BEETHOVEN'S MISSA SOLEMNIS
CREATION HISTORY
FIRST SIGNS OF BEETHOVEN'S INNER MOTIVATION FOR THE COMPOSITION
(IN THE MIDST OF 'SELF-CHOSEN' CHALLENGES)



 



Beethoven in 1818
 


INTRODUCTION

While our look at Beethoven's artistic, intellectual and spiritual development towards his composition of the Missa solemnis led us through his childhood, youth and adulthood up to and into his crisis years of his guardianship of his nephew Karl and his possibly finding spiritual comfort in reading Sturm's Betrachtungen, with brief excursions into a look at his composition of the sacred works that preceded the Missa solemnis and into E.T.A. Hoffmann's review of one of these works (the Mass in C-Major, Op. 86), our following look at first signs of his inner motivation for the composition of his great Mass leads us into the year 1818. 

 

BEETHOVEN IN THE YEAR 1818

This year leads us towards Beethoven's first comments with respect to his possible composition of a new mass.  In order to gain a lively impression of the events of this year, we are not only relying on Thayer's report, but also on important traces of this year's events in his correspondence of that year, for which we can turn to Volume 4 of the Henle Gesamtausgabe.  To begin with, however, let us take a look at the title of Thayer's chapter to this year:  

"CHAPTER XXXI

THE YEAR 1818

A MOTHER'S STRUGGLE FOR HER SON
THE PIANOFORTE SONATA OP. 106"
(Thayer: 694).

Since we have already discussed Beethoven's composition of his Piano Sonata Op. 106 in our section on creation histories to all of his piano sonatas, it is Thayer's reference in the above title to "A Mother's Struggle for her Son" that has to concern us, here.  After we will have immersed ourselves into Beethoven's correspondence of this year, we will have to agree with Thayer that in 1818, this topic runs through his correspondence like a red thread.  However, in our presentation, we want to refrain from rendering lay opinions on this topic and want to limit ourselves to presenting as many relevant facts as we can, while we hope that many of our readers will try to empathize with all parties involved in these events.  

While these events provide the larger framework for this year in Beethoven's life, some of his letters also appear to--directly or indirectly--refer to his later involvement with his composition of his great mass. 

While the following letter does not directly refer to the Missa solemnis, it contains at least a reference to a later contact that would become important with respect to a less fortunate aspect of its publication:

  Beethoven an Georg Friedrich Treitschke

                                                                   [Wien, zwischen 1818 und 1822][1]

Ausserordentlich Werther Freund!

    Fangen wir an von den letzten EndUrsachen aller dinge, wie etwas gekommen, wodurch, warum es so gekommen, geworden, warum etwas so ist, warum etwas so nicht seyn kann!!!

    hier lieber Freund sind wir an dem kizlichen Punkte, welchen mein Zartgefühl verbothen ihnen gleich zu eröfnen also:  Es kann nicht seyn!  Mit gröstem vergnügen werde ich das Leipziger Bureau[2] ein andermal bedienen --

     Lebt wohl Bester ja ruhig, gar zu ruhig, was ist denn aus <das> dem Dichten u. trachten geworden?![3]

     Lebt (aufsteigende und absteigende musikalische Symbole] Wohl!--

     wir sind euch wo möglich allzeit zu Diensten

                                   (Notenbeispiel)

                                    Scheut euch nicht    Scheut euch nicht

der Eur[ige]* Hochachtungse[rgebenste]*

                                                                                                Beetho[ven]*

Für Seine Wohl u. vortrefflich gebohren H.[errn] v. Treischke

Beethoven to Georg Friedrich Treitschke

                                                                   [Vienna, between 1818 and 1822][1]

Extraordinarily Esteemed Friend!

    Let us begin with the ultimate cause of all things, as to how something came about, through what means, why it came about as it did and why it happened as it did, why something is the way it is, why something can not be like that!!! 

    here, dear friend, we have arrived at a ticklish point, which my sensitivity forbade me to reveal to you right away, therefore:  It can not be!  With the greatest pleasure, I will serve the Leipzig Office[2] some other time--

     Farewell, best (friend), nay, live calmly, even too calmly, what has happened to [your] writing ans striving?![3]

     Fare (ascending and descending musical symbols inserted here] well!--

     where possible, we will be of service to you, at all times 

                                   (Note Sample)

                                    Do not be shy    Do not be shy

Yours* Most Respectfully*

                                                                                                Beetho[ven]*

For the well and excellently-born H.[err] v. Treischke

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, Letter No. 1216, p. 149-150]

[Autograph, Bonn, Beethoven Haus, Bodmer-Sammlung; to *: refers to loss of text through seal damage; to [1]: refers to the fact that the "Latin" version of Beethoven's signature allows for the assumption that the letter has been written after 1817, while Friedrich Peters' seeking contact with Beethoven happened in the year 1822 (which will become very important with respect to Beethoven's [unsuccessful] negotiations for the publication of the Missa solemnis!] and thus provides for an indication as to the latest possible year in which the letter was written; to [2]: probably refers to the 'Bureau de Musique' in Leipzig, that Peters managed since 1814.  The GA assumes that Peters used Treitschke as a go-between in order to get in touch with Beethoven; to [3]:  probably refers to Treitschke's declining writing activities; details taken from p. 149-150.]



Due to the time frame that the Gesamtausgabe allows for the possible writing of this letter (beginning 'after 1817!'), we have referred to it at the very beginning of our look at Beethoven's correspondence of this year.

The next letters of this year do not yet discuss the 'main theme' of this year.  Without discussing them in detail, let us mention that, in his letter of January 3, 1818 (Letter No. 1217, p. 150), Thomas Broadwood advised Beethoven of a piano being on its way to him via Triest, as a present and that, on the same day, Beethoven (Letter No. 1218, p. 150) appears to have written a letter to the Brentanos in Frankfurt that was not received and that, also on this day, we wrote some lines to S.A. Steiner in Vienna (Letter No. 1219, p. 150-151) in which he did not want to fail to voice his displeasure with "untruths with respect to me mentioned in the Wiener M.[usik] Z.[eitung]". 

Before we try to hone in on letters dealing with the 'main theme' of this year, we should try to find out where Beethoven lived at the turn of the year 1817 to the year 1818.  Since, with respect to this, Thayer's information is not precise enough, we refer to the time table contained in Kropfinger's Beethoven book that was published in 2001.  In it, he mentions "Zum grünen Baum, Gärtnergasse, Vorstadt Landstraße 26" as Beethoven's last residence in the year 1817 (p. 37), and as his only city residence in the year 1818 (p. 40).  

Beethoven's Letter No. 1220 (p. 152) of January 6, 1818, to Cajetan Giannatasio del Rio, deals with the 'main theme' of this year, and in particular with his plans for his nephew's education.  In this letter he informs Giannatasio that he plans to take Karl into his home.  In order to prepare for this situation, Beethoven relied on the help of the wife of his friend, the piano maker (and former friend of Friedrich Schiller, the writer of the text of the 'Ode to Joy') Johann Andreas Streicher, Nanette Streicher.  In this year, his first letter to her  was written before January 9th:  



 



Nanette Streicher
 



Beethoven an Nanette Streicher

                                                                      [Wien, kurz vor dem 9. Januar 1818][1]

     Es freut mich, daß sie sich noch ferner um das Hauswesen annehmen wollen, ohne das alles andere vergebens wäre, beym hier folgenden Küchenbuch liegt ein Brief, welchen ich ihnen, noch ehe sie nach K.[loster]N.[euburg][2] gingen geschrieben,[3] mit der N.[any] geht es jetzt, was ihr Betragen angeht, besser, u. ich denke gar nicht, daß sie den Willen dazu hat, vielleicht ist es möglich mit den andern Mädchen   u n s e r e   H a u s h a l t u n g vorteilhafter zu wirken, doch dürfen sie sich nicht entziehen, leicht können sie im Küchenbuch sehen, ob ich allein oder zu mehreren oder gar nicht zu Hause gegessen habe. -- ganz  e h r l i c h  halte ich die N. nicht, außerdem, daß sie noch obendrein ein schreckliches  V i e h   ist, nicht durch   L i e b e ,   s o n d e r n  d u r c h   F u r c h t müssen d.g. Leute gehhandhabt werden, ich sehe das jetzt ganz klar ein. -- Es versteht sich, daß das Dienstmädchen Sonnabend früh eintreten kann, nur bitte ich sie mir gütigst anzuzeigen, ob die Baberl sich Freytags früh oder nach Tisch zu entfernen hat?[4] -- Das Küchenbuch allein kann ihnen nicht alles klar anzeigen, sie müssen manchmal beim Essen als ein richtender Engel   u n v e r h o f f t  erscheinen, um auch in Augenschein zu nehmen,  w a s  wir haben. -- ich speise nun niemals zu Haus als wenn jemand  b e i   m i r  zu Gaste ist, denn ich will nicht so viel für meine Person bezahlen daß 3 od. 4 davon essen könnten. -- Meinen lieben Sohn Karl werde ich  n u n   b a l d  bei mir haben,[5] um so mehr bedürfen wir der Oekonomie.-- ich kann mich nicht wohl überwinden zu ihnen zu kommen, sie verzeihen mir schon, ich bin sehr empfindlich u. dgl. nicht gewohnt, noch weniger mag ich mich aussetzen[6] -- -- --  sobald sie können besuchen sie mich, nur lassen sie michs voraus wissen, ich habe viel mit ihnen zu reden, schicken sie mir das Büchel gegen Abend ebenso wieder zurück, bis die andere Person da ist gehen wir einen stärkeren Weg u. mit ihrer gütigen freundschaftlichen Gefälligkeit wäre es doch möglich hierin fortzukommen. -- Die N. hat außer ihren 12 Kr. Brotgeld [7] eine Semmel Morgens, ist das mit der Küchenmagd auch der Fall, eine Semmel macht für ein Jahr 18 fl. -- leben sie und weben sie wohl, die Fräulein N. ist ganz umgewandelt seit ich ihr das halb duzend Bücher an den Kopf geworfen.  Es ist wahrscheinlich durch Zufall etwas davon in ihr   G e h i r n  oder   s c h l e c h t e s   H e r z  gerathen, wenigstens haben wir eine busige Betriegerin!!!

in Eil ihr

                                                                                                            L.v. Beethoven.

Beethoven to Nanette Streicher

                                                    [Vienna, shortly before the 9th of January, 1818][1]

     I am glad that you want to continue to look into my household affairs, without which everything else would be in vain, to the enclosed kitchen book you will find attached a letter that I had written to you before you want to K.[loster]N.[euburg][2] with N.[any][3], as far as her conduct is concerned, things are better and I do not think at all that she has the will, perhaps, with other girls, it will be possible to arrange  o u r   h o u s e h o l d  in a better way, however, you must not withdraw, you can easily see from the kitchen book whether I ate alone or with others or whether I did not eat at home, at all.--I do  not consider N. to be quite  h o n e s t, on top of it, she is a terrible  a n i m a l, not with  l o v e,  b u t   o n l y   with  f e a r do such people have to be handled, I can see that clearly, now.--It is clear that a maidservant can start on Saturday morning, I only ask you that you kindly let me know whether Baberl has to leave on Friday morning or after dinner?[4]--The kitchen book alone can not show everything clearly to you, on occasion, you will have to show up  o u t   o f   t h e   b l u e, as our observing guardian angel, in order to see what we have.--At this time, I do not eat at home at all, unless someone is visiting me, since I do not want to pay as much for my person as it takes to feed 3 or 4 people.--My dear son Karl I will have with me  s o o n,[5] all the more, we require economy.--I can not overcome a certain hesitation in order to visit you, you will certainly forgive me, I am very sensitive and not used to such things, and less do I want to subject myself to them[6]-- -- --visit me as soon as you can, but let me know in advance, I have much to discuss with you, return the little book to me towards the evening, until the other person will be here, we will pursue a strict path and with your kind, friendly help it should be possible to make some progress with it.--In addition to her 12 Kr. of bread money[7], in the morning, N. receives a bun, as is the case with the kitchen maid, one bun per year amounts to 18florins--farewell and live well, Miss N. has changed entirely since I have thrown half a dozen books at her head. Perhaps, something of it went into her  h e a d  or into her  b a d   h e a r t, at least now, we have a buxomly swindler!!!   

in haste your

                                                                                                            L.v. Beethoven.

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, Letter No. 1221, p. 152-154]

[Original: not known; Text according to TDR IV, p. 502 (No. 42); to [1]: refers to the fact that the date of the letter can be arrived at by considering the date of the termination of the kitchen maid; to [2]: refers to the fact that very likely, Nanette Streicher spent some time at Klosterneuburg after New Year; to [3]: refers to the fact that it can not be determined who Beethoven refers to, here; to [4]: refers to the fact that Beethoven had fired this servant on December 27, 1817, while she was still allowed to stay on until January 18, 1818; to [5]: refers to the fact that in his letter to Giannatasio of January 6, 1818, Beethoven had advised him that he would take his nephew home at the end of January; to [6]: here, the GA refers to Letters No. 1200 and No. 1201; to [7]: here, the GA refers to Beethoven's diary notes with respect to the annual salary of the kitchen maid of 60 florins and "12 x bread money daily"; details taken from p. 153-154.]

 

In the month of January alone, thus in the month in which Beethoven intensively prepared his household for his nephew's arrival, we find eleven further letters of his to Nanette Streicher in Volume 4 of the 'Gesamtausgabe'. In addition to further discussion of servant matters, very much in the style of the above-quoted letter, Beethoven also discusses budget matters, errands (such as the purchase of household silver and the acquisition of provisions), since Beethoven planned to also take into his home a so-called 'Hofmeister', meaning a private teacher, for his nephew.  His letter to Mme. Streicher of January 12 discusses and dismisses the idea of hiring a French servant, since Karl, in his view, should rather underto 'scientific' instructions in that language (Letter No. 1225, Vol. 4, p. 157), and on January 24, Beethoven reported to her on his 'success' with respect to sorting his papers:  'Zu d.g. wie meine Papiere in Ordnung bringen gehört  s c h r e c k l i c h e  G e d u l d , die aber unser eins, wenn sie  s i c h  einfindet,  f e s t h a l t e n  m u ß, weil es sonst nie geschieht' (Letter No. 1228, Vol. 4, p. 159-160: "For such matters as sorting my papers, one requires   t e r r i b l e   p a t i e n c e, that someone like myself, when it can be  f o u n d, has to be  h e l d   o n   t o, since otherwise, it never happens").  In-between, Beethoven also reports of a new cold and also mentions his slow improvement, several times.  From these letters we can also learn that, with Mme. Streicher's help, Beethoven aimed at replacing the previous servants, consisting of a kitchen maid and a housekeeper, with new ones, before the arrival of his nephew.  In Letter No. 1230 of January 23, he reported to her: 'Morgen trifft Karl ein und ich habe mich in  i h m  geirrt, daß er vielleicht doch vorziehen würde,  d a  zu bleiben.  Er ist frohen Muthes und viel aufgeweckter als sonst, und zeigt mir jeden Augenblick seine Liebe und Anhänglichkeit; übrigens hoffe ich, daß sie sehen, daß ich in einem einmal etwas fest beschlossenen nicht wanke, und  E s   w a r   s o  g u t ! . . . " (p. 161, "Tomorrow, Karl will arrive, and I was wrong in assuming that he would still have preferred to remain there.  He is of good cheer and much brighter than usual and constantly shows me his affection; moreover, I hope that you see that I do not falter once I have resolved to do something, and  I t   w a s  g o o d   t h i s   w a y! . . . ").

In his letter of January 24, Beethoven thanks Cajetan Giannatasio for his care of his nephew: 

 

Beethoven an Cajetan Gianntasio del Rio

                                                                                       Wien am 24. Januar 1818.

                                                              P.P.

    Ich komme nicht selbst, da es immer eine Art von Abschiednehmen wäre und dergleichen habe ich von jeher vermieden.

    Empfangen Sie die ungeheucheltsten Danksagungen für den Eifer und die Rechtlichkeit, womit Sie sich der Erziehung meines Neffen angenommen haben.[1] -- Sobald ich nur ein wenig zu mir selbst komme, besuchen wir Sie, übrigens wünsche ich der Mutter[2] wegen, daß es eben nicht zu sehr bekannt werde, daß mein Neffe jetzt bei mir ist.

    Ich grüße Sie alle und danke der Frau A.G.[3] noch insbesondere für ihre an meinem Karl bewiesene mütterliche Fürsorge.

Mit wahrer Achtung.

Beethoven to Cajetan Gianntasio del Rio

                                                                           Vienna, the 24th of January, 1818.

                                                              P.P.

    I will not come, myself, since it would be a kind of farewell, and I have always avoided such things.  

    Receive my most sincere thanks for your eagerness and forthrightness with which you have attended to the education of my nephew.[1]--As soon as I will find some time, we will visit you, otherwise, on account of his mother[2] I do not wish it to be known too widely that my nephew is with me, now. 

    I send greetings to all and particularly thank Frau A.G.[3] for the motherly care she bestowed upon my nephew.  

With true esteem. 

 

                                                                                          L.v.  B e e t h o v e n .

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, Letter No. 1231, p. 163]

[Original: not known; Text according to the first publication of Aus Beethovens letzten Lebensjahren. 2. Ungedruckte Briefe Beethovens, in: Die Grenzboten 16 (1857), 1. Semester, 2nd Volume, p. 64 (No. 28); to [1]: here, the GA refers to the fact that Karl had entered Giannatasio's Institute on February 2, 1816, and that from January 1818 on, Beethoven wanted to hire a private teacher for him; to [2]: refers to Johanna van Beethoven; to [3]: probably refers to the possibility that, instead of A.G., Beethoven might have written v.G. and that it refers to Katharina Giannatasio; details taken from p. 163.]

 

Among the letters that the Gesamtausgabe ascribes to January, 1818, we can also find a letter by Sir George Smart to Richard Huddleston Potter in London, thus a letter that has nothing to do with the 'main theme' of this year.  In it, Smart asked his friend Potter that the latter's son, the pianist, composer conductor Philip Cipriani ('Chip') Potter, who stayed in Vienna at that time, should visit Beethoven in order to bring him Smart's commission of a sacred oratorio (for a fee of one hundred British Guineas), and in this letter, Sir Smart also wrote, 'if Chip meets with any Mass Vc. of Beethoven's which we do not know of I hope he will send me a Score which could easily be done I think thro the Austrian Embassy'.  As Thayer states, in the event that 'Chip' Potter found time to see Beethoven, he would have had an opportunity to convey both of these wishes to him. 

Among the ten letters that the Gesamtausgabe lists as having been written in February, 1818, even in the four letters Beethoven wrote to Nanette Streicher, Beethoven's endeavors to ensure his least costly receipt of the Broadwood Piano (from London) takes precedence over household matters.  However, Beethoven did also not fortet to thank Broadwood for this gift in his letter of February 3 (Letter No. 1242, p. 173, written in 'Beethovenian' French:-). 

The remainder of February letters consist of yet another letter from England, namely from  George Thomson (No. 1244, p. 174-176), dated February 12, and of Beethoven's spirited lines to Sigmund Anton Steiner, with his 'in-character' comments on the matter of Mälzel's metronome (Letter No. 1245, p. 176-177).  

The number of Gesamtausgabe letters allotted to the month of March, 1818, is reduced by yet another half, namely to five.  Among these, we find Beethoven's lines (Letter No. 1247, p. 177-178) to Ferdinand Ries in London, in which he confirmed to his former pupil that he met Cipriani Potter, of whom he wrote: 'er scheint ein guter Mensch zu sein und hat Talent zur Komposition' ('he appears to be a good man and has a talent for composition'), and in which he postponed his London travel plans to the next fall and winter. Letter No. 1248 (p. 179-180) represents Beethoven's reply to George Thomson.  In this month, we only find one letter to Mme. Streicher (from about the middle of March, Letter No. 1249, p. 180-181), in which Beethoven mentions Carl Czerny and his upcoming visit and a brief visit of his to her.  Of particular interest with respect to the 'main theme' of this year are the following two letters which we will quote in full:  

 

 Johanna van Beethoven an Sigmund Anton Steiner

                                                                           Wien, den 28ten März 1818

An H[errn] S.A. v. Steiner [sic] allhier

    Hiemith gebe ich Ihnen die Versicherung, daß ich Ihnen bis 1ten August d.J. folgende von dem mir dargeliehenen und bereits rückbezahlten Capitalien ausstehn gebliebenen 5pCtige Intereßen und zwar von 700 fl. W.W. Vom

24 Juny 1815 bis 1817 mit

und von 1500 fl Capitalien W.W. vom

27 May 1815 bis 17 März 1818 mit  fl 210 " 25 "

zusammen ---------------------------------------------- 280 f. 25 x

mit größter Dankbarkeit bezahlen werde.[1]

ich bin mit der größten Achtung dero ergebenste

                                                                                                  van Beethoven.

a Monsieur Monsieur de Steiner

Johanna van Beethoven to Sigmund Anton Steiner

                                                               Vienna, the 28th of March, 1818 

To H[err] S.A. v. Steiner [sic], here

    Herewith I give you the assurance that I shall pay to you, with the greatest gratitude, the following still outstanding amounts of the loan granted to me with 5% interest, by August 1st of this year, namely 700 Florins WW, from Jne 24th, 1815 to 1817, and of 1500 florins WW from May 27, 1814 to March 17, 1818, with 210 florins, "25", together 280 Florins 25 x.[1]

With the greatest respect I am your most devoted

                                                                                                  van Beethoven.

a Monsieur Monsieur de Steiner

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. Band 4, Letter No. 1250, p. 181]

[Original:  Autograph, Bonn, Beethoven-Haus; to [1]: refers to the fact that Johanna van Beethoven did not fulfill her obligations and that Beethoven took over the debt of 300 florins; in this connection, the GA refers to Beethoven's notes in Letter No. 1422 of December 29, 1820 and Letter No. 1771 of January 8, 1824; details taken from p. 181.]

Beethoven an Johanna van Beethoven

                                                                                                           [Wien, 29. März 1818]

    Was mich betrifft, so haben sie meine Gänzliche Einwilligung beym Verkauf ihres Hauses die ihrem Sohn Karl zugehörigen 7000 fl. dem Käufer auf dem Hause liegen zu laßen,[1] nur müßen aber die Löbl. Landrechte die Bewilligung ertheilen, dem jehweiligen Käufer die Versicherung <ertheilen> geben zu dörfen, daß das Capital von 7000 fl. durch 3 oder 4 Jahre unaufkundbar belassen werde -- Meinen Ansichten zufolge finde ich hierin für ihren sohn Karl weder etwas schädliches noch unbilliges u. zweifle daher nicht im Mindesten, daß die Löbl. Obervormundschaft ihnen dieses Gesuch gestatten werde, wie gesagt, weiß ich gar nichts dawider einzuwenden, u. hoffe u. wünsche, daß die Hohe Obervormundschaft völlig mit mir hierin einverstanden sey. --

                                                                                                        Ludwig van Beethowen

                                                                   Vormund meines Neffen Karl van Beethowen

                                                                                                                                         M.p.

Vien am 29ten März 1818

An die Frau Johanna Van Beethowen

Beethoven to Johanna van Beethoven

                                                                                           [Vienna, March 29, 1818]

    As far as I am concerned, you have my complete consent that, with respect to the sale of your house, you can leave the 7000 fl. owing to your son Karl on the house, with the purchaser,[1] only the Admirable Landrechte (Courts) have to give their permission to assure the respective buyer that the capital of 7,000 florins will be left unterminable for 3 or 4 years--According to my view I do not see anything that is harmful or unreasonable for your son Karl and therefore, I do not doubt in the least that the Admirable Guardianship Supervisor(s) will grant your request, and, as I said, I know of no objections against it and hope and wish that the High Guardianship Supersivor(s) will agree to it.-- 

                                                                                                        Ludwig van Beethowen

                                                                   Guardian of my nephew Karl van Beethowen

                                                                                                                                         M.p.

Vienna, the 29th of March, 1818

To Mme. Johanna Van Beethowen

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, Brief No. 1251, p. 181 - 182]

[Original:  Autograph, Yale University, Music Library; to [1]: refers to the fact that Johanna van Beethoven owned 75% of the house No. 121 in the Alser suburb, and that, in addition to other debts, there was a mortgage on it in the amount of 7,000 florins, representing Kar'ls inheritance from his grandmother, Theresia Reiß and from his great-grandfather,  Johann Paul Lamatsch; the GA further points out that Johanna solde the house  for 16,000 florins to Johann Baptist Kößler and Friedrike Trätte on July 2, 1818, and that the mortgage of 7,000 remained on the house in the name of her son; details taken from p. 182.]

 

Of the only three letters that the GA ascribes to the month of April of this year, two are addressed to Beethoven, namely one by the Viennese fabric merchant and music lover,  Johann Nepomuk Wolfmayer (Letter No. 1242 of April m 9, p. 182-183), in which the latter promises Beethoven the payment of 100 ducats for a Requiem with respect to which he must already have mentioned something to Beethoven, previously.  The GA notes that this project was not realized and, from 1819 on, this project must have been pre-empted by Beethoven's work on his Missa solemnis.  The second letter addressed to Beethoven is that by Johann Nepomuk Mälzel from Paris (Letter No. 1253 of April  19, p. 183 - 184); it discusses a journey that both might be undertaking, but also further work on mechanical devices for Beethoven.  In the third letter that has been preserved (No. 1254, described by the GA as having been written 'before May 1818', p. 185), Beethoven wrote to Archduke Rudolph and announced his visit for the next day.   

Before Beethoven's move to Mödling that, very likely, took place around the 19th of May, correspondence became more frequent.  On May 18, Beethoven sent a brief message (Letter No. 1255, p. 185-186) to Vincent Hauschka and asked him for the return of the score and parts to op. 55, since he was planning to leave for the countryside, on the next day.  (There, at Mödling, Beethoven had rented rooms at the Hafner house).  Shortly before May 19th, he also sent a short message to Nanette Streicher (Letter No. 1256, p. 186-187) and mentioned that he did not feel well, but also the visit by his brother Johann from Linz that apparently prevented him from seeing her before leaving.  He also advised Count Graf Moritz Lichnowsky of his departure (Letter No. 1257, p. 187).  His longest letter of these days was that to Ferdinand Ries in London (Letter No. 1258, p. 187-190), in which he also wrote of a 'strong attack' and in which he asked him for assistance with respect to the sale of some of his work.  The last letter of this month are Beethovens rather whimsical lines to Vincent Hauschka, which he already wrote from Mödling: 

Beethoven an Vinzenz Hauschka

                                                                                [Mödling, nach dem 19. Mai 1818][1]

Bestes Erstes VereinsMitglied Der Musick-Feinde des österreichischen Kaiserstaats!

  Ich   Bin  be-reit ------------  tenore

  (Notenbeispiel)

                                                               Ich bin be-rei ------------------------t!

    Kein anderes als geistliches sujet habe ich, ihr wollt aber ein Heroisches, mir ist's auch recht, nur glaube auch was geistliches <hien>drinein zu mischen würde sehr für so eine solche Maße am Platz seyn.[2]

                                                 A ---------------------------------------- men

                                                 (Notenbeispiel)

    Hr. v. Bernard wäre mir ganz recht,[3] nur bezahlt ihn aber auch, von mir rede ich nicht, da ihr euch schon Musik Freunde nennt, so ist's Natürlich, daß ihr manches auf diese Rechnung gehen lassen wollt --- !!!

    Nun leb wohl bestes Hausckerel, ich wünsche dir einen offenen stuhlgang u. den schönsten leibstuhl, was mich angeht, so wandle ich hier mit einem Stück notenpapier in Bergen und Klüften umher, u. schmiere manches um des Brodts u. geldes willen, denn auf diese höhe habe ichs in diesem allgewaltigen ehmaligen Fayacken Lande gebracht, daß, um einige Zit für ein großes werk zu gewinnen, ich immer vorher so viel schmiren um des geldes willen muß, daß ich es aushalte bey einem großen werk -- übrigens ist meine gesundheit sehr gebessert u. wenn es Eile hat, so kann ich euch schon Dienen --

Nun

(Notenbeispiel)

    Ich bin be -- rei --------------------- t!   Ich bin be - - rei---------------------

    -------------------- men

(Notenbeispiel)

    ------------------ t!

    wenn du nöthig findest mit mir zu sprechen, so schreibe mir, wo ich alsdenn alle Anstalt dazu treffen werde

Emphelung an die Musikfeindliche gesellschaft etc 

in Eil dein Freund

                                                                                                                   Beethov

Beethoven to Vincent Hauschka

                                                                        [Mödling, after the 19th of May, 1818][1]

Best Member of the Society of The Enemies of Music of the Austrian Imperial State! 

  I    am  rea-dy ------------  tenore

  (Note Sample)

                                                               I  am rea-dy ------------------------y!

    I have no other subject than a sacred one, yet you want a heroic one, that is alright with me, too, however, I believe if one were to incorporate something sacred, it would be very appropriate for such a lot..[2]

                                                 A ---------------------------------------- men

                                                 (Note Sample)

    Hr. v. Bernard would be quite suitable, I think,[3] however, you have to pay him, I do not speak of myself, since you call yourselves Friends of Music, it is natural that you want one or the other matter to be accounted for in the name of its cause--!!!

    Farewell, best Hauskerel (translator's note: a nick-name amalgam of the last name 'Hauschka' with the German word 'Kerl' (fellow]), I wish you open bowels and the most beautiful bowel movement, as far as I am concerned, here in the mountains and valleys, I am wandering with a music sheet and scribble many a thing for the sake of bread and money, since I have arrived at these lofty heights in this almighty former land of the  the Phaiakes that, in order to gain some time for the composition of a great work, before, I have to scribble so much for money's sake, so that I can then remain with the greater work--by the way, my health has improved very much, and if there is some hurry, I will can serve you-- 

Now

(Note Sample)

    I  am rea -- dy --------------------- y!   I  am rea - - dy---------------------

    -------------------- men

(Note Sample)

    ------------------ dy!

    if you find it necessary to speak to me, then write to me, so that I can arrange for it 

Recommendation to the Society of the Enemies of Music etc 

in haste your friend

                                                                                                                   Beethov

 

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, Brief No. 1259, p. 190 - 192).

[Original: Autograph, Vienna, Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde; to [1]: refers to the fact that this letter is to be considered Beethoven's reply to a renewed request by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde for an oratorio; to [2]: refers to the fact, that already in November, 1815, the Gesellschaft had approached Beethoven with respect to this, in which case Seyfried was considered as writer for the text; to [3]: refers to the fact that Beethoven and Bernard had come to an agreement with respect to the subject, with which Bernard had already dealt with in 1809, Der Sieg des Kreuzes; as the GA further reports, Bernard only finished the libretto in 1825 and that at that time, Beethoven was not satisfied with it; details taken from p. 191-192.]

 

Before we deal with Beethoven's further correspondence during his stay at Mödling, we should, once more, consider the 'main topic' of this year and take a look at the events that occurred with respect to it, during the period before Beethoven went to Mödling.  For this purpose, we can consult Thayer as well as the Gesamtausgabe correspondence of this time.  

What we can learn from Beethoven's correspondence with Mme. Streicher is, on the one hand, that he did replace his servants and that he had a few good words to say about his new cook "Peppi" (Letter No. 1329, from February, 1818, p. 168), while, on the other hand, Karl's private teacher stayed out overnight, at least once (Letter No. 1327, p. 167).  Thayer (p. 697) describes Karl's 'Hofmeister' or private teacher as a university professor whose name has not been preserved.  Moreover, according to Thayer, it is also not known how long he stayed in Beethoven's service and how successful he was in his teaching of Karl.  

What conclusions we might be able to draw or not to draw from the dwindling number of letters by Beethoven to Mme. Streicher during the period of February, 1818 until the end of May, 1818, is not clear, since we also have to allow for the possibility that some letter have not been preserved or been lost. 

As we can see from Beethoven's letter of January 24, 181, he was adamant that Karl's mother did  n o t  learn of his plans of taking Karl into his household.  This corresponds with Thayer's reference to Beethoven's diary entry of February 20, 1818:  "Karl's mother has not seen him since August 10" (Thayer: 698), which means that she did not see him for more than six months.  

Thayer (p. 700) confirms that Beethoven went to Mödling on May 19, 1818, and took his nephew with him. With respect to his schooling, Karl was left in the care of the village priest who taught school to a class of boys of his age.  However, after a month, this priest (Fröhlich) dismissed Karl on account of his unruly behavior.  As Thayer further reports, Fröhlich complained that Beethoven had encouraged Karl to speak ill of his mother, and that he had shown indifference towards religious instruction and that he had displayed unruly behavior in the village which led to complaints by many neighbors and that the other boys did not want to continue studying with the ill-behaved Karl van Beethoven.  

Before we take a look at Beethoven's lines to Mme. Streicher of June 18, 1818, Thayer's following report also provides us with an opportunity to learn what Beethoven looked like during this time:  

"The same summer saw the beginning of the most widely distributed portrait of Beethoven.  At the instance of his uncle, Baron von Skrbensky, a young painter named August von Klöber (born at Breslau in 1793), who was continuing his artistic studies in Vienna, undertook to paint a portrait of the composer.  His own account of his acquaintance with Beethoven and the incidents connected with the painting of the portrait (or rather with the original sketch) were published in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung of 1864 (p. 324).  From it we learn that the artist was introduced to Beethoven by a letter written by Dont.[6: Joseph Valentine Dont, a violoncellist, was a member of Beethoven's circle of friends]   He visited Beethoven at Mödling, after receiving permission to make a drawing of him and found him giving a lesson to his nephew on the Broadwood pianoforte.  This fact fixes the date of the picture.  Thought the artist found it impossible to make himself understood unless he wrote his words or spoke them into an ear-trumpet, Beethoven corrected the errors in the lad's playing, compelled him to repeat passages apparently without difficult.  Klöber's account continues:

"After approximately three-quarters of an hour, he grew uneasy; following Dont's advice I knew that it was time to stop and asked him only for permission to come again tomorrow since I lived in Mödling myself.  Beethoven was very understanding and said, "Then we can meet often because I do not like to sit long.  You must take a good look at Mödling for it is very beautiful here, and, as an artist you must be a lover of nature.'  On my walks in Mödling I met Beethoven repeatedly, and it was most interesting to see how frequently he stopped, with a sheet of music-paper and a pencil-stump in his hands, as if listening, looked up and down and then scribbled notes on the paper.  Dont had told me that if I met him thus I should never address him or notice him because he would then become either embarrassed or disagreeable.  Once, just when I was sketching a piece of woods, I saw him climb up a hill from the hollow which separated us, with his broad-brimmed felt hat pressed under his arm; when he got there, he threw himself down at full length under a pine-tree and for a long time stared heavenwards.--Every morning he sat for me awhile.  When Beethoven saw my picture he remarked that the treatment of the hair pleased him very much, the other painters hitherto had always made him look so well-groomed. . . . .

"Beethoven's residence in Mödling was extremely simple as, indeed, was his whole nature; his garments consisted of a light-blue frockcoat with yellow buttons, white waistcoat and necktie, as was the fashion at the time, but everything negligee.  His complexion was healthy and tough, the skin somewhat pock-marked, his hair was of the color of slightly bluish-gray and very animated--when his hair was tossed by the wind there was something Ossianic-demoniac about him.  In friendly converse, however, his expression became good-natured and gentle, particularly when the conversation pleased him.  Every mood of his soul found powerful expression instantly in his features."

Klöber's original painting has disappeared.  It was a full-length portrait with a bit of Mödling landscape as a background.  The nephew Karl was included, reposing under a tree.  The composer was depicted with note-book and pencil.  

A drawing of the head, presumably as it was in the painting, has survived and is owned by the publishing house of C.F. Peters in Leipzig" (Thayer: 702-703).

We should point out here that the title picture of this page depicts Klöber's sketch of Beethoven's portrait, while his sketch of Beethoven's hands follows right below, after which we want to acquaint you with the original text and our translation of Beethoven's June 18, 1818, letter to Nanette Streicher:

 



Beethoven's Hands
 

Beethoven an Nanette Streicher

                                                                                                  [Mödling, 18. Juni 1818][1]

Beste Frau v. Streicher!

    Es war nicht möglich, ihnen eher zu schreiben auf ihr letztes.  Ich hätte ihnen schon einige Täge zuvor als die Dienstbothen weggejagt wurden geschrieben, zauderte aber noch mit meinem Entschluß, bis ich gewahr wurde,  d a ß besonders Frau D...[2] Karl abhielte alles zu gestehn; "D i e   M u t t e r  s o l l t e   e r   d o c h   s c h o n e n" sagte sie ihm; eben so wirkte die Peppi[3] mit; natürlich wollten sie nicht entdeckt werden; beide haben schändlich mitgespielt, und sich brauchen lassen von der Frau v. Beethoven; beide empfingen Kaffee und Zucker von ihr, die Peppi  G e l d , die  A l t e  vermuthlich auch dasselbe; denn es unterliegt gar keinem Zweifel, daß sie bei der   M u t t e r   K a r l s  s e l b s t gewesen; sie sagte auch zu Karl daß, w e n n  i c h   s i e  aus dem Dienst jagte,  s i e   g l e i c h   z u   s e i n e r  M u t t e r  g e h e n  w ü r d e .  Dies geschah bei Gelegenheit, als ich ihr ihr Betragen verwiesen, womit ich öfter Ursache hatte unzufrieden zu sein; die Peppi, welche öfters lauschte, was ich mit Karl sprach, schien versucht zu werden, die Wahrheit gestehen zu wollen, allein die Alte   h i e l t   i h r   i h r e   D u m m h e i t   v o r   u n d    z a n k t e   s i e   t ü c h t i g   a u s -- und so verstockte sie wieder, und suchte mich auf falsche Spuren zu bringen.--Die Geschichte dieser abscheulichen Verrätherei kann beinahe 6 Wochen gedauert haben, beide würden nicht  s o   bei einem weniger großmüthigen Menschen davon gekommen sein.  Die Peppi erhielt von mir 9 oder 10 fl. für Hembdentuch, die sie aufnahm, und ich ihr hernach schenkte, und erhielt statt 60 fl. 70 fl.;[4] sie hätte schon können sich diese elenden Bestechungen versagen.  Bei der Alten, die sich überhaupt am schlechtesten benommen, mag wohl Haß mitgewirkt haben, da sie sich immer zurückgesetzt glaubte, (ohnerachtet sie mehr erhalten als sie verdient) denn selbst durch ihr   h o h n l ä c h e l n d e s   G e s i c h t   a n   e i n e m   T a g e, als mich Karl umarmte,  a h n d e t e   i c h   V e r r ä t h e r e i, und wie schändlich eine solche alte Frau, wie heimtückisch sie sein konnte.  Stellen sie sich vor, 2 Täge vorher als ich hieher mich begab,[5] ging K. ohne mein Wissen nachmittags zu seiner Mutter, und sowohl die Alte als P. wußten es ebenfalls.  Aber hören sie den Triumpf einer greisen Verrätherin; als ich mit K. und ihr hieher fuhr, sprach ich mit K. über die Sache im Wagen, obschon ich noch nicht alles wußte, rief sie aus, " i c h  s o l l t e  m i c h   n u r   a u f    s i e   v e r l a s s e n" .  O der Schändlichkeit!  Nur 2mal mit diesemmal ist mir in dem sonst ehrwürdigen Alter beim Menschen nur   s o   e t w a s   vorgekommen.  Mehrere Tage vorher, als ich beide wegjagte, hatte ich ihnen schriftlich aufgesetzt, daß sich keine unterstehen sollte, von der Mutter Karls irgend etwas an ihn anzunehmen.  Die Peppi statt in sich zu gehen, suchte sich heimlich an K. zu rächen, indem er schon alles gestanden hatte, welches ihnen deutlich wurde, indem ich aufgeschrieben auf obiges Blatt  a l l e s   s e i   e n t d e c k t -- ich erwartete, daß sie beide mich um Verzeihung nach diesem bitten würde; statt dessen spielten sie uns eine um die andere schlimme Streiche.  Da nun keine Besserung bei solchen verstockten Sünderinnen zu erwarten war u. ich jeden Augenblick eine neue Verrätherei erwarten mußte, so beschloß ich meinen Körper, meine Gemächlichkeit dem bessern ich meines armen verführten Karl aufzuopfern, und Marsch zum Hause hinaus zum   a b s c h r e c k e n d e n   B e i s p i e l  aller Künftigen. -- ich hätte das Attestat weniger vortheilhaft machen können, aber bewahre, ich habe jeder volle 6 Monate angesetzt, obschon es nicht so war.  R a c h e  übe ich nie aus; in Fällen, wo ich muß   g e g e n  andere Menschen handeln, thue ich nichts mehr  g e g e n   s i e  als was die Nothwendigkeit erfordert, mich vor ihnen zu bewahren, oder sie verhindert weiter Uebeles zu stiften. -- Um der Peppi ihre sonstige Redlichkeit ist mir's leid, sie verlohren zu haben, daher ich ihr Attestat noch vortheilhafter als der Alten gemacht habe, u. sie auch scheint von der Alten mehr verführt worden zu sein. daß es aber mit der P. ihrem Gewissen schlecht gestanden, erhellt daraus, daß sie zu K. sagte, "  s i e   g e t r a u e  s i c h  z u   i h r e n   E l t e r n   z u   g e h e n   n i c h t   m e h r,"   u n d   w i r k l i c h   i s t  s i e   n o c h   h i e r,   w i e   i c h   g l a u b e -- Spuren von Verrätherei hegte ich schon lange, bis ich den abend vor meiner Abreise einen anonymen Brief empfing, welcher mich mit Schrecken erfüllte durch seinen Inhalt; allein es waren mehr Vermuthungen.  Karl, den ich gleich Abends faßte, entdeckte gleich aber doch nicht alles.  Da ich ihn öfter erschütternd nicht ohne Ursache behandle, so fürchtete er sich zu sehr, als daß er ganz alles gestanden hätte, über diesem Kampf langten wir hier an.  Da ich ihn öfter vornahm, so bemerkten die Dienstboten dieses u. besonders die alte Verrätherin suchte ihn abzuhalben, die Wahrheit   n i c h t   zu gestehen.  Allein da ich Karl heilig versicherte, daß ihm alles vergeben sei, wenn er nur die Wahrheit gestände, indem Lügen ihn in einen noch tieferen Abgrund als worin er schon gerathen, stürzen würde, so kam alles ans Tageslicht, knüpfen Sie nun noch früher ihnen angegebenen Data über die Dienstbothen hier an, und Sie haben die ganze schändliche Geschichte beider Verrätherinnen klar vor sich. --- K. hat gefehlt, aber -- Mutter -- Mutter -- selbst eine schlechte bleibt doch immer Mutter. -- In so fern ist er zu entschuldigen, besonders von mir, da ich seine ränkevolle leidenschaftliche Mutter   z u   g u t   kenne. -- Der Pfaffe[6] hier weiß schon, daß ich von ihm weiß, denn K. hatte mir es schon gesagt.  Es ist zu vermuthen, daß er nicht ganz unterrichtet war, und daß er sich hüthen werde, allein um damit K. nicht übel von ihm behandelt werde, da er überhaupt etwas roh scheint, so ist es für jetzt genug.  Da aber K.'s Tugend auf die Probe gesetzt, denn ohne Versuchungen gibt es keine Tugend, so lasse ich es mit Fleiß hingehen, bis es noch einmal (was ich zwar nicht vermuthe) geschehe wo ich dann seiner Hochwürd. ihre Geistlichkeit mit solchen geistigen Prügeln u. Amuletten u. mit meiner ausschließlichen Vormundschaft u. daher rührenden Privilegien so erbärmlich zurichten werde, daß die ganze Pfarrei davon erbeben soll.-- Mein Herz wird schrecklich bei dieser Geschichte angegriffen, und noch kann ich mich kaum erholen. -- Nun von unserer Haushaltung; sie bedarf ihrer Hülfe, wie wir es brauchen, wissen Sie schon, lassen Sie sich nicht abschrecken, ein solcher Fall kann sich überall zutragen, ist es aber einmal geschehen und man kann den nachkommenden Dienstbothen   d i e s e s   vorhalten, so wird es sich schwerlich mehr ereignen -- Was wir brauchen wissen Sie, vielleicht eine Französin, und was sich dann zum Stubenmädchen findet, die gute Kocherey bleibt eine Hauptsache. -- selbst in Ansehung der Oekonomie, für jetzt haben wir hier eine Person, die uns zwar kocht, aber schlecht.[7]  Ich kann Ihnen heute nicht mehr schreiben, Sie werden wenigstens sehen, daß ich   h i e r   nicht anders handeln konnte; es war zu weit gekommen. -- ich lade sie noch nicht ein hieher, denn alles ist in verwirrung; jedoch  w i r d   m a n   n i c h t   n ö t h i g  h a b e [n]  m i c h   i n   d e n   N a r r e n t h u r m   z u   f ü h r e n.  -- ich kann sagen, daß ich schon in Wien schrecklich wegen dieser Geschichte gelitten u. daher nur still für mich war. -- Leben Sie recht wohl; machen sie nichts hiervon bekannt, da man [auf][8] K. nachtheilig schließen könnte; nur   i c h  da ich alle Triebräder hier kenne, kann   f ü r   i h n   zeugen, daß er auf das schrecklichste verführt ward. -- ich bitte uns bald etwas Tröstliches wegen der Koch- Wäsch - Näh- Kunst zu schreiben.

    Ich befinde mich sehr übel und bedarf bald einer Magen-Restauration.

In Eil ihr Freund

                                                                                                           Beethoven.

Mödling am 18.[10?]* Juni 1818.

Beethoven to Nanette Streicher

                                                                                                  [Mödling, June 18, 1818][1]

Best Frau v. Streicher!

    It was not possible to write to you sooner in reply to your last (letter).  I would have written to you a few days earlier, when the servants ran away, yet I still hesitated for a while until I became aware of the fact that particularly Frau D....[2] prevented Karl from admitting everything: "A f t e r   a l l ,   h e    s h o u l d  p r o t e c t   h i s    m o t h e r ", she told him; Peppi[3] also helped in this; of course, they did not want to be found out; both have shamefully participated and allowed themselves to be used by Frau v. Beethoven; both received coffee and sugar from her, and Peppi   m o n e y, probably also the  o l d  w o m a n; for there is no doubt, at all, that both have visited Karl's mother, themselves; she also told Karl that, should I dismiss her, she would go to his mother, right away.  This happened on the occasion when I criticized her behavior, for which I often had cause; Peppi, who listened often to what I talked with Karl about appeared to be tempted to speak the truth, alone, the old woman  p o i n t e d   o u t   h e r   s t u p i d i t y  a n d   s c o l d e d   h e r  h e a v i l y--and thus she became reluctant, again and tried to lead me along a wrong path.--The story of this despicable betrayal may have lasted as long as six weeks, both would not have fared  a s  easily with a less generous man.   Peppi received from me 9 or 10 florins for fabric for her shirts which she took and which I then gave to her as a gift, and thus she received 70 florins instead of 60 florins;[4] she could have declined to participate in those despicable briberies.  In the case of the old woman who, in any event, behaved the worst, hatred might have been part of her motivation, since she always considered herself neglected (although she received mor than she deserves),  for, even in spite of her  d e c e i t f u l   s m i l e,  o n e  d a y, when Karl hugged me,  I  s u s p e c t e d   b e t r a y a l, and how dishonorable such an old woman could be, how sneaky. Imagine, 2 days before I came here,[5] Karl went to see his mother in the afternoon, without my knowledge, and both the old woman and P. knew about it.   Now, listen to the triumph of an old traitress; when I drove here with Karl and her, I spoke to Karl about this matter in the coach, and, although I did not now everything, yet, she exclaimed that  I  s h o u l   o n l y   r e l y   o n   h e r.  O treachery!  Only twice, including this time, did I experience something like t h i s   from an older person.  Several days ago, when I chased both of them away, I had written down in writing for them that none of them should dare to take anything from Karl's mother for him.    Peppi, instead of coming to her senses, attempted to secretly take revenge on K. since he had already admitted everything, which became clear to them since I had written on the above-mentioned paper  t h a t   e v e r y t h i n g   h a s   b e e n   d i s c o v e r e d--I expected that after that, both of them would apologize to me; instead, they played one bad trick after another against us.   Since there was no improvement to be hoped for from such incorrigible sinners and since I had to expect a new betrayal, any moment, I resolved to sacrifice my well-being and my comfort for the better of my poor, misguided Karl and out with them as a deterrent for all future (servants).--I could have written their references somewhat less to their advantage, yet beware, I have accorded six full months (of service) to each of them, although this was not the case.   I never exercise   r e v e n g e; in cases in which I have to act   a g a i n s t   other people, I do not do more  a g a i n s t  them than necessity requires in order to protect myself from them or to prevent further wrongdoing on their part.--For the sake of Peppi's otherwise honest behavior it is a shame and I am sorry to have lost her, for which reason I have written her reference somewhat more advantageous than that of the old woman, and she also appears to have been misguided by the old woman; however, that P. had a bad conscience could be seen   from what she said to K,  t h a t   s h e   d i d   n o t   d a r e   t o   r e t u r n   t o   h e r   p a r e n t s,  a n d,   i n d e e d,   s h e  i s  s t i l l   h e r e,   a s   I   b e l i e v e--for a long time, I had already detected traces of treachery until, on the evening before my departure, I received an anonymous letter that filled me with fear on account of its content; alone, it contained assumptions and innuendos rather than facts.  Karl, whom I caught right at this evening uncovered things right away, but not everything.  Since I, not without reason, often treat him severely, he was too afraid to admit everything, entirely, and over this fight, we arrived here.   Since I interrogated him frequently, the servants noticed this and particularly the old traitress tried to prevent him from admitting the truth.  However, since I solemnly reassured Karl that he would be completely forgiven if he were to tell the truth, since lies would only get him in deeper and deeper than he already was, everything came to the light of day,, if you add to this some of the facts with respect to the servants that I had already provided to you earlier, then you have the entire horrible story of the traitresses clearly before you.-- K. failed, however--mother--mother--even a bad one still remains a mother.--Insofar he is to be excused, particularly by me, since I know his meddlesome, passionate mother   t o o    w e l l.--The pirest[6] here already knows that I know of him, since K. already told me so.  It is to be assumed that he was not entirely informed, and that he will be careful and in order for him to refrain from ill-treating Karl, let it be enough, for now.  However, since K's virtue has been tested, since there is no virtue without trial, I let it go, deliberately,  until it will happen, again (what I do not expect), in which case  I will come down on the Reverend and his priesthood with such spiritual chastisement and with the force of my exclusive guardianship and the privileges arising from it  that the entire parish will tremble from it.--In this story, my heart is suffering terribly, and I can hardly recover from it.--Now about our household; it requires your help, you know what we need, do not be discouraged, such an event can happen everywhere and since it has happened, one can warn future servants on account of it, and thus it will hardly happen, again.--You know what we need, perhaps a Frenchwoman, and what we can find with respect to a chamber maid, good cooking remains the main thing.--even with respect to economy, for now, we have someone here who cooks for us, but badly.[7]  Today, I can not write more to you, at least you will see that  h e r e , I could not act otherwise; it had gone too far.--I am not yet inviting you here, since everything is in disarray; however, it will  n o t  be  n e c e s s a r y  t o   l o c k   m e  u p  i n  t h e   i n s a n e   a s y l u m.--I can say that already in Vienna, I have suffered terribly from this story and due to this kept quiet and by myself, here.--Farewell, do not let anyone know about this, since one could draw wrong conclusions with respect to K.[8];  only  I ,  since I know all driving forces in this case, can vouch for   h i m that he was misled in the most terrible way.--I ask you to write us something comforting with respect to the art of cooking, washing and sewing.  

    I feel very ill and require for my stomach to be restored.

In haste your friend

                                                                                                           Beethoven.

Mödling on the 18th[10th?]* of June, 1818.

 

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, Letter No. 1260, p. 192-195]

[Original: not known, text pursuant to TDR IV, p. 509 ff. (No. 59); to [1]: refers to the fact that Riemann had two copies from Thayer's papers, and that in one copy, the letter was dated June 10, 1818, and in the other, following a paper Otto Jahn had, June 18, 1818, which Nottebohm agreed with, as well; to [2]: refers to Beethoven's housekeeper who had worked for him since the end of January, 1818; to [3]: refers to the kitchen maid who had been hired at the beginning of February, 1818; to [4]: refers to Beethoven's estimate for the cost of his kitchen maid of 60 florins, annually; to [5]: refers to Beethoven's diary entry as to his arrival at Mödling on May 19, 1818; to [6]: refers to the priest, Johann Baptist Fröhlich, who later supported Johanna van Beethoven before the Magistrate of Vienna in her fight for Karl, while Beethoven complained about his dubious reputation and about his administering of spankings as punishment; to [7]: refers to Beethoven's entry in his diary with respect to the entry of the new housekeeper on June 8, 1818; to  [8]: refers to [ ] brackets according to the original text; to [9]: also refers to [] brackets pursuant to the original text; details taken from p. 194 - 195.]

 

This letter shows us with what 'success' Beethoven's attempts of looking after his nephew on his own were 'crowned' and it also 'vividly' supplements Thayer's report!  From Beethoven's further correspondence with Nanette Streicher (Letter No. 1261, p. 195-196, shortly after the 18th of June, 1818), it becomes clear that new servants had been hired and that Beethoven continued with his attempts at creating a home for his nephew as best or as worst as he could.  

For the remainder of Beethoven's summer stay at Mödling, the 'Gesamtausgabe' lists five further letters, the first of which is George Thomson's lengthy letter in French, dated  'Edinbourg, 22. Juin 1818' (Letter No. 1262, p. 196 - 201), followed by a letter by the Zurich publisher Hans Georg Nägeli that is of great interest to our topic.  Therefore, we will feature its original text in full, followed by our own translation: 

 Hans Georg Nägeli an Beethoven

                                                                                    Zürich, den 3. Juli 1818.

    Erlauben Sie, mein hochverehrter Freund! daß ich Ihnen hiermit eine Erföffnung mache.  Ich bin gesonnen, bey der Errichtung eines erweiterten Musik-Etablissements[1] einen raisonnirenden Catalog auszuarbeitn.  Zu diesem Behuf wünsche ich von Ihnen ein vollständiges Verzeichniß Ihrer bisher gedruckten Werke, mit Beisetzung des Originalverlegers bei jedem Opus zu erhalten;[2]  und wenn unter den vielen arrangirten Werken Ihnen solche zu Gesicht gekommen, deren Arrangement Sie gutheißen oder auch solche die Sie mißbilligen, wollte ich ebenfalls darüber um eine kurze Notiz gebeten haben.

    Zugleich empfehle ich die Unternehmung der Bach'schen Messe Ihrer geneigten Aufmerksamkeit, und bitte um gefällige Verwendung bei dortigen Kunstbeförderern.[3]

    Es is einer meiner Lieblingspläne, alljährlich eine Partitur eines Haupt-Kirchenwerks herauszugeben, und da bin ich, wenn diese Unternehmung gelingt, vielleicht so glücklich künftig auch an Sie gelangen zu können.

    Meinen Brief, den ich letzten Winter an Herrn von Collin[4] beygeschlossen, werden Sie, verehrter Freund! erhalten haben?

Hans Georg Nägeli to Beethoven

                                                                                    Zürich, the 3rd of July, 1818.

    Allow me, my highly revered friend! that I make an announcement. For the purpose of establishing an extended musical establishment[1], I intend to issue an appropriate catalogue.  For this purpose I wish to receive from you a complete listing of all of your works that have been printed, thus far, including the name(s) of the original publisher(s) with each Opus;[2]  and if, among the many arranged works of yours there are some arrangements that you approve of or also such that you do not approve of, I would also like to ask for your brief note with respect to it.  

    At the same time, I recommend the undertaking of Bach's Mass for your kind attention and ask you for your kind assistance with respect to your local art supporters.[3]

    It is one of my favorite plans to annually publish a score of a major sacred work, and in this respect I might also be happy to arrive at your works if this undertaking should prove successful.  

    Revered friend, I hope that you will have received my letter that I had enclosed in my mail to Herr von Collin[4]?

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, Letter No.1263, p. 201-202]

[Original: Not known, text pursuant to ohl I, p. 269, according to a "correspondence book" left behind by Nögeli; to [1]: refers to the fact that, in 1818, Nägeli and his partner Jakob Christoph Hug each went their own way, and Nägeli opened up his own music shop in Zurich; to [2]:  refers to the fact that Beethoven did not supply Nägeli with this list; to [3]: refers to Nägeli's plan to publish a score of Bach's Mass in B Minor for Easter, 1819; however, the number of subscribers was too low; to [4]: refers to Matthäus von Collin, the brother of Heinrich von Collin; details taken from p. 201 - 203; italization of the second paragraph of the letter by the web site author.]

Perhaps, we can also take a look at the text of Nägeli's enclosure to his letter to Beethoven, his invivation for the subscription to Bach's Mass in B Minor:  

                                                                  "  A n k ü n d i g u n g

                                                       des größten musikalischen Kunstwerks

                                                                  aller Zeiten und Völker.

    Der über alle Vergleichung große  J o h a n n    S e b a s t i a n   B a c h   hat nun in unserm Zeitalter eine Anerkennung gefunden, die es möglich macht, zur Herausgabe desjenigen Werks zu schreiten, das schon an Inhalt und Umfang, überhaupt aber an Größe des Styls und Reichtum der Erfindung seine bisher gedruckten noch eben so weit übertrifft, als diese, abgesehen von Zeitgeschmack und Zufälligkeit der Kunstform, diejenigen aller anderen Componisten übertreffen.  Es ist dieß eine 

                                     F ü n f s t i m m i g e   M i s s a   m i t   v o l l e m   O r c h e s t e r ,

wovon ich das  A u t o g r a p h u m  aus dem Nachlasse seines Sohnes, C.P.E. Bach, durch Vermittlung des Herrn Musikdirektors  S c h w e n k e   i n   H a m b u r g , vormals angekauft habe.  

    Eine Inhaltsangabe kann hier nicht weiter seyn, als Andeutung.  Also nur wenige Worte!   In   t e c h n i s c h e r   Hinsicht enthält dieselbe in   s i e b e n   u n d   z w a n z i g   ausführlichen Sätzen alle Arten der contrapunktischen und canonischen Kunst in der an   B a c h   immer wieder bewunderten Vollkommenheit.  Auch die Instrumentation, sogar die Kunst des Zwischenspiels, ist darin erstaunlich weit getrieben.  In   a e s t h e t i s c h e r  Beziehung genügt es, das   C r e d o   anzuführen, das schon   E b e l i n g   in seinem "Lobgesang auf die Harmonie" (G. Matthissons Anthologie Band IV, Seite 259 und die Note G. 265) als "das Meisterwerk des größten aller Harmonisten" dichterisch gepriesen hat.  Dieses Credo (schon der erste ausführliche Satz bloß über die Worte  credo in unum deum ) ist wohl das   w u n d e r b a r s t e   Tonkunstwerk, das existirt.  Die schwierige, von den Kunstrichtern seiner und unserer Zeit oft besprochene Aufgabe, wie das Credo von dem Kirchen=Componisten zu behandeln sey, steht hier gelöst in einem ewigen Vorbilde da, als die unmittelbarste Erweckung der  G l a u b e n s k r a f t   d u r c h   d i e   W u n d e r k r a f t   d e r    K u n s t .

    Für dieses Werk, das in keiner Sammlung von Kirchenmusiken, in keinem Sing Institut, überhaupt in keiner Partituren-Bibliothek fehlen darf; das dem Organisten wie dem Fugenspieler, dem Kunstgelehrten wie dem Componisten, gleich wichtig ist, darf man besonders auch die Theilnahme großer und reicher Kunstbeförderer ansprechen, damit es durch dieselben in die Hände würdiger Künstler und Kunstjünger erbracht werde, für welche zum Behuf ihrer künstlerischen Ausbildung die Erlangung eines so überschwenglichen Kunstschatzes eine eben so große Wohlthat seyn dürfte, als etwa für den angehenden  b i l d e n d e n   Künstler eine Reise nach Rom.

    Der Subscriptions = Preis ist zu 8 Reichsthaler sächs. sehr mäßig angesetzt, da dieß Werk an Bogenzahl die größte der gedruckten Partituren, die von   H ä n d e l s   M e s s i a s , noch merklich überschritten wird.  Die Subscription bleibt bis Neujahr 1819 offen.  Das Werk erscheint sodann zur Ostermesse.  Die Namen der Subscribenten werden vorgedruckt.

     Zürich, im Junius 1818.

                                                                                    H a n s   G e o r g   N ä g e l i ." 

(Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, p. 202, facsimile print; --

-- 

"  A n n o u n c e m e n t

                                                       with respect to the greatest musical art work

                                                                  of all times and all nations.

    The incomparably great   J o h a n n    S e b a s t i a n   B a c h   has found appreciation in our times that makes it possible to embard on the publication of that work that, already from its content and volume, in general also with respect to the greatness of its style and with respect to the wealth of ideas contained in it, surpasses all works of his that have been printed thus far, to such a degree, as they, regardless of the taste of the time and the musical form in which they have been rendered, surpass the works of all other composers.  This work is a  

                                     F i v e - P a r t   M a s s   w i t h   f u l l   O r c h e s t r a ,

for which I had bought the A u t o g r a p h  from the estate of his son, C.P.E. Bach, with the help of Music Director S c h w e n k e   i n   H a m b u r g.  

    Here, a description of the content can be nothing but a brief reference to highlights.  Therefore, only a few words!   With respect to its   t e c h n i  c a l   merits we can mention that it contains  t w e n t y - s e v e n  lengthy pieces featuring samples of all forms of contrapuntal and canonical art in the perfection that has been admired in Bach, time and again.  Also the instrumentation, and the art of musical episodes, has been developed to an amazing extent in this work.  With respect to its a e s t h e t i  c merits it should suffice to mention the C r e d o , that already  E b e l i n g, in his "Lobgesang auf die Harmonie" (G. Matthissons Anthologie Vol. IV, p. 259 and the note G. 265) has poetically praised as  "das Meisterwerk des größten aller Harmonisten" (the masterwork of the greatest of all harmonists).   This Credo (allready the first, extensive passage on the words  credo in unum deum alone) is surely the most  w o n d e r f u l  musical art work that exists.  The difficult task of how the Credo should be treated by church composers, that has already been discussed at length by critics of his time and by those of our time, has been solved here in such a manner that it can serve as an example for all time, as the most immediate awakening of  the  s t r e n g t h   o f   f a i t h   t h r o u g h   t h e    m i r a c u l o u s   f o r c e   o f   a r t .  

    With respect to this work that should not be missed in any collection of church music, in any Singing Institution, and in any library of musical scores; that is of equal importance to the organist, the player of fugues, the art connoisseur as well as the composer, one may encourage the participation of great and wealthy art patrons so that, through their help, it can be passed on to deserving artists and art lovers for whose musical education the acquisition of such an abundant musical treasure should be of equal benefit as a journey to Rome might be for the emerging painter.   

    The subscription price has been set very moderate at 8 Reichsthaler, since the work, with respect to the number of sheets, will be the greatest printed score, aside from  H a n d e l ' s   M e s s i a h  that still significantly surpasses it.  The subscription will remain open until New Year, 1819.  The work will be published for the Easter Fair.  The names of the subscribers will be printed in it.  

     Zürich, June, 1818.

                                                                                    H a n s   G e o r g   N ä g e l i ." 

As lay people, we can at least ask ourselves what impression the content of this invitation might have made on Beethoven! 

After this 'uplifting' correspondence, It is almost a pity that we have to return to mentioning further Gesamtausgabe letters before Beethoven's return from Mödling, which we, for the sake of completeness, should not neglect, however.  On July 12, 1818 (Letter No. 1264, p. 203-204), the Halle theologian Karl Heinrich Gottfried Witte, who stayed in Vienna during this time, wrote a few lines to Beethoven and asked him for permission that his son Karl, the later jurist and Dante researcher, might visit him.   Under date of July 17, Thomas Broadwood from London wrote a few lines to Beethoven in French (Letter No. 1265, p. 205-206), in which he, as far as we have understood its content, advised Beethoven that Stumpff, when he would be visiting Vienna, could attend to the tuning of Beethoven's Broadwood Piano that he had received as a gift.  The last lines that were written during Beethoven's stay at Mödling are his own to Sigmund Anton Steiner  (Letter No. 1266, p. 206 - 207).  In these, Beethoven announced his return to Vienna.  

We hope that our journey with Beethoven through the year 1818, up to this point, provided you with a lively impression of his life circumstances of this time.  If we consider all aspects of these circumstances, we might be as well prepared as we can be as lay people,  to take a look at Thayer's report on Beethoven's Mödling diary entries with respect to his first thoughts of the work in discussion:

"Notes in the Tagebuch and sketchbooks which, to judge by their context, were written during the summer sojourn in Mödling show the trend of Beethoven's thoughts on religious subjects which were crystallizing or about to crystallize in the idea of writing a great mass.

   In order to write true church music . . . look through all the monastic church chorals and also the strophes in the most correct traditions and perfect prosody in all Christian-Catholic psalms and hymns generally.

   Sacrifice again all the pettiness of social life to your art.  O God above all things!  For it is an eternal providence which directs omnisciently the good and evil fortunes of human men.

                                                    Short is the life of man, and whoso bears
                                                    A cruel heart, devising cruel things,
                                                    On him men call down evil from the gods
                                                    While living, and pursue him, when he dies,
                                                    With cruel scoffs. But whoso is of generous heart
                                                    And harbors generous aims, his guests proclaim
                                                    His praises far and wide to all mankind,
                                                    And numberless are they who call him good.
                                                                                                                                --Homer.

   Tranquilly will I submit myself to all vicissitudes and place my sole confidence in Thy unalterable goodness, O God!  My soul shall rejoice in Thy immutable servant.  Be my rock, my light, forever my trust!

. . . " (Thayer: 715).  

Thayer further writes that Beethoven's spiritual ascent found expression in fragments that he had jotted down during his walks in the hills surrounding Mödling.  Among them, Thayer also found this note:  

 


Mödling and Environs
 

 

"[Note sample]

                        Gott    al-    lein    ist    un-    ser    Herr.    Er    al-    lein

                        [God    a-    lone    is    God  our    Lord.    He  a-    lone]" (Thayer: 715).

 

In our next section, we will try to find a connection between these inspirations and the actual occasion for the composition of the Missa Solemnis:

 

ABOUT THE ACTUAL OCCASION FOR THE COMPOSITION

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