BEETHOVEN'S ACADEMY CONCERT OF DECEMBER 22, 1808

 




Theater-an-der-Wien

 

INTRODUCTION

Those who look at Beethoven's life undoubtedly learn this or that about his famous "mammoth" concert of December 22, 1808.   Since that concert did not only present one entire or partial work to the public for the first time, we have decided to present our look at this evening in a separate page, so that it can be linked to from various creation history pages.    

Our journey of discovery attempts to gain an as thorough impression of this evening as we can, so that we, based on this knowledge, can combine it with 'this or that' that we already know and arrive at a well-rounded, lively impression of this event.  

 

PRELIMINARY HISTORY

A "mammoth" concert such as that of December 22, 1808, certainly does not 'fall from the sky'!  The preliminary work Beethoven had to put in requires that we also look at the events leading up to this concert.  

In order to obtain a date for an 'academy' concert, Beethoven had to 'donate' his works and also himself as a performer to other concerts for the benefit of the 'Theaterarmen', thus of less fortunate members of theatre families.  

Let us therefore first take a look at information on this topic.  Beethoven's relevant correspondence of the year 1808 that is contained in the Henle Gesamtausgabe shows us how far back his attempts at obtaining a date for an academy concert went:  



Heinrich Joseph von Collin

Wikipedia Article on Collin

 

"Beethoven an Heinrich Joseph von Collin

                                                                                                                   [Wien, März 1808][1]

    Ich bitte sie lieber Freund, da sie sich wohl jenes Billets erinnern werden, Welches sie mir geschrieben, als ihnen H.v. Hartl[2] Den Auftrag Wegen der Akademie für die Theater-armen an mich gegeben, die Freude darüber als sie mir deswegen geschrieben, machte, daß ich gleich mit diesem schreiben zu meinem Freunde Breuning[3] ging, um es ihm zu zeigen, Dort ließ ich es liegen, und so ist es verkommen, der Inhalt davon war so viel ich mich erinnere: "daß sie mir schrieben mit Hr. v. Hartl gesprochen zu haben, Wegen einem Tag für eine Akademie, und daß er ihnen darauf den Auftrag gegeben, mir zu schreiben, daß, wenn ich zu der diesjährigen Akademie für die Theaterarmen Wichtige Werke zur Aufführung [sic] <und> gebe, und selbst dirigire, ich mi<ch>r gleich einen Tag für eine Akademie im Theater an der Vien aussuchen könne, und so könnte ich alle Jahr auf diese Begingungen einen Tag haben.  Vive Vale<<[4] sicher bin ich daß das Billet so abgefaßt war, ich hoffe, sie schlagen mir es nicht ab, dieses billet mir jezt noch einmal zu schreiben, Es braucht weder Tag noch datum, mit diesem Billet will ich noch einmal zu Hr. v Hartl, vieleicht daß dieses doch einigen Eindruk macht -- und ich so das erhalte, was er mir und ihnen versprochen--noch einige Täge, dann sehe ich sie -- Es war mir Vor Arbeit und Verdruß noch nicht möglich.

                                                                                                                    ganz ihr Beethowen

An Herrn Von Kollin Hof Sekretär"

"Beethoven to Heinrich Joseph von Collin

                                                                                                                   [Vienna, March 1808][1]

    I ask you, dear friend, since you will probably remember the note that you had written for me when H.v. Hartl[2] gave you the order for me, with respect to the academy [concert] for the "Theaterarmen"; the joy that you gave me with it caused me to immediately run to my friend Breuning[3] with it in order to show it to him.  There, I left it and thus it was misplaced, its content was, as far as I can remember:  "that you had written to me that you had spoken with Hr. v. Hartl, with respect to a date for an academy [concert] and that he had told you to write to me that, if I contribute important works for an academy concert for the benefit of the "Theaterarmen" and if I conduct them, myself, I can right away select a date for an academy [concert] at the Theater-an-der-Wien, and that I could have the same arrangement each year for these conditions.  Vive Vale<<[4], I am sure that the note was worded in this way; I hope that you will not refuse me to write this note again.  It does not require a date on it; with it, I want to go to Hr. Hartl, once more, perhaps, this will make some impression so that I will receive what he had promised to me and to you--in a few days, I will see you--with all the work and trouble I had, I was not able to do so, yet,   

                                                                                                                    entirely your Beethowen

To Herrn Von Kollin Court Secretary"

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 2, Letter No. 321, p. 9; Original: Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek; to [1]: refers to the fact that, according tot he GA, Letters No. 321, 322, 323 and 324 deal with Beethoven's attempts at obtaining a date for an academy concert to his own benefit at the Theater-an-der-Wien, during Holy Week, April 10 - 16, 1808, for which the theater management (from the beginning of 1808 in the hands of Joseph Hartl) had to give permission and had to set a date;  according to the GA, Hartl, obviously, had already given his agreement earlier; with respect to the dating of the letter, the GA refers to the fact that the precise dating of this group of letters with the end of March 1808 can be derived from the mentioning of the performance of an Italian opera in Letter No. 322, from Beethoven's finger injury (Letter No. 323) and from the dating of lent in that year (Letter No. 324); to [2]: refers to Joseph Hartl Edler von Luchsenstein; to [3]: refers to Stephan von Breuning; to [4]: refers to the fact that the letter has not been preserved; details taken from p. 9].

"Beethoven an Heinrich Joseph von Collin[1]

                                                                                                                  [Wien, März 1808][2]

    Lieber Freund, ich wollte diesen Morgen zu ihnen kommen, aber eine mich gestern Während der Vorstellung der italienischen oper[3] überfallene Kolick hindert mich heute so früh aus zu gehen -- Wegen Hatel[4] müßen wir etwas schriftliches haben, oder wenigstens muß mir derselbe seine Zusage machen in Gegenwart zweier Zeugen, wovon sie einer und der andre Breuning seyn kann -- ich dächte aber ein kurzes schreiben hierüber sey leicht abgefaßt[.] wie? -- das ist mir einerley, wenn man selbst hinein sezt aus Mitleiden etc das niedrigste, das Niederträchtigste bin ich ja ohnedem hier gewohnt -- und um ihnen zu lieb, um mit ihnen wirken zu können, mag das auch noch seyn -- ich habe 3 Schriften über einen Tag im Theater von vorigem Jahr,[5] mit der Polizey schriften machens gerade 5 über einen Tag, den ich nicht erhalten, schon um der vergeblichen Mühe willen sollte man mir den ohnedem schuldigen Tag geben, ich sage den Schuldigen, denn wenn ich will, kann ich die T.[eater] D.[irektion] vermittels meines Rechts zwingen, mir diesen Tag zu geben, indem ich mit einem Advokaten hierüber gesprochen -- Warum sollte ich's nicht thun, hat man mich nicht auf's aüßerste gebracht? -- -- fort mit allen rüksichten gegen diese Vandalen der Kunst --

    Morgen werde ich selbst zu H.[artl] gehen, ich war schon einmal da, er war aber nicht zu Hause -- ich bin so verdrießlich, daß ich mir nichts wünsche als ein Bär zu seyn, um so oft ich meine Taze aufhöb, einen sogenanten großen -- -- -- -- Esel zu Boden schlagen zu können

                                                                                                                                                     Beethown"

"Beethoven to Heinrich Joseph von Collin[1]

                                                                                                                  [Vienna, March 1808][2]

    Dear friend, this morning, I wanted to come and see you; however, yesterday, during the performance of the Italian opera[3] I was overcome by a colic so that I could not go out this early, this morning--With respect to Hatel[4] we have to have something in writing, or at least, the latter has to confirm [a date] verbally, in the presence of two witnesses, of whom one can be you and the other Breuning--however, I think that a brief text could be written up, easily[.] how?--I don't care, if one puts into it out of compassion etc; the lowest, the most infamous, I am already used to, in any event--and for your sake, in order to be able to work with you, that may also be--I already have three pieces in writing about a date at the theatre from last year,[5] with the police note it would be 5 by now about a date that I have not received; alone on account of my attempts in vain, one should give me the date that is owed to me, in any event, I say the date that is owed to me, since, if I wanted, on account of my entitlement, I could force the theatre management to give me this date, since I have also spoken to a lawyer, here--why should I not do it, has one not driven me to the utmost?-- --away with all reservations towards these Vandals of art-- 

    Tomorrow, I will go to H.[artl] myself, I have already been there, but he was not at home--I am so upset, that I do not wish anything else but to be a bear so that I, as often as I would lift my prank, would throw down to the ground a so-called great -- -- -- ass 

                                                                                                                                                     Beethown"

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 2, Letter No. 322, p. 10; to [1]: refers to the fact that, from the content, Heinrich Joseph von Collin is to be assumed as the recipient; to [2]: refers to the fact that this letter belongs to the same period as Letter No. 321; to [3]: refers to the fact that the only Italian opera that was performed in Vienna during this time was Johann Simon Mayr's opera Adelasia de Aleramo, which had first been performed at the Kärntnerthortheater on February 26, 1808; according to the GA, it was repeated on February 26 as well as on March 21, 24 and 28; to [4]:  refers to Joseph Hartl Edler von Luchsenstein; to [5]: refers to the fact that already in late 1806, Beethoven had attempted to obtain a date for an academy concert in the spring of 1807.  However, according to the GA, the date that had been planned for March 1807 had been postponed again and again; with respect to this, the GA refers to Letters No. 262, 267, 268, 274 and 275; details taken from p. 10].

As we can see from note [5] to Letter No. 322, by March, 1808, Beethoven had already tried--in vain--to obtain a date for an academy concert since the end of 1806.  That his attempts of the spring of 1808 would also yield no immediate result, becomes clear from Letters No. 323 and 324:  

"Beethoven an Heinrich Joseph von Collin[1] 

                                                                                                                   [Wien, März 1808][2]

    Euer liebden Her[r] Bruder, auf diese weise bin ich zufireden, sobald mir nur auf eine Art welche immer fnr die 2000 fl. wegen der oper einige schriftliche Sicherheit gegeben wird[3] -- Auf den Tag im Theater thue ich gern verzicht, obschon ich im Voraus überzeugt bin, daß diese Tage nach diesem Jahr nur unwürdige erhalten -- was jedoch den Redoutensaal betrift, das will ich in nähere überlegung ziehen --

    Euer liebden Herr Bruder leben sie wohl begeben sie sich derweil in ihr durchlauchtiges königliches poetisches Land, für me   in Musikalisches werde ich nicht minder Sorgen --

    Mit meiner Kolick gehts besser -- aber mein armer Finger hat gestern eine starke Nagel-operation leiden müßen,[4] gestern als ich ihnen schrieb, sah dasselbe sehr Drohend aus, heute ist er von schmerz ganz schlaff

    Nb. heute kann ich nich[t] mehr ausgehen, doch hoffe ich morgen zu H.[artl] <g> --"

"Beethoven to Heinrich Joseph von Collin[1] 

                                                                                                                   [Vienna, March 1808][2]

    Dear Herr Brother, in this way, I am satisfied, as long as, in some way, with respect to the 2000 fl. for the opera some assurance will be given to me in writing[3]--I will gladly give up the date at the theatre, although I am already convinced, in advance, that only the unworthy will receive dates, this year--however, as far as the Redoutensaal is concerned, I will consider it more closely--  

    Dear Herr Brother, farewell; in the meantime, remove yourself into your exalted land of poetry, of m y  musical realm, I will take care, none the less--  

    With respect to my colic, I am better--however, yesterday, my poor finger had to suffer a serious nail operation,[4] when I wrote to you, yesterday, it looked very threatening, today it is quite numb from pain 

    Nb. Today, I can not go out, anymore, but I hope tomorrow, to H.[artl] <g> --"

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 2, Letter No. 323, p. 11; original:  Dortmund, Stadt- und Landesbibliothek; to [1]: according to the GA, this refers to the fact that the recipient can be derived from the content and from the connection of this letter with Letters No. 321 and 322; to [2]: according to the GA, with respect to the dating, this refers to Letter No. 321, note [1]; to [3]: according to the GA, this letter obviously is a reply by Beethoven to a letter by Collin, in which the latter had reported of his successful negotiations with the theatre management about an opera contract and which listed an acceptable reason why Beethoven should forego his date for an academy concert at the Theater-an-der-Wien; possibly, as the GA reports, the Redoutensaal had been offered as an alternative; to [4]: according to the GA this refers to the fact that Beethoven had mentioned his finger injury also in his letter to Count Oppersdorff [Letter No. 325], while Stephan von Breuning also mentioned it in his letter of March 1808 to Franz Gerhard Wegeler; details taken from p. 11].

"Beethoven an Heinrich Joseph von Collin[1]

                                                                                                                       [Wien, März 1808][2]

    Ich war mein lieber seit vorgestern Dreymal bey ihnen, ohne sie gefunden zu haben -- vorgestern mit Breuning[3], der sie gern einmal wieder gesprochen hätte -- Die Sache der Akademie hat sich wohl für diese Fasten[4] zu lang verzogen -- so wichtig sie auch für meine weitere Existenz ist -- ihr Brief[5] ist in Betreff deßen in zu allgemeinen Ausdrücken -- daher bitte ich sie mir sagen zu laßen, obs ihnen recht ist, wenn ich (oder mein Bruder[6], indem ich heute etwas wichtiges zu thun habe) zu ihnen in ihrem Bnrreau sie sprechen kann -- Um 9 uhr konnte ich nicht wiederkommen, da ich -- eine kleine probe habe --

                                                                                                                         ganz ihr Beethowen"

"Beethoven to Heinrich Joseph von Collin[1]

                                                                                                                       [Vienna, March 1808][2]

    Since yesterday, I had gone to see you three times, without having found you at home--the day before yesterday with Breuning[3], who would have loved to have spoken with you, again--for this lent, the matter with the academy has protracted, for too long--as important as it is to my further existence--your letter [5], with respect to it, is too general--therefore, I ask you to convey to me if you agree that I (or my brother)[6]--since today, I have something important to do-- can come to your office--I could not return at 9 o'clock since I have a small rehearsal-- 

                                                                                                                         entirely your Beethowen"

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 2, Letter No. 324, p. 11-12; original:  Torino, Biblioteca civica centrale (Fondo Prior - Mazzo 4); to [1]: according to the GA, the recipient can be derived from the content; to [2]: according to the GA, the watermark on this letter is known from three further Beethoven letters, of which two were assigned to the year 1808, and one of them is No. 321, written to Collin; according to the GA, the letter deals with the plans for an academy concert during Holy Week of 1808, whereby Collin acted as an intermediary; to  [3]: refers to Stephan von Breuning; to [4]: refers to the fact that Holy Week of 1808 ended on April 16; to [5]: according to the GA, this obviously refers to the copy of the note by Collin that Beethoven had asked for in Letter No. 321; to [6]: according to the GA, it can not be determined whether this refers to Kaspar Karl van Beethoven; details taken from p. 12].

Joseph Hartl Edler von Luchsenstein, already known to us from the above letters, with respect to the benefit concert of April 13, 1808, wrote to the composer as follows:  

    "Joseph Hartl von Luchsenstein[1] an Beethoven

                                                                                                                     [Wien[, 8. April [1808]

    Es ist nun bestimmt daß dienstags den 12ten Aprill im Hoftheater nächst der Burg die musikalische Accademie zum Vortheile der Armen gegeben,[2] und daß selbe aus verschiedenen Musikstücken zusammengesezt sein wird.  Mlle Müllner[3] wird sich auf der Harfe, und Herr Guiliani[4] auf der Guitare horen lassen; auch werd ich für einige Singstücke sorgen.  Da Sie nun so gefällig waren, auch Ihrerseits zum Besten der Armen beytragen zu wollen, ersuche ich Sie, mich bis morgen wissen zu lassen, welche Ihrer Arbeiten Sie hierzu zu widmen gesonnen sind.  Mit aller Achtung

                                                                                                                           v. Hartl"

"Joseph Hartl von Luchsenstein[1] to Beethoven

                                                                                                                     [Vienna[, April 8 [1808]

    It is now certain that on Tuesday, the 12th of April, in the Court Theatre next to the Burg, the musical academy for the benefit of the poor will be held,[2] and that the same will consist of various pieces of music.  Mlle Müllner[3] will be heard on the harp, and Herr Guiliani[4] on the guitar; I shall also provide for some vocal pieces.  Since you were so kind to also want to contribute for the benefit of the poor, I ask you to let me know by tomorrow which of your works you are inclined to lend.  With all esteem 

                                                                                                                           v. Hartl"

 

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 2, Letter No. 326, p. 13 - 14; original:  not known, text, according to the GA, pursuant to the "Correspondenz- und Brief-Protocoll-Buch" of the court theatre management,  1806 - 1808; to [1]: refers to Joseph Hartl Edler von Luchsenstein, the Imperial Court Agent in Vienna who, in 1799, had been nobilitated and in 1803 had been appointed as a Government Councillor, and, in 1809, had been knighted and received the Order of Leopold; in 1815, he had been appointed as Imperial Court Councillor; as the GA reports, in 1802, he had founded the Pottendorf spinning factory, and had been active for various charitable causes and attained a good reputation on account of that; as the GA further reports, from 1808 to 1811, the held the post of manager of both court theatres and of the Theater-an-der-Wien and, during this time, founded a pension institute for deserving actors, for which he regularly held benefit concerts; to [2]: refers to the fact that, according to the GA, this academy concert took place at the Burgtheater on April 13th, at which Beethoven's Fourth Symphony Op. 60, the Coriolan Overture Op. 62 as well as his Third Piano Concerto Op. 37 were performed; with respect to this, the GA also refers to AMZ 10 (1808), columns. 540f, as well as TDR III, p. 62; to [3]: refers to Josepha Müllner, who, from 1811 to 1827, had been employed as harpist of the Vienna Court Orchestra; to [4]: refers to Mauro Guiliani, an Italian guitarist and composer who stayed in Vienna from 1806 to 1819; details taken from p.  13-14].

The Henle Gesamtausgabe contains two further letters from August, 1808, in which we encounter Collin and Hartl, however, in connection with a possible collaboration between Collin and Beethoven on a planned opera:  

In Letter No. 332 to Heinrich Joseph von Collin Beethoven mentions Collin's plans for a libretto to a possible opera "Alcine"; according to the GA, this letter must have been written before August 6, 1808.

On August 6, 1808, in Letter No. 333, Joseph Hartl wrote to Beethoven and mentioned Collin's manuscript to the planned opera "Alcine" that the latter had sent him a long time ago, and reminded Beethoven to deliver the composition. 

Beethoven's last letters of this year to Collin mention both Collin's opera plans as well as his own upcoming academy concert:  

"Beethoven an Heinrich Joseph von Collin

                                                                                                                   [Wien, November 1808][1]

    Ich bitte sie nur mein lieber Kollin Geduld zu haben bis nach meiner Akademie, wo ich schon des andern Tages zu ihnen kommen werde -- seyn sie versichert, daß mein Betragen gegen sie gewiß nicht zu weniger Achtung gegen sie herrührt -- sobald sie ihre oper[2] nicht schon jemand anders gegeben, welches ich nicht hoffe, so seyn sie Gewiß, daß ich mich ehestens dran mache"

"Beethoven to Heinrich Joseph von Collin

                                                                                                                   [Vienna, November 1808][1]

    My dear Collin, I ask you to just be a little bit patient until after my academy, after which I will come to see you, the next day--be assured that my behavior towards you does not stem from less respect for you--in the event that you have not given your opera[2] to someone else, which I do not hope, be assured that I will turn to it, immediately" 

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 2, Letter No. 342, p. 28; Original:  Bonn, Beethoven-Haus; to [1]: according to the GA this refers to the fact that the letter must have been written after Beethoven's return from Baden at the end of October, 1808 and before the academy concert of December 22, 1808; according to the GA, the date for the academy concert would have been determined in November, the earliest; to [2]: refers to Collin's opera Oper Bradamante; details taken from p. 28].

"Beethoven an Heinrich Joseph von Collin

                                                                                      [Wien, Ende November/Anfang Dezember 1808][1]

Großer erzürnter Poet!!!  !!!

    laßen sie den Reichardt fahren -- nehmen sie zu ihrer Poesie meine Noten, ich verspreche ihnen, daß sie nicht in Nöten dadurch kommen sollen -- sobald meine Akademie, die mir wirklich, wenn sie dem Zweck mir etwas einzutragen entsprechen soll, mir viel Zeit Raubt vorbey ist, komme ich zu ihnen, und dann wollen wir die Oper gleich vornehmen -- und sie soll bald klingen -- übrigens über das, worüber sie Recht haben, ihre Klagen <gegen> über mich erschallen zu laßen, Mündlich -- sollten sie aber Wircklich im Ernst Gesonnen seyn, ihre oper von R. schreiben zu lassen,[2] so bitte ich sie mir gleich solches zu wißen machen.

mit Hochachtung ihr ergebenster

                                                                                                                    Beethowen

Meine Wohnung ist 1074 in der Krugerstraße im ersen Stock bey der gräfin Erdödy

Dieser Brief ist seit 8 Tagen geschrieben -- ist aber vergeßen word[en][3]

Für Herrn Von Kollin"

"Beethoven to Heinrich Joseph von Collin

                                                                                      [Vienna, at the end of November/beginning of December 1808][1]

Great angry poet!!!  !!!

    Let Reichardt go--take my notes to your poetry, I promise you that you will not be left desperate on account of them--as soon as my academy [concert] that really, since its purpose is to benefit me, takes up a lot of my time, will be over, I will come to you, then we will take on the opera, right away--and it shall sound, soon--by the way, with respect to that about which you are right in letting your complaints about me known, verbally--however, if you should really be inclined to have your opera written by R., I ask you to let me know, right away.  

With high esteem, your most devoted

                                                                                                                    Beethowen

My aparment is 1074 in the Krugerstrasse in the first floor, with Countess Erdödy

This letter has been written eight days ago--but has been forgotten[3]

For Herr Von Kollin"

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 2, Letter No. 344, p. 28-29; Original: Bonn, Beethoven-Haus; to [1]: according to the GA, this refers to the fact that this letter was written after the commission of the opera Bradamante to Reichardt and prior to Beethoven's Academy Concert of December 22, 1808; according to the GA, Reichardt arrived in Vienna on November 24, 1808 and negotiated with Collin and the theatre management between November 26 and 30, 1808; with respect to this information, the GA relies on  Johann Friedrich Reichardt, Vertraute Briefe geschrieben auf einer Reise nach Wien, Amsterdam 1810, Vol. 1, p. 160f., eleventh letter of November 30, 1808; to [2]: refers to the fact that Reichardt's commission has not been taken back; however, as the GA further reports, on account of the war situation, the opera was not performed; to [3]: refers to the fact that this sentence has been written on the outside; details taken from p. 29].  

Let us now compare this correspondence with Thayer-Forbes' relevant report:  

" . . . In return for Beethoven's noble contributions of his works and personal services to the charity concerts of November 15, 1807 (4th Symphony), April 13 and November 15, 1808, Hartl finally gave him the use of the Theater-an-der-Wien for an Akademie on December 22.

    That this was the end of a series of frustrating postponements for Beethoven is made clear by his correspondence with Court Secretary Collin, in whom he confided.  In a note written early in the year Beethoven listed the number of letters already in his possession concerning a possible day for his concert in return for past services, and gave vent to his wrath over the procrastination of the Theatre Directors.  He suggested that a statement be written for Hartl to sign, with Breuning and Collin as witnesses, and even spoke of having discussed with a lawyer his right to compel the management to give him a day.  The letter ends:  "Tomorrow I'll go see H[artel] myself.  I was there once but he wasn't home-- I am so vexed that all I want is to be a bear so that every time I lifted my paw I could knock down one of the so-called great -- -- asses."  The tone became more resigned in a letter of the summer in which he wondered whether his inaction would force him to leave Vienna" (Thayer-Forbes: 455-456).  

We can add to this that Beethoven's "ass" remark stems from one of his letters to Collin of March 1808, a time at which he, from the end of 1806 on, had been attempting in vain to obtain a date for a benefit concert and a time in which his further attempts would also not result in a benefit concert in the spring of 1808, so that his attempts stretched over two years, from the end of 1806 to the end of 1808.   With respect to Hartl, Beethoven and the situation of the Viennese theatres at the time of the beginning of Hartl's management, Thayer-Forbes reports:   

" . . . as in the spring so now in autumn, it was Beethoven's popularity that must insure success to the Grand Concert for the public charities; it was his name that was known to be more attractive to the Vienna public than any other, save that of the venerable Haydn; and as Haydn's oratorios were the staple productions at the great charity concerts of vocal music in the Burg theatre, so the younger master's symphonies, concertos and overtures formed the most alluring programmes for the instrumental Akademies in the other theatres--at all events, in 1808, this was the opinion of Court Councillor Joseph Hartl, the new theatre director.  It was not so much for his love of art, as for the great reputation which his administrative talents had gained him that Hartl was called to assume the labors of directing the theatres, then sunk "into most embarrassing conditions"-- a call which he accepted.  For three years he administered them wisely, and with all the success possible in the troubled state of the public business and finances.

    A supervisor of the public charities, who at the same time controlled the theatres, he was of course able to secure the highest talent for benevolent concerts on terms advantageous to all parties concerned; and thus it came about, that at the concert for public charities in the Theater-an-der-Wien on the evening of Leopold's day, Tuesday, November 15th, Beethoven conducted one of his symphonies, the "Coriolan" Overture, and a pianoforte concerto--perhaps he played the solo of the last; but the want of any detailed report of the concert leaves the point in doubt,  Which of the symphonies and concertos were performed on the occasion is not recorded; it is only known that they were not new. . . . " (Thayer-Forbes: 445).

Here, we should take a closer look at the benefit concert of November 15, 1808 and consult Thayer-Forbes:

"It is unfortunate that the concert of November 15, 1808, was so completely forgotten by all whose contemporary notices of later reminiscences are now the only sources of information; for it is certain that, either in the rehearsals or at the public performance, something happened which caused a very serious misunderstanding and breach between Beethoven and the orchestra; but even this is sufficient to remove some difficulties otherwise insuperable.  Ries records in the Notizen (p. 84) that a scene is said once to have happened in which the orchestra compelled the composer to realize his injustice "and in all seriousness insisted that he should not conduct.  In consequence, at the rehearsal, Beethoven had to remain in an anteroom, and it was a long time before the quarrel was settled."  Such a quarrel did arise at the time of the November concert.  In Spohr's Autobiography is a story of Beethoven's first sweeping off the candles at the piano and then knocking down a choir boy deputed to hold one of them, by his too energetic motions at this concert, the two incidents setting the audience into a "bacchanalian jubilation" of laughter.  It is absolutely certain, however, that nothing of the kind occurred at the concert itself.

Compare now these statements by Ries and Spohr with citations from notes of a conversation with Röckel: "Beethoven had made the orchestra of the Theater-an-der-Wien so angry with him that only the leaders, Seyfried, Clement, etc., would have anything to do with him, and it was only after much persuasion and upon condition that Beethoven should not be in the room during the rehearsals, that the rank and file consented to play.  During the rehearsals, in the large room in back of the theatre, Beethoven walked up and down in an anteroom, and often Röckel with him.  After a movement Seyfried would come to him for criticisms.  Röckel believed the story (ie., if told of a rehearsal) of Beethoven in his zeal having knocked the candles off the pianoforte, and he himself saw the boys, one on each side, holding candles for him" (Thayer-Forbes: 445-446).-




Beethoven conducting

 

This shows that the preliminary history leading up to the Academy concert of December 22, 1808, did not only consist of Beethoven's unsuccessful attempts at obtaining a benefit concert date, but also of his own behavior at the last concert for the benefit of the "Theaterarmen".  His own behavior would also have an effect on the choice of singers for his own concert.  With respect to this, Thayer-Forbes reports:  

"But the concert-giver's troubles were not ended even by his yielding to the demands of the orchestra.  A solo singer was to be found and vocal pieces to be selected.  In a note to Röckel Beethoven wrote:  " . . . in the matter of the vocal pieces I think that we ought to have one of the women singers who will be signing with us sing an aria first--then we would make two numbers out of the Mass, but with German text.  Find out who could do this well for us.  It need not be a masterpiece, provided it suits the music well."  And in another note:  "Be clever in regard to Milder--say to her only that to-day you are begging her in my name not to sing anywhere else, to-morrow I will come in person to kiss the hem of her garment--but do no forget Marconi . . . "

    Milder was to sign the aria "Ah, perfido! spergiuro," said Röckel, and accepted the invitation at once.  But an unlucky quarrel provoked by Beethoven resulted in her refusal.  After other attempts, Röckel engaged Fräulein Josephine Killitschgy, Schuppanzigh's sister-in-law.  . . . " (Thayer-Forbes: 447). 

We can also quote Beethoven's letters to Röckel from the Henle-Gesamtausgabe:

"Beethoven an Joseph August Röckel[1]

                                                                                                            [Wien, vor dem 22. Dezember 1808][2]

    Lieber Röckel machen sie ihre Sache nur recht gut bey der Milder[3] -- sagen sie ihr nur, daß sie heute sie schon in meinem Namen voraus bitten, damit sie nirgends anders singen möge, Morgen komme ich aber selbst um den Saum ihres Rocks zu küssen--vergessen sie doch auch nicht auf die Marconi[4] -- und werden sie nicht böse auf mich, der ich sie mit so vielem belästige --

                                                                                                 ganz Ihr Beethowen"

"Beethoven to Joseph August Röckel[1]

                                                                                                            [Vienna, December 22, 1808][2]

    Dear Röckel,  do your job well with Milder[3]--tell her merely that already today, you are asking her in my name that she will not sing elsewhere.  Tomorrow, I will come, myself, to kiss the hem of her garment--also, do not forget about Marconi[4]--and do not get angry with me for burdening you with so much--

                                                                                                 wholly your Beethowen"

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe Vol. 2, Letter No. 347, p. 30-31; Original:  Oakland, California, Mills College; to [1]: refers to Joseph August Röckel [1783 - 1870], Tenor, father of the later Wagner friend August Röckel, who, from the fall of 1805 on, had been employed by the Theater-an-der-Wien and who, in the revision of Fidelio/Leonore in 1806, sang the part of Florestan.  According to the GA, his friendship with Beethoven goes back to this time, about which he also reported to Thayer; to [2]: according to the GA, this refers to the fact that the letter is connected with the preparations to Beethoven's Academy Concert of December 22, 1808; to [3]: refers to Pauline Anna Milder (1785 - 1838), the Viennese soprano who, since 1803, had been employed by the Theater-an-der-Wien; according to the GA, in 1805 and 1806, in the first and second version of Fidelio, she sang the part of Leonore which Beethoven had written for her; according to Röckel's report she was supposed to sing the Aria "Ah, perfido" Op. 65 at the Academy concert of December 22, 1808.  A quarrel between Beethoven and the jeweller Peter Hauptmann, Milder's later husband, led to her refusing to sing; to [4]: refers to double underlining and to the alto singer Marianna Marconi (1785 - 1882), from 1809 on Mrs. Schönberger, who came from Mannheim and was employed at the Viennese court theatres from 1805 to 1810 and who, in the Academy concert of December 22, 1808, sang from the Mass in C major, Op. 86; details taken from p.  30-31].

"Beethoven an Joseph August Röckel[1]

                                                                                                            [Wien, vor dem 22. Dezember 1808][2]

    Hier mein lieber mache ich ihnen ein kleines Geschenk mit dem englischen lexikon[3] -- in Ansehung der singsachen, glaube ich, sollte man eine von den sängerinnen, Welche unß singen wird, erst eine Arie singen laßen[4] -- alsdenn machten wir zwei Stücke aus der Meße[5] jedoch mit deutschem text hören sie sich doch um, wer unß dieses wohl machen könnte, Es braucht eben kein Meisterstük zu seyn, wenn es nur gut auf die Musik paßt --

                                                                                                                 ganz ihr Beetho[w]en"

"Beethoven to Joseph August Röckel[1]

                                                                                                            [Vienna, before December 22, 1808][2]

    Here, my dear, I give you a present, the English dictionary[3--with respect to the vocal material, I believe that we should have one of the female singers who will sing for us, first sing an Aria[4]--then we should have two pieces from the Mass [5], however, with German text; why don't you check into who could do that for us.  It does not have to be a masterpiece, it should only fit well with the music--

                                                                                                                 wholly your Beetho[w]en"

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe:  Vol. 2, Letter No. 348, p. 31; Original:  Stanford (California), University Library; to [1]: refers to the fact that the recipient can be determined from the content of the letter; to [2]: refers to the fact that the letter is connected to the preparations to the Academy concert of December 22, 1808; to [3]: refers to the fact that Thayer, in connection with a conversation with Röckel, noted: "Da Röckel kein englisches Lexikon besaß, schickte ihm Beethoven ein solches; da es aber kein englisch-deutsches war, so machte Röckel einen Tausch mit seinem Lehrer und gab ihm das 'Pronouncing dictionary' gegen ein solches, wie er es bedurfte"['Since Röckel did not own an English dictionary, Beethoven sent him one; however, since it was not an English-German dictionary, Röckel exchanged it with that of his teacher and gave him the "Pronouncing Dicationary" in exchange for a dictionary that he needed"]; to [4]: refers to the fact that at the Academy concert, Josephine Killitschky, Ignaz Schuppanzigh's sister-in-law sang the aria "Ah perfido", Op. 65; to [5]: refers to Op. 86; details taken from p. 31].

As Thayer-Forbes (p. 446) and TDR (Vol. 3, p. 78) report, the Academy was announced by the Wiener Zeitung on December 17, 1808.  

 

THE ACADEMY CONCERT OF DECEMBER 22, 1808




The Interior of the Theater-an-der-Wien

 

The report of January, 1809, in the Leipzig Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung offers us a good point of departure for our look at this concert.  It also offers a more detailed description of the works than the announcement in the Wiener Zeitung:  

"Unter den   m u s i k a l i s c h e n   A k a d e m i e n , die auf den Theatern während der Christwoche gegeben wurden, ist unstreitig die, welche   B e e t h o v e n   den 22sten Dec. im Theater an der Wien gab, die merkwürdigste.  Sie enthielt nur Stücke von seiner Komposition, und zwar ganz neue, die noch nicht öffentlich gehört und gröstentheils auch noch nicht herausgegeben sind.  Die Ordnung, in welcher sie auf einander folgten, war folgende.  (Ich gebe sie absichtlich mit den eigenen Worten des Zettels an.)

Erste Abtheilung.

I.   P a s t o r a l - S y m p h o n i e , (No. 5) mehr Ausdruck der Empfindung als Malerey.

     1tes Stück.  Angenehme Empfindungen, welche bey der Ankunft auf dem Lande im Menschen erwachen.

     2tes Stück.  Scene am Bach.

     3tes Stück.  Lustiges Beysammenseyn der Landleute; fällt ein

     4tes Stück.  Donner und Sturm; in welches einfällt

     5tes Stück   Wohlthätige, mit Dank an die Gottheit verbundene Gefühle nach dem Sturm.

II.  Arie, gesungen von Dm. Killitzky.

III. Hymne mit latein. Texte, im Kirchenstyle geschrieben, mit Chor und Solos.

                                                                                          Zweyte Abhteilung.

I.   Grosse Symphonie in c moll (No. 6)

II.  Heilig, mit latein. Texte, im Kirchenstyle geschrieben, mit Chor und Solos.

III. Fantaisie auf dem Klavier allein.

IV. Fantaisie auf dem Klavier, welche sich nach und nach mit Eintreten des Orchesters, und zuletzt mit Einfallen von

     Chören als Finale endet.

    Alle diese ausgeführten Stücke zu beurtheilen, ist, nach erstem und einmaligem Anhören, besonders da die Rede von Beethovenschen Werken ist, deren hier so viele nach einander gegeben wurden, und die meistens so gross und lang sind -- geradezu unmöglich.  Kuerzer, unbeträchtlicher Anmerkungen, die sich wol machen lassen, enthalte ich mich aber um so mehr, da wir hoffen, dass Sie alles dieses bald selbst hören, und ein gründliches Urtheil den Lesern der musikal. Zeit. darüber mittheilen werden; denn verschiedene dieser Stücke sind schon gestochen, und mehrere andere sollen bald gestochen werden.  Was hingegen die Exekutirung dieser Akademie betrifft, so war sie in jedem Betracht mangelhaft zu nennen.  Dem. Killitzky hat zwar eine sehr angenehme Stimme, liess uns jedoch sehr wenig sichere und öfters sogar falsche Töne hören.  Indessen schien dies mehr Folge von Schüchternheit zu seyn, welche sich mit der Zeit wol verlieren wird.  Am auffalendsten war aber das Versehen, welches in der letzten Fantaisie vorfiel.  Die Blas-Instrumente variirten das Thema, welches Beethoven vorher auf dem Pianoforte vorgetragen hatte.  Jetzt war die Reihe an den Oboen.  Die Klarinetten -- wenn ich nicht irre! -- verzählen sich, und fallen zugleich ein.  Ein kurioses Gemisch von Tönen entsteht; B. springt auf, sucht die Klarinetten zum Schweigen zu bringen:  allein das gelingt ihm nicht eher, bis er ganz laut und ziemlich unmuthig, dem ganzen Orchester zuruft:  Still still, das geht nicht!  Noch einmal -- noch einmal! und das gepriesene Orchester muss sich bequuemen, die verunglückte Fantaisie noch einmal von vorn anzufangen -- !  Der Wirkung aller dieser Stücke auf das gemischte Auditorium, und besonders der Stücke des zweyten Theils, schadete offenbar die Menge und die Länge der Musik.  Ueberhaupt ist es bekannt, dass von Wien noch mehr, als von den meisten andern Städten, jener Ausspruch des Evangeliums, vom Propheten in seinem Vaterlande, gilt."  [AMZ 1809: columns 267 - 269;-- 

-- "Among the   m u s i c a l   A c a d e m i e s that were given at the theaters during Christmas week, undoubtedly that which  B e e t h o v e n  held at the Theater-an-der-Wien on December 22 was the most peculiar one.  It only consisted of pieces of his composition, namely entirely new ones that had not been heard in public, yet and that, for the most part, have not been published, yet.  The order in which they followed one another was the following.  [I intentionally list them with the words of the programme.]    

First Section.

I.   P a s t o r a l   S y m p h o n y , (No. 5) more expression of feeling than [tone] painting.

     1st  piece.  Pleasant feelings that awaken in man upon the arrival in the country-side.  

     2nd piece.  Scene by the brook.

     3rd piece.  Merry gathering of the peasants; then, there sets in the

     4th piece.  Thunder and storm; after which sets in the

     5th piece.  Feelings of gratitude with thanks to the Godhead after the storm. 

II.  Aria, sung by Dm. Killitzky.

III. Hymn with Latin text, written in the church style, with chorus and solo parts.  

                                                                                          Second Section.

I.   Grand Symphony in c-Minor (No. 6)

II.  Sanctus, with Latin text, written in the church style, with chorus and solo parts.  

III. Fantasy on the pianoforte alone.

IV. Fantasy on the piano, which, gradually, after the entry of the orchestra and choir, ends with a chorus as finale.

    To judge all these executed pieces is, after the first and only hearing, particularly since these are works by Beethoven, of which so many have been performed in one session and most of which are great and long--nearly impossible. However, all the more, I will refrain from brief, inconsequential remarks that could well be made, since we hope that you soon will be able to hear them yourself and will convey to the readers of the Musical. Zeit. your opinion of them, and since many of them will soon be published.  However, as far as the execution of this academy concert is concerned, it could be considered lacking in all respects.  While Dem. Killitzky has a very pleasant voice, she did not let us hear many secure notes, and often even false ones.  However, this seemed to be more a result of her shyness that, with time, she will lose.  Most noticeable, however, was the error that occurred in the last Fantasy.     The wind instruments varied the theme, which before, Beethoven had played on the piano.  Now it was the oboes' turn.  The clarinets--if I am not mistaken!--miscounted and set in at the same time.  A peculiar mix of tones emerged; B. jumped up and tried to silence the clarinets, however, he did not succeed until he called out quite loudly and rather angrily to the orchestra:  Silence!  This will not do!  Once more--once more! and the praised orchestra had to accommodate him and play the unfortunate Fantasy again, from the beginning--!   The effect of all of these pieces on the mixed audience, and particularly of the pieces of the second section, obviously suffered from the amount and the length of the music.  Moreover, it is known that, with respect to Vienna, it holds even more true than with respect to most other cities, what is written in the scriptures, namely that the prophet does not count for anything in his own country"]. 

Following this report, we may assume that the performance of the Pastoral Symphony went over without too much of a hitch.  About Beethoven's own "contribution" to the loss of the cooperation of the singer Anna Milder, we have already been informed in our "preliminary history" to this concert and are also familiar with the fact that Schuppanzigh's sister-in-law, Miss Killitschy, tried to replace her.  With respect to the shyness that the AMZ reviewer mentioned, Thayer-Forbes (p. 447) writes that this young, inexperienced singer, prior to the concert, had been made so nervous by her friends and acquaintances, that she, when Beethoven accompanied her up to the stage and left her to her own devices, and when she was overtaken by stage fright, sang the aria as badly as the AMZ reviewer reported.   

Little [other than through Reichardt's report which will follow below] is known about how well or badly the first 'hymn' from the Mass in C major, Op. 86, the Fifth Symphony, and the second 'hymn' from Op. 86 were performed, and whether the audience was impressed by Beethoven's extemporizing on the piano. 

With respect to the work whose performance would then provide so much material for anecdotes, we should first take a look at the following part of Thayer-Forbes' report:  

"Such a programme, exclusive of the Choral Fantasia, was certainly an ample provision for an evening's entertainment of the most insatiably musical enthusiast; nor could a grander termination of the concert be desired than the Finale of the C minor Symphony; but to defer that work until the close was to incur the risk of endangering its effect by presenting it to an audience too weary for the close attention needful on first hearing to its fair comprehension and appreciation.  This Beethoven felt, and so, says Czerny, "there came to him shortly before the idea of writing a brilliant piece for this concert.  He chose a song which he had composed many years before,[31:  "Gegenliebe" from the double-song "Seufzer eines Ungeliebten" and "Gegenliebe," WoO118, written in 1794-95] planned the variations, the chorus, etc., and the poet Kuffner was called upon to write the words in a hurry according to Beethoven's hints.  Thus originated the Choral Fantasia, Op. 80.  It was finished so late that it could scarcely be sufficiently rehearsed.  Beethoven related this in my presence in order to explain why, at the concert, he had had it repeated.  "Some of the instruments had counted wrong in the rests,' he said; 'if I had let them play a few measures more the most horrible dissonances would have resulted.  I had to make an interruption'" [Thayer-Forbes: 448]. 

With respect to this incident, Thayer-Forbes looks at various reports.  Seyfried is quoted as follows: 

"Seyfried (Appendix to Beethovens Studien, p. 15):  "When the master brought out his orchestral Fantasia with choruses, he arranged with me at the somewhat hurried rehearsal, with wet voice-parts as usual, that the second variation should be played without the repeat.  In the evening, however, absorbed in his creation, he forgot all about the instructions which he had given, repeated the first part while the orchestra accompanied  the second, which sounded not altogether edifying.  A trifle too late, the Concertmaster, Unrath, noticed the mistake, looked in surprise at his lost companions, stopped playing and called out drily:  'Again!'  A little displeased, the violinist Anton Wranitsky asked 'With repeats?' 'Yes,' came the answer, and now the thing went straight as a string" . . .  Seyfried says further:  "At first he could not understand that he had in a manner humiliated the musicians.  He thought it was a duty to correct an error that had been made and that the audience was entitled to hear everything properly played, for its money.  But he readily and heartily begged the pardon of the orchestra for the humiliation to which he had subjected it, and was honest enough to spread the story himself and assume all responsibility for his own absence of mind." [Thayer-Forbes: 448-449].

According to Thayer-Forbes, Moscheles reported:

"Moscheles:  I remember having been present at the performance in question, seated in a corner of the gallery, in the Theater-an-der-Wien.  During the last movement of the Fantasia I perceived that, like a run-away carriage going down-hill, an overturn was inevitable.  Almost immediately after it was, that I saw Beethoven give the signal for stopping.  His voice was not heard; but he had probably given directions where to begin again, and after a moment's respectful silence on the part of the audience, the orchestra recommenced and the performance proceeded without further mistakes or stoppage.  To those who are acquainted with the work, it may be interesting to know the precise point at which the mistake occurred.  It was in the passage where for several pages every three bars make up a triple rhythm" [Thayer-Forbes:  449). 

Thayer-Forbes (p. 448) also mentions Johann Friedrich Reichardt's report.  With respect to this musician, music critic, writer and Beethoven contemporary, we can provide you with the following information that we present on a separate page:  

About Johann Friedrich Reichardt

Instead of the shorter, English quote from Reichardt's report that is featured in Thayer-Forbes, let us take a look at the German report in TDR and at our translation into English of it:  


"Reichardt beginnt einen vom 25. Dezember 1808 datierten Brief mit einem Bericht über die »Akademie«, welchen wir hier mitteilen.  »Die verflossene Woche«, schreibt er, »in welcher die Theater verschlossen und die Abende mit öffentlichen Musikaufführungen und Concerten besetzt waren, kam ich mit meinem Eifer und Vorsatz, Alles hier zu hören, in nicht geringe Verlegenheit. Besonders war dies der Fall am 22sten, da die hiesigen Musiker für ihre treffliche Wittwenanstalt im Burgtheater die erste diesjährige große Musikaufführung gaben; am selbigen Tage aber auch Beethoven im großen vorstädtischen Theater ein Concert zu seinem Benefiz gab, in welchem lauter Compositionen von seiner eigenen Arbeit aufgeführt wurden. Ich konnte dieses unmöglich versäumen und nahm also den Mittag des Fürsten von Lobkowitz gütiges Anerbieten, mich mit hinaus in seine Loge zu nehmen, mit herzlichem Dank an. Da haben wir denn auch in der bittersten Kälte von halb sieben bis halb elf ausgehalten, und die Erfahrung bewährt gefunden, daß man auch des Guten - und mehr noch des Starken - leicht zu viel haben kann. Ich mochte aber dennoch so wenig als der überaus gutmüthige, delicate Fürst, dessen Loge im ersten Range ganz nahe am Theater war, auf welchem das Orchester und Beethoven dirigirend mitten darunter, ganz nahe bei uns stand, die Loge vor dem gänzlichen Ende des Concertes verlassen, obgleich manche verfehlte Ausführung unsre Ungeduld in hohem Grade reizte. Der arme Beethoven, der an diesem seinem Concert den ersten und einzigen baaren Gewinn hatte, den er im ganzen Jahre finden und erhalten konnte, hatte bei der Veranstaltung und Ausführung manchen großen Widerstand und nur schwache Unterstützung gefunden. Sänger und Orchester waren aus sehr heterogenen Theilen zusammengesetzt, und es war nicht einmal von allen auszuführenden Stücken, die alle voll der größten Schwierigkeiten waren, eine ganz vollständige Probe zu veranstalten, möglich geworden. Du wirst erstaunen, was dennoch alles von diesem fruchtbaren Genie und unermüdeten Arbeiter während der vier Stunden ausgeführt wurde.  Zuerst eine Pastoralsymphonie, oder Erinnerungen an das Landleben. Erstes Stück: Angenehme Empfindungen, welche bei der Ankunft auf dem Lande im Menschen erwachen. Zweites Stück: Scene am Bach;
  drauf fällt ein viertes Stück: Donner und Sturm. Fünftes Stück: Wohlthätige mit Dank an die Gottheit verbundene Gefühle nach dem Sturm. Jede Nummer war ein sehr langer vollkommen ausgeführter Satz voll lebhafter Malereien und glänzender Gedanken und Figuren; und diese eine Pastoralsymphonie dauerte daher schon länger, als ein ganzes Hofconcert bei uns dauern darf.« Welche Aufnahme die Symphonie bei den Zuhörern gefunden habe, wird nirgends berichtet; der Korrespondent der Allgemeinen Musikalischen Zeitung weicht sogar einer Kritik aus. Doch wurde die gewöhnliche Ehre, am Schlusse derselben hervorgerufen zu werden, dem Komponisten zuteil, wie aus einer von Ferd. Hiller erzählten Anekdote hervorgeht. »Einer der bekanntesten russischen Musikfreunde, Graf Wilhourski, erzählte mir«, sagt er, »wie einsam er in den Sperrsitzen bei der ersten Aufführung der Pastoralsymphonie dagesessen und wie Beethoven ihm, als er gerufen worden, einen so zu sagen persönlichen, halb freundlichen, halb ironischen Bückling gemacht.«  Reichardt fährt fort: »Dann folgte als sechstes Stück eine lange italienische Scene, von Demoiselle Killizky, der schönen Böhmin mit der schönen Stimme, gesungen. Daß das schöne Kind heute mehr zitterte als sang, war ihr bei der grimmigen Kälte nicht zu verdenken: denn wir zitterten in den dichten Logen in unsere Pelze und Mäntel gehüllt.«  Siebentes Stück: Ein Gloria in Chören und Solos, dessen Ausführung aber leider ganz verfehlt wurde. Achtes Stück: Ein neues Fortepiano-Concert von ungeheurer Schwierigkeit, welches Beethoven zum Erstaunen brav, in den allerschnellsten Tempis ausführte. Das Adagio, ein Meistersatz von schönem durchgeführtem Gesange, sang er wahrhaft auf seinem Instrumente mit tiefem melancholischen Gefühl, das auch mich dabei durchströmte. Neuntes Stück: Eine große sehr ausgeführte, zu lange Symphonie. Ein Kavalier neben uns versicherte, er habe bei der Probe gesehen, daß die Violoncellpartie allein, die sehr beschäftigt war, vier und dreißig Bogen betrüge. Die Notenschreiber verstehen sich hier freilich auf's Ausdehnen nicht weniger, als bei uns die Gericht- und Advocatenschreiber. Zehntes Stück: Ein Heilig, wieder mit Chor- und Solopartien; leider wie das Gloria in der Ausführung gänzlich verfehlt. Elftes Stück: Eine lange Phantasie, in welcher Beethoven seine ganze Meisterschaft zeigte, und endlich zum Beschluß noch eine Phantasie, zu der bald das Orchester und zuletzt sogar der Chor eintrat. Diese sonderbare Idee verunglückte in der Ausführung durch eine so complette Verwirrung im Orchester, daß Beethoven in sei-nem heiligen Kunsteifer an kein Publicum und Locale mehr dachte, sondern drein rief, aufzuhören und von vorne wieder anzufangen. Du kannst Dir denken, wie ich mit allen seinen Freunden dabei litt. In dem Augenblick wünschte ich doch, daß ich möchte den Muth gehabt haben, früher hinaus zu gehen.«  [TDR, Band 3, S. 82-84; -- 

-- "As TDR reports, Reichardt began his letter that is dated December 25, 1808, with a report about the >>Academy<< which is then related:   »Last week, in which the theaters were closed and in which the evenings were filled with public music performances and concerts, in my eagerness  and intention to hear everything here, I was quite overwhelmed.  This was particularly the case on the 22nd, since the local musicians gave their grand concert for the benefit of the excellent widows' foundation, at the Burgtheater; however, on the same day, Beethoven also gave a concert for his own benefit at the large theatre in the suburbs, in which only his own compositions were performed. I could not possibly miss this and thus, at noon, with sincere thanks, accepted the generous offer by Prince Lobkowitz to take me out there with him to sit in his box.  There, we braved it out in the bitterest cold, from six thirty until ten thirty, and found the experience confirmed that one can easily also have too much of the good--even more of the strong.  However, in spite of this, neither I nor the kind, delicate Prince, whose box was in the first row, near the stage on which the orchestra performed and Beethoven conducted, quite close to us, could leave the box before the entire end of the concert, although many a faulty execution tried our patience to the utmost.   Poor Beethoven who, from this concert, would gain his first and only cash profit of this entire year, in this performance and execution, has found considerable resistance and only weak support.  The singers and the orchestra were comprised of heterogeneous parts, and a complete rehearsal of all pieces which were full of the greatest difficulties, was not possible.  You will be amazed what, in spite of this, has been performed of this fruitful genius and untiring worker, during these four hours.  First, a Pastoral Symphony, or Recollections of country life.  First piece: Joyful feelings that awaken in man upon his arrival in the country-side.  Second piece:  Scene by the brook, followed by a fourth piece: thunder and storm; fifth piece: grateful feelings and thanks to the Godhead after the storm.  Each piece was  very long, completely executed movement full of lively depictions and splendid ideas and figures; and therefore, this one Pastoral Symphony took longer than an entire court concert can last at our court."  TDR inserts that nowhere is there mention of how the Pastoral Symphony was received and diverts in reporting that the correspondent of the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung shied away from reviewing the works. . . . Eventually, TDR returns to quoting Reichardt:   »Then, there followed the sixth piece, a long Italian scene, sung by Demoiselle Killizky, the beautiful Bohemian with the beautiful voice. That the beautiful child trembled more than she sang, she can not be blamed for, considering the cold, since we trembled in the tight boxes, wrapped in our furs and coats.  Seventh piece:  a Gloria with Chorus and solo voices, the execution of which, however, was entirely wrong.  Eighth piece: a new fortepiano concerto of immense difficulty which Beethoven executed astonishingly well, in the fastest tempi.  The Adagio, a masterfully through-composed 'song' movement, he really 'sang' on his instrument with profound melancholy, which also touched me.  Ninth piece:  a grand, very elaborate, too long symphony.  A gentleman next to us reassured us that, at the rehearsal, he had seen that the violoncello part alone covered thirty to forty sheets.  Of course, here, the note writers do not any less understand how to 'extend' pieces than in our parts do the court scribes and law clerks.  Tenth piece:  A Sanctus, again with chorus and solo voice; unfortunately, as was the case with the Gloria, entirely gone wrong in its execution.  Eleventh piece:  a long fantasy, which Beethoven showed is entire mastery, and finally, still a fantasy to which the orchestra was added, soon, and in the end even the choir.  This peculiar idea went wrong in the execution on account of such a complete confusion in the orchestra that Beethoven, in his holy striving for art did not think of the public and of the place, anymore, but called out to stop and to start from the beginning.   You can imagine how I suffered with all his friends.  In that moment I wished that I had had the courage to leave earlier.«]

As Thayer-Forbes (p. 449) writes, the financial result of the concert is not known.  However, there has been preserved a written direction by Prince Esterhazy to his paymaster which is dated January 18, 1808, which is reported to have included the sum of 100 florins to be paid to Beethoven for his "academy".  With respect to this, TF relies on the publication of November 13, 1868, in the "Grenzbote", according to TDR Vol. 3, p. 84, n.1. 

Barry Cooper (p. 180) still adds that "in terms of its content, this was the most remarkable concert of his [Beethoven's] entire career".

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Bibliography:

Cooper, Barry: Beethoven.  (Master Musician Series, edited by Stanley Sadie). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Ludwig van Beethoven.  Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe. [6 Volumes]  Edited at the request of the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn by  Sieghard Brandenburg.  Munich: 1996, G. Henle Verlag.

Thayer's Life of Beethoven, edited by Elliott Forbes. Princeton, New Jersey Princeton University Press, 1964.

A. W. Thayer: Ludwig van Beethovens Leben. Pursuant to the original manuscript, rendered in German by Hermann Deiters. 5 Volumes.  Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1907 (Vol. 4), 1908 (Vol. 5), 1910 (Vol. 2), 1911 (Vol. 3), 1917 (3rd ed., Vol. 1).