Beethoven's Letters 1790-1826, Volume 1 of 2
Part 2 out of 4
to quit, and even if Breuning were really to blame for this, our harmonious
relations are so dear and precious in my sight, that, for the sake of a few
hundreds more or less, I would never subject any friend of mine to
vexation. You are aware, indeed, that I jestingly accused you as the cause
of the notice arriving too late. I am quite sure that you must remember
this. I had entirely forgotten the whole matter, but at dinner my brother
began to say that he thought Breuning was to blame in the affair, which I
at once denied, saying that you were in fault. I think this shows plainly
enough that I attributed no blame to Breuning; but on this he sprang up
like a madman, and insisted on sending for the house-steward. Such
behavior, in the presence of all those with whom I usually associate, and
to which I am wholly unaccustomed, caused me to lose all self-control; so I
also started up, upset my chair, left the room, and did not return. This
conduct induced Breuning to place me in a pretty light to you and the
house-steward, and also to send me a letter which I only answered by
silence. I have not another word to say to Breuning. His mode of thinking
and of acting, with regard to me, proves that there never ought to have
been such friendly intimacy between us, and assuredly it can never more be
restored. I wished to make you acquainted with this, as your version of the
occurrence degraded both my words and actions. I know that, had you been
aware of the real state of the affair, you would not have said what you
did, and with this I am satisfied.
I now beg of you, dear Ries, to go to my brother, the apothecary, as soon
as you receive this letter, and say to him that I mean to leave Baden in
the course of a few days, and that he is to engage the lodging in Doebling
as soon as you have given him this message. I had nearly left this to-day;
I detest being here--I am sick of it. For Heaven's sake urge him to close
the bargain at once, for I want to take possession immediately. Neither
show nor speak to any one of what is written in the previous page of this
letter. I wish to prove to him in every respect that I am not so meanly
disposed as he is. Indeed I have written to him, although my resolve as to
the dissolution of our friendship remains firm and unchangeable.
TO HERR RIES.
Berlin, July 24, 1804.
... You were no doubt not a little surprised about the affair with
Breuning; believe me, my dear friend, that the ebullition on my part was
only an outbreak caused by many previous scenes of a disagreeable nature. I
have the gift of being able to conceal and to repress my susceptibility on
many occasions; but if attacked at a time when I chance to be peculiarly
irritable, I burst forth more violently than any one. Breuning certainly
possesses many admirable qualities, but he thinks himself quite faultless;
whereas the very defects that he discovers in others are those which he
possesses himself to the highest degree. From my childhood I have always
despised his petty mind. My powers of discrimination enabled me to foresee
the result with Breuning, for our modes of thinking, acting, and feeling
are entirely opposite; and yet I believed that these difficulties might be
overcome, but experience has disproved this. So now I want no more of his
friendship! I have only found two friends in the world with whom I never
had a misunderstanding; but what men these were! One is dead, the other
still lives. Although for nearly six years past we have seen nothing of
each other, yet I know that I still hold the first place in his heart, as
he does in mine [see No. 12]. The true basis of friendship is to be found
in sympathy of heart and soul. I only wish you could have read the letter I
wrote to Breuning, and his to me. No! never can he be restored to his
former place in my heart. The man who could attribute to his friend so base
a mode of thinking, and could himself have recourse to so base a mode of
acting towards him, is no longer worthy of my friendship.
Do not forget the affair of my apartments. Farewell! Do not be too much
addicted to tailoring, remember me to the fairest of the fair, and send
me half a dozen needles.
I never could have believed that I could be so idle as I am here. If this
be followed by a fit of industry, something worth while may be produced.
[Footnote 1: Ries says, in Wegeler's _Biographical Notices_:--"Beethoven
never visited me more frequently than when I lived in the house of a
tailor, with three very handsome but thoroughly respectable daughters."]
TO MESSRS. ARTARIA & CO.
Vienna, June 1, 1805.
I must inform you that the affair about the new quintet is settled between
Count Fries and myself.
The Count has just assured me that he intends to make you a present of it;
it is too late to-day for a written agreement on the subject, but one shall
be sent early in the ensuing week. This intelligence must suffice for the
present, and I think I at all events deserve your thanks for it.
Your obedient servant,
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.
[Footnote 1: The quintet is probably not that in C, Op. 29, dedicated to
Count v. Fries, previously published in 1803 by Breitkopf & Haertel [see No.
27]. It is more likely that he alludes to a new quintet which the Count had
no doubt ordered.]
TO MADAME LA PRINCESSE LIECHTENSTEIN, &C.
Pray pardon me, illustrious Princess, if the bearer of this should cause
you an unpleasant surprise. Poor Ries, my scholar, is forced by this
unhappy war to shoulder a musket, and must moreover leave this in a few
days, being a foreigner. He has nothing, literally nothing, and is obliged
to take a long journey. All chance of a concert on his behalf is thus
entirely at an end, and he must have recourse to the benevolence of others.
I recommend him to you. I know you will forgive the step I have taken. A
noble-minded man would only have recourse to such measures in the most
utter extremity. Confident of this, I send the poor youth to you, in the
hope of somewhat improving his circumstances. He is forced to apply to all
who know him.
I am, with the deepest respect, yours,
L. VAN BEETHOVEN.
[Footnote 1: Communicated by Ries himself, who, to Beethoven's extreme
indignation, did not deliver the note. See Wegeler's work, p. 134. The
following remark is added:--"Date unknown; written a few days before the
entrance of the French in 1805" (which took place Nov. 13). Ries, a native
of Bonn, was now a French subject, and recalled under the laws of
conscription. The Sonata, Op. 27, No. 1, is dedicated to Princess
TO HERR MEYER.
Pray try to persuade Herr v. Seyfried to direct my Opera, as I wish on this
occasion to see and hear it myself _from a distance_; in this way my
patience will at all events not be so severely tried as when I am close
enough to hear my music so bungled. I really do believe that it is done on
purpose to annoy me! I will say nothing of the wind-instruments; but all
_pp._'s, _cresc._, _discresc._, and all _f._'s and _ff._'s may as well be
struck out of my Opera, for no attention whatever is paid to them. I shall
lose all pleasure in composing anything in future, if I am to hear it given
thus. To-morrow or the day after I will come to fetch you to dinner. To-day
I am again unwell.
If the Opera is to be performed the day after to-morrow, there must be
another private rehearsal to-morrow, or _each time it will be given worse
[Footnote 1: Meyer, the husband of Mozart's eldest sister-in-law, Josepha
(Hofer's widow), sang the part of Pizarro at the first performance of
_Fidelio_, Nov. 20, 1805, and also at a later period. Seyfried was at that
time Kapellmeister at the Theatre "an der Wien."]
TESTIMONIAL FOR C. CZERNY.
Vienna, Dec. 7, 1805.
I, the undersigned, am glad to bear testimony to young Carl Czerny having
made the most extraordinary progress on the pianoforte, far beyond what
might be expected at the age of fourteen. I consider him deserving of all
possible assistance, not only from what I have already referred to, but
from his astonishing memory, and more especially from his parents having
spent all their means in cultivating the talent of their promising son.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.
TO HERR ROeCKEL.
Be sure that you arrange matters properly with Mdlle. Milder, and say to
her previously from me, that I hope she will not sing anywhere else. I
intend to call on her to-morrow, to kiss the hem of her garment. Do not
also forget Marconi, and forgive me for giving you so much trouble.
[Footnote 1: Roeckel, in 1806 tenor at the Theatre "an der Wien," sang the
part of Florestan in the spring of that year, when _Fidelio_ was revived.
Mdlle. Milder, afterwards Mdme. Hauptmann, played Leonore; Mdme. Marconi
was also prima donna.]
TO HERR COLLIN, COURT SECRETARY AND POET.
MY ESTEEMED COLLIN,--
I hear that you are about to fulfil my greatest wish and your own purpose.
Much as I desire to express my delight to you in person, I cannot find time
to do so, having so much to occupy me. Pray do not then ascribe this to any
want of proper attention towards you. I send you the "Armida"; as soon as
you have entirely done with it, pray return it, as it does not belong to
me. I am, with sincere esteem,
[Footnote 1: Collin, Court Secretary, was the author of _Coriolanus_, a
tragedy for which Beethoven in 1807 wrote the celebrated Overture dedicated
to that poet. According to Reichardt, Collin offered the libretto of
_Bradamante_ to Beethoven in 1808, which Reichardt subsequently composed.
This note evidently refers to a _libretto_.]
TO HERR GLEICHENSTEIN.
I should like very much, my good Gleichenstein, to speak to you this
forenoon between one and two o'clock, or in the afternoon, and where you
please. To-day I am too busy to call early enough to find you at home. Give
me an answer, and don't forget to appoint the place for us to meet.
Farewell, and continue your regard for your
[Footnote 1: Probably in reference to a conference with regard to a
contract for the publication of his works, Op. 58, 59, 60, 61, and 62, that
Beethoven had made on the 20th April, 1807, with Muzio Clementi, who had
established a large music firm in London; it was also signed by Baron
Beethoven's first intention was to dedicate Op. 58 to him, which is evident
from a large page in Schindler's work, on which is written in bold
characters, by the master's own hand, "_Quatrieme Concerto pour le Piano,
avec accompagnement, etc., dedie a son ami Gleichenstein_," &c. The name of
the Archduke Rudolph had been previously written, and was eventually
adopted, and Gleichenstein afterwards received the dedication of the Grand
Sonata with violoncello, Op. 69.]
TO THE DIRECTORS OF THE COURT THEATRE.
Vienna, December, 1807.
The undersigned has cause to flatter himself that during the period of his
stay in Vienna he has gained some favor and approbation from the highest
nobility, as well as from the public at large, his works having met with an
honorable reception both in this and other countries. Nevertheless he has
had difficulties of every kind to contend against, and has not hitherto
been so fortunate as to acquire a position that would enable him _to live
solely for art_, and to develop his talents to a still higher degree of
perfection, which ought to be the aim of every artist, thus ensuring future
independence instead of mere casual profits.
The mere wish _to gain a livelihood_ has never been the leading clew that
has hitherto guided the undersigned on his path. His great aim has been the
_interest of art_ and the ennobling of taste, while his genius, soaring to
a higher ideal and greater perfection, frequently compelled him to
sacrifice his talents and profits to the Muse. Still works of this kind won
for him a reputation in distant lands, securing him the most favorable
reception in various places of distinction, and a position befitting his
talents and acquirements.
The undersigned does not, however, hesitate to say that this city is above
all others the most precious and desirable in his eyes, owing to the number
of years he has lived here, the favor and approval he has enjoyed from both
high and low, and his wish fully to realize the expectations he has had the
good fortune to excite, but most of all, he may truly say, from his
_patriotism as a German_. Before, therefore, making up his mind to leave a
place so dear to him, he begs to refer to a hint which the reigning Prince
Lichnowsky was so kind as to give him, to the effect that the directors of
the theatre were disposed to engage the undersigned on reasonable
conditions in the service of their theatre, and to ensure his remaining in
Vienna by securing to him a permanent position, more propitious to the
further exercise of his talents. As this assurance is entirely in
accordance with the wishes of the undersigned, he takes the liberty, with
all due respect, to place before the directors his readiness to enter into
such an engagement, and begs to state the following conditions for their
1. The undersigned undertakes and pledges himself to compose each year at
least _one grand opera_, to be selected by the directors and himself; in
return for this he demands a _fixed salary_ of 2400 florins a year, and
also a free benefit at the third performance of each such opera.
2. He also agrees to supply the directors annually with a little _operetta_
or a _divertissement_, with choruses or occasional music of the kind, as
may be required, _gratis_; he feels confident that on the other hand the
directors will not refuse, in return for these various labors, to grant him
_a benefit concert_ at all events once a year in one of the theatres.
Surely the above conditions cannot be thought exorbitant or unreasonable,
when the expenditure of time and energy entailed by the production of an
_opera_ is taken into account, as it entirely excludes the possibility of
all other mental exertion; in other places, too, the author and his family
have a share in the profits of every individual performance, so that even
_one_ successful work at once ensures the future fortunes of the composer.
It must also be considered how prejudicial the present rate of exchange is
to artists here, and likewise the high price of the necessaries of life,
while a residence in foreign countries is open to them.
But in any event, whether the directors accede to or decline this present
proposal, the undersigned ventures to request that he may be permitted to
give a concert for his own benefit in one of the theatres. For if his
conditions be accepted, the undersigned must devote all his time and
talents to the composition of such an opera, and thus be prevented working
in any other way for profit. In case of the non-acceptance of these
proposals, as the concert he was authorized to give last year did not take
place owing to various obstacles, he would entreat, as a parting token of
the favor hitherto vouchsafed to him, that the promise of last year may now
be fulfilled. In the former case, he would beg to suggest _Annunciation
Day_ [March 25.] for his concert, and in the latter a day during the
ensuing Christmas vacation.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN, M.P.
[Footnote 1: This application was fruitless. See Reichardt's _Vertraute
Briefe_. "These two (Lobkowitz and Esterhazy) are the heads of the great
theatrical direction, which consists entirely of princes and counts, who
conduct all the large theatres on their own account and at their own risk."
The close of this letter shows that it was written in December.]
TO COUNT FRANZ VON OPPERSDORF.
Vienna, Nov. 1, 1808 [_sic!_].
MY DEAR COUNT,--
I fear you will look on me with displeasure when I tell you that necessity
compelled me not only to dispose of the symphony I wrote for you, but to
transfer another also to some one else. Be assured, however, that you shall
soon receive the one I intend for you. I hope that both you and the
Countess, to whom I beg my kind regards, have been well since we met. I am
at this moment staying with Countess Erdoedy in the apartments below those
of Prince Lichnowsky. I mention this in case you do me the honor to call on
me when you are in Vienna. My circumstances are improving, without having
recourse to the intervention of people _who treat their friends
insultingly_. I have also the offer of being made _Kapellmeister_ to the
King of Westphalia, and it is possible that I may accept the proposal.
Farewell, and sometimes think of your attached friend,
[Footnote 1: The fourth Symphony is dedicated to Count Oppersdorf.]
I fear I am too late for to-day, but I have only now been able to get back
your memorial from C----, because H---- wished to add various items here
and there. I do beg of you to dwell chiefly on the great importance to me
of adequate opportunities to exercise my art; by so doing you will write
what is most in accordance with my head and my heart. The preamble must set
forth what I am to have in Westphalia--600 ducats in gold, 150 ducats for
travelling expenses; all I have to do in return for this sum being to
direct the King's [Jerome's] concerts, which are short and few in number. I
am not even bound to direct any opera I may write. So, thus freed from all
care, I shall be able to devote myself entirely to the most important
object of my art--to write great works. An orchestra is also to be placed
at my disposition.
N.B. As member of a theatrical association, the title need not be insisted
on, as it can produce nothing but annoyance. With regard to the _Imperial
service_, I think that point requires delicate handling, and not less so
the solicitation for the title of _Imperial Kapellmeister_. It must,
however, be made quite clear that I am to receive a sufficient salary from
the Court to enable me to renounce the annuity which I at present receive
from the gentlemen in question [the Archduke Rudolph, Prince Kinsky, and
Prince Lobkowitz], which I think will be most suitably expressed by my
stating that it is my hope, and has ever been my most ardent wish, to enter
the Imperial service, when I shall be ready to give up as much of the above
salary as the sum I am to receive from His Imperial Majesty amounts to.
(N.B. We must have it to-morrow at twelve o'clock, as we go to Kinsky then.
I hope to see you to-day.)
[Footnote 1: This note, now first published, refers to the call Beethoven
had received, mentioned in the previous No. The sketch of the memorial that
follows is not, however, in Beethoven's writing, and perhaps not even
composed by him [see also No. 46]. It is well known that the Archduke
Rudolph, Prince Kinsky, and Prince Lobkowitz had secured to the _maestro_ a
salary of 4000 gulden.]
The aim and endeavor of every true artist must be to acquire a position in
which he can occupy himself exclusively with the accomplishment of great
works, undisturbed by other avocations or by considerations of economy. A
composer, therefore, can have no more ardent wish than to devote himself
wholly to the creation of works of importance, to be produced before the
public. He must also keep in view the prospect of old age, in order to make
a sufficient provision for that period.
The King of Westphalia has offered Beethoven a salary of 600 gold ducats
for life, and 150 ducats for travelling expenses, in return for which his
sole obligations are, occasionally to play before His Majesty, and to
conduct his chamber concerts, which are both few and short. This proposal
is of a most beneficial nature both to art and the artist.
Beethoven, however, much prefers a residence in this capital, feeling so
much gratitude for the many proofs of kindness he has received in it, and
so much patriotism for his adopted father-land, that he will never cease to
consider himself an Austrian artist, nor take up his abode elsewhere, if
anything approaching to the same advantages are conferred on him here.
As many persons of high, indeed of the very highest rank, have requested
him to name the conditions on which he would be disposed to remain here, in
compliance with their wish he states as follows:--
1. Beethoven must receive from some influential nobleman security for a
permanent salary for life: various persons of consideration might
contribute to make up the amount of this salary, which, at the present
increased price of all commodities, must not consist of less than 4000
florins _per annum_. Beethoven's wish is that the donors of this sum should
be considered as cooperating in the production of his future great works,
by thus enabling him to devote himself entirely to these labors, and by
relieving him from all other occupations.
2. Beethoven must always retain the privilege of travelling in the
interests of art, for in this way alone can he make himself known, and
acquire some fortune.
3. His most ardent desire and eager wish is to be received into the
Imperial service, when such an appointment would enable him partly or
wholly to renounce the proposed salary. In the mean time the title of
_Imperial Kapellmeister_ would be very gratifying to him; and if this wish
could be realized, the value of his abode here would be much enhanced in
If his desire be fulfilled, and a salary granted by His Majesty to
Beethoven, he will renounce so much of the said 4000 florins as the
Imperial salary shall amount to; or if this appointment be 4000 florins, he
will give up the whole of the former sum.
4. As Beethoven wishes from time to time to produce before the public at
large his new great works, he desires an assurance from the present
directors of the theatre on their part, and that of their successors, that
they will authorize him to give a concert for his own benefit every year on
Palm Sunday, in the Theatre "an der Wien." In return for which Beethoven
agrees to arrange and direct an annual concert for the benefit of the poor,
or, if this cannot be managed, at all events to furnish a new work of his
own for such a concert.
MY EXCELLENT FRIEND,--
All would go well now if we had only a curtain, without it the _Aria_ ["Ah!
Perfido"] _will be a failure_. I only heard this to-day from S.
[Seyfried], and it vexes me much: a curtain of any kind will do, even a
bed-curtain, or merely a _kind of gauze screen_, which could be instantly
removed. There must be something; for the Aria is in the _dramatic style_,
and better adapted for the stage than for effect in a concert-room.
_Without a curtain, or something of the sort, the Aria will be devoid of
all meaning, and ruined! ruined! ruined!! Devil take it all!_ The Court
will probably be present. Baron Schweitzer [Chamberlain of the Archduke
Anton] requested me earnestly to make the application myself. Archduke Carl
granted me an audience and promised to come. The Empress _neither promised
A hanging curtain!!!! or the Aria and I will both be hanged to-morrow.
Farewell! I embrace you as cordially on this new year as in the old one.
_With or without a curtain!_ Your
[Footnote 1: Reichardt, in his _Vertraute Briefe_ relates among other
things about the concert given by Beethoven in the Royal Theatre "an der
Wien," Oct. 22, 1808, as follows:--"Poor Beethoven, who derived from this
concert the first and only net profits which accrued to him during the
whole year, met with great opposition and very slender support in arranging
and carrying it out. First came the _Pastoral Symphony; or, Reminiscences
of Rural Life_; then followed, as the sixth piece, a long Italian _scena_,
sung by Demoiselle Killitzky, a lovely Bohemian with a lovely voice." The
above note [to Zmeskall?] certainly refers to this concert.]
TO FERDINAND RIES.
MY DEAR FELLOW,--
Your friends have at any rate given you very bad advice; but I know all
about them: they are the very same to whom you sent that fine news about me
from Paris; the very same who inquired about my age--information that you
contrived to supply so correctly!--the very same who have often before
injured you in my opinion, but now permanently. Farewell!
[Footnote 1: Ries himself gives the date of this note as 1809, though he
cannot recall what gave rise to it. It is probably connected with a fact
mentioned by Wegeler, p. 95, that Reichardt, who was at that time in
Vienna, had advised Beethoven's young pupil, Ries, to apply to the King of
Westphalia for the appointment of Kapellmeister, which he had recently
given up. This was reported to Beethoven, and roused his ire. Ries, too,
had written from Paris that the taste in music there was very indifferent;
that Beethoven's works were little known or played in that city. Beethoven
was also very susceptible with regard to his age. At the request of some of
Beethoven's friends, Ries, in 1806, obtained Beethoven's baptismal
certificate, and sent it to Vienna. But the _maestro's_ wrath on this
occasion passed away as quickly as usual.]
March 7, 1809.
It is just what I expected! As to the blows, that is rather far-fetched.
The story is at least three months' old, and very different from what he
now makes it out to be. The whole stupid affair was caused by a female
huckster and a couple of low fellows. I lose very little. He no doubt was
corrupted in the very house where I am now living.
[Footnote 1: [See No. 10.] The notes to Zmeskall generally have the dates
written by himself. This one bears the date March 7, 1809. In all points
connected with domestic life, and especially in household matters and
discords, Zmeskall was always a kind and consolatory friend. Beethoven at
that time lived in the same house with Countess Erdoedy. [See No. 74.]]
My most excellent, high, and well-born Herr v. Zmeskall, Court Secretary
and Member of the Society of the Single Blessed,--If I come to see you
to-day, ascribe it to the fact that a person wishes to speak to me at your
house whom I could not refuse to see. I come without any _card_ from you,
but I hope you will not on that account _discard_ me.
Yours truly--most truly,
L. V. BEETHOVEN.
It seems to me, dear Zmeskall, if war really does break out, when it comes
to an end you will be the very man for an appointment in the Peace
Legation. What a glorious office!!! I leave it entirely to you to do the
best you can about my servant, only henceforth Countess Erdoedy must not
attempt to exercise the smallest influence over him. She says she made him
a present of twenty-five florins, and gave him five florins a month, solely
to induce him to stay with me. I cannot refuse to believe this trait of
generosity, but I do not choose that it should be repeated. Farewell! I
thank you for your friendship, and hope soon to see you.
April 16, 1809.
If I cannot come to-day, dear Zmeskall which is very possible, ask Baroness
von ---- [name illegible] to give you the pianoforte part of the Trios, and
be so good as to send them and the other parts to me to-day.
In haste, your
[Footnote 1: April 16, 1809. By the Terzetts he no doubt means the Trios,
Op. 70, dedicated to Countess Erdoedy.]
April 17, 1809.
A suitable lodging has just been found out for me, but I need some one to
help me in the affair. I cannot employ my brother, because he only
recommends what costs least money. Let me know, therefore, if we can go
together to look at the house. It is in the Klepperstall.
[Footnote 1: An der Moelker Bastei.]
April 25, 1809.
I shall be glad, right glad, to play. I send you the violoncello part; if
you find that you can manage it, play it yourself, or let old Kraft do
so. I will tell you about the lodging when we meet.
[Footnote 1: Anton Kraft (and likewise his son, Nicolaus Kraft) was a most
admirable violoncello-player, with whom Beethoven from the earliest days of
his residence in Vienna had played a great deal at Prince Lichnowsky's.
Kraft was at that time in Prince Lobkowitz's band.]
May 14, 1809.
MY DEAR LITTLE MUSICAL OLD COUNT!--
I think after all it would be advisable to let old Kraft play, as the trios
are to be heard for the first time (in society), and you can play them
afterwards; but I leave it all to your own option. If you meet with any
difficulties, one of which may possibly be that Kraft and S. [Schuppanzigh]
do not harmonize well together, then Herr v. Zmeskall must distinguish
himself, not as a mere musical Count, but as an energetic musician.
[Footnote 1: Kraft and Schuppanzigh were then each giving quartet
TO FREIHERR V. HAMMER-PURGSTALL.
I feel almost ashamed of your complaisance and kindness in permitting me to
see the MS. of your as yet unknown literary treasures. Pray receive my
sincere thanks. I also beg to return both your operettas. Wholly engrossed
by my professional avocations, it is impossible for me to give an opinion,
especially with regard to the Indian Operetta; as soon as time permits, I
will call on you for the purpose of discussing this subject, and also the
Oratorio of "The Deluge." Pray always include me among the warm admirers of
your great talents.
I am, sir, with sincere esteem, your obedient
[Footnote 1: I see in Schindler's _Beethoven_, that he wished to have "an
Indian Chorus of a religious character" from this renowned Orientalist,
who, in sending his _Persian Operetta_, written "rather with an ideal than
a musical object," and likewise an oratorio, _The Deluge_,
remarks:--"Should you not find these works in all respects executed quite
to your taste, still I feel convinced that through the genius of a
Beethoven alone can music portray the rising of the great flood and the
pacifying of the surging waters."]
TO FREIHERR V. HAMMER-PURGSTALL.
Forgive me, my dear H----, for not having brought you the letter for Paris.
I have been, and still am, so much occupied, that day after day I am
obliged to delay writing it, but you shall have it to-morrow, even if I am
unable to come myself to see you, which I am most anxious to do.
There is another matter that I would most earnestly press on you; perhaps
you might succeed in doing something for a _poor unfortunate man_. I allude
to Herr Stoll, son of the celebrated physician. With many persons the
question is whether a man has been ruined by his own fault or by that of
others, but this is not so with either you or me; it is sufficient that
Stoll is unfortunate, and looks on a journey to Paris as his sole resource,
having last year made many influential acquaintances, who, when he goes
there, are to endeavor to procure him a professorship in Westphalia. Stoll
has therefore applied to Herr v. Neumann, in the State Chancery Office, to
send him with a government courier to Paris, but the latter refuses to take
him for less than twenty-five louis d'or. Now I request you, my dear
friend, to speak to Herr v. Neumann to arrange, if possible, that the
courier should either take Stoll _gratis_, or for a small sum. I am
persuaded that if there is nothing particular against it, you will be glad
to interest yourself in poor Stoll. I return to the country to-day, but
hope soon to be so fortunate as to enjoy an hour of your society. In the
mean time I send you my best wishes, and beg you will believe in the
sincere esteem of
LUDWIG v. BEETHOVEN.
[Footnote 1: Reichardt states that Stoll was in Vienna in the spring of
1809, which fixes the date of this letter. Napoleon bestowed a pension on
the young poet (who appears to have gone to Paris), mistaking him for his
father, the celebrated physician.]
TO BARONESS VON DROSSDICK.
MY ESTEEMED THERESE,--
You will receive with this what I promised. Had not many serious obstacles
intervened, I would have sent you more, in order to show you that where my
friends are concerned _I always perform more than I promise_. I hope, and
do not doubt, that you are agreeably occupied and enjoying society, but not
too much, I trust, to prevent your thinking of us. It would show too much
confidence in you, or too high an estimation of my own merits, were I to
attribute the sentiment to you, "That people are not together only when
present, but that the absent and the dead also live with us." Who could
ascribe such a thought to the volatile Therese, who takes the world so
lightly? Among your various occupations, do not forget the piano, or
rather, music in general, for which you have so fine a talent: why not then
seriously cultivate it? You, who have so much feeling for the good and the
beautiful, should strive to recognize the perfections of so charming an
art, which in return always casts so bright a reflection on us.
I live in entire quiet and solitude, and even though occasional flashes of
light arouse me, still since you all left this I feel a hopeless void which
even my art, usually so faithful to me, has not yet triumphed over. Your
pianoforte is ordered, and you shall soon have it. What a difference you
must have discovered between the treatment of the theme I extemporized on
the other evening and the mode in which I have recently written it out for
you? You must explain this yourself, only do not find the solution in the
punch! How happy you are to get away so soon to the country! I cannot enjoy
this luxury till the 8th. I look forward to it with the delight of a child.
What happiness I shall feel in wandering among groves and woods, and among
trees, and plants, and rocks! No man on earth can love the country as I do!
Thickets, trees, and rocks supply the echo man longs for!
You shall soon receive some more of my compositions, which will not cause
you to complain so much of difficulties. Have you read Goethe's "Wilhelm
Meister," and Schlegel's "Translations of Shakspeare"? People have so much
leisure in the country, that perhaps you would like me to send you these
works? It happens that I have an acquaintance in your neighborhood; so
perhaps you may see me some morning early for half an hour, after which I
must be off again. You will also observe that I intend to bore you for as
short a time as possible.
Commend me to the regard of your father and mother, though I have as yet no
right to claim it. Remember me also to your cousin M. [Mathilde]. Farewell,
my esteemed Therese; I wish you all the good and charm that life can offer.
Think of me kindly, and forget my follies. Rest assured that no one would
more rejoice to hear of your happiness, even were you to feel no interest
in your devoted servant and friend,
N.B. It would be very amiable in you to write me a few lines, to say if I
can be of any use to you here.
[Footnote 1: Herr v. Malfatti Rohrenbach, nephew of the renowned physician
who was so prominent in Beethoven's last illness, lately related to me in
Vienna as follows:--Beethoven went to pay a visit to young Frau Therese,
Baroness Drossdick, at Moedling, but not finding her at home, he tore a
sheet of music-paper out of a book, and wrote some music to a verse of
Matthisson's, and on the other side, inscribed, in large letters, "To my
dear Therese." The "Mathilde" mentioned farther on was, according to
Baermann, a Baroness Gleichenstein. [See No. 45.]]
A MDLLE. MDLLE. DE GERARDI.
DEAR MDLLE. G.,--
I cannot with truth deny that the verses you sent have considerably
embarrassed me. It causes a strange sensation to see and hear yourself
praised, and yet to be conscious of your own defects, as I am. I consider
such occurrences as mere incitements to strive to draw nearer the
unattainable goal set before us by Art and Nature, difficult as it may be.
These verses are truly beautiful, with the exception of one fault that we
often find in poets, which is, their being misled by Fancy to believe that
they really do see and hear _what they wish to see and hear_, and yet even
this is far below their ideal. You may well believe that I wish to become
acquainted with the poet or poetess; pray receive also yourself my thanks
for the kindly feeling you show towards your sincere friend,
L. V. BEETHOVEN.
[Footnote 1: Nothing has hitherto been ascertained respecting either the
date of this note, or the lady to whom it is addressed.]
January 23, 1810.
What are you about? My gayety yesterday, though only assumed, has not only
vexed but offended you. The _uninvited guests_ seemed so little to deserve
your ill-humor, that I endeavored to use all my friendly influence to
prevent your giving way to it, by my pretended flow of spirits. I am still
suffering from indigestion. Say whether you can meet me at the "Swan"
Your true friend,
[Footnote 1: The cause that gave rise to this note is not known.]
Vienna, May 2, 1810.
MY DEAR OLD FRIEND,--
These lines may very possibly cause you some surprise, and yet, though you
have no written proof of it, I always retain the most lively remembrance of
you. Among my MSS. is one that has long been destined for you, and which
you shall certainly receive this summer. For the last two years my secluded
and quiet life has been at an end, and I have been forcibly drawn into the
vortex of the world; though as yet I have attained no good result from
this,--nay, perhaps rather the reverse,--but who has not been affected by
the storms around us? Still I should not only be happy, but the happiest of
men, if a demon had not taken up his settled abode in my ears. Had I not
somewhere read that man must not voluntarily put an end to his life while
he can still perform even one good deed, I should long since have been no
more, and by my own hand too! Ah! how fair is life; but for me it is
You will not refuse me one friendly service, which is to procure me my
baptismal certificate. As Steffen Breuning has an account with you, he can
pay any expenses you may incur, and I will repay him here. If you think it
worth while to make the inquiry in person, and choose to make a journey
from Coblenz to Bonn, you have only to charge it all to me. I must,
however, warn you that I had an _elder brother_ whose name was also Ludwig,
with the second name of _Maria_, who died. In order to know my precise age,
the date of my birth must be first ascertained, this circumstance having
already led others into error, and caused me to be thought older than I
really am. Unluckily, I lived for some time without myself knowing my age
[see Nos. 26 and 51]. I had a book containing all family incidents, but it
has been lost, Heaven knows how! So pardon my urgently requesting you to
try to discover _Ludwig Maria's_ birth, as well as that of the present
Ludwig. The sooner you can send me the certificate of baptism the more
obliged shall I be. I am told that you sing one of my songs in your
Freemason Lodge, probably the one in E major, which I have not myself got;
send it to me, and I promise to compensate you threefold and fourfold.
Think of me with kindness, little as I apparently deserve it. Embrace your
dear wife and children, and all whom you love, in the name of your friend,
[Footnote 1: Wegeler says:--"I discovered the solution of the enigma (why
the baptismal certificate was so eagerly sought) from a letter written to
me three months afterwards by my brother-in-law, Stephan von Breuning, in
which he said: 'Beethoven tells me at least once a week that he means to
write to you; but I believe his _intended marriage is broken off_; he
therefore feels no ardent inclination to thank you for having procured his
[Footnote 2: Beethoven was mistaken; Wegeler had only supplied other music
to the words of Matthisson's _Opfer Lied_.]
July 9, 1810.
You are about to travel, and so am I on account of my health. In the mean
time all goes topsy-turvy with me. The _Herr_ wants to have me with him,
and Art is not less urgent in her claims. I am partly in Schoenbrunn and
partly here; every day assailed by messages from strangers and new
acquaintances, and even as regards art I am often driven nearly distracted
by my undeserved fame. Fortune seeks me, and for that very reason I almost
dread some new calamity. As for your "Iphigenie," the facts are these. I
have not seen it for the last two years and a half, and have no doubt lent
it to some one; but to whom?--that is the question. I have sent in all
directions, and have not yet discovered it, but hope still to find it. If
lost, you shall be indemnified. Farewell, my dear Z. I trust that when we
meet again you will find that my art has made some progress in the interim.
Ever remain my friend, as much as I am yours,
[Footnote 1: The "Herr" is his pupil, the Archduke Rudolph.]
TO BETTINA BRENTANO.
Vienna, August 11, 1810.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,--
Never was there a lovelier spring than this year; I say so, and feel it
too, because it was then I first knew you. You have yourself seen that in
society I am like a fish on the sand, which writhes and writhes, but cannot
get away till some benevolent Galatea casts it back into the mighty ocean.
I was indeed fairly stranded, dearest friend, when surprised by you at a
moment in which moroseness had entirely mastered me; but how quickly it
vanished at your aspect! I was at once conscious that you came from another
sphere than this absurd world, where, with the best inclinations, I cannot
open my ears. I am a wretched creature, and yet I complain of others!! You
will forgive this from the goodness of heart that beams in your eyes, and
the good sense manifested by your ears; at least they understand how to
flatter, by the mode in which they listen. My ears are, alas! a
partition-wall, through which I can with difficulty hold any intercourse
with my fellow-creatures. Otherwise, perhaps, I might have felt more
assured with you; but I was only conscious of the full, intelligent glance
from your eyes, which affected me so deeply that never can I forget it. My
dear friend! dearest girl!--Art! who comprehends it? with whom can I
discuss this mighty goddess? How precious to me were the few days when we
talked together, or, I should rather say, corresponded! I have carefully
preserved the little notes with your clever, charming, most charming
answers; so I have to thank my defective hearing for the greater part of
our fugitive intercourse being written down. Since you left this I have had
some unhappy hours,--hours of the deepest gloom, when I could do nothing.
I wandered for three hours in the Schoenbrunn Allee after you left us, but
no _angel_ met me there to take possession of me as you did. Pray forgive,
my dear friend, this deviation from the original key, but I must have such
intervals as a relief to my heart. You have no doubt written to Goethe
about me? I would gladly bury my head in a sack, so that I might neither
see nor hear what goes on in the world, because I shall meet you there no
more; but I shall get a letter from you? Hope sustains me, as it does half
the world; through life she has been my close companion, or what would have
become of me? I send you "Kennst Du das Land," written with my own hand, as
a remembrance of the hour when I first knew you; I send you also another
that I composed since I bade you farewell, my dearest, fairest sweetheart!
Herz, mein Herz, was soll das geben,
Was bedraenget dich so sehr;
Welch ein neues fremdes Leben,
Ich erkenne dich nicht mehr.
Now answer me, my dearest friend, and say what is to become of me since my
heart has turned such a rebel. Write to your most faithful friend,
[Footnote 1: The celebrated letters to Bettina are given here exactly as
published in her book, _Ilius Pamphilius und die Ambrosia_ (Berlin, Arnim,
1857) in two volumes. I never myself had any doubts of their being genuine
(with the exception of perhaps some words in the middle of the third
letter), nor can any one now distrust them, especially after the
publication of _Beethoven's Letters_. But for the sake of those for whom
the weight of innate conviction is not sufficient proof, I may here mention
that in December, 1864, Professor Moritz Carriere, in Munich, when
conversing with me about _Beethoven's Letters_, expressly assured me that
these three letters were genuine, and that he had seen them in Berlin at
Bettina v. Arnim's in 1839, and read them most attentively and with the
deepest interest. From their important contents, he urged their immediate
publication; and when this shortly after ensued, no change whatever struck
him as having been made in the original text; on the contrary, he still
perfectly remembered that the much-disputed phraseology (and especially the
incident with Goethe) was precisely the same as in the originals. This
testimony seems to me the more weighty, as M. Carriere must not in such
matters be looked on as a novice, but as a competent judge, who has
carefully studied all that concerns our literary heroes, and who would not
permit anything to be falsely imputed to Beethoven any more than to Goethe.
Beethoven's biography is, however, the proper place to discuss more closely
such things, especially his character and his conduct in this particular
case. At present we only refer in general terms to the first chapter of
_Beethoven's Jugend_, which gives all the facts connected with these
letters to Bettina and the following ones--a characteristic likeness of
Beethoven thus impressed itself on the mind of the biographer, and was
reproduced in a few bold outlines in his _Biography_. These letters could
not, however, possibly be given _in extenso_ in a general introduction to a
TO BETTINA BRENTANO.
Vienna, Feb. 10, 1811.
DEAR AND BELOVED FRIEND,--
I have now received two letters from you, while those to Tonie show that
you still remember me, and even too kindly. I carried your letter about
with me the whole summer, and it often made me feel very happy; though I do
not frequently write to you, and you never see me, still I write you
letters by thousands in my thoughts. I can easily imagine what you feel at
Berlin in witnessing all the noxious frivolity of the world's rabble,
even had you not written it to me yourself. Such prating about art, and yet
no results!!! The best description of this is to be found in Schiller's
poem "Die Fluesse," where the river Spree is supposed to speak. You are
going to be married, my dear friend, or are already so, and I have had no
chance of seeing you even once previously. May all the felicity that
marriage ever bestowed on husband and wife attend you both! What can I say
to you of myself? I can only exclaim with Johanna, "Compassionate my fate!"
If I am spared for some years to come, I will thank the Omniscient, the
Omnipotent, for the boon, as I do for all other weal and woe. If you
mention me when you write to Goethe, strive to find words expressive of my
deep reverence and admiration. I am about to write to him myself with
regard to "Egmont," for which I have written some music solely from my love
for his poetry, which always delights me. Who can be sufficiently grateful
to a great poet,--the most precious jewel of a nation! Now no more, my dear
sweet friend! I only came home this morning at four o'clock from an orgy,
where I laughed heartily, but to-day I feel as if I could weep as sadly;
turbulent pleasures always violently recoil on my spirits. As for Clemens
[Brentano, her brother], pray thank him for his complaisance; with regard
to the Cantata, the subject is not important enough for us here--it is very
different in Berlin; and as for my affection, the sister engrosses so large
a share, that little remains for the brother. Will he be content with this?
Now farewell, my dear, dear friend; I imprint a sorrowful kiss on your
forehead, thus impressing my thoughts on it as with a seal. Write soon,
very soon, to your brother,
[Footnote 1: An expression which, as well as many others, he no doubt
borrowed from Bettina, and introduced to please her.]
I am disposed to engage a man who has just offered me his services,--a
music-copyist. His parents live in Vienna, which might be convenient in
many respects, but I first wish to speak to you about the terms; and as you
are disengaged to-morrow, which I, _alas_! am every day, I beg you will
take coffee with me in the afternoon, when we can discuss the matter, and
then proceed from _words to deeds_. We have also the honor to inform you
that we intend shortly to confer on you some of the decorations of the
Order of our Household,--the first class for yourself, the others for any
one you choose, except a priest. We shall expect your answer early
to-morrow. We now present you with some blotches of ink. Your
MOST HIGH-BORN OF MEN!--
We beg you to confer some goose-quills on us; we will in return send you a
whole bunch of the same sort, that you may not be obliged to pluck out your
own. It is just possible that you may yet receive the Grand Cross of the
Order of the Violoncello. We remain your gracious and most friendly of all
TO THE ARCHDUKE RUDOLPH.
The Spring of 1811.
YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS,--
As in spite of every effort I can find no copyist to write in my house, I
send you my own manuscript; all you have to do is to desire Schlemmer to
get you an efficient copyist, who must, however, write out the Trio in your
palace, otherwise there would be no security against piracy. I am better,
and hope to have the honor of waiting on you in the course of a few days,
when we must strive to make up for lost time. I always feel anxious and
uneasy when I do not attend your Royal Highness as often or as assiduously
as I wish. It is certainly the truth when I say that the loss is mine, but
I trust I shall not soon again be so unwell. Be graciously pleased to
remember me; the time may yet come when I shall be able to show you doubly
and trebly that I deserve this more than ever.
I am your Royal Highness's devoted servant,
LUDWIG V. BEETHOVEN.
[Footnote 1: Schlemmer was for many years Beethoven's copyist.]
MY DEAR FRIEND,--
I have taken this trouble only that I might figure correctly, and thus be
able sometimes to lead others. As for mistakes, I scarcely ever required to
have them pointed out to me, having had from my childhood such a quick
perception, that I exercised it unconscious that it ought to be so, or in
fact could be otherwise.
[Footnote 1: Written on a sheet of music-paper (oblong folio) numbered 22,
and evidently torn out of a large book. On the other side (21) is written,
in Beethoven's hand, instructions on the use of the fourth in retardations,
with five musical examples. The leaf is no doubt torn from one of the books
that Beethoven had compiled from various text-books, for the instruction of
the Archduke Rudolph. I have therefore placed Beethoven's remark here.]
TO THE DRAMATIC POET TREITSCHKE.
June 6, 1811.
Have you read the book, and may I venture to hope that you will be
persuaded to undertake it? Be so good as to give me an answer, as I am
prevented going to you myself. If you have already read it, then send it
back to me, that I may also look over it again before you begin to work at
it. Above all, if it be your good pleasure that I should soar to the skies
on the wings of your poetry, I entreat you to effect this as soon as
Your obedient servant,
L. V. BEETHOVEN.
Sept. 10, 1811.
Let the rehearsal stand over for the present. I must see my doctor again
to-day, of whose bungling I begin to tire. Thanks for your metronome; let
us try whether we can measure Time into Eternity with it, for it is so
_simple_ and _easily managed_ that there seems to be no impediment to this!
In the mean time we will have a conference on the subject. The mathematical
precision of clockwork is of course greater; yet formerly, in watching the
little experiments you made in my presence, I thought there was something
worthy of notice in your metronome, and I hope we shall soon succeed in
_setting it thoroughly right_. Ere long I hope to see you.
Oct. 26, 1811.
I shall be at the "Swan" to-day, and hope to meet you there _to a
certainty_, but don't come too late. My foot is better; the author of so
many poetical _feet_ promises the _head_ author a sound foot within a
Nov. 20, 1811.
We are deucedly obliged to you. We beg you to be careful not to lose your
well-earned fame. You are exhorted to pursue the same course, and we remain
once more your deucedly attached
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.
Jan. 19, 1812.
I shall be at the "Swan" to-day, dear Z. I have, alas! _too much_ leisure,
and you _none_! Your
CONFOUNDED LITTLE QUONDAM MUSICAL COUNT!
What the deuce has become of you? Are you to be at the "Swan" to-day? No?
... Yes! See from this enclosure what I have done for Hungary. When a
German undertakes a thing, even without pledging his word, he acts very
differently from one of those Hungarian Counts, such as B. [Brunswick], who
allowed me to travel by myself--from what paltry, miserable motive who can
tell?--and kept me waiting, though he did not wait for me!
My excellent little quondam musical Count,
I am now, as ever, your attached
Return the enclosure, for we wish to bring it, and something else, pretty
forcibly under the notice of the Count.
[Footnote 1: The date of this and the following note is decided by the
allusion to his compositions written for Hungary (Pesth). See the
subsequent letter to Varenna.]
You are summoned to appear to-day at the "Swan;" Brunswick also comes. If
you do not appear, you are henceforth excluded from all that concerns us.
Excuses _per excellentiam_ cannot be accepted. Obedience is enjoined,
knowing that we are acting for your benefit, and that our motive is to
guard you against temptations and faithlessness _per excellentiam--dixi_.
The well-known watchmaker who lives close to the Freiung is to call on you.
I want a first-rate repeater, for which he asks forty ducats. As you like
that kind of thing, I beg you will exert yourself on my behalf, and select
a really good watch for me.
With the most enthusiastic admiration for a man like yourself, who is soon
to give me an opportunity of displaying in his favor my particular
knowledge of horn-playing, I am your
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.
TO KAMMERPROCURATOR VARENNA,--GRATZ.
If the wish to benefit the poor were not so evident in your letter, I
should have felt not a little offended by your accompanying your request to
me by the offer of payment. From my childhood, whenever my art could be
serviceable to poor suffering humanity, I have never allowed any other
motive to influence me, and never required anything beyond the heartfelt
gratification that it always caused me. With this you will receive an
Oratorio--(A), the performance of which occupies half an evening, also an
Overture and a Fantasia with Chorus--(B). If in your benevolent institution
you possess a _depot_ for such things, I beg you will deposit these three
works there, as a mark of my sympathy for the destitute; to be considered
as their property, and to be given at any concerts intended for their sole
benefit. In addition to these, you will receive an Introduction to the
"Ruins of Athens," the score of which shall be written out for you as soon
as possible. Likewise a Grand Overture to "Ungarn's erste Wohlthaeter"
[Hungary's First Benefactors].
Both form part of two works that I wrote for the Hungarians at the opening
of their new theatre [in Pesth]. Pray give me, however, your written
assurance that these works shall not be performed elsewhere, as they are
not published, nor likely to be so for some time to come. You shall receive
the latter Grand Overture as soon as it is returned to me from Hungary,
which it will be in the course of a few days.
The engraved Fantasia with Chorus could no doubt be executed by a lady, an
amateur, mentioned to me here by Professor Schneller. The words after
the Chorus No. 4, in C major, were altered by the publishers, and are now
quite contrary to the musical expression; those written in _pencil_,
therefore, on the music must be sung. If you can make use of the Oratorio,
I can send you _all the parts written out_, so that the outlay may be less
for the poor. Write to me about this.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.
[Footnote 1: The correspondence with Varenna, consisting of fourteen
letters and four notes, was purchased some years ago by a collector of
autographs in Leipzig, and sold again by public auction, probably to
different persons. It would be like pursuing leaves scattered by the wind
to try to recover these letters. Those here given have for the most part
appeared in newspapers; I cannot, therefore, be responsible for the text,
farther than their publication goes, which, however, has evidently been
conducted by a clever hand. The date of the first letter is to be gleaned
from the second, and we also learn from them that _The Ruins of Athens_ and
_King Stephen_ (or at all events the Overture) were already finished in
[Footnote 2: This _dilettante_ was Mdlle. Marie Koschak, subsequently the
wife of Dr. Pachler, an advocate in Gratz, from whom two letters are given
by Schindler of the dates of August 15th, 1825, and November 5th, 1826, in
which she invites Beethoven to visit her in Gratz. Schindler considers as
applicable to this lady the words of a note in Beethoven's writing of which
he has given a fac-simile in his _Biography_, I. 95; the date 1817 or 1818.
They are as follows:--"Love alone, yes! love alone can make your life
happier. O God! grant that I may at last find her who can strengthen me in
virtue, whom I can legitimately call my own. On July 27th, when she drove
past me in Baden, she seemed to gaze at me." This lady also plays a
friendly part in Franz Schubert's _Life_. See her _Biography_ by Dr.
Feb. 2, 1812.
By no means _extraordinary_, but _very ordinary_ mender of pens! whose
talent has failed on this occasion (for those I send require to be fresh
mended), when do you intend at last to cast off your fetters?--when? You
never for a moment think of me; accursed to me is life amid this Austrian
barbarism. I shall go now chiefly to the "Swan," as in other taverns I
cannot defend myself against intrusion. Farewell! that is, _fare as well_
as I wish you to do without
Most wonderful of men! We beg that your servant will engage a person to fit
up my apartment; as he is acquainted with the lodgings, he can fix the
proper price at once. Do this soon, you Carnival scamp!!!!!!!
The enclosed note is at least a week old.
Feb. 8, 1812.
Most extraordinary and first and foremost man of the pendulum in the world,
and without a lever too!!!
I am much indebted to you for having imparted to me some share of your
motive power. I wish to express my gratitude in person, and therefore
invite you this morning to come to the "Swan,"--a tavern, the name of which
itself shows that it is a fitting place when such a subject is in question,
Vienna, Feb. 8, 1812.
Herr Rettich has already got the parts of the Oratorio, and when you no
longer require them I beg you will send them back to me. It is not probable
that anything is wanting, but even in that case, as you have the score, you
can easily remedy this. I only yesterday received the Overtures from
Hungary, and shall have them copied and forwarded to you as soon as
possible. I likewise send a March with a vocal Chorus, also from the "Ruins
of Athens." Altogether you will now have sufficient to fill up the time.
As these pieces are only in manuscript, I shall let you know at the time I
send them what precautions I wish you to take with regard to the Overtures
and the March with Chorus.
As I do not publish any new work until a year after its composition, and,
when I do so, am obliged invariably to give a written assurance to the
publisher that no one is in possession of it, you can yourself perceive
that I must carefully guard against any possible contingency or casualty as
to these pieces. I must, however, assure you that I shall always be
disposed to show the warmest zeal in aid of your charity, and I here pledge
myself to send you every year works that exist solely in manuscript, or
compositions written expressly for this charitable purpose. I beg you will
also let me know what your future plans are with regard to your
institution, that I may act accordingly.
Farewell! I remain, with the highest consideration,
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.
Feb. 19, 1812.
I only yesterday received the written information that the Archduke pays
his share in the new paper-money of the full value [_Einloesungsschein_]. I
beg you will write out for me, as nearly as you can, the substance of what
you said on Sunday, and which we thought it advisable to send to the other
two. I am offered a certificate that the Archduke is to pay in
_Einloesungsschein_, but I think this unnecessary, more especially as the
people about Court, in spite of all their apparent friendship for me,
declare that my demands are _not just_!!!! O Heaven! aid me in enduring
this! I am no Hercules, to help Atlas in carrying the world, or to strive
to do so in his place. It was only yesterday that I heard the particulars
of the handsome manner in which Baron von Kraft had judged and spoken of me
to Zisius! But never mind, dear Z.! My endurance of these shameful attacks
cannot continue much longer; persecuted art will everywhere find an
asylum--Daedalus, though imprisoned in a labyrinth, found wings to carry
him aloft. Oh! I too shall find wings!
If you have time, send me this morning the draft of the memorial;--probably
for nothing, and to receive nothing! so much time is already lost, and only
to be kept in suspense by civil words!
[Footnote 1: The Finance Patent appeared in Austria in 1811, by which the
value of money was depreciated by a fifth. This also affected the salary
that Beethoven drew from the Archduke Rudolph, Prince Kinsky, and Prince
Lobkowitz. The first of these gentlemen paid his full share in
_Einloesungsschein_. Lobkowitz, at the request of Beethoven, soon after did
the same; with Kinsky's share alone difficulties arose subsequently, owing
to his death.]
In spite of my anxiety to serve the cause of your charity, I have been
quite unable to do so. I have no copyist of my own to write for me as
formerly, and the limited time renders it impossible for me to do so
myself; thus I am obliged to have recourse to strangers as copyists. One of
these promised to write out the Overtures, &c., &c., for you; but Passion
Week intervening, when there are so many concerts, prevented his being able
to keep his word, in spite of every effort on my part. Even if the
Overtures and the March with Chorus were transcribed, it would not be
possible to send them by this post, and if we wait for the next, the music
will arrive too late for Easter Sunday. Let me know if there are any means
you could adopt to gain a little more time, or any chance opportunity of
sending these works to you, and I will do all that lies in my power to aid
the cause of your charity.
I am, with esteem, yours obediently,
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.
TO THE ARCHDUKE RUDOLPH.
YOUR IMPERIAL HIGHNESS,--
I was much vexed not to receive Y.I.H.'s message to come to you till very
late yesterday evening--indeed nearly at eleven o'clock. Contrary to my
usual custom, I did not go home at all during the afternoon, the fine
weather having tempted me to spend the whole afternoon in walking, and the
evening at the Banda, "auf der Wieden," and thus I was not aware of your
wish till I returned home. In the mean time, whenever Y.I.H. desires it, I
am ready at any hour or moment to place myself at your disposal. I
therefore await your gracious commands.
I am your Imperial Highness's most obedient
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.
[Footnote 1: The date 1812 is marked on the sheet by another hand, and the
close of the second note proves that it was at the commencement of this
TO THE ARCHDUKE RUDOLPH.
YOUR IMPERIAL HIGHNESS,--
I was unable till to-day, when I leave my bed for the first time, to answer
your gracious letter. It will be impossible for me to wait on you
to-morrow, but perhaps the day after. I have suffered much during the last
few days, and I may say two-fold from not being in a condition to devote a
great part of my time to you, according to my heartfelt wish. I hope now,
however, to have cleared off all scores for spring and summer (I mean as to
I am your Imperial Highness's most obedient servant,
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.
Vienna, May 8, 1812.
Being still far from well, and much occupied, I have been unable to reply
to your letters. How in the world did such an unfounded idea ever occur to
you as that I was displeased? It would certainly have been better had you
returned the music as soon as it had been performed; for at that period I
could have produced it here, whereas now, unluckily, it comes too late; but
I only say _unluckily_ because it prevents my being able to spare the
worthy ladies the expenses of copying. At any other time I would on no
account have allowed them to pay for writing out the works, but it so
happens that at this moment I am visited with every kind of _contretemps_,
so I cannot avoid doing so. Possibly Herr O., although with the best
intentions, has delayed informing you of this, which obliged me to apply to
him for repayment of the expenses of copying; perhaps, too, in my haste, I
did not express myself distinctly. You can now, esteemed sir, have the
Overture and the Chorus again if you require them.
I feel convinced that in any event you will prevent my confidence being
abused; in the mean time you may keep the Overture on the conditions I have
stated. If I find that I am able to pay for the copying, I will redeem it
for my own use.
The score of the Oratorio is a gift, and also the Overture to "Egmont."
Keep the parts of the Oratorio beside you till you can have it performed.
Select whatever you choose for the concert which I hear you now intend to
give, and if you decide on the Chorus and the Overture, they shall be
forwarded to you at once. For the future concert, for the benefit of the
venerable Ursulines, I promise you an entirely new symphony at all events,
and perhaps also a work of some importance for voices, and as I have now a
favorable opportunity, the copying shall not cost you a farthing. My joy
would be beyond all bounds if the concert were to be successful, and I
could spare you all expense;--at all events, take my good-will for granted.
Remember me to the admirable teachers of the children, and say to them that
I shed tears of joy at the happy result of my poor good-will, and that so
far as my humble capabilities can serve them, they shall always find in me
the warmest sympathy.
My cordial thanks for your invitation; I would fain become acquainted with
the interesting scenery of Styria, and possibly I may one day enjoy that
pleasure. Farewell! I heartily rejoice in having found in you a friend to
the poor and needy, and am always yours to command.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN, M.P.
TO JOSEPH FREIHERR VON SCHWEIGER, CHAMBERLAIN OF THE ARCHDUKE RUDOLPH.
The most insignificant of mortals has just been to wait on his gracious
master, when he found everything closed; so he came here, where indeed all
was _open_, but no one to be found except the trusty servant. I had a heavy
packet of music with me, in order to ensure a good musical evening before
we parted; but in vain. Malfatti is resolved that I shall go to Toeplitz,
which is anything but agreeable to me. As, however, I must obey, I hope at
least that my gracious master will not enjoy himself quite so much without
me. _O vanitas!_ for it is nothing else. Before I set off for Toeplitz I
will either go to Baden to see you or write. Farewell! Pray present my
homage to my gracious master, and continue your regard for
[Footnote 1: The journey to Toeplitz took place in the year 1812.]
[Footnote 2: A very celebrated physician in Vienna at that time, consulted
Toeplitz, July 19, 1812.
My thanks have been too long delayed for all the dainties which the worthy
ladies sent for my enjoyment; being constantly ill in Vienna, I was at last
forced to take refuge here.
However, better late than never; so I beg you will say all sorts of kind
things in my name to the admirable Ursuline ladies, though I did not
deserve so much gratitude; indeed it is rather for me to thank Him who
enables me to render my art occasionally useful to others. When you next
wish to make use of my poor abilities for the benefit of the venerable
ladies, you have only to write to me.
A new symphony is now ready for you, and as the Archduke Rudolph has had it
copied out, it will cost you nothing. Perhaps I may one of these days be
able to send you something vocal. I only wish and hope that you will not
ascribe my anxiety to serve these venerable ladies to a certain degree of
vanity or desire for fame, as this would grieve me exceedingly. If these
good ladies wish to do me any service in return, I beg they will include me
with their pupils in their pious orisons. I remain, with esteem,
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.
I shall remain here for some weeks; so if there is any occasion to write,
address to me here.
WRITTEN IN THE ALBUM OF THE SINGER, MDME. AUGUSTE SEBALD.
Toeplitz, August 8, 1812.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN,
Who even if you would,
Forget you never should.
TO H.R. HIGHNESS THE ARCHDUKE RUDOLPH.
Franzensbrunn, Aug. 12, 1812.
It was my bounden duty long ago to have recalled myself to Y.R.H.'s
recollection, but partly my occupations and the state of my health, as well
as my own insignificance, made me reluctant to do so. I missed Y.R.H. by
one night only in Prague; for when proceeding to pay my respects to you in
the morning, I found you had set off the very night before. In Toeplitz I
heard a military band four times a day,--the only musical report which I
can give you. I was a great deal with Goethe. My physician Staudenheim,
however, ordered me off to Carlsbad, and from thence here, and probably
I shall have to go back to Toeplitz from this. What flights! And yet it
seems very doubtful whether any improvement in my condition has hitherto
taken place. I receive the best accounts of Y.R.H.'s health, and also of
the persistent devotion you exhibit towards the musical Muse. Y.R.H. has no
doubt heard of a concert that I gave for the benefit of the sufferers by
fire in the Stadt Baden, assisted by Herr Polledro. The receipts were
nearly 1000 florins W.W., and if I had not been restricted in my
arrangements we might easily have taken 2000 florins. It was literally a
_poor concert for the poor_. I could only find at the publisher's here some
of my earlier sonatas with violin accompaniments, and as Polledro had set
his heart on these, I was obliged to content myself with playing an old
Sonata. The entire concert consisted of a trio, in which Polledro
played, my Sonata with violin, then again something was played by Polledro,
and, lastly, I extemporized. Meanwhile I do sincerely rejoice that by this
means something has fallen to the share of the poor _Badeners_. Pray deign
to accept my best wishes for your welfare, and my entreaty that you will
sometimes think of me.
[Footnote 1: Beethoven speaks very briefly of his meeting with Goethe.
Goethe in his _Tag- und Jahrschriften_ of 1812 makes no allusion to
Beethoven during his stay at Toeplitz. It does not, therefore, appear that
either of these master-minds found any particular pleasure in each other
when they met personally. Beethoven, indeed, dedicated to "the immortal
Goethe" (1812) his composition the _Meeresstille und glueckliche Fahrt_, but
only wrote once to him in 1823 to obtain a subscription from the Grand Duke
of Weimar for his Grand Mass, and received no answer from Goethe. In the
complete edition of Goethe's works Beethoven's name is only once mentioned
by Goethe, when he refers to his funeral obsequies.]
[Footnote 2: Dr. Staudenheim was, like Malfatti, one of the most celebrated
physicians in Vienna. Beethoven, too, was well acquainted with Staudenheim,
but in his regimen he neither followed the prescriptions of Staudenheim nor
[Footnote 3: The Stadt Baden, near Vienna, had been visited on July 16th by
a most destructive conflagration.]
[Footnote 4: Giov. Batt. Polledro, Kapellmeister in Turin, born 1776,
travelled through Germany as a violinist from 1809 to 1812. He gave a
concert in Vienna in March, 1812.]
[Footnote 5: The violin Sonata with pianoforte was probably Op. 47
(composed in 1803 and published in 1805, according to Thayer, No. 111), or
one of his earlier compositions, Op. 30, or 24, or 23.]
TO BETTINA VON ARNIM.
Toeplitz, August 15, 1812.
MY MOST DEAR KIND FRIEND,--
Kings and princes can indeed create professors and privy-councillors, and
confer titles and decorations, but they cannot make great men,--spirits
that soar above the base turmoil of this world. There their powers fail,
and this it is that forces them to respect us. When two persons like
Goethe and myself meet, these grandees cannot fail to perceive what such as
we consider great. Yesterday, on our way home, we met the whole Imperial
family; we saw them coming some way off, when Goethe withdrew his arm from
mine, in order to stand aside; and, say what I would, I could not prevail
on him to make another step in advance. I pressed down my hat more firmly
on my head, buttoned up my great-coat, and, crossing my arms behind me, I
made my way through the thickest portion of the crowd. Princes and
courtiers formed a lane for me; Archduke Rudolph took off his hat, and the
Empress bowed to me first. These great ones of the earth _know me_. To my
infinite amusement, I saw the procession defile past Goethe, who stood
aside with his hat off, bowing profoundly. I afterwards took him sharply to
task for this; I gave him no quarter, and upbraided him with all his sins,
especially towards you, my dear friend, as we had just been speaking of
you. Heavens! if I could have lived with you as _he_ did, believe me I
should have produced far greater things. A musician is also a poet, he too
can feel himself transported into a brighter world by a pair of fine eyes,
where loftier spirits sport with him and impose heavy tasks on him. What
thoughts rushed into my mind when I first saw you in the Observatory during
a refreshing May shower, so fertilizing to me also! The most beautiful
themes stole from your eyes into my heart, which shall yet enchant the
world when Beethoven no longer _directs_. If God vouchsafes to grant me a
few more years of life, I must then see you once more, my dear, most dear
friend, for the voice within, to which I always listen, demands this.
Spirits may love one another, and I shall ever woo yours. Your approval is
dearer to me than all else in the world. I told Goethe my sentiments as to
the influence praise has over men like us, and that we desire our equals to
listen to us with their understanding. Emotion suits women only; (forgive
me!) music ought to strike fire from the soul of a man. Ah! my dear girl,
how long have our feelings been identical on all points!!! The sole real
good is some bright kindly spirit to sympathize with us, whom we thoroughly
comprehend, and from whom we need not hide our thoughts. _He who wishes to
appear something, must in reality be something._ The world must acknowledge
us, it is not always unjust; but for this I care not, having a higher
purpose in view. I hope to get a letter from you in Vienna; write to me
soon and fully, for a week hence I shall be there. The Court leaves this
to-morrow, and to-day they have another performance. The Empress has
studied her part thoroughly. The Emperor and the Duke wished me to play
some of my own music, but I refused, for they are both infatuated with
_Chinese porcelain_. A little indulgence is required, for reason seems to
have lost its empire; but I do not choose to minister to such perverse
folly--I will not be a party to such absurd doings to please those princes
who are constantly guilty of eccentricities of this sort. Adieu! adieu!
dear one; your letter lay all night next my heart, and cheered me.
Musicians permit themselves great license. _Heavens! how I love you!_ Your
most faithful friend and deaf brother,
[Footnote 1: Fraeulein Giannatasio del Rio, in the journal she sent to the
_Grenz Boten_ in 1857, states that Beethoven once declared, "It is very
pleasant to associate with the great of the earth, but one must possess
some quality which inspires them with respect."]
[Footnote 2: According to Bettina (see _Goethe's Correspondence with a
Child_, II. 193), their first acquaintance was made in Beethoven's
TO PRINCESS KINSKY,--PRAGUE
Vienna, Dec. 30, 1812.
The dreadful event which deprived you of your husband, Prince von Kinsky,
snatching him from his father-land and from all those who love him, as
well as from many whom he generously supported, filling every heart capable
of appreciating goodness and greatness with the deepest sorrow, affected me
also in the most profound and painful degree. The stern duty of
self-interest compels me to lay before your Highness a humble petition, the
reasonable purport of which may, I hope, plead my excuse for intruding on
your Highness at a time when so many affairs of importance claim your
attention. Permit me to state the matter to your Highness.
Y.H. is no doubt aware that when I received a summons to Westphalia in the
year 1809, his Highness Prince von Kinsky, your late husband, together with
his I.H. Archduke Rudolph and H.H. the Prince von Lobkowitz, offered to
settle on me for life an annual income of 4000 gulden, provided I declined
the proposal in question, and determined to remain in Austria. Although
this sum was by no means in proportion to that secured to me in Westphalia,
still my predilection for Austria, as well as my sense of this most
generous proposal, induced me to accept it without hesitation. The share
contributed by H.H. Prince Kinsky consisted of 1800 florins, which I have
received by quarterly instalments since 1809 from the Prince's privy purse.
Though subsequent occurrences partially diminished this sum, I rested
satisfied, till the appearance of the Finance Patent, reducing bank-notes
into _Einloesung Schein_. I applied to H.I.H. the Archduke Rudolph to
request that the portion of the annuity contributed by H.I.H. should in
future be paid in _Einloesung Schein_. This was at once granted, and I
received a written assurance to that effect from H.I.H. Prince von
Lobkowitz agreed to the same with regard to his share,--700 florins [see
No. 84]. H.H. Prince von Kinsky being at that time in Prague, I addressed
my respectful petition to him last May, through Herr Varnhagen von Ense, an
officer in the Vogelsang Regiment, that his Highness's contribution to my
salary--1800 florins--should be paid like the rest in _Einloesung Schein_.
Herr von Varnhagen wrote as follows, and the original of the letter is
"I had yesterday the desired interview with Prince Kinsky. With the highest
praise of Beethoven, he at once acceded to his demand, and is prepared to
pay up the arrears, and also all future sums from the date of the
_Einloesung Schein_, in that currency. The cashier here has received the
necessary instructions, and Beethoven can draw for the whole sum on his way
through Prague, or, if he prefers it, in Vienna, as soon as the Prince
"Prague, June 9, 1812."
When passing through Prague some weeks afterwards, I took the opportunity
of waiting on the Prince, and received from him the fullest confirmation of
this promise. H.H. likewise assured me that he entirely admitted the
propriety of my demand, and considered it quite reasonable. As I could not
remain in Prague till this affair was finally settled, H.H. was so kind as
to make me a payment of sixty ducats on account, which, according to H.H.'s
calculation, were good for 600 florins Vienna currency. The arrears were to
be paid up on my return to Vienna, and an order given to the cashier to pay
my salary in future in _Einloesung Schein_. Such was H.H.'s pleasure. My
illness increasing in Toeplitz, I was obliged to remain there longer than I
originally intended. In the month of September I therefore addressed to
H.H., who was then in Vienna, through one of my friends here, Herr Oliva, a
written memorial, claiming his promise, when H.H. graciously repeated to
this friend the assurance he had already given me, adding that in the
course of a few days he would give the necessary instructions on the
subject to his cashier.
A short time afterwards he left Vienna. When I arrived there, I inquired
from the Prince's secretary whether H.H. had given directions about my
salary before leaving Vienna, when, to my surprise, I was told that H.H.
had done nothing in the matter.
My title to the liquidation of my claim is proved by the testimony of the
Herren von Varnhagen and Oliva, to whom H.H. spoke on the subject,
reiterating his consent. I feel convinced that the illustrious heirs and
family of this prince will in the same spirit of benevolence and generosity
strive to fulfil his intentions. I therefore confidently place in Y.H.'s
hands my respectful petition, viz., "to pay up the arrears of my salary in
_Einloesung Schein_, and to instruct your cashier to transmit me the amount
in future, in the same currency." Relying on your sense of justice
according me a favorable decision, I remain Y.H.'s
Most obedient servant,
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.
[Footnote 1: Prince Josef Ferdinand Kinsky, born December, 1781, and killed
by a fall from his horse, November 3, 1812.]
TO THE ARCHDUKE RUDOLPH.
I have been far from well since last Sunday, but have suffered more in mind
than in body. I beg your forgiveness a thousand times for not having sooner
sent my apologies; each day I had the strongest inclination to wait on you,
but Heaven knows that in spite of the best will that I always entertain for
the best of masters I was unable to do so, distressing as it is to me not
to have it in my power to sacrifice all to him for whom I cherish the
highest esteem, love, and veneration. Y.R.H. would perhaps act wisely in
making a pause at present with the Lobkowitz concerts; even the most
brilliant talent may lose its effect by too great familiarity.
[Footnote 1: Prince Franz Josef Lobkowitz died December 25th, 1816. His
musical meetings were certainly continued till 1813, or longer.]
TO THE ARCHDUKE RUDOLPH.
At early dawn to-morrow the copyist shall begin the last movement. As I am
in the mean time writing several other works, I did not hurry myself much
with this last movement merely for the sake of punctuality, especially as I
must write this more deliberately, with a view to Rode's playing; we
like quick, full-toned passages in our _Finales_, which do not suit R., and
this rather cramps me. At all events, all is sure to go well next Tuesday.
I very much doubt whether I shall be able to present myself at Y.R.H.'s on
that evening, in spite of my zeal in your service; but to make up for this,
I mean to come to you to-morrow forenoon and to-morrow afternoon, that I
may entirely fulfil the wishes of my illustrious pupil.
[Footnote 1: 1813. January-February.]
[Footnote 2: Pierre Rode, the violinist, arrived in Vienna in January,
1813, and gave a concert in the Redoutensaal on February 6th, but did not
give universal satisfaction (_A.M.Z._, 1813, p. 114), and a second concert
that he had projected does not appear to have taken place. He played in
Gratz on February 20th and 27th. It seems that Rode was to play with
Beethoven at the Archduke Rudolph's, for which occasion Beethoven prepared
a composition for them both. Was this the Sonata for pianoforte and violin,
Op. 36, which he afterwards dedicated to the Archduke? Thayer states that
it was written by Beethoven in 1810, and sold to the music-publisher
Steiner in Vienna in April, 1815. No other composition for the violin and
pianoforte is so likely to be the one as this. It is, however, a mistake in
the _Bibliotheque Universelle_, tome xxxvi. p. 210, to state that Beethoven
during Rode's stay in Vienna composed the "delicieuse Romance" which was
played with so much expression by De Baillot on the violin. There are only
two Romances known for the violin by Beethoven, the one in G major, Op. 40,
in the year 1803, and the second in F major, Op. 50, published in 1805.
(Thayer, 102 and 104.)]
TO THE ARCHDUKE RUDOLPH.
I had just gone out yesterday when your gracious letter reached me. As for
my health, it is pretty much the same, particularly as moral causes affect
it, which do not seem likely to be removed; particularly as I can have
recourse to no one but myself for aid, and can find help in my own head
alone; and more particularly still, because in these days neither words,
nor honor, nor written pledges, seem binding on any one. As for my
occupations, I have come to an end with some of them, and, even without
your gracious invitation, I intended to appear at the usual hour to-day.
With regard to Rode [see No. 96], I beg Y.R.H. to be so good as to let me
have the part by the bearer of this, and I will send it to him at once,
with a polite note from me. _He certainly will not take amiss my sending
him the part. Oh! certainly not! Would to Heaven that I were obliged to ask
his forgiveness on this account! for in that case things would really be in
a better position._ Is it your pleasure that I should come to you this
evening at five o'clock as usual, or does Y.R.H. desire another hour? I
shall endeavor to arrange accordingly, and punctually to fulfil your
TO PRINCESS KINSKY.
Vienna, Feb. 12, 1813.
You were so gracious as to declare with regard to the salary settled on me
by your deceased husband, that you saw the propriety of my receiving it in
Vienna currency, but that the authority of the court of law which has
assumed the guardianship of the estate must first be obtained. Under the
conviction that the authorities who represent their princely wards could
not fail to be influenced by the same motives that actuated the late Prince
in his conduct towards me, I think I am justified in expecting the
ratification of my claim from the aforesaid court, as I can prove, by the
testimony of well-known, respectable, and upright men, the promise and
intentions of H.H. in my behalf, which cannot fail to be binding on his
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