours later guests arrived with the intelligence that Ludwig van Beethoven was no more;—he had died at 4:45 o’clock.

The Signing of the Will

The consultations between Beethoven and his legal advisers, Bach, Breuning and others, concerning the proper disposition of his estate by will, which had begun soon after Karl’s departure for Iglau, had not been brought to a conclusion when it became apparent to all that it was high time that the document formally be executed. Dr. Bach does not seem to have been consulted at this crisis; haste was necessary, and on March 23 von Breuning made a draft of a will which, free from unnecessary verbiage, set forth the wishes of the testator in three lines of writing. Beethoven had protested against the proposition of his friends that provision be made that Karl should not be able to dissipate the capital or surrender any portion of it to his mother. To this end a trust was to be created and he was to have the income during life, the reversion being to his legitimate heirs. With this Beethoven at length declared himself satisfied; but when Breuning placed the draft before the dying man, who had yielded unwillingly, he copied[304] it laboriously but substituted the word “natural” for “legitimate.” Schindler says the copying was a labor, and when Beethoven finished it and appended his signature he said: “There; now I’ll write no more.” Breuning called his attention to the fact that controversy would ensue from his change in the text, but Beethoven insisted that the words meant the same thing and there should be no change. “This,” says Schindler, “was his last contradiction.” Hiller’s description of the last visit of Hummel, pictures the condition of the dying man on this day, and Schindler’s statement that it was laborious for Beethoven to copy even the few words of the will is pathetically verified by the orthography of the document which, verb. et lit., is as follows:

Mein Neffe Karl Soll alleiniger Erbe seyn, das Kapital meines Nachlasses soll jedoch Seinen natürlichen oder testamentarischen Erben zufallen.

Ludwig van Beethoven mp.

Wien am 23 März 1827.

According to Gerhard von Breuning, signatures were necessary to several documents—the will, the transfer of the guardianship of the nephew to von Breuning and the letter of January 3, which also made a testamentary disposition of Beethoven’s property. These signatures were all obtained with great difficulty. The younger von Breuning places the date on March 24th. After von Breuning, Schindler and the dying man’s brother had indicated to Beethoven, who lay in a half-stupor, that his signature was required they raised him as much as possible and pushed pillows under him for support. Then the documents, one after the other, were laid before him and von Breuning put the inked pen in his hand. “The dying man, who ordinarily wrote boldly in a lapidary style, repeatedly signed his immortal name, laboriously, with trembling hand, for the last time; still legibly, indeed, but each time forgetting one of the middle letters—once an h, another time ane.”

Comœdia Finita Est.

On the day which saw the signing of the will, Beethoven made an utterance, eminently characteristic of him, but which, because of an interpretation which it has received, has caused no small amount of comment. The date is fixed as March 23rd by Schindler’s letter to Moscheles of March 24th in which he says: “Yesterday he said to me and Breuning, ‘Plaudite, amici, comœdia finita est’.” Though the phrase does not seem to be a literal quotation from any author known to have been familiar to Beethoven, it is obviously a paraphrase of something which he had read. According to Schindler and Gerhard von Breuning the[305] words were uttered in a tone of sarcastic humor. Schindler and Dr. Wawruch (though the latter was not present) agree in saying that he made the speech after receiving the viaticum, and it is this circumstance, coupled with the deduction that the dying man referred to the sacred function just performed, which greatly disturbed the minds of some of his devout admirers. It needed not have done so; the phrase is almost a literary commonplace and its significance has never been in question.[178]

When Beethoven’s friends saw the end approaching, they were naturally desirous that he receive the spiritual comfort which the offices of the Roman Catholic church offer to the dying and it was equally natural that Beethoven, brought up as a child of the church though careless of his duties toward it, should, at the last, be ready to accept them. Johann van Beethoven relates that a few days after the 16th of March, when the physicians gave him up for lost, he had begged his brother to make his peace with God, to which request he acceded “with the greatest readiness.” Confirmation of this is found in Dr. Wawruch’s report. Wawruch, it will be remembered, had, at the beginning of his studies, intended to enter the priesthood. At the crisis described by Johann he says he called Beethoven’s attention to his impending dissolution “so that he might do his duty as a citizen and to religion.” He continues:

With the greatest delicacy I wrote the words of admonition on a sheet of paper.... Beethoven read the writing with unexampled com[306]posure, slowly and thoughtfully, his countenance like that of one transfigured; cordially and solemnly he held out his hand to me and said: “Have the priest called.” Then he lay quietly lost in thought and amiably indicated by a nod his “I shall soon see you again.” Soon thereafter Beethoven performed his devotions with a pious resignation which looked confidently into eternity and turned to the friends around him with the words, “Plaudite, amici, finita est comœdia!

Wawruch was not present at the time when the words were spoken. Schindler’s account, in a letter to the “Cäcilia” dated April 12, 1827, and printed in that journal in May, is as follows:

On the day before (the 23rd) there remained with us only one ardent wish—to reconcile him with heaven and to show the world at the same time that he had ended his life a true Christian. The Professor in Ordinary [Wawruch] therefore wrote and begged him in the name of all his friends to receive the holy sacrament; to which he replied quietly and firmly (gefasst), “I wish it.” The physician went away and left us to care for it.

Schindler describes the administration of the sacrament, which Beethoven received with edification, and adds that now for the first time he seemed to believe that he was about to die; for “scarcely had the priest left the room before he said to me and young von Breuning, ‘Plaudite, amici, comœdia finita est. Did I not always say that it would end thus?’” (“Habe ich nicht immer gesagt, dass es so kommen wird?”) Here there is agreement with Wawruch, but, to Gerhard von Breuning, Schindler said that Beethoven made the remark at the conclusion of a long consultation after the physicians had gone away; and this is confirmed by Gerhard von Breuning. In 1860 Anselm Hüttenbrenner wrote:[179]

It is not true, as has been reported, that I begged Beethoven to receive the sacrament for the dying; but I did bring it about at the request of the wife of the music-publisher Tobias Haslinger, now deceased, that Beethoven was asked in the gentlest manner by Herr Johann Baptist Jenger and Madame van Beethoven, wife of the landowner, to strengthen himself by receiving holy communion. It is a pure invention that Beethoven spoke the words “Plaudite, amici! Comœdia finita est!” to me, for I was not present when the rite was administered in the forenoon of March 24, 1827. And surely Beethoven did not make to others an utterance so completely at variance with his sturdy character. But on the day of her brother-in-law’s death Frau v. Beethoven told me that after receiving the viaticum he said to the priest, “I thank you, ghostly sir! You have brought me comfort!”


Hüttenbrenner is confirmed by Johann van Beethoven, who wrote in his brief review of his brother’s last illness that when the priest was leaving the room Beethoven said to him, “I thank you for this last service.”

Incidents of the Final Struggle

Beethoven received the viaticum in the presence of Schindler, von Breuning, Jenger and the wife of his brother Johann. After the priest had taken his departure he reminded his friends of the necessity of sending a document ceding the proprietary rights of the C-sharp minor Quartet to the Schotts. It was drawn up and his signature to it, the last which he wrote, was attested by Schindler and Breuning. He also spoke of a letter of thanks to the Philharmonic Society of London and in suggesting its tenor, comprehended the whole English people with a fervent “God bless them!” About one o’clock the special shipment of wine and wine mixed with herbs came from Mayence, and Schindler placed the bottles upon the table near the bed. Beethoven looked at them and murmured, “Pity, pity—too late!” He spoke no more. A little of the wine was administered to him in spoonfuls at intervals, as long as he could swallow it. Towards evening he lost consciousness and the death-struggle began. It lasted two days. “From towards the evening of the 24th to his last breath he was almost continually in delirio,” wrote Schindler to Moscheles. We have a description from Gerhard von Breuning:[180]

During the next day and the day following the strong man lay completely unconscious, in the process of dissolution, breathing so stertorously that the rattle could be heard at a distance. His powerful frame, his unweakened lungs, fought like giants with approaching death. The spectacle was a fearful one. Although it was known that the poor man suffered no more it was yet appalling to observe that the noble being, now irredeemably a prey to the powers of dissolution, was beyond all mental communication. It was expected as early as the 25th that he would pass away in the following night; yet we found him still alive on the 26th—breathing, if that was possible, more stertorously than on the day before.

The only witnesses of Beethoven’s death were his sister-in-law and Anselm Hüttenbrenner. From the latter we have a description of the last scene.[181]

When I entered Beethoven’s bedroom on March 26, 1827 at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I found there Court Councillor Breuning, his[308] son, Frau van Beethoven, wife of Johann van Beethoven, landowner and apothecary of Lenz, and my friend Joseph Teltscher, portrait painter. I think that Prof. Schindler was also present.

Gerhard von Breuning says that Beethoven’s brother was in the room, and also the housekeeper Sali; Schindler adds a nurse from Dr. Wawruch’s clinic. No doubt all were present at one moment or another; they came and went as occasion or duty called. Hüttenbrenner says that Teltscher began drawing the face of the dying man, which grated on Breuning’s feelings and he made a remonstrance, whereupon the painter left the room. Then Breuning and Schindler went away to choose a spot for the grave. Hüttenbrenner continues:

Frau van Beethoven and I only were in the death-chamber during the last moments of Beethoven’s life. After Beethoven had lain unconscious, the death-rattle in his throat from 3 o’clock in the afternoon till after 5, there came a flash of lightning accompanied by a violent clap of thunder, which garishly illuminated the death-chamber. (Snow lay before Beethoven’s dwelling.) After this unexpected phenomenon of nature, which startled me greatly, Beethoven opened his eyes, lifted his right hand and looked up for several seconds with his fist clenched and a very serious, threatening expression as if he wanted to say: “Inimical powers, I defy you! Away with you! God is with me!” It also seemed as if, like a brave commander, he wished to call out to his wavering troops: “Courage, soldiers! Forward! Trust in me! Victory is assured!”[182]. When he let the raised hand sink to the bed, his eyes closed half-way. My right hand was under his head, my left rested on his breast. Not another breath, not a heartbeat more! The genius of the great master of tones fled from this world of delusion into the realm of truth!—I pressed down the half-open eyelids of the dead man, kissed them, then his forehead, mouth and hands.—At my request Frau van Beethoven cut a lock of hair from his head and handed it to me as a sacred souvenir of Beethoven’s last hour. Thereupon I hurried, deeply moved, into the city, carried the intelligence of Beethoven’s death to Herr Tobias Haslinger, and after a few hours returned to my home in Styria.

The Cause of Beethoven’s Death

It remained for modern science to give the right name to the disease which caused the death of the greatest of all tone-poets. Dropsy, said the world for three-quarters of a century. But dropsy is not a disease; it is only a symptom, a condition due to disease. To Dr. Theodor von Frimmel belongs the credit of having made it clear that the fatal malady was cirrhosis of the liver, of[309] which ascites, or hydrops abdominalis, was a consequence. Beethoven had suffered from disorders of the liver years before. In 1821, as has been noted, he suffered an attack of jaundice. In his medical history of the case, Dr. Wawruch stated that the cause of the disease was to be found in an “antiquated” ailment of liver as well as defects in the abdominal organs. When he observed the first aggravation of the disease he recorded that “the liver plainly showed traces of hard knots, the jaundice increased.” In his report of the autopsy, Dr. Wagner said: “The liver seemed to have shrunk to one half its normal size, to have a leathery hardness, a greenish-blue color, and its lumpy surface, as well as its substance, was interwoven with knots the size of a bean. All the blood-vessels were narrow, with thickened walls and empty.” The treatment prescribed by Dr. Wawruch and adopted empirically at the suggestion of friends was designed, not to go to the seat of the difficulty but to relieve the dropsical condition of the abdominal cavity;—medicaments, decoctions, the unfortunate sweat-bath, all were intended to produce liquid evacuations from the bowels, increase the secretion of urine and induce perspiration; the final resort was to paracentesis.[183]

When Breuning and Schindler left the dying man in the care of Hüttenbrenner and Frau van Beethoven, they went to the cemetery of the little village of Währing, and selected a place for Beethoven’s grave in the vicinity of the burial plot of the Vering family, to which Breuning’s first wife had belonged. Their return was retarded by the storm. When they reëntered the sick-room they were greeted with the words: “It is finished!” The immediate activities of the friends were now directed to preparations for the funeral, the preservation of the physical likeness of the great composer and, so far as was necessary, the safeguarding of his possessions. In respect of the latter Gerhard von Breuning tells of a painful incident which happened on the day after Beethoven’s death.

Breuning, Schindler, Johann van Beethoven and Holz were met in the lodgings to gather up the dead man’s papers, particularly to look for the seven bank-shares which the will had given to the nephew. In spite of strenuous search they were not found and Johann let fall an insinuation that the search was a sham. This angered von Breuning and he left the house in a state of[310] vexation and excitement. He returned to the lodgings in the afternoon and the search was resumed. Then Holz pulled out a protruding nail in a cabinet, whereupon a drawer fell out and in it were the certificates. In later years Holz explained to Otto Jahn: “Beethoven kept his bank-shares in a secret drawer, the existence of which was known only to Holz. While Beethoven lay dying his brother in vain tried to find out where it was.” On a copy of this memorandum,[184] Schindler wrote: “First of all after the death, Johann van Beethoven searched for the shares, and not finding them cried out: ‘Breuning and Schindler must produce them!’ Holz was requested to come by Breuning and asked if he did not know where they were concealed. He knew the secret drawer in an old cabinet in which they were preserved.” Even this simple incident has given rise to contradictory stories. Schindler, in his biography, says the place of concealment was a secret drawer in a Kassette; Breuning, “in a secret compartment of a writing-desk.” In 1863, Schindler explained to Gerhard von Breuning that the article of furniture was an ordinary clothes-press. With the certificates were found the letter to the “Immortal Beloved” and the portrait of the Countess von Brunswick.[185]

On March 27th, an autopsy was performed by Dr. Johann Wagner in the presence of Dr. Wawruch. Its significant disclosures have already been printed here. In order to facilitate an examination of the organs of hearing the temporal bones were sawed out and carried away. Joseph Danhauser, a young painter[311] who chanced to be in Vienna, received permission from Breuning to make a plaster cast of the dead man’s face. This he did on March 28th, but the cast has little value as a portrait, inasmuch as it was made after the autopsy, which had greatly disfigured the features. On the same day (not “immediately after death,” as has incorrectly been stated) Danhauser made a drawing of the head of Beethoven, which he reproduced by lithographic process. This picture bears the inscription: “Beethoven, March 28, drawn at his death-bed, 1827,” and to the left, “Danhauser.” This drawing, too, was made after the autopsy. For a bust which he modeled, the artist made use of the cast taken by Klein in 1812. Danhauser never came in contact with Beethoven alive.

Imposing Funeral Ceremonies

The funeral took place at 3 o’clock in the afternoon of March 29th. It was one of the most imposing functions of its kind ever witnessed in Vienna.[186] Breuning and Schindler had made the arrangements. Cards of invitation were given out at Haslinger’s music-shop. Hours before the appointed time a multitude assembled in front of the Schwarzspanierhaus, and the mass grew moment by moment. Into the square in front of the house, it is said, 20,000 persons were crowded. All the notable representatives of art were present. The schools were closed. For the preservation of order, Breuning had asked the help of the military. In its report “Der Sammler” said:

The crowd was so great that after the roomy court of Beethoven’s residence could no longer hold it the gates had to be closed until the procession moved. The coffin containing the corpse of the great composer had been placed on view in the court. After the clergy were come to perform their sacred office, the guests, who had been invited to attend these solemn functions—musicians, singers, poets, actors—all clad in complete mourning, with draped torches and white roses fastened to bands of crape on their sleeves, encircled the bier and the choristers sang the Miserere[187] composed by the deceased. Solemnly, sublimely the pious tones of the glorious composition floated upwards through the silent air. The scene was imposing. The coffin, with its richly embroidered pall, the clergy, the distinguished men who were giving the last escort to their colleague, and the multitude round about—all this made a stupendous picture.

On the conclusion of the canticle, the coffin was raised from the bier and the door of the court was opened. The singers[312] lifted the coffin to their shoulders and carried it to the Trinity Church of the Minorites in the Alserstrasse. It was difficult to order the procession because of the surging multitude. Johann van Beethoven, von Breuning and his son and Schindler, found their places with difficulty. Eight chapelmasters—Eybler, Weigl, Hummel, Seyfried, Kreutzer, Gyrowetz, Würfel and Gänsbacher—carried the edges of the pall. At the sides walked the torch-bearers, among them Schubert, Castelli, Bernard, Böhm, Czerny, Grillparzer, Haslinger, Holz, Linke, Mayseder, Piringer, Schuppanzigh, Streicher, Steiner and Wolfmayer. In the procession were also Mosel and the pupils of Drechsler. While passing the Rothes Haus the sounds of the funeral march from Beethoven’s Sonata, Op. 26, were heard. The cortège moved through the crowded streets to the parish church in the Alserstrasse, where the service for the dead was concluded with the Libera nos Domine in 16 parts a cappella, composed by Seyfried, sung by the choristers.

The account of the “Sammler” continues: “The coffin was now placed in the hearse drawn by four horses, and taken to the cemetery at Währing. There, too, a multitude had assembled to do the last honors to the dead man....” The rules of the cemetery prohibiting all public speaking within its precincts, the actor Anschütz delivered a funeral oration written by Grillparzer over the coffin at the cemetery gate. After the coffin had been lowered into the grave, Haslinger handed three laurel wreaths to Hummel, who placed them upon the coffin. A poem by Castelli had been distributed at the house of mourning, and one by Baron von Schlechta at the cemetery; but there was no more speaking or singing at the burial.

Mozart’s “Requiem” was sung at the Church of the Augustinians, Lablache taking part, on April 3rd, and Cherubini’s at the Karlskirche two days later. The grave in the cemetery at Währing was marked by a simple pyramid bearing the one word


It fell into neglect, and on October 13th, 1863, the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde of Vienna caused the body to be exhumed and re-buried. On June 21st, 1888, the remains of Beethoven and Schubert were removed to the Central Cemetery in Vienna, where they now repose side by side.





General Index315
Index to Compositions344
(a) Works for Orchestra Alone344
(b) Instrumental Solos with Orchestra345
(c) Choral Works and Pieces for Soli and Chorus345
(d) Instrumental Duos, Trios, Quartets, etc.346
(e) Sonatas, etc., for Pianoforte and Other Instruments obbligato347
(f) For Pianoforte Alone348
(g) Songs with Pianoforte Accompaniment349


General Index

Abaco, Giuseppe dall’: “Componimento per Musica,” I, 14.

Abdul Aziz, Sultan of Turkey: I, 139.

Abercrombie, General: Not commemorated in the “Eroica,” II, 25.

Abyssian Prince”: Sobriquet of Bridgetower, II, 11.

Achâts, Duc des: III, 101, 232.

Adamberger, Antonie: Studies “Egmont” music with B., II, 171.

Adams, Mrs. Mehetabel: Provides funds for Thayer’s researches, I, x.

Addison, John: Partner of J. B. Cramer: II, 318.

Addison, Joseph: Quoted, I, 323.

Adelheit von Veltheim”: Opera by Neefe, I, 37.

Adler, Guido: I, 75.

Adlersburg, Carl, Edler von: Affidavit against Mälzel, II, 275, 289.

Aerndtetanz, Der”: Opera by Hiller, I, 32.

Agnes Bernauer”: II, 61.

Albrechtsberger: Gives instruction to B., I, 155 et seq.;
“Anweisung zur Composition,” 155, 190;
II, 380.

Alceste”: Opera by Gluck, I, 86.

Alchymist, Der”: Opera by Schuster, I, 31, 107, 108.

Aldrich, Richard: Dedication; II, 333.

Alexander, Czar of Russia: Dedication of Sonatas for Pianoforte and Violin, I, 365;
II, 20, 305;
III, 49, 86.

Alexander”: Opera-text (by Schikaneder?), II, 20.

Alexander’s Feast”: Oratorio by Handel, III, 182.

Alfred the Great”: Suggested to B. as subject for an opera, III, 118.

Allègre, d’: French Commander, I, 6.

Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung”: Criticisms on B’s. works, I, 305, 306, 307;
taken to task by B., I, 282, 287. (See Index to Compositions.)

Alstädter, Count: Music-lover in Bonn, I, 38.

Altmann, W.: “Ein vergessenes Streichquartett von B.”, I, 349.

Amant jaloux, L’”: Opera by Grétry, I, 31, 107.

Ambroggio: III, 77.

Amenda, Karl F.: I, 210; his life 233;
plans trip to Italy with B., 234;
death of, 234;
receives Quartet in F from B., 235, 272 et seq.;
letter from B., 297;
II, 314.

Ami de la Maison, L’”: Opera by Grétry, I, 31, 86.

Amitié à l’Épreuve, L’”: Opera by Grétry, I, 31.

Amore artigiano, L’”: Opera by Gassmann, I, 46.

Amore marinaro, L’”: Opera by Weigl, I, 235.

Amor’s Guckkasten”: Opera by Neefe, I, 36.

Amour filial, L’”: Opera by Gaveaux, II, 37.

Analgilda”: Opera, I, 14.

Andante and Andantino: B. asks difference between, II, 246.

André: Opera, “Der Antiquitäten-Sammler,” I, 32.

André, Joseph: I, 357.

Anfossi: Opera, “Il Geloso in Cimento,” I, 32;
“L’Avaro inamorato,” I, 108.

Anschütz, Actor: Delivers funeral oration for B., III, 312.

Antiquitäten-Sammler, Der”: Opera by André, I, 32.

Antoine, d’: Operas, “Das tartarische Gesetz,” I, 31;
“Das Mädchen im Eichthale” (“Maid of the Oaks”), I, 32;
“Ende gut, Alles gut,” I, 109.

Anton, Archduke: Dedication of March in D, II, 160.

Anton, Prince of Saxony: III, 96, 141.

Antwerp: Beethoven families living in, I, 42.

Apotheke, Die”: Opera by Neefe, I, 31, 36.

Apotheosis in the Temple of Jupiter Ammon”: Drama by Sporchil, III, 118.

Appleby, Samuel: I, 218;
on Rasoumowsky Quartets, II, 75.

Appony, Count: Asks B. for quartet, I, 187, 274.

Arbore di Diana, L’”: Opera by Martini, I, 107.

Argene, Regina di Granata”: Opera by Reicha, I, 310.

[316]Ariadne auf Naxos”; Musical drama by Benda, I, 29, 107, 108.

Ariodante”: Opera by Méhul, II, 23.

Arlequino fortunato”: Pantomime, I, 26.

Armida”: Opera by Salieri, I, 86.

Ärndtetanz. See Aerndtetanz.

Arneth, von, archeologist: II, 171.

Arnim, Bettina von (Brentano): I, 197;
said to have been in love with B., 318;
II, her association with B. and Goethe, 178 et seq.;
controversy over her letters, 179 et seq.;
letters to Goethe, 180, 190;
letter to Pückler-Muskau, 180;
“Ilius Pamphilius,” 184;
makes B’s acquaintance, 185;
letter from B., 186, 190;
her admiration reported to B. by Goethe, 198;
with her husband at Teplitz, 222, 223;
describes arrival of B. and Goethe, 226, 282.

Arnold, Samuel J.: II, 310.

Arrangements: B’s opinion on, I, 349, 350.

Artaria and Co., Publishers: I, 202, 203;
charged with unauthorized publication of a quintet, 293 et seq., 355;
original purchasers of Heiligenstadt Will, 351;
the Mass in D, III, 65.

Attwood, Thomas: II, 12.

Aubert, F. S. A.: Opera “Esther,” I, 14.

Auernhammer, Mme.: II, 2.

Auersperg, Prima donna: I, 172.

Augarten Concerts: I, 238; II, 2, 42.

Austria: Invaded by Napoleon, I, 149;
court of, not invited to subscribe to the Mass in D, III, 103;
musical culture of the nobility in, I, 166;
dance-music of, II, 122.

Autographs: B’s indifference to his, I, 141.

Avaro inamorato”: Opera by Anfossi, I, 108.

Averdonk, Johanna Helena, Court singer: I, 24;
pupil of Johann van B., 49;
sings at B’s first concert, 59, 67;
Severin, author of text of Funeral Cantata, I, 131.

Axur”: Opera by Salieri, I, 109, 163.

Ayrton, G.: II, 370.

Azalia”: Opera by Johann Küchler, I, 32.

Bacchus”: Opera-book by Rudolph von
Berger, II, 314.

Bacco, Diane ed il Reno”: Serenata, I, 26.

Bach, C. P. E.: I, 13, 35; “Versuch, etc.,” 70, 159;
“The Israelites in the Wilderness,” II, 388.

Bach, Dr. Johann B.: II, 377;
III, 24, 30, 115;
advises Schindler to write biography of B., 198;
instructed by B. to make Nephew Karl his heir, 278.

Bach, Johann Sebastian: I, 13, 35;
“Well-Tempered Clavichord,” 69, 143;
B. on the publication of his works, 281, 286;
B. subscribes for destitute daughter of, 287;
publication project, 303, 304;
relief for the daughter, 308;
B. offers to publish a composition for her benefit, 308;
II, 355;
“Art of Fugue,” III, 123;
“Not a brook but an ocean,” 203.

B-a-c-h: Overtures on, III, 123, 147.

Baden: B. gives concert for benefit of sufferers from conflagration, II, 225.

Baillot, Pierre: Visits B., II, 55.

Barbaja, Manager of operas: I, 320;
III, 77;
wants an opera from B., 119.

Barbiere di Siviglia, II”: Opera by Paisiello, I, 108;
opera by Rossini, III, 77.

Baroni: Opera “La Moda,” I, 27.

Bates, Joah: Bridgetower turns music for, II, 12.

Bathmendi”: Opera by Liechtenstein, I, 304.

Bathyany, Count: I, 168.

Batka, Johann: I, 342.

Battle music: Popularity of, II, 252.

Bauer, Harold: I, xviii, 140.

Bäuerle, Adolph: II, 359.

Baum der Diana, Der” (L’Arbore di Diana): Opera by Martini, I, 107.

Baumeister: Letters to, 218.

Baumgarten, Major: III, 42.

Bavaria, King of: Dedication of Choral Fantasia, II, 207, 209;
declines to subscribe for Mass in D, III, 99.

Bechstein: “Natural History of Birds”;
B. asks for, II, 148.

Beethoven, ancestry of the family in Belgium: I, 42, 43, 44;
William (great-great-grandfather of the composer), 42;
Henry Adelard (great-grandfather), 42;
Louis, Louis Jacob, 42;
Beethoven families in Bonn before the arrival of the composer’s grandfather (Cornelius, Cornelius (2nd), Michael), 44;
branch of the family in Malines, 44.

Beethoven Association of New York: Promotes publication of this work, I, xviii, 140.

Beethoven-Haus Verein, in Bonn: I, xii, xvii, 52;
custodian of portrait of B’s mother, 51;
B’s quartet of instruments, 277;
of the portrait of Countess Brunswick, 318.

Beethoven, Johann, father of the composer: Petitions for appointment as Court Musician, I, 11;
appointed, 13;
is promised salary, 17;
petitions for salary, 18;
salary increased, 22;
petitions for allowance of grain, 25;
date of birth, 45;
displeases his father by marrying, 47;
education of, 47;
enters Electoral chapel, 48;
teaches music, 48;
addicted to drink, 49;
appearance of, 49;
marries, 49;
lodgings and neighbors in Bonn, 51, 75;
alleged portrait of, 51;
children of, 51;
falsifies the age of the composer, 55;
describes his domestic conditions, 55;
death of his mother, 56;
birth of a daughter, 67;
domestic misfortunes, 72;
length of court service, 73;
status in chapel of Max Franz, 83;
treatment of the composer, 85;
birth of a daughter, 88;
her death, 97;
death of his wife, 93;
petitions for advance on salary, 93;
helped by Franz Ries, 95;
rescued from police by the composer, 104;
[317]part of salary assigned to the composer, 104;
embezzles money of his son, 149;
dissipation, 148;
news of his death received by the composer, 148;
his wife, Maria Magdalena Keverich, widow Laym, 49;
appearance and character of, 50;
the composer’s love for her, 50;
alleged portrait of, 51;
death mourned by the composer, 92;
record of her death, 93.

Beethoven, Johann Nikolaus, brother of the composer: Vol. I. Birth of, 57;
apprenticed to an apothecary, 104, 190, 191, 265;
looks for bank shares after composer’s death, 326;
comes into possession of Heiligenstadt Will, 351;
his name omitted from the document, 352;
defended by the author, 357 et seq.;
described by Frau Karth, 358.—Vol. II. Demands return of loan from the composer, 114;
purchases apothecary shop in Linz, 115;
profits from dealing with the French army, 115;
visited by the composer, 230;
the composer interferes with his domestic affairs, 230 et seq.;
defeats his brother by marrying his housekeeper, 232.—Vol. III. Buys estate near Gneixendorf, 19;
cuts a ridiculous figure in Vienna, 66;
takes his brother’s compositions as security for loan, 66;
defense of his actions by the author, 68;
seeks reconciliation with his brother, and offers home in Gneixendorf, 69;
letter, 72;
charged with dishonest conduct by his brother, 111, 112;
his wife’s misconduct, 132, 134;
completes transaction with Schott and Sons for his brother, 180;
B. warns a visitor against him, 182;
offers B. a home in the country, 237;
condones his wife’s licentiousness, 238;
the cause of B’s hatred of his wife, 238;
takes action against his wife, 239;
persuades B. to go to Gneixendorf, 266;
his wife accused of improper intimacy with her nephew, 269;
date of his wife’s death, 270;
makes Nephew Karl his sole heir, 270;
in constant attendance on B. during his last illness, 276;
wrongly accused by Schindler of inhuman niggardliness, 287.

Beethoven, Karl Kaspar, brother of the composer: Vol. I. Birth, 57;
intended for musical profession, 103, 191;
official career of, 265;
composes music, 266;
letters to publishers, 295, 348, 357;
charged with surreptitious sale of B’s works, 350;
the Heiligenstadt Will, 353;
defended from charge of wrongdoing, 357 et seq.;
appearance of, 358;
Ries’s charge of misconduct, 361.—Vol. II. Accused by Simrock, 13;
marriage of, 65;
end of business relations with the composer, 143;
illness of, 241;
appoints the composer and his widow guardians of his son, 241;
his illness compels B. to postpone his trip to England, 251, 313;
death of, 320, 321;
will of, 320, 321;
appoints Ludwig guardian of his son, 320;
von Breuning warns B. against him, 322;
admonishes widow and brother to mutual forbearance, 321;
his wife, Theresia (Johanna) Reiss, marries, 65;
her infidelity, 65;
inherits her husband’s property, 320;
made guardian under will, 321;
appointed by court, 322;
B. secures her removal as co-guardian, 331;
court grants her permission to see her son, 332;
compelled to share in expense of her son’s education, 368;
efforts to see her son, 372, 393;
her son encouraged to revile her, 396;
seeks to gain possession of her son, 400;
her testimony in court, 406, 407.—Vol. III. Reprehensible conduct, 67;
B. adopts conciliatory attitude towards, 170, 171. (For further details of her contest for her son, her efforts to gain possession of him, care for his education, etc., see Guardianship and Karl van Beethoven, under Ludwig van Beethoven.)

Beethoven, Karl, nephew of the composer: Vol. I, disposes of picture of Countess Brunswick, 335.—Vol. II. His father declares wish that mother and uncle be his guardians, 241;
sent to Giannatasio’s institute, 332;
surgical operation on, 341;
receives inheritance from Joseph Hametsch, 353;
instructed in music by Czerny, 374;
placed in care of a priest at Mödling, 392;
encouraged to revile his mother, 396;
dismissed from the priest’s class, 397;
runs away from his uncle, 402;
testimony on court, 407;
returned to Giannatasio’s care, 410.—Vol. III. Returns to his mother, 1;
studies under private tutor, 4;
runs away from the institute, 33;
B. names him as his heir, 115, 132;
B’s pride in his attainments, 135;
philological student at university, 171;
encouraged in disingenuousness by B., 172;
spends summer with his uncle, 184;
runs away from home, 184;
translates “God Save the King” for B., 209;
date of his death, 230; his waywardness, 250 et seq.;
B’s appealing letters, 230, 254;
leaves university for Polytechnic Institute, 250, 251;
evil companionship and amusements, 252;
held to strict accountability, 253;
discipline becomes irksome, 255;
upbraids and attacks his uncle, 256;
B’s suspicion of a suicidal purpose, 257;
prepares to kill himself, 258;
shoots himself, 258 et seq.;
effect of the attempt on B., 260, 261;
reasons for the attempt, 261;
his future discussed by B. and his friends, 262, 263 et seq.;
B’s fear of police inquiry, 263;
Karl defends his mother, 264;
life at Gneixendorf, 267 et seq.;
accused of improper intimacy with his aunt, 269;
made sole heir of his uncle Johann’s estate, 270;
slandered in regard to his care of B. in last illness, 273 et seq.;
preparations for a military career, 277;
quarrels with B. on eve of his departure from Vienna, 278;
made heir by B’s will, 278;
letter to B., 279;
[318]inheritance under B’s formal will, 303. (For further details as to education, contest for his possession, etc., see foregoing and sub-title Guardianship under Beethoven, Ludwig van.) His widow visited by Thayer, I, xi, 192;
possessor of Mähler portrait, II, 16;
asks for money deposited as forfeit by Prince George Galitzin, III, 230;
her daughter, Hermine, 231.

Beethoven, Louis (Ludwig) van, grandfather of the composer: As Court Musician at Bonn, receives increase of salary, I, 10, 14;
appointed Chapelmaster, 17;
petitions for salary for his son, 18;
demands obedience from his musicians, 21;
Joseph Demmer appointed to his place as Court Musician, 22;
Lucchesi succeeds him as Chapelmaster, 23;
parentage and baptism, 42;
leaves home in Antwerp and becomes church singer in Louvain, 43;
appointed singing-master at St. Peter’s, 43;
becomes Court Musician at Bonn, 43;
marries, 45; his children, 45;
services in Electoral Chapel, 45, 46;
success as opera-singer, 46;
last appearance, 47;
death of, 47;
an inebriate wife, 47;
displeased at son’s marriage, 47, 50;
death of widow, 56;
length of court service, 73;
composer asks for his portrait, 301;
B’s affectionate remembrance of him, III, 184.

Beethoven, Ludwig van, the composer:
Birth of, date and place, I, xvii, 51, 53;
controversy about house in which he was born, 51, 55, 56;
disputed dates, 53;
record of baptism, 53;
his mistaken belief, I, 54;
II, 177;
age of, falsified by his father, 55;
reputed son of the King of Prussia, III, 214, 243.
Annuity and Shares of Bank Stock: Annuity granted by noble friends, I, 298, 299;
II, 137 et seq.;
disappointed by subscribers, 170;
Kinsky fails to meet obligation, 172;
B. collects from Kinsky at Teplitz, 205;
reduction by depreciation of currency, 211 et seq.;
payments by Archduke Rudolph, 217, 219;
B. collects from Kinsky’s heirs, 222;
non-payment by Kinsky and Lobkowitz, 242 et seq.;
Kinsky and Rudolph agree to pay in notes of redemption, 242;
B. blames Rudolph for getting him into the contract, 250, 266;
controversy with Kinsky’s heirs, 259, 288, 289;
settlement, 306;
sums received by B. from the subscribers till his death, 306;
honorable conduct of Kinsky and Lobkowitz, and B’s aspersions on their character, 308;
B. seeks advice as to his right to leave Austria under the contract, 366;
last collection of the annuity, III, 295;
bank stock owned by B. at time of death, I, 326;
II, 379;
B. objects to its use for his benefit, III, 114, 290;
discovered after his death, 309.
Character, traits of, and illustrative acts: Vol. I, 83, 179;
fondness for punning, 183;
disposition as teacher, 120, 121, 201, 314;
forgets his riding-horse, 200, 221;
relations with musicians in Vienna, 240, 241;
study of his character, 245 et seq.;
exaggerations of biographers, 245;
extremes in his moral nature and temperament, 246;
consequences of defective education, 246;
ignorance of the value of money, 247;
lack of independence in judgment, 247;
high ideals, 247;
pride, 248;
sometime ungenerous treatment of friends, 248, 298;
wish to be relieved of financial cares, 249;
attitude towards transcriptions, 250;
towards criticism, 250;
susceptibility to flattery, 251;
love of nature, 251;
attractive to young people, 251;
indifference to games of chance, 252;
love of poetry, 254; his letter-writing, 255;
manner of composing, 258 et seq.;
carelessness about dates, 281, 331, 344;
recommends virtue to his brothers, 353;
may have used his brothers as screen, 363.
Vol. II. Displeased because not placed at prince’s table, 32;
suspicious nature, 62, 63;
carelessness about dates, 66;
pride leads him to leave Prince Lichnowsky in anger, 68, 69;
takes umbrage at being asked to play for French officers, 68, 69;
Dr. Bertolini on his dilatoriness and lack of etiquette, 80;
protests against holding improper relations with married women, 85;
his opinion of his predecessors, 89;
violence of temper, throws a dish of food in a waiter’s face, 91;
feelings toward his relations, 91;
indifference to his own manuscripts, 92;
uncouth and awkward, 92;
ignorance of monetary matters, 92;
peculiarities described by Seyfried, 93 et seq.;
dislike of being disturbed at work, 93;
fondness for punning, 95;
his handwriting, 95;
denounces his friends as “princely rabble,” 105, 127;
hatred of French, 117;
longing for opera-texts, 118;
disingenuous treatment of friends, 123;
hypochondria, 126;
orchestra refuses to play under him, 128;
violent gesticulations when conducting, 128;
his suspicious nature, 130;
withholds help from Ries, 140;
affectionate concern for Breuning, 155;
domestic tribulations, 155;
love of poetry, 147;
influences which created his moods, 163 et seq.;
normally cheerful, 163;
a new infatuation makes him attentive to dress, 173;
his only animal pet, 174;
refuses to accept commission on sale of a pianoforte, 174;
conviviality, 175;
“electrical by nature,” 182, 189;
how music came to him, 188;
love of nature, 193;
Goethe’s description of him, 224;
self-esteem, 226;
finds fault with his friends, 237;
longing for domesticity, 240;
unthrifty habits, 244;
rails at Archduke Rudolph for getting him an annuity, 250;
whimsical designations for his friends, 280;
absent-mindedness, 287;
Weissenbach’s description of him, 294;
condemns popular virtuosi, 298;
his puns, 214, 286;
[319]aspersions on the character of Princes Kinsky and Lobkowitz, 307;
manner of composing, 316;
allows himself to ignore rules of composition, 326;
rails at the Emperor of Austria, 344;
restive under restraint, 360;
desire to be truthfully described, 361;
favors German terminology, 364;
some of his moral reflections, 365;
lack of decision, 379;
admiration for English system of government, 381;
contempt for Viennese, 381;
queries about housekeeping, 387;
unfitness to be guardian of his nephew, 392;
blames Archduke for his financial troubles, 396;
takes pay for an oratorio which he does not compose, 398;
explains that he is not of noble birth, 404;
his contempt for the plebs, 409.

Vol. III. Domestic matters recorded in an almanac, 14;
neglects food in frenzy of composition, 15;
forgets to eat at a restaurant, 17;
dealings with publishers, 39, 44, 51 et seq.; 62, 65 (see “Mass in D” and “Symphony in D minor” in Index of Compositions);
arrested as a tramp, 42;
his puns, 63;
attitude toward Archduke Rudolph, 70;
compares Goethe and Klopstock, 75;
his views on progress in music, 76;
an unruly patient, 85;
dilatoriness in delivery of Mass in D, 94 et seq.;
nicknames for Schindler, 106;
manner of composing, 126;
indifference to dress, 126;
accuses Schindler of being an evil character, 133;
uses house-shutters for memoranda, 133;
rails against his brother’s wife and daughter, 134;
contradictory conduct concerning titles of honor, 163;
drives his friends away from him after the first performance of the Ninth Symphony, 167;
leaves country lodging because people are inquisitive, 176;
abuses his landlord, 177;
rebukes publisher for complaining that he had not received a work which he had bought, 180;
attempts a joke at Haslinger’s expense, 190;
enraged by a copyist, 191;
denounces one publisher to another, 191;
a poor arithmetician, 194, 277;
his drinking habits, 195 et seq.;
jests on the name Holz, 196;
forgets that he has paid a bill, 211;
loud voice and laugh, 213;
reluctance to play in private, 213;
disagreeable manners, 214;
his publisher a “hell-hound,” 216;
asks for Luther’s Bible, 219;
accepts money for a Requiem which he does not compose, 220;
proud of a medal sent by the King of France, 230;
ignores promise to dedicate the Ninth Symphony to Ries, 231;
sells ring sent by the King of Prussia because it was not a diamond, 233;
hatred of his sister-in-law because of her lewdness, 238;
looked upon by a law-clerk as an imbecile, 241;
treated as a menial by a stranger, 241;
refuses to dine with his brother’s family, 243;
gesticulations while composing frighten an ox-team, 243;
welcomes royal distinctions, 244;
prone to believe evil of everybody, 249;
becomes apprehensive of death, 253;
drinking habits, 275;
charges Schindler with pilfering a petty sum of money, 281;
wants to read a full report of a speech by Channing, 283;
remarks while undergoing a surgical operation, 276;
ungracious reception of his physician’s ministration, 283;
confident that his last compositions will eventually be recognized, 300;
Plaudite, amici, comœdia finita est,” 304 et seq.

Compositions (Index of Compositions).

Concert appearances as player or conductor:
First public appearance, I, 59;
first appearance as virtuoso, 184, 185;
plays at Romberg’s concert, 199;
at Schuppanzigh’s, 191, 200, 214;
in Prague, 217;
at Burgtheater, 266;
at Punto’s concert, 267, 282;
asks use of Court Theatre, II, 99;
his conducting, 117, 127, 128;
Spohr’s account of his manner, II, 257;
Franz Wild’s description, II, 268; III, 14;
the concert of 1808, II, 127;
failure of charity concert in 1809, II, 149, 172, 215;
benefit of sufferers by fire at Baden, 225;
concerts of 1813, 248, 259;
benefit of wounded soldiers, 257;
repetition, 261;
constitution of his orchestra, 268, 269;
concerts of 1814 299, 300, 327, 388;
proposed concert in 1819, III, 22;
opening of Josephstadt Theatre, 81;
breaks down conducting “Fidelio,” 83;
concerts of 1824, 176.

Conversation Books:
I, xi, 229, 241, 252, 319, 320;
preserved in the Royal Library in Berlin, 377;
given to Schindler, III. 11;
their number and kind, 11;
Thayer’s labor upon them, 12, 87, 89;
alterations by Schindler, III, 273, 281.

Origin of, I, 218, 245, 261, 298;
B’s strange account, 300; III, 210;
desire to conceal it, I, 300;
phenomena, 300;
B’s reflections in the Heiligenstadt Will, 352;
Ries’s account, 352;
Seyfried’s account, II, 95, 96;
B. Hides from the noise of bombardment, 145;
Mälzel makes ear-trumpets, 233;
III, Dr. Smetana prescribes for the malady, 85;
cure attempted by Pater Weiss, II, 96; III, 85;
unaffected by dissonance, III, 202.

Education and Training:
I, 57 et seq.;
lessons from his father, 58;
weeping as child at the pianoforte, 58;
studies at Latin School, 59;
deficiency of general education, 60;
knowledge of French and Latin, 60, 65;
lessons from Van den Eeden, 61, 62, 67 et seq.;
studies under Tobias Pfeiffer, 62, 63;
lessons on violin and viola at Bonn, 64;
organ playing with Friar Willibald, 64;
first efforts at composition, 65;
doubtful story of private studies in Latin, 65;
counterpoint and composition from Neefe, 67 et seq.;
study of Bach, 70;
cembalist in Electoral Chapel, 72, 85;
violin lessons from Franz Ries, 85;
violin lessons from Krumpholz, 92;
lack of skill on violin, 92;
training in orchestra, 109;
[320]shows cantata to Haydn, 116;
proposed as pupil of Haydn, 123;
extent of his obligations to Max Franz, Elector, 124;
his appreciation of Neefe as teacher, 124;
lessons from Haydn, 150 et seq.;
his disparagement of Haydn as teacher, 152, 158;
rupture with Haydn, 155, 189;
lessons from Schenk, 152 et seq.;
Fux’s “Gradus,” 153;
lessons from Salieri, 154;
from Albrechtsberger, 155, 156 et seq.;
violin instruction from Schuppanzigh, 156;
Seyfried’s “Studien, etc.,” 159;
Fux, 159;
Türk, 159;
C. P. E. Bach, 159;
Kirnberger, 159;
Salieri, 160;
refuses to attend lectures on Kant, 182;
Plato’s supposed influence, 213, 214;
effect on his character of defective training, 246;
imperfections in letters, 255;
studies made for Archduke Rudolph, II, 147, 150, 151;
self-improvement by reading, 166.

Guardianship of his Nephew: Karl Kaspar van Beethoven declares his wish that his brother and widow be joint guardians of his son Karl, II, 241;
B. appointed guardian, 320;
the widow appointed co-guardian, 321;
court appointment, 320;
B. has himself made sole guardian, 321;
takes his ward to live with him, 341 et seq.;
asks Kanka to collect inheritance for the lad, 353;
defective training of Karl, 361;
widow compelled to bear a share in the expense of education, 368, 362 et seq.;
widow tries to get possession of her son, 400 et seq.;
not being of noble birth B. is referred to plebeian court, 401, 404;
testimony before the court of the nobility, 403 et seq.

—Vol. III. Widow renews petition to have her son sent to Imperial Konviktschule, 2;
B. suspended from the guardianship, 2;
plans to send Nephew to Landshut University, 4, 5;
Tuscher appointed guardian, 5;
B. appeals to Archduke Rudolph for a passport to Landshut, 6;
the plan frustrated, 6;
Giannatasio refuses to readmit Karl, 6;
he is sent to Blöchlinger’s Institute, 7;
Tuscher surrenders guardianship, and B. desires to resume it, 7;
is refused, 8;
the mother reappointed, with Nussböck as co-guardian, over B’s protest, 8, 10;
B. appeals to the Landrecht, 10, 26;
Councillor Peters suggested as co-guardian, 10;
Blöchlinger takes charge of the ward, 14;
facts and merits of the case, 28 et seq.;
B. makes personal appeal to the court, 29;
Dr. Bach a judicious adviser, 30;
the court appoints B. and Peters co-guardians, 31;
widow makes vain appeal to the Emperor, 31;
cost of B’s victory, 31;
his joy, 32;
Karl runs away from the Institute, 33;
effect of B’s administration of the trust on himself and his ward, 247 et seq.;
Dr. Reisser appointed in place of Peters, 251;
Breuning persuades B. to resign and takes his place, 264;
Hotschevar becomes guardian after the death of B. and Breuning, 292.

Illness, death and burial: I, 123, 198, 201, 281, 298, 300, 302.—II, 27, 116, 123, 158, 190, 199, 202, 223, 227, 246, 366, 367, 378, 395.—III, 39, 70, 71, 72, 129, 133, 170, 199, 207, 219, 240, 241, 271 et seq.;
medical attendance summoned, 273;
surgical operations, 276, 283, 294, 296;
frozen punch prescribed, 286;
sweat baths, 287;
cheering news from old friends, 288;
B. asks aid from the London Philharmonic Society, 289, 290;
the Society votes gift of 100 pounds, 290;
visitors at bedside of sick man, 280, 286, 289, 294, 295;
B. abandons hope, 296;
gifts of wines and delicacies, 287 et seq.;
Hummel at the death-bed, 301;
signing the will, 303 et seq.;
Plaudite, amici, comœdia finita est,” 304 et seq.;
B. receives extreme unction, 305;
the death-struggle, 307;
death caused by cirrhosis of the liver, 308;
revelations of the autopsy, 309, 310;
property left by B., 310;
funeral, 312;
performances of masses for the dead by Mozart and Cherubini, 312;
pall and torch-bearers, 312;
burial at Währing, 312;
exhumation of the body and reburial, 312.

Improvisation: B’s skill at an early age, I, 63;
discomfits a singer by his harmonization, 87, 119, 152, 182, 188;
Czerny’s account, 196;
at the Singakademie in Berlin, 197, 217;
on “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman,” 217, 266.—Vol. II, 15;
on theme from a quartet by Pleyel, 44, 90, 375; III, 208.

Letters: To Amenda, I, 297;
Arnim, Bettina von, II, 190, 196;
Artaria and Co., III, 65;
Dr. Bach, III, 115, 278;
Baumeister, II, 218;
Beethoven, Johann van, I, 192, 352; III, 69, 72, 134;
Beethoven, Karl Kaspar van, I, 352;
Beethoven, Karl van, III, 254;
Dr. Bertolini, II, 87;
Bernard, II, 398; III, 171;
Beyer, II, 259;
Bigot, II, 84;
Birchall, II, 319, 325, 336, 346, 350;
Brauchle, II, 317;
Breitkopf and Härtel, I, 286, 294, 349, 368, 369; II, 66, 67, 136, 142, 148, 192, 198, 200, 204, 206, 214, 226;
Brentano, III, 46, 47;
Breuning, Leonore von, I, 177, 179;
Breuning, Stephan von, II, 33;
Broadwood, Thomas, II, 390;
Brunswick, Count, II, 105, 202, 219, 266;
Brunswick, Countess Therese, II, 203;
Cherubini, III, 100;
Collin, von, II, 149;
Czerny, Carl, I, 316; II, 338, 374;
Erdödy, Countess, II, 144;
Ertmann, Baroness, II, 365;
Esterhazy, Prince, II, 107;
Frank, Mme. de, I, 283;
Giannatasio del Rio, II, 332, 349;
Gleichenstein, Count, II, 114, 140, 141, 155, 174, 175;
Goethe, II, 197; III, 98;
Haslinger, III, 44;
Hoffmeister and Kühnel, I, 271, 281, 286, 299, 366, 370; II, 16;
Holz, III, 216;
Hummel, I, 240; II, 267;
Kanka, II, 353;
King of England, III, 113;
Kinsky, Princess, II, 243;
Könneritz, von, III, 97;
[321]Kotzebue, II, 213;
Kuhlau, III, 204;
Lichnowsky, Count Moritz, II, 262; III, 158;
London Musicians, II, 274;
Macco, Alexander, II, 19;
Mähler, II, 16;
Malfatti, Therese, II, 176;
Matthisson, I, 202;
Moscheles, III, 291;
Mosel, von, II, 386;
Neate, Charles, II, 339, 352, 367;
Oppersdorff, Count, II, 122;
Peters, Councillor, II, 354;
Peters, C. F., III, 58, 60, 61, 64;
Ries, Ferdinand, II, 27, 28, 29, 324, 333, 338, 340, 371, 395, 412, 413; III, 111, 128;
Rudolph, Archduke, II, 199, 225, 235, 250, 266, 286;
III, 1, 9, 19, 20, 34, 91, 94;
Schaden, Dr., I, 92;
Schenck, 154;
Schindler, III, 102, 133, 158, 286, 295;
Schlesinger, III, 54;
Schott and Sons, III, 296, 297;
Schreyvogel, II, 304;
Schuppanzigh, III, 158;
Sebald, Amalie, II, 228;
Simrock, I, 183; II, 21;
III, 44, 56;
Smart, Sir George, II, 311, 351;
Smetana, Dr., III, 259;
Stadler, Abbé, III, 235;
Steiner, II, 364;
III, 38;
Streicher, Nanette, II, 394;
Stumpff, III, 289;
Theatre Directors in Vienna, II, 98;
Thomson, George, II, 17, 71, 157, 203, 219, 245, 308;
III, 16;
Tiedge, II, 206;
Treitschke, II, 269, 273, 277, 281, 284;
Tschiska, III, 3;
Varena, II, 246, 247, 249;
Wegeler, F. G., I, 177, 179;
Zelter, III, 18;
Zmeskall, I, 231, 355;
II, 88, 144, 155, 175, 208, 217, 245, 247, 248, 262, 271, 330, 349, 351;
III, 288.

Lodgings (in Vienna): Alsergasse, with Prince Lichnowsky, I, 148, 269;
Bartenstein House, II, 271, 286;
Gärtnerstrasse, II, 362, 367, 368;
Giorgi, II, 368;
Hamberger House, I, 355;
Johannesgasse, III, 184;
Josefstädter Glacis, III, 21;
Kothgasse, III, 97;
Kreuzgasse (Ogylisches Haus), I, 269;
Krügergasse, III, 144;
Pasqualati’s House, on the Mölkerbastei, II, 31, 44, 123, 196, 219;
Petersplatz, I, 256;
II, 12;
Rothes Haus, II, 271, 286;
Sailerstätte, II, 315, 361;
Schwarzspanierhaus, III, 212, 273, 311;
in the Theater-an-der-Wien, II, 12, 23, 35, 44;
Tiefen Graben, I, 269, 288;
Ungarstrasse, III, 140, 170;
Walfischgasse, II, 145, 155. (In the country): Baden, II, 13, 102, 106, 107, 145, 244, 249, 251, 315;
III, 39, 70, 71, 133, 134, 137, 177, 200;
Döbling, II, 14, 31;
Gneixendorf, III, 237, 238, 239, 244, 267, 271;
Heiligenstadt, I, 349, 351;
II, 107, 110, 119, 120. 369;
Hetzendorf, I, 288, 289;
II, 45, 47, 367;
III, 95, 122, 129;
Landstrasse, III, 36, 39, 73;
Mödling, II, 380, 396;
III, 6, 14, 17, 35, 48;
Nussdorf, II, 369;
Oberdöbling, III, 69, 73;
Penzing, III, 176;
Unterdöbling, I, 269;
III, 39, 47.

London Philharmonic Society: Neate buys overtures for, II, 333;
the Society’s disappointment, 334;
its membership roll, 334;
B. offers to write new works for, 352, 367;
invites B. to visit London, 370, 378, 379, 380, 395, 413;
III, Hogarth’s history of, 110;
the Society and the Ninth Symphony, 110 et seq.;
149, 177, 207, 209, 230, 232 et seq.;
again invites B. to visit London, 186;
appealed to by B. for aid, 289;
100 pounds voted for B’s relief, 290 et seq.;
gift reclaimed after B’s death, but released, 293, 294;
part of the sum applied to funeral expenses, 302.

Love Affairs, Marriage Projects, B’s relations with Women: (see also “Character,” etc.), I, xvi, xxi, 120;
susceptibility to women’s charms, I, 121 et seq., 235, 317 et seq., 334;
encounter with a prince’s mistress, II, 33;
passion no influence in “Fidelio,” II, 166;
the “Immortal Beloved,” I, xxi, 281, 292, 326, 328 et seq.;
II, 66, 105, 106, 222, 343, 336 et seq., 342 (see writings in controversy under “Grove,” “La Mara,” “Storck,” “Prelinger,” “Chantonoine,” “Rolland,” “Schindler,” “Nohl,” “Kalischer,” “Frimmel,” “Volbach,” “Thomas-San-Galli,” “Hale,” “Tenger”);
Countess Therese Brunswick, I, 326;
relations interviewed, 340;
memoirs of, 344;
Magdalena Willmann, I, 242, 292, 337;
Therese Malfatti, I, 336;
II, 86, 106, 239;
Amalie Sebald, I, 337;
II, 206, 228, 239;
Giulietta Guicciardi, I, 343, 344, 292;
Madame Bigot, II, 84;
Marie Koschak, I, 318;
II, 383;
Bettina von Arnim, II, 366;
Fanny Giannatasio, II, 362;
an alleged “Autumnal love,” II, 383;
B’s contemplation of marriage, I, xvi;
offers hand to Magdalena Willmann, I, 242;
his celibacy, 242, 245, 326;
alleged proposal to Therese Malfatti, II, 178;
effect of her rejection of him, 193, 141, 142, 200, 239, 240;
a confession of disappointed love, 342;
reputed proposal to Cibbini, III, 205, 207.

Opera Projects (see “Fidelio,” in Index of Compositions): At work on an opera when he became deaf, I, 263;
his constant longing for a text, II, 118, 202;
applies to Kotzebue for a book, II, 213;
licentious plots repugnant to him, III, 201;
subjects considered: “Macbeth” by Collin, II, 119, 151, 153;
“Bradamante” by Collin, II, 119;
intended collaboration with Varnhagen von Ense, II, 204;
“Alexander” by Schikaneder(?), II, 19, 20;
Grillparzer’s “Melusine,” III, 118 et seq.;
135, 220;
Körner’s “Return of Ulysses,” II, 237;
Rudolph von Berger’s “Bacchus,” II, 314, 328;
“Romulus and Remus,” 304, 381;
“Macbeth” (not by Collin), III, 117;
“Romeo and Juliet,” 117;
Schiller’s “Fiesco,” 117;
Voltaire’s tragedies, III, 117;
Grillparzer’s “Dragomira,” III, 118, 120, 122.

Orchestra and Organ, B’s experience with: Lessons on violin and viola from Rovantini, I, 64;
from Ries, 99;
from Schuppanzigh, 156;
training in orchestra, 109, 111;
Schindler in error, 239;
[322]studies organ-playing with Van den Eeden, I, 61, 64; with Willibald Koch and Zenser, 64;
assumes Neefe’s duties as organist, 69;
assistant to Neefe, 71;
appointed assistant organist in the Electoral Chapel, 74;
recommended for Court Organistship, 83, 105;
his playing, 110.

Personal Appearance and Portraits: I,76, 146, 147;
“Ugly and half crazy,” 243;
described by Baillot, II, 55;
described by Weissenbach, II, 294;
described by Julius Benedict, III, 139, 125.—Dress, I, 147, 322;
a new wardrobe for a new infatuation, II, 173;
changes new coat for old one for dinner, II, 186;
negligent appearance, 88, 287.—Portraits: Silhouette by Neesen, I, 122;
paintings by Mähler, II, 15, 16;
Frimmel’s discussion of B’s portraits, II, 15;
miniature by Hornemann, II, 33;
Klein’s mask and Danhauser’s bust, II, 221;
Latronne’s crayon drawing engraved by Höfel, II, 287;
painting by Heckel, II, 338;
painting by August von Klöber, II, 399;
lithograph by Dürck, III, 42;
painting by Ferdinand Schimon, III, 21, 41;
portrait by Joseph Stieler, III, 41;
death-mask and drawing by Danhauser, III, 310;
crayon drawing by Decker, imitated by Kriehuber, III, 176.

Pianoforte Study and Playing (see “Education”): Studies pianoforte with his father, I, 58;
skill as a boy described by Neefe, 69, 111;
plays for Abbé Sterkel, 114;
duties as pianist to the Elector, 135;
Bach’s fugues, 175;
skill in sight-reading, 180;
his playing compared with Wölffl’s, 215;
described by Tomaschek, 217;
Cherubini’s comments on, 220;
Spohr’s criticism, II, 269;
last public appearance as pianist, 270;
his playing of “The Well-Tempered Clavichord,” II, 355;
advice to Czerny as to instruction of his nephew, II, 374.

Religion: Character of B’s religious belief, II, 167 et seq.;
transcription of Egyptian texts preserved by him, 168;
prayers in his note-books, 169, 249;
an expression of faith, 187;
admonishes his nephew to pray, 407;
views on church music, 414, 415;
attitude towards the Catholic Church, II, 168, III, 91;
the Mass in D, III, 91;
receives the rites for the dying, 305 et seq.

Sketchbooks: Gelinek finds the cause of B’s faults in them, I, 257;
Nottebohm’s analysis, I, 257 et seq., 364;
Kafka’s, I, 205, 206, 209, 210;
Sketches in the British Museum, I, 205, 206, 209, 210, 261;
Petter Collection, I, 274, 290;
II, 118, 129, 151, 209, 296;
Grassnick Collection, I, 275;
II, 160;
Kessler’s, I, 289, 368, 371;
Landsberger’s, II, 73;
Meinert Collection, II, 150, 161;
the “Fidelio” sketches, II, 285;
Mendelssohn Collection, II, 310.

Beiden Savoyarden, Die” (“Les deux petits Savoyards”): Opera by Dalayrac, I, 109.

Belderbusch, Kaspar Anton: Prime Minister of Elector Max Friedrich I, 14, 15;
assumes paternity of Elector’s illegitimate children, 16;
death of, 33;
secures Neefe’s appointment as Court Organist, 36;
a musical amateur, 37, 118;
Countess Belderbusch, a clavier player, I, 37.

Belgium: Beethoven families residing in, in the 17th century, I, 42.

Bell, Doyne C.: “Documents, Letters, etc., relating to the Bust of Ludwig van Beethoven presented to the Philharmonic Society of London by Fanny Linzbauer,” III, 291.

Bellamy, Mr., English singer: II, 310.

Belzer, Frau von, Musical amateur in Bonn: I, 38.

Benda, George: His opera “Ariadne auf Naxos,” I, 29, 107, 108;
“Romeo and Juliet,” I, 31, 107, 108;
conductor of Seydler’s company, 30.

Benedict, Sir Julius: III, 137;
his visit to B., 138 et seq.

Berger, Rudolph von: His opera-book “Bacchus,” II, 314.

Berlin: B. visits, I, 192, 195;
faults public for not applauding, 197;
II, 226;
plays for the Singakademie, I, 197;
the Singakademie and the Mass in D, III, 104, 180.

Bernadotte, General J. B.: His association with the “Eroica,” I, 212 et seq.;
King of Sweden, III, 139.

Bernard, Joseph Carl: II, 332, 359, 398;
III, 24, 30, 171;
his “Libussa,” 173;
Der Sieg des Kreuzes,” 172 et seq.

Bernardsberg, Der.” (See “Elise.”)

Bertinotti, Mme.: II, 75.

Bertolini, Dr.: On B’s susceptibility to women, I, 318;
on the origin of the “Eroica,” II, 25;
on B’s dilatoriness, 76, 87;
“Un lieto brindisi,” II, 280, 305, 322;
rupture of friendship with B., 341, 369.

Betulia liberata”: III, 143.

Betz: “Il Riso d’Apolline,” I, 26.

Beyer, Dr.: Letter to, II, 259.

Bigot, Librarian of Count Rasoumowsky: II, 73, 125, 146;
his wife, Marie, II, 84, 146.

Bihler, J. N.: III, 156.

Biographers of B.: Early, III, 197 et seq.

Biographische Notizen.” (See “Wegeler, F. G.” and “Ries, Ferdinand.”)

Birchall, Robert, English publisher: II, 319, 324, 325;
difficulty in getting a receipt from B., 355, et seq., 345, 350, 346, 359;
death of, 351;
and the overtures bought by the Philharmonic Society, 337.

Birkenstock, Joseph Melchior: II, 178;
Antonie, II, 179.

Blahetka, Leopoldine: III, 50, 138, 157.

Bland, Mrs., English singer: II, 310.

Blendwerk, Das” (“La fausse Magie”): Opera by Grétry, I, 107.

[323]Blöchlinger, Joseph Karl: III, 7, 23. (See Guardianship under “Beethoven, Ludwig van,” and “Beethoven, Karl.”)

Boer, S. M. de: Visits B., III, 203.

Bohemian Nobility: Musical culture of the, I, 168.

Böhm, Violinist: Plays the Quartet Op. 127, III, 192, 193;
torchbearer at B’s funeral, III, 312.

Böhm’s Theatrical Company: I, 86.

Bolla, Signora: B. plays at her concert, I, 191.

Bonaparte, Jerome: I, 190; II, 122;
invites B. to his court, 124, 135 et seq.

Bonaparte, Louis, King of Holland: II, 245, 247.

Bonaparte, Napoleon: Threatens invasion of Vienna, I, 199, 200;
the “Eroica,” 213; II, 24;
B’s remark: “I would conquer him!” 117;
neglects opportunity to hear the “Eroica,” 149;
marches on Moscow, 221;
holds court at Dresden, 221;
effect of his downfall, 295;
and Cherubini, III, 206.

Bonn, City of: Festival in 1838, I, xvii;
selected as Electoral residence, 3;
besieged by Marlborough, 6;
restored to archbishopric of Cologne, 6;
improved by Elector Clemens August, 7;
the Comedy House, 30;
professional and amateur musicians in B’s time, 31;
appearance of the city, 38 et seq.;
Beethovens in before the arrival of the composer’s grandfather, 44;
music in Max Franz’s reign, 88;
theatrical companies, 112;
B’s friends, 117, 125, 126;
B. leaves the city forever, 125;
B’s compositions in, 129 et seq.;
Beethoven Festival of 1845, II, 177.

Boosey, Music publisher in London: III, 111, 128;
makes contract with B. through Ries, 128.

Born, Baroness: III, 42.

Boston Handel and Haydn Society: Commissions B. to write an oratorio, III, 87.

Botticelli, Singer: III, 169.

Bouilly, J. N.: His opera-texts, II, 36.

Bowater, Mrs.: I, 134, 145;
III, 40.

Bradamante”: Opera-book by Collin, II, 19.

Brahms, Johannes: Confirms authenticity of Bonn cantatas, I, 131;
comment on the compositions of royal personages, III, 20.

Brauchle: Tutor of Count Erdödy’s children, I, 320;
II, 317.

Braun, Baron: I, 168;
invites the Rombergs to give a concert, 199, 244, 290, 348, 350;
engages Ries at B’s solicitation, 360;
engages Cherubini to compose operas, II, 3;
dismisses Schikaneder, 23, 34, 35;
withdraws “Fidelio,” 63;
ends his management of the Theater-an-der-Wien, 78.
Baroness, I, 225, 244;
dedication of the Horn Sonata, 290.

Braunhofer, Dr.: Dedication of the “Abendlied,” III, 50, 199;
canon for, 200, 219, 373;
declines call to B., 272, 274.

Breimann: II, 125.

Breitkopf and Härtel: Acquire publication rights of this biography, I, xv;
employ Dr. Riemann to revise German edition, xv;
B’s letters to, I, 286, 294, 348, 349, 364, 369;
II, 66, 67, 142, 148, 192, 198, 200, 204, 206;
B. offers them all his works, 67;
attempt to renew association with B., III, 73.

Brentano, Antonie: II, 322;
III, 128.

Brentano, Clemens: II, 196, 222.

Brentano, Elizabeth: (See Arnim, Bettina von)

Brentano, Franz: II, 179, 186;
B. borrows money from, III, 39, 45, 46, 47;
loan repaid, 64, 184.

Brentano, Maximiliane: II, 179, 180, 221.

Brentano, Sophie: II, 179.

Breuning, Christoph von: I, 98, 99;
Christoph (son), I, 198, 303.

Breuning, Eleonore Brigitte von: Wife of Franz Gerhard Wegeler, I, 99, 118, 119;
lines on B’s birthday, 122;
inscription in his album, 125, 138, 300;
III, 214, 288.

Breuning, Emmanuel Joseph von: I, 98.

Breuning, Georg Joseph von: I, 98.

Breuning, Dr. Gerhard: Visited by Thayer, I, xi 96, 99, 100, 300;
opinion of B’s brother Karl, II, 322, 362;
description of Johann van B., III, 66;
B’s interest in him as a lad, III, 214;
on B’s last illness, 247;
on the medical treatment of B., 287, 300.

Breuning, Johann Lorenz von: I, 98.

Breuning, Johann Philipp von: I, 98.

Breuning, Johann Lorenz (Lenz) von: I, 99, 119, 198;
reports to Romberg about B., 199;
B’s lines in his album, 201, 202.

Breuning, Madame von: I, 99;
selects B. as teacher for her children, 100;
influence over B., 100, 188, 119, 303;
death of, 100;
dedication of the pianoforte arrangement of the Violin Concerto, II, 134.

Breuning, Marie von: III, 213.

Breuning, Stephen von: I, 99;
intimacy with B., 119, 191, 198;
returns to Vienna, 288, 301;
B. advises his employment by the Teutonic Order, 303;
his relations with B. in Vienna, 310 et seq.;
B’s injustice toward him, 311.
—II, becomes clerk in Austrian war department, 14;
quarrels with B., 27 et seq.;
reconciliation, 32;
receives miniature from B., 33;
poem for the second performance of “Fidelio,” 61;
letter concerning the opera, 57;
B’s concern for his health, 155;
death of his wife, 155;
dedication of the Violin Concerto, 162;
warns B. against his brother Karl, 322.
—III, 24, 197;
intimacy with B resumed, 213;
persuades B. to resign guardianship, 264;
objects to unqualified bequest to Nephew Karl, 279;
finds B’s bank stock and the love-letter, 376.

Bridgetower, George Augustus Polgreen, Violinist: I, 186;
his career, II, 8 et seq.;
[324]his notes on the “Kreutzer Sonata,” 10.

Bridi, Joseph Anton: II, 391.

British Museum: Sketches in I, 205, 206, 209, 210, 261.

Broadwood, Thomas:
Presents pianoforte to B., II, 390 et seq.; III, 201, 237.

Browne, Count: I, 199;
B. calls him his “first Mæcenas,” 222, 244; II, 20.
Countess, I, 200, 209, 227, 244.

Brühl, Count: III, 153.

Brunswick, Count Franz: I, 322;
the Rasoumowsky quartets, II, 104;
letters from B., 105, 124, 202, 219, 245, 266;
ruined by theatrical management, 154;
dedication of Fantasia Op. 77, 195; III, 24, 170;
offers summer sojourn in Hungary to B., 179.

Brunswick, Count Géza: I, 340, 341.

Brunswick, Countess Marie: I, 340.

Brunswick, Countess Therese: I, xvi, 279;
her relations with B., 317, 322, 335 et seq.;
sends her portrait to B., 335;
B’s message to her brother, “Kiss your sister Therese,” II, 105, 161, 173;
dedication of the Sonata Op. 78, 195;
portrait of, 202;
letter to, 203, 239.

Bryant, William Cullen: Quoted I, 252.

Buda-Pesth: National Museum of, gets B’s Broadwood pianoforte, II, 392.

Buona Figliuola, La”: Opera by Piccini, I, 25, 32.

Burbure, Léon: Supplies information concerning the Belgian Beethovens, I, 42.

Bureau d’Arts et Industrie: Established, II, 35.

Burney, Dr. Charles: “Present State, etc.,” quoted, I, 174.

Cache, Singer at first performance of “Fidelio”, II, 51.

Cäcilien-Verein of Frankfort: Subscription to the Mass in D, III, 104, 106, 110, 180.

Calamità di Cuori, La”: Opera by Galuppi, I, 26.

Caldara: Opera “Gioas, Re di Giuda,” I, 184.

Campbell, Thomas: “The Battle of the Baltic,” II, 203.

Capponi, Marchese: I, 341.

Carlyle, Thomas: II, 360.

Italian text for Haydn’s “Creation,” II, 116;
introduces Rossini to B., 360.

Carriere, Moriz: Dubious of the genuineness of B’s letters to Bettina von Arnim, II, 185.

Cassel: B. invited to become chapelmaster at, II, 122, 124, 135 et seq., 141.

Cassentini, Dancer: I, 285.

On failure of the Concerto in E-flat, II, 215;
torchbearer and poet at B’s funeral, III, 312.

Castlereagh, Viscount: II, 291.

Catalani: II, 310.

Catalogue, Classified, of B’s works: II, 38.

Catherine II, Empress of Russia: II, 81.

Champein: I, 86.

Channing: B. asks for full report of speech on his death-bed, III, 283.

Chantavoine, Jean: I, 211, 228, 337.

Chappell, Music publisher in London: II, 413.

Charles XIV (Bernadotte), King of Sweden: III, 130.

Cherubini, Luigi:
On B’s playing, I, 220, 324;
engaged to compose operas for Vienna, II, 3, 47;
B’s respect for, 48;
opinion of “Fidelio,” 63, 64, 202;
“Les deux Journées,” II, 3, 36; III, 139;
“Lodoiska,” II, 3;
“Elise,” 3;
“Medea,” 3;
“Faniska,” 110;
asked by B. to urge subscription to Mass on King of France, III, 100, 126;
on B. and Mozart, 205;
Schlesinger on, 206;
on B’s quartets, 216;
his “Requiem” sung at B’s funeral, 312.

Cherubini, Madame: On B’s social conduct, I, 121.

Chorley, Henry F.: Receives and publishes B’s letter to Bettina von Arnim, II, 182, 184, 316.

Churchill, John, Earl of Marlborough: I, 6.

Church Music: B’s views on, III, 203.

Cibbini, Antonia: B’s offer of marriage to, III, 205, 207.

Cimarosa, Domenico:
“L’Italiana in Londra,” I, 32;
“Il Matrimonio segreto,” 164.

Clam-Gallas, Count Christian: I, 194.

Clari, Countess Josephine di: I, 194.

Clemens August, Elector of Cologne: I, 1;
his extravagance, 7;
succeeds to the Electorship, 7;
career of, 7;
life in Rome, 8;
Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, 7, 98;
opens strong-box of the Order, 8;
falls ill while dancing and dies, 7, 8;
entry into Bonn, 9;
his music-chapel, 9;
appoints Van den Eeden Court Organist, 10;
increases salary of B’s grandfather, 10;
music in his reign, 14;
his theatre, 30;
appoints B’s grandfather Court Musician, 43.

Clement, Franz, Violinist: II, 2;
conductor, 42;
B’s Violin Concerto, 76;
succeeds Häring as conductor in Vienna, 112;
produces “Mount of Olives,” 156, 209, and the Ninth Symphony, III, 157 et seq.

Clementi, Muzio: I, 33;
encounter between him and B., II, 23, 38, 75;
contract with B. for compositions, 102;
tardy payment of debt, 131, 158;
B. on his pianoforte studies, 375;
B. sends them to Gerhard von Breuning, III, 214.

Collard, F. W., Partner of Clementi: II, 102, 103.

Collin, von:
“Coriolan,” II, 101, 102;
“Bradamante,” II, 119;
“Macbeth,” II, 119, 151;
“Jerusalem Delivered,” II, 119, 151;
Letter to, II, 149;
asked to write a drama for Pesth, 88, 201.

Electors of in the 18th century, I, 1 et seq.;
Archbishop Engelbert, 3;
[325]civil income of Electorate, 7.

Colonie, Die” (“L’Isola d’Amore”): Opera by Sacchini, I, 108.

Complete Editions of B’s Works planned: II, 18, 38, 192; III, 36, 54, 190, 205, 237;
Archduke Rudolph’s Collection, II, 200.

Congress of Vienna: II, 288, 289.

Consecutive Fifths: B’s dictum on II, 89.

Contadina in Corte, La”: Opera by Sacchini, I, 26.

Conti: I, 282; II, 2.

Convivo, Il”: Opera by Cimarosa, I, 107.

Corsar aus Liebe”: Opera by Weigl, I, 268; II, 2.

Courts of Europe: Invited to subscribe to the Mass in D, III, 93 et seq.

Court Composers: Their duties in the 18th century, I, 13.

Court Theatres of Vienna: B. asks appointment as composer for, II, 98.

Cramer, F., Violinist: I, 186; II, 12.

Cramer, John Baptist: I, 186;
sketch of, 218, 219;
makes B’s acquaintance, 218;
his admiration for B., 219;
on B’s playing, 210; II, 318;
B’s opinion of him as pianist, 381.

Creation, The,” Haydn’s oratorio: I, 243, 266, 282, 284, 285; II, 89, 116, 120;
receives the first metronomic marks, 223.

Cressner, George, English Ambassador at Bonn: I, 65.

Cromwell: I, viii; II, 360.

Czapka: Magistrate to whom B. appeals, III, 265.

Czartoryski, Prince: I, 271.

Czernin, Count: I, 172.

Czerny, Carl: I, 85;
anecdote about B. and Gelinek, 152;
on B’s extempore playing, 196;
use of high registers of pianoforte, 223, 236;
pupil of B., 314;
duet playing with Ries, 314;
testimonial from B., 315;
memory of, 315;
rebuked by B. for changing his music, 316;
letters, 316, 322;
on the reception of the “Eroica,” II, 35;
on the Rasoumowsky Quartets, 75;
on B’s playing and teaching, 90;
on B’s character, 91;
on the theme of the Credo in the Mass in C, 107;
on the first performance of the Choral Fantasia, 130, 215, 314;
rebuked by B. for changing his music, 337;
letter, 338;
B’s advice as to instruction of Nephew Karl, 374;
inaccuracies as biographer, 376;
visits B., III, 203;
torchbearer at B’s funeral, 312.

Czerny, Wenzel: I, 236.

Czerwensky, Oboist: I, 239.

Dalayrac: Operas “Nina,” I, 107, 108;
“Les deux petits Savoyards,” 109.

Danhauser: Makes bust of B., II, 221;
death-mask, III, 310.

Dardanelli, Singer: III, 77, 169.

Decker: Makes crayon drawing of B., III, 176.

Degen, Aëronaut: III, 62.

Deiters, Dr. Hermann, German translator of Thayer’s work: I, Dedication; 88;
writes conclusion of the biography, xv, 75, 103;
discusses date of a letter to Wegeler, 177;
on the C-sharp minor Sonata, 292;
B’s letters to Bettina von Arnim, II, 197;
B’s conduct towards Simrock, III, 53.

De la Borde: Opera “Die Müllerin,” I, 109.

Deler (Teller, Deller?): “Eigensinn und Launen der Liebe,” opera, I, 31.

Dembscher: III, 193;
canon, “Muss es sein?” 224, 244.

Demmer: Singer at first performance of “Fidelio,” II, 50, 61; III, 83.

Demmer, Joseph: Petitions for the post of B’s grandfather, I, 22;
appointed, 23.

Denmark, King of: Subscribes for the Mass in D, III, 102, 105.

Desaides: Opera “Julie,” I, 29, 107;
“Die Reue vor der That,” 32;
his operas in Bonn, 86;
“Les trois Fermiers,” 107.

Descriptive Music: B. and, II, 120.

Déserteur, Le”: Opera by Monsigny, I, 31, 46.

Dessauer, Joseph: Buys autograph score of “Eroica,” II, 24.

Deux Journées, Les”: Opera by Cherubini, II, 3; III, 139.

Devenne: “Battle of Gemappe,” II, 252.

Deym, Countess Isabelle: I, 342; II, 105.

Deym, Countess Josephine: I, 279, 322, 342; II, 203.

Diabelli, Anton: II, 314;
III, negotiations with B. 107;
variations on his waltz, 127 et seq.;
commissions Sonata for four hands, 183.

Dickens, Mrs., English singer: II, 310.

Die beiden Caliphen”: Opera by Meyerbeer, II, 297.

Die Müllerin”: Opera by De la Borde, I, 109.

Dietrichstein, Count: Tries to have B. appointed Imperial Court Composer, III, 115;
sends B. texts for missal hymns, 116.

Dittersdorf: Operas “Doktor und Apotheker,” I, 108, 109;
“Hieronymus Knicker,” 109;
“Das rothe Käppchen,” 109, 139, 176, 183.

Dobbeler, Abbé Clemens: Carries Trio Op. 3 to England, I, 134, 145.

Dobbler’s Dramatic Company: I, 28.

Dr. Murner”: Opera by Schuster, I, 108.

Doktor und Apotheker”: Opera by Dittersdorf, I, 108, 109.

Doležalek, Johann Emanuel: I, 239;
sketch of, 368;
on the first performance of the Choral Fantasia, II, 130; III, 294.

Donaldson, Edinburgh publisher: III, 42.

Don Giovanni”: Opera by Mozart, I, 91, 107, 163, 193; II, 204; III, 42.

Donne sempre Donne, Le”: Opera by Lucchesi, I, 26.

Dont, Jacob: II, 399.

[326]Dont, Joseph Valentine: II, 399.

Donzelli, Singer: III, 169.

Dorfbarbier, Der”: Opera by Hiller, I, 36.

Dorfdeputirten, Die”: Opera by Schubauer, I, 109.

Dousmoulin. (See Touchemoulin.)

Dragomira”: Drama by Grillparzer, III, 118, 120, 122.

Dragonetti, Domenico:
Makes B’s acquaintance, I, 218;
skill on double-bass, 218; II, 124;
Trio in Fifth Symphony, 126, 256;
recitatives in Ninth Symphony, III, 207.

Drama, German: Cultivated in the time of Max Friedrich, I, 28 et seq.

Drechsler, Chapelmaster: III, 131;
pallbearer at B’s funeral, 312.

Dresden: B’s intended visit to, I, 192.

Drewer, Ferdinand, Violinist: I, 23, 24.

Drieberg, Baron F. J.: “Les Ruines de Babilone,” II, 202.

Drosdick, Baroness: II, 86.

Duncker, Friedrich: “Leonore Prohaska,” II, 298.

Duni: Opera, “Die Jäger und das Waldmädchen,” I, 29.

Duport: Director of the Kärnthnerthor Theatre, and the Ninth Symphony, III, 157.

Duport, Pierre, Violoncellist: I, 195, 205.

Dürck, F.: His lithograph of Stieler’s portrait, III, 42.

Duschek, Madame: I, 194, 226.

Düsseldorf: Electoral archives at, I, 5.

Dutillier: Operas, “Nanerina e Pandolfo,” I, 165;
“Trionfo d’Amore,” 165.

Eberl, Anton: I, 172; II, 2.

Ecclesiastical States of Germany: Former, I, 1, 15.

Edwards, F. G.: His sketch of Bridgetower’s career, II, 11.

Egyptian Text: Preserved by B., II, 168.

Ehrenpforte, Die”: Drama by Treitschke, II, 317.

Eifersucht auf der Probe”: Opera by Anfossi, I, 32.

Eifersüchtige Liebhaber, Der” (“L’Amant jaloux”): Opera by Grétry, I, 31, 107.

Eigensinn und Launen der Liebe”: Opera by Deler (?), I, 31.

Einsprüche, Die”: Opera by Neefe, I, 36.

Electoral Chapels: Appointments in, I, 9.

Electors of Cologne: I, 1 et seq.

Ella, John: II, 12; III, 32.

Embel, F. X.: III, 142.

Ende gut, Alles gut”: Opera by d’Antoine, I, 109.

Engelbert, Archbishop of Cologne: I, 3.

England: B’s plan to visit, II, 142;
his admiration for the English people and government, III, 36, 76, 181, 303;
court of, not invited to subscribe to Mass in D, 104, 112.
(See “Prince Regent.”)

English plays produced at Max Friedrich’s court: I, 29, 30, 31.

Entführung aus dem Serail”: Opera by Mozart, I, 32, 107, 109.

Eppinger, Heinrich, Amateur violinist: I, 235, 274, 306; II, 2.

Eppinger, Dr. Joseph: II, 335.

Erard, Sébastien: Presents pianoforte to B., II, 21.

Erdödy, Count: I, 172;
continued friendship for B., II, 82, 215, 271.

Erdödy, Countess Marie: Said by Schindler to have been one of B’s loves, I, 324;
sketch, II, 82, 124;
dedication of Trios Op. 70, 132;
proposes plan to keep B. in Vienna, 136, 141;
letter of apology from B., 144, 162, 315, 319;
B’s letter of condolence of death of her child, 339;
dedication of Op. 102, 357; III, 21;
dedication, 23.

Erk and Böhme: “Deutscher Liederhort,” I, 278.

Erlkönig”: Song by Schubert, I, 230; III, 236.

Ernst, Violinist: Purchaser of the Heiligenstadt Will, I, 351;
and B’s last quartets, III, 139.

Ernst und Lucinda” (“Eraste et Lucinde”): Opera by Grétry, I, 31.

Ertmann, Baroness Dorothea: Pupil of B., I, 322; II, 2, 83, 215;
B. consoles her grief by playing the pianoforte, 356;
dedication of Sonata Op. 101, 356, 365.

Esterhazy, Count Franz: I, 170.

Esterhazy, Prince Franz Anton: I, 172;
Princess, I, 172.

Esterhazy, Count Johann Nepomuk: I, 170.

Esterhazy, Prince Nicholas: I, 169; II, 98;
commissions B. to write a mass, 100;
letters from B., 107;
criticism of the Mass in C, 108, 116.

Esterhazy, Count Niklas: II, 98, 225.

Esterhazy, Prince Paul Anton: I, 166, 171, 189;
invited to subscribe to the Mass in D, III, 103.

Esterhazy, Princess: Dedication of the Marches Op. 45, I, 351; II, 40, 108.

Esther”: Opera by S. F. A. Auber, I, 14.

Euryanthe”: Opera by Weber, III, 139, 140.

Évènements imprévus, Les”: Opera by Grétry, I, 32.

Ewer and Co.: III, 13.

Eybler, Joseph: I, 165;
B’s respect for him, 242;
pallbearer at B’s funeral, III, 312.

Facius, the Brothers: Amateurs in Bonn, I, 38.

Falsification of B’s age: I, 55, 70, 71.

Falstaff, ossia le Tre Burli”: Opera by Salieri, I, 227.

Faniska”: Opera by Cherubini, II, 110.

[327]Fassbinder, Der”: Opera by Oudinet, I, 29.

Fausse Magie, La”: Opera by Grétry, I, 107.

Faust,” Goethe’s: II, 119; III, 75, 220.

Félix, ou l’Enfant trouvé”: Opera by Monsigny, I, 32, 109.

Felsburg, Count Stainer von: II, 338; III, 156.

Fermiers, Les trois”: Opera by Desaides, I, 107.

Fidelissimo Papageno: Nickname for Schindler, III, 102.

Fiesco”: Drama by Schiller, III, 117.

Filosofo di Campagna”: Opera by Galuppi, I, 25.

Finanz-Patent, Austrian: Its effect on B’s annuity, II, 211 et seq.

Finta Giardiniera, La”: Opera by Paisiello, I, 108.

Fischer, Cäcilie: I, xviii, 57, 58.

Fischer, Gottfried: I, xvii, 43, 47, 50, 51, 61, 66.

Fischer Manuscript: I, xvii, 43, 47, 50, 51, 61, 66.

Fischer: Opera, “Swetard’s Zaubergürtel,” II, 49.

Fodor, Singer: III, 121.

Fontaine, Mortier de: II, 73.

Forkel, J. N.: Biography of Bach, I, 303;
“History of Music in Examples,” II, 34.

Forray, Baron Andreas von: II, 220.

Förster, Emanuel Aloys: I, 172;
influences B’s chamber music, 273;
his son’s lessons from B., II, 31, 125, 315, 380.

Forti, Singer: II, 286.

Fouche, Mary de: I, 186.

Fouqué, Baron de la Motte: II, 330.

Four Elements, The”: Oratorio planned by Kuffner, III, 219.

Fox, Mrs. Jabez: Acquires Thayer’s posthumous papers, I, xiv;
her copy of Mähler’s portrait of B., II, 16.

Fra due Litiganti”: Opera by Sarti, I, 86, 109.

France, King of: Subscribes for Mass in D and strikes medal, III, 99, 105, 230.

Frank, Dr.: Treats B., I, 300.

Frank, Joseph: I, 243.

Frank, Madame. (See Gerardi.)

Frankfort: Cäcilien-Verein in, III, 104, 106, 111, 180.

Franz (Francis), Emperor of Austria: I, 214; III, 296.

Franzensbrunn: II, 223.

Frascatana, La”: Opera by Paisiello, I, 107.

Frederick II, King of Prussia: I, 195;
reputed father of B., III, 214.

Frederick III, of Prussia, German Emperor: marries Princess Victoria of England; a Wedding Song, III, 13.

Frederick William III, King of Prussia: I, 194, 195, 205.

Freischütz, Der”: Opera by Weber, III, 121, 135.

Freudenberg, Karl Gottfried: Visits B., III, 202.

Freund, Philip: Variation, I, 300.

Freundschaft auf der Probe” (“L’Amitié á l’Épreuve”): Opera by Grétry, I, 131.

Friedelberg: I, 199; “Ein grosses, deutsches Volk sind wir,” 200.

Friedlowsky, Clarinettist; I, 329.

Fries, Count Moritz: I, 172;
dedication of Violin Sonatas, 290;
Quintet Op, 29, 294;
collects funds for Bach’s daughter, 308.

Frimmel: “Beethoven Jahrbuch,” I, 255;
“Beethoven’s Wohnungen,” 269;
on the Bagatelles, 362, 337;
on Beethoven’s portraits, II, 15.

Fritzieri (Fridzeri, Frizer): Opera “Die seidenen Schuhe,” I, 32, 86.

Fry, William Henry, American critic: II, 358.

Fuchs, Aloys: I, 194, 276;
anecdote of B. and Haydn, 285;
owner of Heiligenstadt Will, 351;
solo singer in Troppau, II, 208, 368.

Fuchs: “Battle of Jena” arranged for two flutes, II, 252.

Fugger, Countess: Favorite of Elector Joseph Clemens, I, 3.

Fugues: B’s opinion on, II, 289.

Fürstenberg, Cardinal: I, 3;
his government of the Electorate, 5;
political vicissitudes, 5, 14.

Fuss, Johann: Opera “Romulus and Remus,” II, 304.

Fux, Joseph: “Gradus ad Parnassum,” I, 158, 159.

Galitzin, Prince George: III, 230.

Galitzin, Prince Nicolas Boris: III, 73;
dedication, 81;
the last Quartets, 87, 183;
asked to appeal to Czar for subscription, 102;
controversy over payment for the Quartets, 226 et seq.

Gallenberg, Count Wenzel Robert: Marries Countess Guicciardi, I, 320, 324;
associated with Barbaja, 320;
as a composer, II, 42; III, 130.

Gallenberg, Count: Son of Countess Guicciardi, I, 340.

Galuppi: Operas “Il Filosofo di Campagna,” I, 25;
“La Calamità di Cuori,” 26;
“Tre Amanti ridicoli,” 27.

Gänsbacher: On Vogler’s playing, II, 15;
pallbearer at B’s funeral, III, 312.

Gardiner, William: “Italy, Her Arts, etc.,” I, 131;
on the Trios Op. 3, 135;
“Sacred Melodies,” III, 40;
offers B. 100 guineas for an overture, 40.

Garzia, Francesco: “Schiava finta,” I, 26.

Gassmann: Opera “Die Liebe unter den Handwerkern” (“L’Amore artigiano”), I, 31, 46.

[328]Gassner: His projected biography of B., III, 198.

Gaveaux: “Léonore, ou l’Amour conjugal,” II, 35, 36;
“L’Amour filial,” 37;
“Le petit Matelot,” 36.

Gazanello: Pupil of B’s father, I, 49.

Geitzigen in der Falle, Die”: Opera by Schuster, I, 108.

Gelinek, Abbé Joseph: Recommends B. to Schenk, I, 152;
his hatred of B., 152;
Czerny’s anecdote, 152;
on B’s sketchbooks, 257.

Gelosie villane, Le”: Opera by Sarti, I, 32.

Geloso in Cimento, II”: Opera by Anfossi, I, 32.

Genney, Countess von: II, 367.

George IV, King of England (see Prince Regent): II, 11;
B’s address to, III, 112, 113.

Gerardi, Christine von, Amateur singer: I, 243;
marries Joseph Frank, 243, 282;
letter to, 283; II, 3.

Gesellschaft der bildenden Künstler: I, 182, 202.

Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde: I, 136, 203, 225, 230, 315; II, 15;
commissions B. to write an oratorio, 325, 330, 397; III, 15, 172 et seq.; 175, 216;
elects B. Hon. Mem., 175, 212.

Giafar”: Opera-book projected for B., II, 205.

Giannatasio, Cajetan del Rio: B’s Nephew in his care, 331 et seq.;
letters, 332, 349;
B. authorizes him to punish his ward, 373, 338, 392, 402, 410;
a wedding hymn, III, 13.

Giannatasio, Fanny: On Archduke Rudolph as B’s pupil, II, 80;
her diary, 341, 361, 403; III, 2, 50.

Gioas, Re di Giuda”: Oratorio by Caldara, I, 184.

Girando, M. F. de: I, 346.

Gläser, Franz: III, 81.

Gleichenstein, Count Ignaz von: I, 333;
becomes clerk in the War Department of Austria, II, 14, 89, 104;
letters from B., 114, 132, 140, 155, 174, 175, 136, 138;
dedication of Sonata Op. 69, 141, 162, 305; III, 295.

Gleimer, Claire von: III, 84.

Glöggl, Franz: B’s visit to Linz, II, 230, 256.

Gluck: Operas “Die Pilgrimme von Mekka,” I, 32, 108;
“Alceste,” I, 86;
“Orfeo,” 86;
“Iphigenia in Tauris,” 315; II, 119.

Gneixendorf: Johann v. B. buys estate near, III, 19.
(See Lodgings and Johann van Beethoven.)

God save the King” (see Index to Compositions): II, 252, 310;
Karl translates stanza for B., III, 209.

Goethe: B’s admiration for his poetry, I, 254; II, 147.
—Vol. II: “Faust,” 119;
“Egmont,” 153 (see Compositions);
“Israel in der Wüste,” 167;
“West-Östliches Divan,” 167;
“Wilhelm Meister,” 176;
letter from Bettina von Arnim, 178;
letter to Bettina, 186, 189;
asks for songs composed by B., 189;
letter from Bettina, 190;
B’s admiration, 194;
letter from B., 197;
letter to B., 197;
at Teplitz, 222 et seq.;
goes with B. on a pleasure trip, 227;
at Karlsbad, 222, 224;
describes B., 224;
rebuked by B. for his deference to royalty, 224, 226, 227;
the meeting at Teplitz, 226.
—Vol. III. B’s account to Rochlitz of his meeting, 75;
“Faust” music, 75, 220;
asked by B. to get subscription of Grand Duke of Weimar, 98, 104;
his taste in music, 99.

Gossec: I, 86.

Gott erhalte unsern Kaiser”: I, 200; III, 84.

Gottwaldt, Chamber Music Director at Bonn: II, 11, 12.

Graf Armand.” (See Les deux Journées.)

Grahame, Scottish poet: His tribute to B., II, 290.

Grassalkowitz, Prince: I, 168.

Grassnick Sketchbook: I, 275; II, 160.

Gratz: B. sends music for Ursulines, II, 214, 246 et seq.;
Musik-Verein at, elects B. Hon. Mem., III, 72.

Graun: His “Tod Jesu,” II, 89;
B’s judgment on a fugue, 89.

Great Mogul”: Haydn’s designation of B., I, 248.

Greiner, Michael, Tenor: III, 81.

Grétry: Operas “Silvain,” I, 86;
“L’Amant jaloux,” 31, 107;
“L’Ami de la Maison,” 31, 86;
“L’Amitié à l’Épreuve,” 31;
“Lucille,” 31, 86;
“Mariage des Samnites,” 31;
“Eraste et Lucinde,” 31;
“Zémire et Azor,” 32, 86;
“Les Évènements imprévus,” 32;
“Le Magnifique,” 86;
“L’Amant jaloux,” “La fausse Magie,” 107;
“Richard, Cœur de Lion,” 226, 305.

Griesinger: “Biographische Notizen über Joseph Haydn,” I, 249; III, 73, 76.

Grillparzer: I, 270;
on B’s dress, 322; III, 117;
“Dragomira,” 118, 122;
“Ottokar,” 121;
“Melusine,” 118 et seq.; 135, 220;
torchbearer at B’s funeral, 312;
writes funeral oration, 312;
mother of the poet, I, 270.

Grimm, the brothers: II, 181.

Grosheim, Dr. G. L.: I, 292.

Grossmann, Mme.: I, 73.

Grossmann and Helmuth: I, 35, 36, 63, 69.

Grotta di Trofonio, La”: Opera by Salieri, I, 107.

Grove, Sir George: I, x, xii, xiii, xv, 336; II, 122.

Guatelli, Bey and Pasha: I, 140.

Gudenau, Baron von: I, 88.

Guglielmo: Opera “Robert und Callista,” I, 31, 109.

Guicciardi, Countess Giulietta: I, 243, 244;
dedication of the Sonata in C-sharp minor, 292, 322, 370;
relations with B., 319 et seq.;
[329]marries Count Gallenberg, 320;
pupil of B., 322;
her portrait, 355, 341;
the Rondo in G, 370;
Vol. II: 47, 106.
(See “Love Affairs,” under “B., L. v.”)

Günther von Schwarzburg”: Opera by Holzbauer, I, 31, 86.

Gute Nachricht”: Drama by Treitschke, II, 268, 270, 277, 317.

Gyrowetz: Respected by B., I, 241;
on the Rasoumowsky Quartets, II, 75;
pallbearer at B’s funeral, III, 312.

Habich, Dancing-master: I, 133.

Hagen, J. A. Freiherr von: I, 29;
“Wir haben Ihn wieder,” 31.

Hahn, Christine Elizabeth: Wife of Bürger, II, 141.

Haitzinger, Singer: III, 83.

Hale, Philip: On the “Immortal Beloved,” I, 346.

Halm, Anton, Pianist: II, 326, 388;
arranges Fugue in B-flat, III, 223.

Hammerklavier”: II, 364.

Hammer-Purgstall: Book of an oratorio, II, 118;
influence on B., 167.

Handel: I, 13;
duel with Matthison, 72, 85;
“Judas Maccabæus,” 202, 205.
—Vol. II. Commemoration of, 12;
“Messiah,” 12, 310, 312;
B’s admiration for, 89;
“Acis and Galatea,” 209, 171;
“Timotheus,” 216;
“Samson,” 359;
“Belshazzar,” 359.
—Vol. III. B. on “Messiah,” 135;
“Alexander’s Feast,” 182;
B’s estimate, 182;
on his trumpets, 208;
“Saul,” 219;
gift of his scores to B., 277, 288, 289, 294, 296.

Handel and Haydn Society of Boston: Commissions B. to write an oratorio, III, 87.

Hanslick, Dr. Eduard: Makes known the discovery of the Bonn cantatas, I, 130;
“Geschichte des Concertwesens in Wien,” 223.

Hardenburg, von, Prussian Chancellor: II, 302.

Häring, Banker and amateur musician: I, 236; II, 112.

Harrach, Count: I, 172.

Härtel, G. C.: B. sends a letter of condolence, II, 200.

Hartl, Joseph, Director of Court Theatres: II, 127;
resignation, 201.

Haslinger, Tobias, Music publisher: II, 279;
“Ideal einer Schlacht,” 279;
Canon on, III, 43, 44, 137, 169;
B. attempts a joke on him, 190;
torchbearer at B’s funeral, 312.

Hatzfeld, Countess: I, 16, 37, 139.

Hatzfeld, Prince: III, 94.

Hauschka: “Gott erhalte unsern Kaiser,” I, 200.

Hausfreund, Der” (“L’Ami de la Maison”): Opera by Grétry, I, 31.

Hausmann: Music lover in Berlin, I, xii.

Häussler’sche Gesellschaft: Theatre in Bonn, I, 112.

Haveckas, Ernest: I, 12.

Hawthorne: His note-books, I, 261.

Haydn, Joseph:
Vol. I: His duties at Esterhaz, 13;
first visit to Bonn, 110;
at Godesberg, 116;
B. shows him a cantata, 116;
B. proposed as his pupil, 123;
plans to take B. to London, 125;
B’s introduction to, 140;
gives B. lessons, 150 et seq.;
B’s disparagement of him as a teacher, 152;
rupture between the two, 155, 189;
his imitative music, 171;
“The Seasons,” 171;
his judgment on the Trios Op. 1, 175;
dedication of the Sonata Op. 2, 186;
B. plays at his concert, 188;
writes dances for Ridotto Room, 188;
the Austrian National Hymn, 200;
“Seven Last Words,” 214;
“The Creation,” 243, 266, 284, 285;
Griesinger’s biography, 249;
Koželuch, 271;
on B’s “Prometheus,” 285.
—Vol. II: Said to have been Bridgetower’s teacher, 11;
the Salomon concerts, 12;
comment on Anna Milder, 49;
his settings of Scotch songs, 70;
Marie Bigot, 89;
“The Creation” performed at birthday concert, 116, 126;
“Ritorno di Tobia,” 131;
Scotch songs for Thomson, 219, 416.
—Vol. III: Mass “In tempore belli,” 92;
picture of his birthplace shown to B. on his death-bed, 302.

Heckermann, Fanny: III, 81.

Heilige Grab, Das”: Oratorio by Paër, II, 2.

Heiligenstadt Will: I, 339, 351 et seq.; II, 164.

Heim, Johann, Th.: II, 8.

Heinrich und Lyda”: Opera by Neefe, I, 31, 36.

Heller, Ferdinand: I, 87.

Hellmesberger, Georg: Once owner of the portrait of Countess Brunswick, I, 335.

Hellmesberger, Joseph: Completes movement of a Violin Concerto in C, I, 136.

Henneberg, J. B.: Chapelmaster and composer, I, 164; II, 2.

Hennes: Sees B. as child weeping at pianoforte, I, 58.

Hensel, Fanny: On the overture “Leonore No. I,” II, 59.

Hensler, Carl Friedrich: III, 64, 79, 82.

Herbst: Horn-player, I, 239.

Herder: II, 167, 193.

Hermann von Staufen”: Opera by Vogler, II, 4.

Hermann von Unna”: Opera by Vogler, II, 4.

Herzog, Man and Wife, servants of B: II, 156.

Hess-Diller, Baroness: I, 340.

Hesse-Cassel: Elector of, not invited to subscribe for the Mass in D, III, 93.

Hesse-Darmstadt: Grand Duke of, and the Mass in D, III, 97, 106.

Hieronymus Knicker”: Opera by Dittersdorf, I, 109.

Hiller, Ferdinand: Gives Rossini’s account of his meeting with B., III, 78;
[330]his account of Hummel’s visit to B’s death-bed, 301 et seq.

Hiller, J. A.: Operas “Die Jagd,” I, 32;
“Der Ärndetanz,” 32;
“Dorfbarbier,” 36;
“Wöchentliche Nachrichten,” 35.

Himmel, F. H.: Intercourse with B. in Berlin, I, 196.

Hofdemel, Mme.: B. refuses to play for her because of a scandal, I, 254.

Höfel, Blasius: Engraves Latronne’s crayon portrait of B., II, 287;
his story of B’s arrest as a tramp, III, 42.

Hoffmann, E. T. A: On the C minor Symphony, I, 307; II, 186;
the canon on the name, III, 34.

Hoffmann, Joachim: III, 35.

Hoffmann, Vincenz: III, 35.

Hoffmeister, Franz Anton: I, 271;
letter, 271.
(See Hoffmeister and Kühnel.)

Hoffmeister and Kühnel: Origin of firm, I, 271;
letters, 281, 286, 294, 366, 370; III, 57;
publish the works of Bach, I, 303.

Hofschmied, Der”: Opera by Philidor, I, 29.

Hogarth, George: “The Philharmonic Society of London,” III, 110.

Hohenlohe, Princess Marie: II, 392.

Holland: Visited by B. as child, I, 66;
B. made Member of the Royal Institute of, II, 147; III, 163.

Holz, Carl: I, 269, 276;
and the bank stock, 326.
—Vol. III: Becomes B’s factotum, 194 et seq.;
B’s jests on his name, 196;
authorized by B. to write his biography, 197;
insinuations against Schindler, 198;
letter from B., 216;
B. on his playing, 216;
seeks to divert B., 237;
reports on conduct of Karl, 253;
early in attendance on B. at last illness, 273;
marries, 281;
collects last annuity payment, 295;
torchbearer at the funeral, 312.

Holzbauer: Opera “Günther von Schwarzburg,” I, 31, 86.

Homer: Admiration felt for by B., I, 147.

Hönig: Singer in “Fidelio,” II, 278.

Honrath, Jeannette d’: I, 120, 122; III, 288.

Horsalka, Johann: III, 15, 42.

Hotschevar, Jacob: I, 351; II, 401, 405;
guardian of B’s nephew, III, 292.

Hradezky, Horn-player: I, 239.

Huber, Franz Xaver: I, 289; II, 7.

Hummel, Elizabeth: On B’s admiration for women, II, 181.

Hummel, Johann Nepomuk: Mozart’s pupil, I, 91;
sketch of 240;
letters from B., 240, 274, 267;
his falling-out with B., II, 108 et seq.;
his wife a sister of Röckel, 142;
in performance of “Wellington’s Victory,” 262;
begins Pf. score of “Fidelio,” 283;
canon for his album, 338; III, 290;
at B’s death-bed, 301;
improvises at concert, 302;
pallbearer at funeral, 312.

Hungary: Visited by B. in 1809, II, 154.

Hüttenbrenner, Anselm: Visited by Thayer I, x;
report of Salieri’s remarks on “Fidelio,” II, 64, 355;
overture to Schiller’s “Robbers,” 355;
his account of B’s death, III, 300, 306, 307 et seq.

Hüttenbrenner, Joseph: III, 79, 166.

Idomeneus”: Opera by Mozart, II, 101.

Iken, Dr. Karl: A programme for the Seventh Symphony, III, 37.

Imitative Music: II, 120.

Immortal Beloved, The”: I, xvi.
(See Love Affairs, etc.)

Improvvisata (L’) o sia la Galanteria disturbata”: Opera by Lucchesi, I, 27.

Incognito, L’”: Opera by Sarti, I, 86.

Inganno scoperto, L’”: Opera by Lucchesi, I, 27, 47.

Instruments owned by B.: I, 276.

Iphigenia in Tauris”: Opera by Gluck, I, 315; II, 119.

Isola d’Amore, L’”: Opera by Sacchini, I, 108.

Israel in the Wilderness”: Oratorio by C. P. E. Bach, II. 388.

Italiana in Londra, L’”: Opera by Cimarosa, I, 32.

Italy: B. projects journey to, II, 202.

Jacobs, Jacob: I, 42.

Jadin: “Battle of Austerlitz,” II, 252.

Jagd, Die”: Opera by Hiller, I, 31.

Jäger und das Waldmädchen, Der”: Opera by Duni, I, 29.

Jahn, Otto: Visited by Thayer, I, xi, 63, 85;
his account of B’s visit to Mozart, 90, 153, 171, 329;
on Countess Guicciardi’s marriage, 321;
interview with the Countess, 322;
examines love-letter, 328;
his edition of “Fidelio,” II, 45, 285;
note on the compositions sold to Clementi, 104;
his opinion on Schindler as biographer, 376.

Jeitteles, Alois: “An die ferne Geliebte,” II, 243.

Joachim, Joseph: I, xii.

Joseph Clemens, Elector of Cologne: I, 1, 3 et seq.;
his favorites, 3;
consecrated by Fénelon, 3, 6;
a unique composer, 4;
his music-chapel, 5;
sides with Louis IV in war, 5;
restored to Electoral dignity, 6;
death of, 7.

Joseph I, Emperor of Germany: I, 6.

Joseph II, Emperor of Germany: I, 107;
death of, 130;
interest in German opera, 163.

Josephstadt Theatre: Opening of, II, 81.

Judah”: Oratorio by Gardiner, III, 40.

Judas Maccabæus”: Oratorio by Handel, I, 202, 205.

Julie”: Opera by Desaides, I, 29, 107.

Junker, Carl Ludwig: Describes B’s Pf. playing, I, 114.

Kafka, J. N.: His sketchbook, I, 205, 206, 209, 210, 261, 362.

Kaiser, Fräulein, Singer: III, 81.

Kalischer, Dr. A. C.: I, 235;
his collection of B’s letters, 255, 278, 293;
[331]and the “Immortal Beloved,” 336, 337.

Kanka, Councillor: I, 194, 195.

Kanka, Jeannette: I, 195.

Kanka, Dr. Johann: Effects compromise with Kinsky’s heirs, II, 288, 353.

Kanne, Friedrich August: II, 358; III, 117, 176.

Kant, Immanuel: B. refuses to hear lectures on, I, 182; II, 166, 214, 167; III, 25.

Karajan, Prof.: I, 123; II, 305.

Karl, Duke of Lorraine, Archduke of Austria: I, 77, 288; II, 12.

Karlsbad: B’s visit to, II, 223.

Karth, Frau: I, 75, 103, 117, 119;
description of B’s brothers, 358.

Kastner, Emil: His estimate of B’s letters, I, 255.

Kaufmännischer Verein of Vienna: Elects B. Hon. Mem., III, 21.

Kaufmann von Smyrna, Der”: Opera by Juste, I, 32.

Kayser, Joseph, Instrument maker: I, 10.

Kees, von, Court Councillor: I, 166, 170.

Keglevich, Countess “Babette”: I, 209, 227, 245;
said to have been one of B’s loves, 318;
dedication to her, 318.

Keglevich de Busin, Count Karl: I, 245.

Kein Dienst bleibt unbelohnt”: Opera, I, 108.

Kerich, Abraham, Helene (Mme. von Breuning), and Stephen: I, 98, 99, 101.

Kessler: Sketchbook, I, 289, 368, 371.

Kewerich, Heinrich, Electoral cook: I, 49;
his widowed daughter marries the father of B., I, 49.

Kiesewetter, R. G.: I, 230.

Kilitzky, Fräulein: II, 129.

Kinsky, Prince Ferdinand: I, 170, 172; II, 113;
subscribes in the Annuity Contract, 139, 146;
his payments, 170, 172, 205, 213, 222;
agrees to pay in notes of redemption, 242;
reduction of obligation by the Finanz-Patent, 212;
B. begins legal proceedings against his heirs, 259, 288;
settlement, 306;
sum paid annually under the contract, 306.

Kinsky, Princess: Dedication of Songs Op. 75, II, 195;
letter from B., 243.

Kinsky, Prince Joseph: I, 170.

Kirnberger: I, 159.

Klein, Prof.: Makes mask of B’s face, II, 221; III, 311.

Klingemann: His drama “Moses,” II, 297.

Klober, August von: Paints B’s portrait, II, 399.

Klopstock: B’s admiration for his poetry, I, 254; III, 75.

Klos Theatrical Troupe: I, 105.

Kneisel, Dr. C. M.: I, 55.

Kobler Family: I, 285.

Koch, Barbara (“Babette”): I, 117, 118, 178.

Koch, Friar Willibald: Gives organ lessons to B., I, 64.

Köchel: Collection of B’s letters, II, 248.

Koczwara: “Battle of Prague,” II, 252.

König Axur”: Opera by Salieri, I, 109.

König von Venedig” (“Il Re Teodoro”): Opera by Paisiello, I, 108.

Könneritz, von: The Mass in D, III, 96, 97, 130.

Kopfermann, Albert: I, 280.

Körner, Theodor: On failure of the E-flat Concerto, II, 215.

Koschak, Marie: I, 318.

Köster-Schlegel, Singer: III, 85.

Kotzebue: Founds “Der Freymüthige,” II, 1;
account of music in Vienna, 1;
“Der Leibkutscher Peters III.” 1;
“Ruinen von Athen,” 161, 201;
B. asks him for opera-book, 213.

Koželuch, Leopold: I, 172;
dances for the Ridotto, 188;
on the Trio in C minor, 271;
Haydn, 271;
and Thomson’s songs, II, 70;
B’s “Miserabilis,” 219;
Scotch airs for Thomson, 200.

Kraft, Anton: I, 170;
sketch of, 238; II, 8, 41.

Krasinsky, Rochus: II, 270.

Krehbiel, H. E.: Undertakes English version of Thayer’s biography, I, viii, xiii;
use of original manuscript, viii;
communications with Thayer and Deiters, viii;
his procedure, xv;
on the C-sharp minor Sonata, 292;
“The Pianoforte and its Music,” 292;
defense of Thayer’s hypothesis concerning the “Immortal Beloved,” 317;
on the love-letter, 336 et seq.;
“Music and Manners in the Classical Period,” II, 11; III, 307;
on the overtures to “Fidelio,” II, 59.

Kreissle, Heinrich von: III, 79.

Krenn, Michael: III, 241, 267.

Krenn, Music Director: II, 369.

Kretschmer: “Deutsche Volkslieder,” I, 278.

Kreutzer, Conradin: III, 166;
pallbearer at B’s funeral, 312.

Kreutzer, Rudolph: II, 9, 21.

Kriehuber: Imitates Decker’s portrait of B., III, 176.

Krupp: Court Councillor, on B’s boyhood, I, 61.

Küchler, Johann: Opera “A alia,” I, 32.

Kudlich, Joseph: Tutor of B’s nephew, III, 4.

Kuenberg, Countess: I, 340.

Kuffner, Christian: His text of the Choral Fantasia, II, 129, 133, 369;
plans an oratorio, III, 219.

Kuhlau, Friedrich: Visit to B, III, 204.

Künstler-Pensions-Institut: I, 211.

Kurzbeck, Mme., Amateur pianist: II, 2.

Kyd, Major-General Alexander: Commissions B. to write a symphony, 344, 345.

Lablache, Singer: III, 77, 121, 312.

Laibach: Philharmonic Society elect B. Hon. Mem., III, 14.

[332]Lalande: III, 77.

La Mara (Marie Lipsius): I, 292, 336;
letter from Thayer on the “Immortal Beloved,” I, 339;
her book, 339;
“Classisches und Romantisches aus der Tonwelt,” 338; II, 203.

Landsberger: Sketches, II, 73.

Landshut University: III, 4.

Languider, Karoline: On B’s love-affairs, I, 341.

Latilla: Opera “La Pastorella al Soglio,” I, 26.

Latronne: Makes crayon portrait of B., II, 287.

Laym, Maria Magdalena (or Leym): B’s mother.
(See Beethoven, Johann van.)

Lebewohl and Adieu: Differentiated by B., II, 207.

Ledermeyer, Editor in Vienna: II, 359.

Leipsic: B’s intended visit to, I, 192, 198.

Leipsic Oxen”: B’s term for critics, I, 282, 304.

Lentner, Mme., Court singer: I, 18, 19.

Lenz: Critical catalogue of B’s works, I, 272;
on the Rasoumowsky Quartets, II, 75.

Leonora”: Opera by Paër, II, 35, 37.

Leonore Prohaska”: Drama by Duncker, II, 298.

Léonore, ou l’Amour conjugal”: Opera by Gaveaux, II, 35, 36.

Leopold I, Emperor of Germany: I, 5, 6.

Leopold II, Emperor of Germany: I, 163, 164.

Levin, Rahel: II, 204.

Libussa”: Opera-book by Bernard, III, 173.

Lichnowsky, Prince Carl: Takes B. into his lodgings, I, 148, 168, 170;
Trios Op. 1 first played at his house, 175;
commands servant to give B. precedence over him, 182, 190;
probable visit to Prague with B., 193, 244;
gives B. quartet of instruments, 276, 286;
settles annuity on B., 298, 299, II, 9;
visited by B. in Silesia, 66;
abrupt departure of B., 68, 104, 123, 146;
visited by B. in Silesia, 208;
undisturbed friendship for B., 215;
with B. at Teplitz, 222;
unwillingness to disturb B. when at work, 254;
death of, 271.

Lichnowsky, Princess Christine: II, 124, 271.

Lichnowsky, Countess Henrietta: I, 244;
dedication, 370.

Lichnowsky, Princess Maria Christine: I, 170;
dedication to, 290.

Lichnowsky, Count Moritz: I, 213, 235;
dedication to, 369;
story of Bonaparte and the “Eroica,” II, 24;
letters from B., 262, 290;
marriage with an opera-singer, 291; III, 24;
on Johann van B., 67;
B’s musical jest, 115;
agrees to guarantee Grillparzer’s opera, 121, 158, 294.

Liebe unter den Handwerkern” (“L’Amore artigiano”): Opera by Gassmann, I, 31.

Liebich, Carl: General Manager of Bohemian Theatres, II, 110.

Liechtenstein, Baron Carl August: I, 286, 304;
“Bathmendi,” 304;
“Die steinerne Braut,” 305; II, 2.

Liechtenstein, Prince Johann Joseph: I, 171, 244.

Liechtenstein, Princess: I, 244;
dedication to, 291.

Lilla”: Opera by Martini, I, 108, 109.

Lincoln, Abraham, President of the U. S.: appoints Thayer Consul, I, x.

Lind: B’s tailor, II, 164.

Lind-Goldschmid, Jenny: Once owner of the Heiligenstadt Will, I, 351.

Lindner, Andreas, Dancing-master: I, 147.

Linke, Violoncellist: I, 174, 316; II, 124, 125, 316, 319, 337; III, 294, 312.

Linz: B’s visit to his brother at, I, 229.

Lipsius. (See La Mara.)

Listige Bauernmädchen, Das” (“La finta Giardiniera”): Opera by Paisiello, I, 108.

Liszt, Franz: Gets B’s Broadwood Pf., II, 392;
is presented to B., III, 124;
the alleged kiss, 124.

Lobkowitz, Prince: I, 168;
amateur violinist, 169;
his orchestra, 239;
dedication of quartets, 276, 290;
II, B’s epithet, “Lobkowitzian ass,” 51, 98;
suggests engagement of B. at Court Theatres, 99;
dedication of “Eroica,” 77, 110, 113;
subscribes to annuity contract, 139, 146;
dedication of “Harp” Quartet, 160;
dedication of Fifth Symphony, 162;
the Annuity Fund, 170, 172;
dedication of Quartet, Op. 74, 195;
assumes direction of Court Theatres, 201;
reduction of his obligation under Annuity Contract, 212;
suspends payment, 213;
ruined by theatrical management, 250;
the annuity obligation, 289;
settlement of, 306;
B’s aspersions on his character, 307;
cantata on his birthday, 354.

Lodoïska”: Opera by Cherubini, II, 3.

Lodron, Count: II, 98.

Loewe, Ludwig: Actor for whom B. acts as love messenger, II, 205.

London Musicians: B’s appeal to, II, 273.

Longfellow, Henry W.: II, 193.

Lonsdale, Charles: Partner of Robert Birchall, II, 319, 346, 350, 351.

Lonsdale, Robert: II, 319.

Louis XVIII, King of France: Subscribes for the Mass in D and strikes medal in B’s honor, III, 100.

Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia: Amateur musician complimented by B., I, 196;
and the “Eroica,” II, 26, 32, 302.

Lower Rhenish Festival: III, 188.

Lucchesi, Andrea: Appointed successor to B’s grandfather, I, 22;
“L’Inganno scoperto,” 27, 47;
“Le Donne sempre donne,” 26;
“Il Natale di Giove,” 26;
“L’Improvvisata,” 27;
sketch of, 34, 71, 73, 74, 82.

[333]Lucille”: Opera by Grétry, I, 31, 86.

Lügnerin aus Liebe”: Opera by Salieri, I, 32.

Luib, Ferdinand: I, 269, 356.

Lwoff, Russian Privy Councillor: II, 75.

Macbeth”: Opera-book by Collin, II, 119, 151, 158;
another, III, 117.

Macco, Alexander: II, 18, 124.

Macfarren, Natalie: III, 231.

Mädchen im Eichthale” (“Maid of the Oaks”): Opera by d’Antoine, I, 32.

Mädchen von Frascati, Das”: Opera by Paisiello, I, 107.

Magnifique, Le”: Opera by Grétry, I, 86.

Mähler, Willibrord Joseph, Painter: Visited by Thayer, I, xi, 146;
II, paints portrait of B., 15, 305;
anecdote about “Fidelio,” 51;
invited by B., 198.

Maid of the Oaks”: Opera by d’Antoine, I, 32.

Malfatti, Dr.: II, 86, 141;
sends B. to Teplitz, 202, 280;
insulted by B., 345, 369;