Count Ferdinand Ernst
Gabriel von Waldstein





During the crisis of his hearing loss Beethoven, with respect to friendship--amongst other comments--had this to say in his summer 1801 letters to his friend Carl Friedrich Amenda in Wirben:

"Tausendmal kömmt mir der beste der Menschen, den ich kennen lernte, im Sinn, ja gewiß unter den zwei Menschen, die meine ganze Liebe besaßen, und wovon der eine noch lebt(2) bist Du der Dritte-- . . . " --"A thousand times the best of men who I came to know, comes to my mind, yes, certainly, among the two men who possessed my entire love, and of whom one is still alive"  (Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 1, Letter No. 66 dated prior to July 1, 1801, p. 84; to 2: pursuant to the GA, this might refer to Wegeler and Lorenz von Breuning);

" . . . du bist kein Wiener Freund, nein du bist einer von denen wie sie mein vaterländischer Boden hervorzubringen pflegt' ;--"you are not a Viennese friend, no you are one of those whom the soil of my fatherland brings forth..."  (Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 1, Letter No. 67, p. 84-86);

". . . --jezt ist zu meinem Trost wieder ein Mensch hergekommen mit dem ich das Vergnügen des Umgangs und der uneigennüzigen Freundschaft theilen kann, er ist einer meiner Jugend Freunde,(6) . . . auch ihm kann der Z.[meskall] nicht gefallen, er ist und bleibt zu schwach zur Freundschaft, ich betrachte ihn und S.[chuppanzigh] als bloße Instrumente, worauf ich, wenn's mir gefällt, spiele, aber nie können sie die Werkzeuge meiner innern und äußern Thätigkeit, eben so wenig als wahre Theilnehmer von mir werden, ich taxire sie nur nach dem, was sie mir leisten . . . ";--" Now, to my comfort, a man has arrived here with whom I can share the pleasure of his company and of unselfish friendship, he is one of the friends of my youth,[6] I have told him about you, often and told him that, since I have left my fatherland, you are one of those whom my heart has chosen, he can also not like Z.[meskall], he is and remains too weak for friendship, I see him and S.[chuppanzigh] as mere instruments on whom I play as I please, but they can never become noble instruments of my inner and outer activities, and just as little can they become true participants of mine, I tax them by that what they can do for me"  (Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 1, Letter No. 67 of July 1, 1801, p. 84-87; to (6): pursuant to the GA, this refers to Stephan von Breuning).

As a German-speaking European living abroad in Canada, I can observe in Beethoven's above more negative references a general tendency of human nature to not include those of our new environment into our circle of closer friends who do not immediately conform to our idealistic expectations of them.    From the above comments by Beethoven it also becomes clear that most of the friends we already discussed in this section, namely Carl Friedrich Amenda and Franz Gerhard Wegeler, belong to his idealized closest friends, while Baron von Pasqualati might be lucky to be counted amongst Beethovens "better" Viennese friends.     A completely different role might have been reserved for the friend whom Wegeleer described in his Notizen as follows:

"The first, and in every respect the most important, of the Maecenases of Beethoven, was Count Waldstein. Knight of the Teutonic Order, and (what is of greater moment here) the favorite and constant companion of the young Elector, afterwards Commander of the Order at Virnberg and Chancellor of the Emperor of Austria.   He was not only a Connoisseur but also a practitioner of music. He it was who gave all manner of support to Beethoven, whose gifts he was to recognize worthily.   Through him the young genius developed the talent to improvise variations on a given theme. From him he received much pecuniary assistance bestowed in such a way as to spare his sensibilities, it being generally looked upon as a small gratuity from the Elector.   Beethoven's appointment as organist, his being sent to Vienna by the Elector, were the doings of the Count.   When Beethoven at a later date dedicated the great and important Sonata in C major, Op. 53 to him, it was only a proof of the gratitude which lived on in the mature man.   It is to Count Waldstein that Beehoven owed the cincrumstance that the first sproutings of his genius were not nipped; therefore we owe this Maecenas Beethoven's later fame." TF: 91).

Here it might be too soon to discuss the extent to which Wegeler's description might be entirely accurate.  Rather, this quote might encourage us to use our own thought process in order to arrive at relevant questions with respect to Beethoven's friendship with Count Waldstein:  

1.   Who was Count Waldstein?
2.   When did he arrive in Bonn?
3.   What were his responsibilities in Bonn and of what nature his relationship with the Elector Maximilian Franz?
4.   When and where did Waldstein meet Beethoven?
5.   How did he support Beethoven during his Bonn period?
6.   What future role did he foresee for Beethoven?
7.   How did Waldstein's Viennese connections help Beethoven after his arrival there?
8.   When did Waldstein and Beethoven meet again in Vienna?
9.   What happened to Waldstein during the 1790's and in during the first decade of the 19th century?
10. What might be behind Beethoven's dedication of Op. 53 to Waldstein?
11. What happened to Waldstein from abount 1809-1816, and what end did he meet?
12. What reason(s) do Beethoven authors see in the growing-apart of Beethoven and Waldstein?
13. What can Beethoven friends take with them out of this friendship, into their further enjoyment of Beethoven's music?

Let us try to answer these questions, beginning with:



Thayer-Forbes provides us with this introductory comment:

"Emanuel Philipp Count Waldstein and Wartenberg von Dux, and his wife, a daughter of Emanuel Prince Liechtenstein, were parents of eleven children.  The fourth son was Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel, born March 24, 1762.  Uniting in his veins the blood of many of the houses of the Austrian Empire, there was no career, no line of preferment open to younger sons of titled families, which was not open to him, or which he might not aspire.   It was determined that he should seek activity in the Teutonic Order, of which Max Franz was Grand Master;" TF: 90-91).

Details with respect to Waldstein's family and his relatives can be found in the following reports:

"Emanuel Philipp Count Waldstein and Wartemberg von Dux, and his wife, a daughter of Emanuel Prince Lichtenstein, ware parents of eleven children.  The fourth son was Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel, born March 24, 1762.  Uniting in his veins the blood of many of the houses of the Austrian Empire, there was no career, no line of preferment open to younger sons of titled families, which was not open to him, or to which he might not aspire.  It was determined that he should seek activity in the Teutonic Order, of which Max Franz was Grand Master" (TF: 90-91).

" . . . and he was protected by Count Waldstein, whose family connections were such that he could introduce his favorite into the highest circles, the Imperial house only excepted.   Waldstein's mother was a Liechtenstein; his grandmother a Trautmannsdorff; three of his sisters had married respectively into the families Dietrichstein, Crugenburg and Wallis; and by the marriages of uncles and aunts he was connected with the houses Oettingen-Spielberg, Khevenmüller Melisch, Kinsky, Palffy von Erdöd and Ulfeld--not to mention others less known. If the circle can be extended by a degree or two it embraces the names Kaunitz, Lobkowitz, Hohary, Fünfkirchen, Keglevics and Colloredo Mansfeld" TF: 160).

"Die Bedeutung des alten Adels für Wien ist nicht zu überschätzen. . . . Es entsand ein Knäuel familiärer Verbindungen, der bei den Gönnern Beethovens folgendermaßen aussah: Fürst Franz Joseph v. Lobkowitz, verheiratet mit Fürstin Maria Karoline zu Schwarzenberg war mütterlicherseits mit den Ulfelds verwandt. Eine Cousine, Gräfin Wilhelmine von Ulfeld, war mit Graf Franz Joseph von Thun verheitratet und hatte mehrere Töcher, von denen eine, Gräfin Maria Christiane von Thun, den Fürsten Karl von Lichnowsky heiratete, und eine andere, Gräfin Maria Elisabeth von Thun, den Grafen Andreas Razumowsky.   Lobkowitz' andere Cusine, Gräfin Elisabeth von Ulfeld, heiratete den Grafen Georg Christian Waldstein.   Dessen Bruder Emanuel von Waldstein, Gatte der Fürstin Anna Maria von Liechtensein, war der Vater des schon erwähnten Grafen Ferdinand Ernst von Waldstein.    Maria Anna von Liechtensteins Bruder, Fürst Joseph von Liechtenstein, hatte eine Tochter, Fürstin Maria Josepha, die mit dem Fürsten Nikolaus Esterhazy verheiratet war, und eine Enkelin, Fürstin Maria von Liechtenstein, die Ferdinand von Lobkowitz heiratete, den Sohn des Fürsten Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz, womit sich der Kreis schließt" (Caeyers: 123-124--

--Caeyers writes here that the importance to Vienna of the old nobility could not be over-estimated and that there existed a web of connections that, with respect to Beethoven's supporters, was as follows:  Prince Franz Joseph v. Lobkowitz, married to Princess Maria Karoline zu Schwarzenberg, on his mother's side, was related to the Ulfelds.  A cousin, Countes Wilhelmine von Ulfeld, was married to Count Franz Joseph von Thun and had several daughters, of which one, Countess Maria Christiane von Thun, married Prince Karl von Lichnowsky, and another, Countess Maria Elisabeth von Thun, married Count Andreas Razumowsky.  Lobkowitz's other cousin, Countess Elizabeth von Ulfeld, married Count Georg Christian Waldstein.  That Count's brother, Emanuel von Waldstein, husband of Princess Anna Maria von Liechtenstein, was the father of the already mentioned Count Ferdinand Ernst von Waldstein, as Cayers reports.    He further mentions that Anna Maria von Liechtenstein's brother, Prince Joseph von Liechtenstein, had a daughter, Princess Maria Josepha, who was married to Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy, and a grand-daughter, Princess Maria von Liechtenstein, who married Ferdinand von Lobkowitz, the son of Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz, which completes the circle).

Caeyers is the only writer who also provides us with a lively description of Waldstein's abilities:

"Zwei Persönlichkeiten haben entscheidend dazu beigetragen, dass Beethoven im Dezember 1792 zum zweiten Mal nach Wien reisen konnte: Joseph Haydn, seit Mozarts Tod der bedeutendste Komponist weit über Wien hinaus, und der extravagante Graf Ferdinand von Waldstein, dessen wichtigstes Verdienst es war, der extravagante Graf Ferdinand von Waldstein zu sein" (Caeyers: 108--

--Caeyers writes here that two people have contributed to Beethoven's being able to travel to Vienna in the fall of 1792, the second time:  Joseph Haydn, since Mozart's death the most important composer far beyond Vienna, and the extravagant Count Ferdinand von Waldstein, whose most important achievement it was to be the extravagant Count Ferdinand von Waldstein).

"Der Mann, der diese Unternehmung erst ermöglichte, war Graf Ferdinand Ernst Gabriel von Waldstein und W
artenberg zu Dux, zweifellos eine der farbigsten Figuren des Wiener Adelsmilieus. . .  Als böhmischer Aristokrat mit makellosem Stammbaum - seine Mutter war eine geborene Liechtensein, seine Großmutter eine Trautmannsdorff - war er für eine Laufbahn im Deutschen Orden vorgesehen. . . . Er konnte Feste gestalten wie kein anderer, schrieb selbst komödiantische Szenen und Vaudevilles - traditionelle französische Gassenhauer - und amüsierte das Publikum mit unnachahmlichen Parodien in verschiedenen fransösischen Dialekten oder Sprachen - sein Okzitanisch soll perfekt gewesen sein.   Außerdem inszenierte er musikalisch-szenische Spektakel, die man als echte Gesamtkunstwerke bezeichenen könnte und für die er alles selbst schrieb und entwarf: Texte, Musik - er spielte ausgezeichnet Klavier und konnte ein wenig komponieren -, Choreographie, Kostüme und Bühnenbild. . . . " (Caeyers: 110--

--Caeyers further refers to Count Waldstein as one of the most colourful figures of the Viennese nobility and that, as a Bohemian aristocrat with an impeccable family tree--his mother was a nee von Liechtenstein, his grandmother a Trautmannsdorff--he was destined to join the Teutonic Order and that he was able to organize festivities like no-one else, that he wrote comedic scenes and vaudevilles, himself (referring to traditional French vaudevilles) and that he was able to entertain audiences with inimitable parodies in various French dialects or languages--for example, his Oczitanean was supposed to be perfect.  Moreover, as Caeyers adds, Waldstein directed musical and scenic spectacles that one could describe as "Gesamtkunstwerk"  (overall art works) and for which he wrote everything, himself:  texts, music--he played the piano very well and could also compose a bit).

After we have found out some details about Count Waldstein and his talents, we can concentrate on our next question:




Thayer-Forbes reports:

"From the research of Josef Heer (9:  Der Graf von Waldstein und sein Verhältnis zu Beethoven (Leipzig, 1933), in Veröffentlichungen des Beethovenhauses in Bonn IX, 9-15) it is possible to fill in some details concerning Count Waldstein's relation to the Electoral Court at Bonn.   Although by 1782 Max Franz at least knew Waldstein by name, it was not until six years later that the Count came to stay in Bonn.   In the spring of 1784 he was in Venice and Malta hoping in vain to be sent to the Tunisian Campaign.   A letter from his mother proves that he was again in Malta in the spring of 1785.   After another year of travels he returned to Austria in the spring of 1786, at which time there was still a year before he was to enter the order.   At Easter time in 1787 he was to begin his novitiate but asked for a two months' delay in order to handle the management of some family property.   The Count did not begin his year's novitiate in Bonn but in Ellingen, on June 8, 1787, where he was to serve uninterruptedly under the commander of that region for a period of six months.   Thereupon Max Franz called him to Bonn, where he arrived between January 29 and February 7, 1788, to serve out the remaining months.   From the tone of Waldstein's letter to Ellingen on February 5, 1788, after he had arrived, Heer suggest that this was his first visit to Bonn (10: Ibid, p. 11)" TF: 91).

Jan Swafford's massive Beethoven biography reports with respect to Beethoven's arrival in Bonn:

"In early 1788, a new figure arrived at the Bonn Court: a young nobleman, handsome and charming, very greatly promising. Count Ferdinand Ernst Joseph Gabriel Waldstein was of an old and influential Bohemian lineage. The year before, he had joined the Order of Teutonic knights, and he came to Bonn at the summons of Max Franz, who, like his predecessors, was Grand Master of the order. . . . " (Swafford: 95).

Accordingly, Elector Max Franz ordered Count Waldstein to Vienna where he arrived at the end of January or the beginning of February, 1788.    We can now move on to our next question:




With respect to this, Thayer-Forbes first reports that Count Waldstein was inducted into the Teutonic Order:

"A Bonn correspondent for the Wiener Zeitung of July 2, 1788, reporting on the final ceremony says that the presence of high rulers at the time made the small capital very lively. The Governor of the Austrian Lowlands, Prince Anton of Saxony (the brother-in-law of the Elector), the Elector of Treves, his sister Princess Kunigunde (great-aunt of King John of Saxony), the Elector of Mainz and Baron Dalberg, the Saxon Ambassador, were assembled there, and "on the day before yesterday [that is, June 17th] our gracious sovereign, as Hoch- und Deutschmeister, gave the accolade with the customary ceremonies to the Count von Waldstein, who had been accepted in the Teutonic Order" (TF: 91).

Thayer-Forbes also features Frau Karth's childhood memories of this event:

"Frau Karth remembered distinctly the 17th of June upon which Waldstein entered the order, the fact being impressed upon her mind by a not very gentle reminder from the stock of a sentinel's musket that the palace chapel was no place for children on such an occasion" (TF:1).

Thayer-Forbes's following report concentrates on Count Waldstein's Bonn activities:

"We have seen that the relations between Waldstein and the Elector became close; both were great admirers of Mozart, and the Elector must have welcomed someone whith whom he could talk about the Austrian Court.    While his influence was felt on artistic matters, the Count never held a high court appointment.   Occasionally acting as an Ambassador, he seemed to excel in arranging ceremonies of state such as at the Imperial Enthronement of Frankfurt in October, 1790, when he supervised the participation of the Elector and his retinue" (TF: 94).

Impatient readers might now justifiably ask the following question:




With respect to this, Thayer-Forbes reports:

"It was in the cultivated circle of the von Breuning family that the friendship between Beethoven and the Count was allowed to develop.   By this time Ludwig was seventeen, and the role of this family in his life was constantly increasing in value to him both morally and intellectually.--It must not be forgotten that besides Madame von Breuning and her children the wholistic Abraham von Kerich and the canon Lorenz von Breuning were members of the household.  The latter especially seems to have been a fine specimen of the enlightened clergy of Bonn who, according to Riesbeck, formed as striking a contrast to the priests and monks of Cologne; and it is easy to trace Beethoven's life-long love for the ancient classics--Homer and Plutarch at the head--to the time when the young Breunings would be occupied with them in the original under the guidance of their accomplished tutor and guardian.   The uncle, Phillipp von Breuning, may also have been influenctial in the intellectual progress of the young musician, for to him at Kerpen "the family von Breuning and their friends were annually for a vacation of five to six weeks.   There, too, Beethoven several times spent a few weeks right merrily, and was frequently urged to play the organ as Wegeler tells us in the Notizen" (TF S. 92).

Barry Cooper also comments on this:

"Thus, Beethoven's musical occupations evidently continued more or less unabated after the death of his mother, although details are scanty. They received a great boost in late January 1788 with the arrival in Bonn of Count Ferdinand Waldsein (1762-1823).   Waldstein, a cultured man who was admitted to the Bonn Lesegesellschaft almost immediately and soon became one of its leading members, had the rare advantage of being extremely rich and extremely musical, and is even said to have advised Beethoven on how to improvise variations on a theme.16 (WR, 19-20) He rapidly recognized Beethoven's ability and discreetly supplemented his meagre income from time to time.   The Beethovens' resources had been considerably depleted by the composer's visit to Vienna and his mother's lengthy illness, and Waldstein's support was doubtless much needed.   In fact Waldstein seems to have become Beethoven's leading patron during his last few years in Bonn" (Cooper: 27).


Our next question is, of course:




Let us first consult Thayer-Forbes . . .

"Against these facts we can weigh Wegeler's summary of Count Waldstein (Notizen, p. 13)' TF: 91:

"The first, and in every respect the most important, of the Maecenases of Beethoven, was Count Waldstein.   Knight of the Teutonic Order, and (what is of greater moment here) the favorite and constant companion of the young Elector, afterwards Commander of the Order at Virnberg and Chancellor of the Emperor of Austria.   He was not only a Connoisseur but also a practitioner of music. He it was who gave all manner of support to Beethoven, whose gifts he was to recognize worthily.   Through him the young genius developed the talent to improvise variations on a given theme. From him he received much pecuniary assistance bestowed in such a way as to spare his sensibilities, it being generally looked upon a small gratuity from the Elector.   Beethoven's appointment as organist, his being sent to Vienna by the Elector, were the doings of the Count.    When Beethoven at a later date dedicated the great and important Sonata in C major, Op. 53 to him, it was only a proof of the gratitude which lived on in the mature man.   It is to Count Waldstein that Beehoven owed the cincrumstance that the first sproutings of his genius were not nipped; therefore we owe this Maecenas Beethoven's later fame." (TF: 91- 92).

Thayer then modifies Wegeler's comments as follows:

"Wegeler's testimony concerning the warm relationship between the Count and the Elector is borne out of their correspondence.   On the other hand Wegeler is not reliable concerning the extent that the Count helped the young composer.    When Beethoven received his appointment as second organist in 1784, the Count was in Malta, and during the first trip to Vienna (1787), the Count was presumably attending the the affairs of family property.   One looks rather to Neefe and the Elector for support of the young artist's travels.   But as Heer points out, with a memory as accurate as Wegeler's, one seeks an explanation for the contradiction.   Thus, it is conceivable that Beethoven met before the latter's arrival in Bonn.   In Augsburg, for instance, there lived at the time Johann Friedrich von Waldstein, canon and brother to the Count.   Connected also to the Cathedral chapter at this time was Caspar Anton von Mastiaux, a good pianoforte player and friend of Beethoven's.   Heer points out that Mozart's visit of a month to Prague, starting January 11, 1787, was at the Estate of Count Johann Joseph Thun, whose wife Wilhelmine was Waldstein's aunt.   Since the Count was mostly in Bohemia, in February, 1787, he may well have met Mozart at his aunt's and have been in a position to supply Max Franx with information concerning the plans of the master with whom the Elector's young genius was being sent to study.   If Waldstein knew of Beethoven's arrival in Vienna he may habe been glad to meet a representative of the court to which he knew he was soon to go" (TF: 92).

With respect to Wegeler's report, Thayer continues:

"While all that Wegeler says of this man's kindness to Beethoven cannot be accepted, there is no reason whatever to doubt that those qualities which made the youth a favorite with the von Breunings, added to his manifest genius, made their way into the young count's heart and gained for Beethoven a zealous, influential and active friend.   Frau Karth remembered Waldstein's visits to the composer in the years following in his rooms on the Wenzelgasse and was confident that he made the young musician a present of a pianoforte.   Still, in June 1788, Waldstein possessed no such influence as to render a petition for increasse in salary, offered by his protege, successful.   That document has disappeared, but a paper remains among the Düsseldorf archives dated June 5, concerning the petition, which is endorsed "Beruhet".   Whatever this word may here mean it is certain that Ludwig's salary as organist remained at the old point of 100 thalers, which, with the 200 received by his father, the three measures of grain and the small sum that he might earn by teaching, was all that Johann van Beethoven and the three sons, now respectively in their eighteenth, fifteenth and twelfth years, had to live upon; and therefore so much the more necessity for the exercise of Waldstein's generosity" (TF: 94).

Before we continue to follow traces of Beethoven's friendship with Count Waldstein, we might also wish to refer to two matters, namely first to our Creation History of the Variations on a Theme by Count Waldstein and then to the fact that Beethoven once also acted as "ghostwriter" for Waldstein:





As already mentioned in the above quotes, Beethoven travelled to Vienna at the beginning of November 1792, in order to receive instructions in composition from Joseph Haydn.    From this section and from our general Biographical Pages, we are also familiar with Beethoven's farewell allbum, the so-called "Stammbuch."    With respect to this, as far as Count Waldstein is concerned, we can then ask the following question:




To begin with, we should probably feature Thayer'Forbes' following reports:

"Most interesting of all the inscriptions in the album, however, is that of Count Waldstein, which was first published by Schindler (Vol. I, p. 18) from a copy procured for him by Aloys Fuchs. It proves how great were the writer's hopes, how strong his faith in Beethoven:" (TF 115).

"Dear Beethoven! You are going to Vienna in fulfillment of your long frustrated wishes. The Genius of Mozart is mourning and weeping over the death of her pupil. She found a refuge but no occupation with the unexhaustible Haydn; through him she wishes to form a union with another. With the help of assiduous labour you shall receive Mozart's spirit from Haydn's hands.
                                                                                                                                                 Your true friend
Bonn, October 29, 1792.           

                                                                                                                                                                                                             Waldstein" (TF: 115).




          Count Waldstein's   Entry in Beethoven's "Stammbuch"




Let us then deal with Lewis Lockwood's comment:

"No early Beethoven document is more telling or more frequently quoted than the entry in his personal album written by the young Count Waldstein in November 1792, as Beethoven prepared to leave: . . .

This album entry stands for its language and imagery.   Unlike most of the others, which are homely but sincere bits of poetry sprinkled with quotations from Klopstock to Schiller.   Waldstein's rhetoric is serious and thoughtful, framing this journey not only as the departure of a friend and artist, but as an event in the music history of his time.   Its central point is the passing of Mozart, whose death was like another parental loss for Beethoven, the death of his spiritual and artistic father--leaving him only the pathetic figure of his biological father Johann, who in turn died a month later.

However neglected Mozart may have been by Viennese patrons in his last years--as his simple and unceremonious burial is sometimes thought to show--his death at thirty-five was felt in Viennese and, gradually, in European music circles, as an incalculable loss. . . . This surge of interest soon led publishers to issue a number of his compositions, thus gathering attention and stimulating commemorations of many kinds, including the first biographies.

Waldstein's entry, which breathes his spirit of reverence for Mozart the newly departed hero, is unfairly slanted against Haydn, who, although "inexhaustible", is recognized not for his own true greatness but only as a medium for transmitting the spirit of Mozart.   Waldstein tells the young Beethoven, on the threshold of a great career, that he will have to work hard to earn his inheritance, but also says that his reward will not be recognition as Haydn's pupil but rather his emergence as Mozart's heir.   In this canonic pronouncement the Mozart legacy is not just a generalized mark of potential status but is a sign that Waldstein and other like-minded patrons expect Beethoven to rise to Mozart's level and to take on musical leadership in the future.   For such patrons the death of Mozart had thrown the future of serious music into crisis.   They could not envisage Haydn was providing such leadership, if only because of his age--he was sixty in November 1792.   So, as if he were being habilitated for a spiritual succession, Beethoven's future assumption of the mantle might guarantee the salvation of music as a higher art.   In cicrcles of musical connoisseurship in the early 1790's, perhaps influenced by the radical political and philosophical transformations of the preceding ten years and more, there was a sense that the tradition of high art required a new leader, a new figure of unquestioned orginality and universality who chould become the protagonist of a new musical age. . . .

Waldstein's remarks seem especially prejudiced in view of the central fact that Beethoven was on his way to Vienna to apprentice himself to Haydn.   The original plan was that Beethoven would study with Haydn, perfect his craft, and eventually return to Bonn, where Max Franz dreamed of fame, with Beethoven as the Electorate's star. . . . " (Lockwood: 50-52).

Barry Cooper writes:

" . . . Only two of the Breunings (including Eleonore) made entries, and the only member of the nobility was Count Waldstein.   His entry, however, is by far the most interesting for its prophetic vision: . . . 12(All the album entries including Waldstein's are in N-1, 138-44, and more fully in Schiedermair, Der junge Beeethoven, 229-33. See Alb-13 for translation and commentary).   The image of Beethoven as Mozart's true successor was by now deeply entrenched in the collective Bonn psyche, including Waldstein's, and it penetrated Beethoven's own mind to the extent that in his early years in Vienna he intensified his efforts to follow Mozart, copying out several passages from Mozart's music when working on similar compositions, and writing much music that shows unmistakeable Mozartean influence.   Meanwhile Haydn was rightly seen by Waldstein as a refuge rather than a home for Mozart's spirit.   Haydn had been a close friend of Mozart and they had shared many ideals, but Haydn had his own very different spirit.    What Waldstein could perhaps not perceive was that Beethoven, too, had a strong and independent spirit that was so different from Mozart's that he could never thoroughly absorb it.   Schubert was to come much closer to doing so." (Cooper: 42).

Let us also feature Jan Caeyers's comment:

"Am 1. November fand im Zehrgarten ein kleines Abschiedsfest statt, bei dem ihm seine besten Freunde als Medizin für Momente der Einsamkeit und Melancholie ein hübsch illustriertes <<Stammbuch>> schenkten, eine Sammlung poetischer Glückwünsche und verklärender Sinnsprüche über Freundschaft.   In diesem Erinnerungsbüchlein mit Zitaten und Paraphrasen damals verehrter Dichter wie Schiller, Herder und Klopstock haben sich vor allem diejenigen verewigt, denen Beethoven wirklich nahe stand. Man findet darin keine Namen von Musikerkollegen, weder jungen noch älteren, daür aber die einiger Professoren, Hofbeamte und Ärzte, natürlich auch die Namen Waldsteins, der Breunings und der Kochs, mit Ausnahme von Babette. Vor allem Waldsteins Beitrag springt ins Auge:


Dem letzten Satz wird meistens ein geradezu prohetischer Gehalt zugeschrieben, weil Beethoven darin in einem Atemzug mit Haydn und Mozart genannt wird, als wäre die spätere Vorstellung vom Triumvirat der sogenannten Wiener Klassik hier zum ersten Mal in Worte gefasst worden.   Eigentlich hat Waldstein aber nur die Hoffnung ausgedrückt, dass Beethoven bei Haydn den neuen, hauptsächlich von Mozart in Wien entwickelten Stil erlernen könne.   Vielleicht hat er auch heimlich gewünscht, sein junger Protege werde die Lücke füllen, die durch Mozarts Tod entstanden war, und zu einem Idol der neuen Musikkultur werden.   Auf keinen Fall aber hatte er die Absicht, hier eine Art makromusikhistorische Aussage zu machen -- dafür fehlte es ihm wohl ohnehin an Urteilsfähigkeit.   Und wer Haydn zum Wasserträger Mozarts reduziert, unterschätzt sowohl seinen Beitrag zum Wiener klassischen Stil als auch die Rolle, die er in Beethovens Entwicklung gespielt hat" (Caeyers: 113-114;--

--Caeyers reports that on November 1st, at the Bonn Zehrgarten, a farewell party was held, on the occasion of which Beethoven's best friends, as a remedy for moments of loneliness and melancholy, gave to Beethoven a beautifully illustrated "Stammbuch", a collection of poetic well-wishings and idealistic poems about friendship.  In this album, with quotes and paraphrases by popular writers of that time such as Schiller, Herder and Klopstock, mostly those who were really close to Beethoven left an entry.  As Cayers writes, no Bonn court musicians left an entry, neither the young nor the old, but some professors, court officials and doctors, among which, of course, the names of Count Waldstein, of the von Breunings, and of the Kochs, with the exception of Babette,  feature prominently.   Caeyers then quotes Waldstein's entry and continues with these remarks:  namely, that the last sentence of Waldstein's entry is often described as "prophetic", since in it, Beethoven is mentioned in the same breath with Haydn and Mozart, as if the first impression of the triumvirate of the so-called "First Viennese School" was formulated here, for the first time.    Caeyers thinks that Waldstein actually only meant to express the hope that Beethoven could learn from Haydn the new style that had mainly been developed by Mozart in Vienna.    Perhaps, he might also secretly have wished that his young protege might fill the void that was created by Mozart's death and thereby become an ideol of the new music culture.    In no way, Caeyers maintains, did Waldstein intend to render a "prophetic" statement as regards music history, as he might not have been equipped with the ability to properly make such a statement.  And one who reduces Haydn to a "water carrier" of Mozart, in Caeyers's opinion, underestimated Haydn's contribution to the Viennese Classical style as well as the role which he played in Beethoven's development).

Let us conclude this section with Swafford's comments:

"The inscription hat history would most remember is from Count Waldstein, written in a bold hand on a page facing his silhouette perched on a pedestal.   Like the others more about music than friendship, it is not a poem but a prose prophecy by a man who knew music, knew about Beethoven's abortive encounter with Mozart in Vienna, and knew what kind of potential this protege had in him:


These few words say a great deal. Unlike most of his friends in the Stammbuch, Waldstein uses the formal Sie address, appropriate for an aristocrat addressing a commoner however well regarded.   His conception of genius is that of the eighteenth century: a metaphor for a transcendent spirit that moves among and inhabits great creators, genius as something one is in one's very being, which elevates a person to the state of a demigod.   Waldstein depicts the genius of Mozart as in mourning, surviving in the old Haydn but waiting to be handed off to a new young avatar.

History would remember Waldstein's prophecy because, on the whole, it came to pass. . . . " (Swafford: 126).


However, Count Waldstein not only left a "prophetic" entry in Beethoven's "Stammbuch".    From the way Beethoven writers provide answers to our next question,




it becomes clear that already from Bronn, Walstein's excellent Vienna connections helped smoothe Beethoven's entry there: 

"It is likely, however, that if the Count, in the name of the Elector, helped Beethoven to reach Vienna it was for his second trip--and what turned out to be his final move there--in 1792" (TF: 92).

Our further comments by Thayer with respect to this are as follows:

"The probability that in July, 1792, it had been proposed to Haydn to take Beethoven as a pupil has been mentioned; but it is pretty certain that the suggestion did not come from the Elector, who, there is little doubt, was in Frankfurt at the coronation of his nephew Emperor Franz (July 4) at the time of Haydn's visit. Whatever arrangements may have been made between the pupil and master, they were subject to the will of the Elector, and here Waldstein may well have exerted himself to his protege's advantage.   At all events, the result was favorable and the journey determined upon.   Perhaps, had Haydn found Maximilian in Bonn, he might have taken the young man with him; as it was, some months elapsed before his pupil could follow" (TF: 113).

"But with Waldstein, the case was otherwise. The young count, eight years older than Beethoven, coming direct from Vienna, where his family connections gave him access to the salons of the very highest rank of the nobility, was thoroughly acquainted with the noblest and best that the imperial capital could show in the art of music.   Himself more than an ordinary dilletante, he could judge of the youth's powers and became his friend.   We have seen that he used occasionally to go to the modest room in the Wenzelgasse, that he even employed Beethoven to compose his Ritterballet music, and we shall see that he foretold the future eminence of the composer and that the name, Beethoven, would be next to those of Mozart and Haydn on the roll of fame.   Waldstein's name, too, is in Beethoven's roll of fame; it stands in the list of those to whom important works were dedicated" (TF: 107).

"He was a pupil of Joseph Haydn-- . . . ; and he was protected by Count Waldstein, whose family connections were such that he could introduce his favorite into the highest circles, the Imperial house only excepted.    Waldstein's mother was a Liechtenstein; his grandmother a Trautmannsdorff; three of his sisters had married respectively into the families Dietrichstein, Crugenburg and Wallis; and by the marriages of uncles and aunts he was connected with the houses Oettingen-Spielberg, Khevenmüller Melisch, Kinsky, Palffy von Erdöd and Ulfeld--not to mention others less known.    If the circle can be extended by a degree or two it embraces the names Kaunitz, Lobkowitz, Hohary, Fünfkirchen, Keglevics and Colloredo Mansfeld" TF: 160).

Also Solomon, Lockwood and Barry Cooper see in Count Waldstein Beethovens "first admission slip" into Vienna's high nobility:  

"Where Beethoven's earlier journey to Vienna had been an abject failure, his second was an unqualified success.    His first decade in Vienna consisted of an unbroken series of professional triumphs.    He arrived in the second week of November, 1792, bearing introductions from Count Waldstein along with the invitation to study with Haydn.   Through Waldstein's family connections and Haydn's musical connections he gained access to the houses of the hereditary nobility, including several which had played significant roles in furthering the careers of Gluck, Haydn and Mozart.   Moreover, his reputation as a noted pianist in the employ of the uncle of Habsburg Emperor Franz had preceded him.   He was received in the palaces and salons of aristocratic connoisseurs, amateurs and music lovers, who sought to nourish and encourage the young Beethoven as a worthy successor to the masters of the Viennese musical tradition. Upon Beethoven's departure from Bonn, Waldstein had written in his autograph album: "The genius of Mozart is mourning and weeping over the death of her pupil. She found a refuge but no occupation with the inexhaustible Haydn; through him she wishes to form a union with another. With the help of arduous labor you shall receive Mozart's spirit from Haydn's hands".   This prophecy was fulfilled more rapidly than could have been expected" Solomon: 57).

"This ambitious young Bohemian aristocrat, who also admired Mozart, could help Beethoven gain access to the Austrian and Bohemian nobility, through whom career changes might open up. . . . .  But in furthering Beethoven's ambition in the later Bonn years and helping him establish himself in Vienna probably no one was more important" (Lockwood: 45).

"Beethoven, having no doubt been recommended by Waldstein and Maximilian Franz, uncle of the new emperor Franz (Emperor Leopold had died in 1792), would have been immediately welcome in such circles. . . . [on Lichnowsky]: . . . He was a distant relative of Waldstein (he had married Countess Maria Christiane Thun, daughter of the sister-in-law of Waldstein's uncle, in 1788) and he apparently filled a somewhat similar role for Beethoven in Vienna to Waldstein's in Bonn" (Cooper: 44).


Now that we have seen Beethoven well introduced into Viennese high society due to Waldstein's help, we can ask our next question:




Thayer reports:

"Count Waldstein was also in Vienna during the winter and spring of 1794, and returned to Bonn in June.    During that time he was in touch with Beethoven, as is shown by a letter from the composer to Simrock dated June 18, in which he offered to send through Waldstein the manuscript of the Variations for pianoforte for four hands on Waldstein's theme.   The Trio, Op. 3, might also have reached Bonn by the same means--via Count Waldstein" (TF: 169).  

     Let us read the text from the "Gestamtausgabe" and our translation into English:

          "Beethoven an Nikolaus Simrock[1] in Bonn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   [Wien, 18. Juni 1794]

Lieber Simrock!

    mein Bruder[2] Sagte mir hier, daß sie meine Variationen zu 4 Händen schon gestochen hätten, oder doch stechen würden.[3] das anfragen deswegen bey mir, dünkt mich wäre doch wohl der Mühe werth gewesen; -- wenn ich nun eben so handelte, und jezt dieselben V.[ariationen] demArtaria <verkaüfete>verkaufte, da sie Sie jezt stechen.  doch bleiben sie unbesorgt deswegen, das einzige, was ich mir ausbitte ist, daß sie jezt den Stich damit aufgeben, und mir nur schreiben, ob sie sie schon wircklich angefangen haben, ist das, so schicke ich ihnen von hier durch eine Gelegenheit an meinen Freund den Gr.[afen] waldstein[4] das Manuscript davon,[5] wonach sie sie denn stechen können, weil darin verschiedenes verbessert ist, und ich doch wenigstens wünsche meine Sachen in ihrer möglichen Vollkommenheit erscheinen zu sehen, sonst war ich nicht willens jetzt Variationen herauszugeben, da ich erst warten wolte, bis einige wichtigere Werke von mir in der welt wären, die nun bald[sic] herauskommen werden.

    ich bitte sie mir also deswegen sobald als möglich zu schreiben.

    wollten sie vieleicht hier einen Verleger haben, so wollte ich das gerne über mich nehmen, ihnen einen zu zeigen, den ich als einen wackern Mann kenne.

    übrigens hoffte ich wenistens zwei Duzend E[x]emplare zu bekommen, und wünsche daß sie richtiger gestochen mögen werden, da in den andern V.[6] ein wichtiger Fehler gemacht worden, indem man in der 6ten Variation, anstatt A moll anzuzeigen durch drey auflösungszeichen, hat A dur hat stehen laßen mit 3 Kreuzen.

    nur ein Exemplar schickten sie mir, das war doch verflucht wenig -- da mir artaria für die anderen[7] ein gutes Honorarium und 12 Exemplare gab.

    schreiben sie mir, ob sie etwas anders von mir wollen, und was? --

leben sie wohl und grüßen sie mir den Ries[8]  

ihr Dienstwilliger Freund

                                                                              L. v. Beethowen.

Vien den 18ten Juni. 1794.[9]

A Monsieur Simrock Musicien de S.A. de Cologne a Bonn."

[Quelle:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Band 1, Brief Nr. 15, S. 23-24; Original:  Bonn, Beethoven-Haus, Sammlung Bodmer; zu [1]: verweist auf Nikolaus Simrock [1751 - 1832), der seit 1775 als Waldhornist Mitglied der kurkölnischen Hofkapelle in Bonn war, und der 1793 einen sehr erfolgreichen Musikverlag gründete; zu [2]:  verweist wohl auf Beethovens Bruder Kaspar Karl; zu [3]: verweist auf Acht Variationen für Klavier zu vier Händen über ein Thema des Grafen Waldstein, WoO67, wobei angemerkt wird, dass die Variationen im August/September 1794 bei Simrock erschien; zu [4]: verweist auf Graf Waldstein; zu [5]: verweist darauf, dass Beethoven vermutlich das heute in Paris befindliche Autograph von WoO67 meinte; zu [6]: verweist auf WoO 66, 13 Variationen für Klavier über "Es war einmal ein alter Mann", die bei Simrock im Herbst 1793 erschienen waren, wobei noch darauf hingewiesen wird, dass der Vorzeichenfehler in der sechsten Variation bei späteren Abzügen verbessert wurde; zu [7]: verweist auf die zwölf Variationen über ein Thema aus Mozarts Hochzeit des Figaro WoO 40, die im Juli 1793 bei Artaria erschienen waren; zu [8]: verweist auf Franz Anton Ries; zu [9]: verweist darauf, dass die Jahreszahl von fremder Hand hinzugefügt wurde; Einzelheiten S. 24 entnommen].

"Beethoven to Nikolaus Simrock[1] in Bonn

                                                                             [Vienna, June 18, 1794]

Dear Simrock!

    my brother[2] told me here that you have already etched my Variations for 4 Hands or that you would etch them.[3] to enquire with me would, I think, have been worth it;--if I were to act in the same way, now, and would now sell the same V.[ariations} to Artaria, while you are etching them.  However, do not worry on that account, the only thing that I ask of you that now, you stop this etching and only write to me if you have actually started, if that is the case, then I will send you from here on occassion, through my friend, Count Waldstein[4] the manuscript of it,[5] from which you can then etch, since in it, various things have been improved and since I at least wish that my things be published in their possible completeness; otherwise, at this time, I was not willing to publish variations, since I wanted to wait until a few more important works of mine would be out there in the world, which will be published, soon.  

    Therefore, I ask you to write to me as soon as possible with respect to this. 

    If you wish to have a publisher here, I would gladly take it upon myself to point one out to you whom I know as a good man.  

    Moereover, I hope to at least receive two dozens of copies, and I wish that they will be etched more correctly since in the other V.[6] an important error was made in that, in the fth Variation, instead of indicating a minor with three naturals, one has let stand A major with 3 sharps.  

    You only sent me one copy, that was damned little, after all--since for the others[7], artaria gave me a good fee and 12 copies.  

    Write to me if you want something else from me, and what? -- 

Farewell and give my regards to Ries[8]  

Your willing friend

                                                                              L. v. Beethowen.

Vienna the 18th of June, 1794.[9]

A Monsieur Simrock Musicien de S.A. de Cologne a Bonn."

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 1, Letter No. 15, S. 23-24; Original:  Bonn, Beethoven-Haus, Bodmer Collection; to [1]: refers to  Nikolaus Simrock [1751 - 1832), who, as a horn player, had been a member of the Electoral Court Orchestra from 1775 on and who, in 1793, founded a very successful publishing house; to [2]:  probably refers to Beethoven's brother Kaspar Karl; to [3]: refers to Eight Variations for Piano for Four Hands on a theme by Count Waldstein, WoO67, with respect to which is noted that these Variations were published by Simrock in August/September, 1794; to [4]: refers to Count Waldstein; to [5]: refers to the fact that Beethoven probably meant the autograph of WoO67 that is in Paris, today; to [6]: refers to WoO 66, 13 Variations for Piano on "Es war einmal ein alter Mann", that had been published by Simrock in the fall of 1793, with respect to which is still pointed out that a key signature error in the sixth variation was corrected in later copies; to [7]: refers to the twelve Variations on a theme from Mozart's  Marriage of Figaro WoO 40, which was published by Artaria in July, 1793; to [8]: refers to Franz Anton Ries; to [9]: refers to the fact that the year had been added by someone else; details taken from p. 24].

     Barry Cooper asks who might have supported Beethoven financially in Vienna:

"Who supported Beethoven after March is unclear, but he was not left penniless.    Waldstein was also in Vienna during the early part of 1794, and he may have made sure that other noblemen, in particular Lichnowsky, took over Maximilian's role thereafter, although Beethoven had no formal arrangement with Lichnowsky until 1800" (Cooper: 53).


Our next question is:




Lewis Lockwood reports,

" . . .  The later dedication to Waldstein of the Piano Sonata Opus 53 probably reflects Beethoven's gratitude for Waldstein's early support rather than any obligation incurred at the time he composed the work in 1804.    In fact their relationship by then was fading, as Waldstein left Vienna for many years (he later went bankrupt and died in poverty).  . . . " (Lockwood: 45),

while Jan Caeyers writes:

"Nach der Besetzung großer Teile Kurkölns durch die französischen Revolutionstruppen und der Flucht des Kurfürsten nach Wien im Jahr 1794 war es auch mit Waldsteins fröhlichem Leben in Bonn schnell vorbei, nicht zuletzt, weil er bei fast allen Familien -- besonders den Breunings -- tief in der Kreide stand.  Er wählte das Abenteuer, trat nach einer politischen Auseinandersetzung mit seinem früheren Arbeitgeber in britische Dienste, rekrutierte in Österreich und Deutschland eine Söldnertruppe und führte eine militärische Expedition nach Westindien" (Caeyers: 111--

--Caeyers reports that after the occupation of large parts of the Principality of Cologne by French troops and after the Elector's flight to Vienna in 1794, Waldstein's charmed Bonn life also came to an end, and that not in the least due to the fact that he was heavily indebted to most Bonn families, particularly the von Breunings.    He chose adventure and, after political diffeRences with his former employer, he entered British services, recruited mercenaries in Austria and Germany, and led a military expedition into the West Indies).


At this point, we might also ask:



Thayer has this to report, in general:

"Two works composed between the fall of 1803 and 1804, should be mentioned here.   The first is the Piano Sonata, Op. 53, which was dedicated to Count Waldstein" (TF: 351).

Lockwood briefly renders his mainstream opinion as follows:

" . . .  The later dedication to Waldstein of the Piano Sonata Opus 53 probably reflects Beethoven's gratitude for Waldstein's early support rather than any obligation incurred at the time he composed the work in 1804.  . . .  (Lockwood: 45).

Barry Cooper appears to hold a different view:

" . . . While casting around for a new libretto, he wrote a piano sonata in C major, known as the 'Waldstein' (Op. 53). Count Waldstein, Beethoven's old friend from Bonn, had moved to Vienna in the 1790's but did not thereafter much with him. Whethe"r Waldstein commissioned the sonata or merely helped Beethoven in some way shortly before the work was dedicated to him in 1805 is not known, but Beethoven's reasons for making dedications were usually short-term rather than long-term; thus it is doubtful whether the dedication was an expression of thanks for Waldstein's earlier assistance in Bonn" (Cooper: 144).

Jan Caeyers, in turn, expresses general doubts with repsect to the dedication:

"Es wird allgemein angenommen, Beethoven habe seine Dankbarkeit ausgedrückt, indem er Waldstein die Klaviersonate in C-Dur op. 53 widmete. Manches an dieser Widmung bleibt jedoch rätselhaft.   Waldstein soll ab dem Herbst 1802 einige Monate auf dem europäischen Festland verbracht und in dieser Zeit Wien besucht haben. Sein Aufenthalt in der österreichischen Hauptstadt ist jedoch nirgendwo dokumentiert, auch nicht seine angeblichen Begegnungen mit Beethoven in dieser Zeit. Eigenartig ist auch, dass Waldsteins Name nicht auf dem Manuskript der Sonate steht, sondern erst auf der Titelseite der gedruckten Ausgabe aus dem Jahr 1805 erscheint. Schließlich findet sich keine Erklärung für die Tatsache, dass Beethoven seinen früheren Mäzen später nie mehr getroffen hat, trotz Waldsteins unübersehbarer Gegenwart in Wien seit dem Jahr 1809" |(Caeyers: 112--

--Caeyers writes that it is generally assumed that Beethoven expressed his gratitude towards Waldstein by dedicating the Piano Sonata in C Major, Op. 53 to him.   However, as Caeyers thinks, some details with respect to this dedication remain puzzling.  Waldstein is reported as having spent some months during the fall of 1802 on the continent and of having visited Vienna.  However, his stay there is not documented, also not any of the alleged meetings with Beethoven during this time.   Caeyers also finds it peculiar that Waldstein's name is not listed on the manuscript of the Sonata but rather that it is only printed on the title page of the printed edition from the year 1805.  Further, there does not appear to be an explanation for the fact that Beethoven never met his early supporter during later years, although he was certainly present there from 1809 on).

Finally, Jan Swaffort holds the most "traditional" opinion:

"The main project of that year's end was a Grande Sonate for piano in C major. It would be dedicated to his Bonn patron and mentor Count Ferdinand Waldstein, at that point away from the Continent serving in the British army. This sonata was the repayment of an old debt for the man who as much as any had helped launch Beethoven, a mentor and patron for the teenager and then a connection to important Viennese patrons. The two must have met after Bonn, but no record remained of it" (Swafford: 372).




The dedication of Op. 53 to Count Waldstein appears to be the last--more or less direct--connection to Beethoven.   Let us turn to our next question:




Waldstein in later Years





With respect to this, Thayer writes:

" . . . Some others of the old friends may have been rebuffed in like manner; . . . What had happended to the ardent friend of the youthful days, Count Waldstein?   An entry from a Conversation Book of December, 1819, awakens curiosity and a hope:

Do not speak so loud. Your situation is too well known;--that is the inconvenience of public places, one is limited; everybody listens and hears.

Cound Waldstein was also sitting nearby.

Does he live here? (1: Schünemann, 1, p. 138).

Beethoven's answer is unrecorded and thus passes the only opportunity which the known material offers from which we might have learned what caused the death of that beautiful friendship" (TF: 746-747).

Maynard Solomon renders a brief comment to this:

"Beethoven's patrons were among those who were affected by economic pressures. Count Waldstein died in poverty; . . . " (Solomon: 65).

Jan Caeyers's and Jan Swafford's reports are not quite as short:

"1809 kehrte er im Auftrag des britischen Königs als Leiter einer diplomatischen Mission in die österreichische Heimat zurück. 1812 gab er seinem Leben noch einmal eine entscheidende Wendung, trat aus dem Deutschen Orden und der britischen Armee aus und heiratete eine steinreiche polnische Witwe. Diese Heirat verschaffte ihm wieder die Mittel, die er brauchte, um eine glanzvolle Rolle im gesellschaftlichen Leben spielen zu können. Während des Wiener Kongresses war er sogar einer der wichtigsten Organisatoren des unterhaltenden Begleitprogramms. Danach ging es schnell bergab; der aufwändige Lebensstil, sein Hang zum Abenteuer und leichtsinnige Spekulationen führten zum Ruin. Er starb völlig verarmt im Jahr 1823" (Caeyers: 111--

--Caeyers writes that in 1809, Waldstein returned to Austria on behalf of the King of England and that, in 1812, he changed careers again by leaving the Teutonic Order and the British Army and by marrying a rich Polish widow.  This marriage enabled him to play a glamorous role in society.  During the Congress of Vienna, he was even one of the organizers of some entertainments.  After that, Caeyers writes, followed a steep decline; his extravagant life style, his tendency towards adventures and his dangerous speculations led to his ruin.    He died completely impoverished in Vienna in 1823).

" . . . Then, after a couple of decades of glory in high posts, his recklessness and his passion for gold speculation mastered him. In the end Waldstein lost everything he had: the affection of the Elector to a political quarrel, his wife to death, his fortune, his houses, the respect of his peers. The destiny of Waldstein was to die wretchedly in Vienna a few years before Beethoven, long out of touch with the man who he had once prophesied was to inherit the genius of Mozart" (Swafford: 96).


Since we have followed Waldstein's life to its end, we can now turn to our last two questions:




As a direct answer to this question we can only reply onThayer-Forbes' above report (p. 746-747) from the year 1819.  It ends with the following comment:

"Joseph Heer (2: "Der Graf von Waldstein und sein Verhältnis zu Beethoven," Veröffentlichungen des Beethoven-Hauses, IX (Bonn, 1933) attributes the rift first to Waldstein's absence from Vienna until 1809, during which time he was in military and then the foreign service; second, to the differenc in their political views: Waldstein was a zealous Austrian patriot who continued to agitate against the French "usurper" after the war was ended; and third, to Waldstein's carelessness in business matters, which resulted in his going bankrupt soon after his wife's death in 1816, and in his death as a pauper in 1823" (TF: 747).

Therefore, Joseph Heer lists superficial reasons for Beethoven's and Count Waldstein's growing apart.    From today's viewpoint, they do not seem entirely implausible.  However, in order to bring this topic to a final conclusions, in my mind, the following last question still arises:




After considering the material presented above with respect to Beethoven's and Count Waldstein's friendship, my mind first turns to the music that is connected with it:  the Variations for Piano for Four Hands, WoO67, the Ritterballett and the so-called Waldstein Sonata op. 53.   I remember the enjoyment that comes from listening to them.  After that, my thoughts move on, however.  The reason for that might be that they can only serve as "road signs" along the path of Beethoven's overall creativity, as they do not form its very core.

My next thought has to do with the question as to the actual nature of this friendship.  I come to the conclusion that, at least, it forms one of the cornerstones of Beethoven's early years.  The four cournerstones, in my opinion, first consist of his family, secondly, of his native Bonn and its musical environment in which he grew up and in which he was fostered, from his early teachers to Neefe, to the Bonn Court, and thirdly, his friendship with the von Breuning family and Wegeler, and, ultimately, his friendship with Count Waldstein as his first maecenas.  He was able to recognize his musical potential, to further it and, with his excellent Viennese contacts, to provide him with a first-class admission ticket to its high nobility, in order to further his musical career.

Waldstein's "prophetic" lines with respect to Beethoven's "inheritance" of Mozart contains, in part, already one of the reasons for their growing apart:  Of course, Beethoven grew beyond any notions of literally "inheriting" Mozart's spirit, by means of which he would merely have been a vessel for Mozart's mourning genius.  Like Haydn and other important composers of classical music, he was guided by his very own genius.  To what extent Count Waldstein--apart from the fact that his further career found him away from Vienna for a cosiderable amount of years--would have been in a position to accept Beethoven as a musical genius in his very own right, remains a question that we might wish to answer for ourselves, based on our own conclusions.

Returning to the concept of cornerstones, I realize that it is not possible to "take out" such a cornerstone from its place at the foundation of a young life in order to indulge in any fantasies with respect to a possible life-long friendship between Beethoven and Count Waldstein.  For my part, I am satisfied with what it was able to provide us with:  seeing Beethoven well introduced into Viennese society and well on his way of finding his very own genius.



Caeyers, Jan.  Beethoven.  Der einsame Revolutionär.  A Biography. 2nd edition.  Munich: 2012.   C.H. Beck.

Cooper, Barry: Beethoven.  (Master Musician Series, edited by Stanley Sadie, second edition). Oxford: 2008.  Oxford University Press.

Lockwood, Lewis.  Beethoven.  The Music and the Life.  New York.  London:  2003.   W.W. Norton & Company.

Ludwig van Beethoven.  Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe. [6 Bände]  Im Auftrag des Beethoven-Hauses Bonn herausgegeben von Sieghard Brandenburg.  Munich: 1996.   G. Henle Verlag.

Solomon, Maynard. Beethoven. New York: 1979.  Schirmer Books, Paperback Edition.

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