Angels Making Music. Around 1510
Matthias Grünewald
from the Isenheim Altar
(Colmar, Alsace, France:  Unterlinden Museum)



In turning our attention to the topic of Beethoven's negotiations for the subscription of the Missa solemnis, as lay people, we should first consider what sources are available to us: Thayer-Forbes' standard biography, comments by contemporary Beethoven researchers and biographers and the Henle edition of Beethoven's letters.   Let's see what kind of dynamics might develop by our comparing all of these sources!   

We also tried to arrive at a visual impression of the time frame of Beethoven's negotiations in form of thematic and chronological overviews in table form, see the following link below which will bring up a separate page in a new window.  An optimal overall impression can be gained by keeping this new page on the task bar at the bottom while you continue to read the chronological overview.   

Overviews in Table form to the Subscription Correspondence:
Introduction and Links Page


As always, we wish you a great deal of reading enjoyment with the material we can offer you, while we want to invite you to come along with us, at least in your mind, to the end of the year 1822:  



In the last section, we discussed Beethoven's ultimately unsuccessful attempts at marketing that work which he considered to be his greatest, the Missa solemnis, with such a profit margin that would enable him--after (at least) having experienced artistic fulfillment in its creation--to achieve the kind of financial success that would help him to considerably reduce his debt.  What else could he do to come closer to this goal?  



With respect to this, Thayer-Forbes (p. 821), reports that, at the end of 1822, Beethoven planned to postpone the publication of the Mass in order to sell the work through subscriptions to the European rulers.  

As Thayer reports, during the first week of 1823, for this purpose, Beethoven sent his brother to Georg August von Griesinger at the Saxon Embassy in Vienna, with a letter  (GA Vol.  5, Letter No. 1523, p. 3).  (Cooper (p. 302) reports with respect to this that the project was mentioned by Johann van Beethoven for the first time in his letter to Pacini of December 27, 1822).  In his letter to Griesinger, Beethoven asked the latter to advise its bearer in the matter of invitations for subscription, and he also apologized that he could not appear, himself, as he was indisposed.  Thayer writes that it is not known whether Griesinger helped Beethoven in this matter.  However, as Thayer continues, during the first two weeks of 1823, the project was taken up vigorously.    



Since neither Beethoven alone, nor Griesinger's advice, nor the help of Johann van Beethoven could get the project practically launched, Anton Schindler's assistance was sought who, in his role as Beethoven's private secretary, was fully occupied with the writing, dispatching and picking up of related correspondence.  As Thayer reports, Schindler's documents that he left to the Royal Prussian Library in Berlin (today:  Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz) contained many--albeit undated--loose sheets and notes with respect to this matter that have been chronologically arranged by Schindler and, in part, also been supplied with his personal comments on their content.    As Thayer reports Beethoven, since he really used Schindler extensively in this matter, offered to pay him 50 florins after collecting the fees on some of the subscriptions.  As Thayer further reports, Schindler commented, he never received this amount and would also not have accepted it since he, as he presented himself on his later visiting cards, he considered himself to be "L'Ami de Beethoven" (Beethoven's friend) and that he provided this extensive help out of friendship to Beethoven for which he did not want to be paid.   

Of course, Thayer continues, Schindler was delighted when Beethoven left him some autographs that were considered of little value during his lifetime while today, they are considered invaluable.  Moreover, Thayer reports, in exchange for an annuity of 400 Talers, Schindler left his memorabilia to the Royal Prussian Library in Berlin.   All of this, Thayer adds, does not take anything away from Schindler's help and its initial selfless nature during Beethoven's life time while the latter was often ailing and helpless.  




Initially, Schindler had to draft enquiries directed to the Viennese embassies of the European courts.  As Thayer reports, part of these enquiries had been drawn up by the end of January, 1823.  From a letter of Beethoven to Schindler (GA Vol. 5, Letter No. 1524, p. 3-4, considered by the GA to have been written "vor dem 23. Januar 1823" (before January 23, 1823) which was obviously written during this month, we learn that he asked him to prepare a list of all European courts, on the basis of an almanach in which all foreign embassies in Vienna were listed.  Thayer then lists all the dates and courts to the Viennese embassies of which enquiries were directed.  Let us list them here and combine them with information from the Henle Gesamtausgabe:  


 Date Court Information from the GA
 Jan. 23, 1823  Baden   Vol. 5, Letter No. 1526, p. 6-7
   Bavaria   Vol. 5, Letter No. 1527, p. 7
   Saxony   Vol. 5, Letter No. 1530, p. 8-9
   Württemberg   Vol. 5, Letter No. 1523, p. 10
 Jan. 26,  1823  "all others"   no information
Febr. 2, 1823  Weimar   Vol. 5, Letter No. 1531, p 9
Febr. 5, 1823  Hesse-Darmstadt   Vol. 5, Letter No. 1550, p. 27-30
   Mecklenburg   Vol. 5, Letter No. 1528, p. 7-8
Febr. 6, 1823  Berlin   Vol. 5, Letter No. 1529, p. 8
   Hesse-Kassel   Vol. 5, Letter No. 1525, p. 5-6
   Hesse-Nassau   Vol. 5, Letter No. 1555, p. 32
   Copenhagen   Vol. 5, Letter No. 1553, p. 31
 Febr. 17, 1823  Tuscany no information with respect to Beethoven's letter to the Embassy; however:  Letter No. 1567 of Feb. 11, 1823 by Carl v. Odelgha to Grand Duke Ferdinand III, GA Vol. 5, p. 43 
 Mar. 3, 1823  Paris   Vol. 5, Letter No. 1599, p. 76


On January 23, 1823, an enquiry was also drafted to the court of Hesse-Kassel (that, according to Thayer's above listing, was sent off on February 6, 1823); however, it was not sent (from Vienna) since, as Schindler wrote, it was found that nothing was to be expected from the smaller courts.  The letter was returned to Beethoven.  Thayer quotes this letter as a sample.  Let us feature the original text from the Gesamtausgabe, followed by Thayer's text:  


     "Der Unterzeichnete hegt den Wunsch, sein neuestes Werk, welches er für das gelungenste seiner Geistesprodukte hält, dem Allerhöchsten Hofe von Cassel einzusenden.

    Dasselbe ist eine große solenne Messe für 4 Solostimmen, mit Chören und vollständigen großen Orchester, in Partitur, welche auch als großes Oratorium gebraucht werden kann.

    Er bittet daher, die Hohe Gesandtschaft Sr königlichen Hoheit des Churfürsten von Hessen-Cassel, möge geruhen, ihm die hierzu nöthige Erlaubniß Ihres Allerhöchsten Hofes gnädigst zu bewirken.

    Da die Abschrift der Partitur jedoch beträchtliche Kosten erfordert, so glaubt der Gefertigte es nicht zu hoch anzusetzen, wenn ein Honorar von 50 Dukaten in Gold dafür festgesetzt werde.

    Das erwünschte Werk wird übrigens vor der Hand nicht öffentlich im Stich ausgegeben werden.

Wien, den 23. Jänner. 1823.

                                                                                             Ludwig van Beethoven"

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No.  1525, p. 5-6]


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

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

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

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

Vienna, 23 January, 1823.                                                                            Ludwig van Beethoven." (Thayer: 822).

Thayer reports that it is not certain how many enquiries of this kind were written on which only Beethoven's signature was by his own hand.  Schindler, so Thayer, only counted the accepted offers, and even this list was not completely accurate.  



If you have kept our start page to our overview in table form down at your task bar, you might wish to compare it with the following brief listing here, both of which provide us with a first impression of the overlaps in time of the various activities:  

1.  First enquiries to the Viennese Embassies, from January 1 to January 23, 1823; 
2.  Passing on of the enquiries to the European courts, from January  25 to February 26,  1823;
3.  Interim reports back to Vienna, from February 25 to May 28, 1823; 
4.  Actual invitations for subscriptions, from  February 5 to July 5, 1823;
5.  Letters to persons who had connections to possible subscribers, from February 5, 1823 to February 1, 1824;
6.  Correspondence between Beethoven and Archduke Rudolph, from July 1 to November 7, 1823;
7.  Correspondence between Beethoven and Schindler, from January 23 to August 23, 1823;
8.  Correspondence between Schindler and others, from June 18 to December 6, 1823;
9.  Correspondence between Beethoven and Franz Brentano, from August 2 to August 8, 1823;
10. Rejections and replies to them, from February 25 to June 18, 1823;
11. Acceptances of subscriptions, from February 26 to September 12, 1823;
12. Follow-up letters to acceptances, from August 3, 1823 to August 3, 1824;
13. Beethoven's reply to an acceptances, dated March 24, 1823;
14. Streicher's endeavors, from September 16, 1824 to March 5, 1825.



In consideration of this overview we might, perhaps, not find it difficult to follow Thayer's report that --mainly, but not exclusively--describes Beethoven's negotiations with potential, individual subscribers, followed by a listing of the actual subscribers (with respect to this, you might wish to refer to our table overview XA).   

However, let us now follow Thayer's report on the individual possible subscribers and the results of Beethoven's attempts at winning them over.  We should point out that we will not precisely follow Thayer's report that does not exclusively follow potential subscribers.  We will also try to supplement Thayer's data with comments by contemporary Beethoven researchers and with relevant data from the Henle Gesamtausgabe.  

To begin with, Thayer (p. 822) reports that in all, Beethoven received ten acceptances to his invitations for the subscription to his Missa solemnis.  



The first reportedly arrived from the King of Prussia, with respect to which Prince Hatzfeld acted as go-between.   Beethoven is also reported as having called on the assistance of the Royal Prussian Private Secretary, Friedrich Duncker.  As Thayer, relying on Schindler, further reports, Court Councillor Wernhard, Head of the Chancellery of the Prussian Embassy in Vienna, have presented Beethoven with the report of Berlin's acceptance of his invitation and that he reportedly asked the composer if he, instead of the 50 ducats, would not prefer to receive a medal, to which Beethoven reportedly sarcastically referred to the love of his contemporaries for medals, at the cost of the sanctity of art.  With respect to this, Maynard Solomon comments: 

"That Beethoven's attitude toward honors was occasionally ambivalent is shown by Schindler's well-known--but questionable--story that in 1823 Beethoven had been offered the choice of a royal decoration or 50 ducats for the Prussian court's subscription to the Missa Solemnis; Beethoven unhesitatingly answered "50 ducats," preferring the cash to the ribbon.  Schindler took this as "striking proof how lightly he prized insignia of honor or distinctions in general"" (Solomon: 273).

As Thayer further reports, Beethoven received the money, while the copy of the score, due to a delay in copying, was not delivered, immediately.  Therefore, in July 1823, Prince Hatzfeld saw himself forced to remind the composer of his obligation.  Prince Radziwill from Berlin is also reported by Thayer as having subscrib.  With respect to this, Thayer further reports that on June 28, 1824, a representative of the Prince politely reminded Beethoven that he had sent him a cheque for 50 ducats with the request that the composer confirm its receipt and that he send him the copy of the score and that he had not received either, yet.  With respect to this, Thayer also refers to Schindler's comment that this was the copyist's fault, since many pages had to be copied a second time.  Let us compare Thayer's 'Berlin' comments with related correspondence that is listed in the Henle Gesamtausgabe:   

1.   Jan. 23, 1823:  Initial enquiry with the Prussian embassy in Berlin; (GA Vol. 5, Ltr No. 1529, p. 8);
2.   Feb. 2, 1823: Subscription invitation to King Friedrich Wilhelm III. of Prussia; (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1552, p. 31);
3.   Feb. 7./8,1823: Beethoven's Letter to Prince Radziwill in Berlin; (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1558, p. 34); request to support the
      subscription by the Prussian Court;
4.   Feb. 18, 1823: Beethoven's letter to Friedrich Duncker in Berlin; (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1571, p. 46-47; request to support
      the subscription by the Prussian Court;
5.   April 6,1824: Ludewig Krause's letter to Beethoven (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1806, p. 297) with the cheque for the fee of 50 
      ducats in payment of the subscription by Prince Radziwill;
6.   June 28,1824: Ludewig Krause's polite reminder letter to Beethoven (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1847, p. 334-336)

In conclusion to the 'Berlin' subscriptions we should mention that we could not find the July 1823 letter by Prince Hatzfeld to Beethoven that Thayer refers to, in the Henle Gesamtausgabe.  



With respect to this potential subscriber, Thayer (p. 823) reports that on July 1, 1823, Beethoven wrote a long letter to Archduke Rudolph in which he also reported on the progress of his subscription plan and in which he asked for his assistance with respect to the subscription by the Grand Duke of Tuscany.   Thayer quotes this letter in full, out of which we should quote everything that relates to the Mass:  

"Your Imperial Highness!

    . . . 

    Soon I will send a beautiful printed copy of the variations.  In regard to the Mass which Y.I.H. wished to see made more generally useful, the continuously poor state of my health for several years has compelled me to think of means for bettering my situation, more especially because of the heavy delay which I have incurred and also the fact that I had to forego the visit to England which I was invited to make.  For this the Mass seemed suitable.  I was advised to offer it to several courts.  Hard as it was for mo to do so I nevertheless did not think that I ought to subject myself to reproach by not doing it.  I therefore invited several courts to subscribe for the Mass, fixed the fee at 50 ducats, as it was thought that this was not excessive, nor unprofitable, if a number of subscribers were to be found.  Thus far, indeed, the subscription does me honor, their Royal Majesties of France and Prussia having accepted.  Also a few days ago I received a letter from my friend Prince Galitzin in St. Petersburg, in which this truly amiable prince informs me that His Imperial Majesty of Russia has accepted and I should soon hear the details from the Imperial Russian embassy here.  In spite of all this, however, although others have also become subscribers I have not yet received as much of a fee as I would from a publisher, but I do have the advantage that the work remains mine.  The costs of copying are large and will be increased by the three new pieces(12) which are to be added, which I shall send to Y.I.H. as soon as I have finished them.--Perhaps Y.I.H. will not find it burdensome graciously to use your influence with H.R.H., the Grand Duke of Tuscany, so that His Highness also might take a copy. The invitation was sent some time ago to the Grand Duke of Tuscany through von Odelgha, his agent here, and O. solemnly assures me that the invitation will surely be accepted; but I am not entirely confident as several months have gone by and no answer has been received.  Since the matter is already under way, it is only natural that as much as possible be done to attain the desired result.  It was hard for me to undertake this, still harder for me to tell Y.I.H. of it or bring it to your notice, but "Necessity knows no law"--But I thank Him above the stars that I am beginning to use my eyes again. . . .

    . . . .

                   With deepest respect

                                                                               L. v. Beethoven" (Thayer: 823-824).

As we can see from the following quote of the relevant parts of the original letter contained in the Henle Gesamtausgabe, Beethoven wrote the letter from his Hetzendorf summer residence:


 [Hetzendorf, 1. Juli 1823][1]

Eure Kaiserliche Hoheit!

. . .

    In Betreff der Meße, welche E.K.H. gemeinnüziger wünschten zu werden,[9] so forderte mein nun schon mehrere Jahre kränklich fortdauernder Zustand, um so mehr da ich dadurch in starke schulden gerathen, u. den Aufforderungen nach England zu kommen[10] ebenfalls meiner schwachen Gesundheit wegen entsagen müßte, auf ein Mittel zu denken, wie ich nur meine Lage in etwa verbeßern könnte, Die Meße schien dazu geeignet, man gab mir den rath se[l]be mehrern Höfen anzutragen, so schwer mir dieses geworden, so glaubte ich doch mir vorwürfe bey Unterlaßung deßen machen zu müßen; ich <ließ> machte also mehrern Höfen eine Einladung zur Subscription auf meine Meße,[11] sezte das Honorar auf 50#, da man glaubte, daß dies nicht zu viel u. wenn doch, mehrere Subscribirten auch nicht ganz uneinträglich seyn werde, <bisher>bis hieher ist die Subscription zwar Ehrenvoll indem die Königl. Majestäten von Frankreich u. Preußen selbe angenommen haben, auch erhielt ich einen Brief von meinem Freunde Fürst Nicolaus Galitzin dieser Täge aus Petersburg worin mir dieser wirklich liebenswürdige Fürst meldete, daß auch Se. Kaiserl. rußische Majest.[ät] <der K[aiser]>die Subscription angenommen hätten u. ich bald darüber das nähere von der kaiserl.rußis.[chen] Gesandschaft allhier erfahren würde,[12] bey all dem erhalte ich noch nicht hiedurch, obschon noch einige andere Subscribenten, so viel, als das Honorar vom verleger dafür betragen hätte,[13] nur daß ich den vortheil habe, daß das werk mein bleibt, die Kosten der Kopiatur sind auch groß, u. werden noch größer dadurch, daß noch 3 neue Stücke dazukommen,[14] welche ich, sobald als ich selbe vollendet hate, E.K.H. sogleich überschicken werde -- vieleicht fällt es E.K.H. nicht beschwerlich sich wegen der Meße für mich gnädigst bei I.K.H. dem GroßHerzog von Toskana[15] zu verwenden, daß Höchstdieselben auch ein Exemp.[lar] der Meße nehmen, die Einladung ist zwar schon geraume Zeit <an>durch den hiesigen Agenten v. Odelgha an den Großherz.[og] von Toskana abgegangen,[16] u. O[delga] versichert heilig, daß die Einladung gewiß angenommen werde, ich traue unterdeßen nicht recht, <daß> da es schon mehrere Monathe ist, u. <nichts>kein <von>Bescheid erfolgt, da die sache nun einmal im Gange ist, so ist es natürlich, daß man so viel als möglich den vorgesezten Zweck zu erreichen sucht. -- schwer war mir dieses Unternehmen, noch schwerer E.K.H. darüber zu berichten, oder etwas davon merken zu laßen allein "Noth kennt kein Geboth" -- ich danke nur oben dem über den Sternen, daß ich nur anfange meine Augen wieder gebrauchen zu können; . . .

. . . mit tiefster Verehrung treuster Diener

                                                                                         L. v. Beethoven

Vien am 1ten Juni.1823

  . . . 

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1686, p. 163-167]  


Thayer (p. 829) reports that ultimately, Beethoven's negotiations with the Grand Duke of Tuscany were successful but that they stretched on into the year 1824 and that they also found reflection in the conversation book entries of this time.  Count Lichnowsky and Beethoven's brother Johann took part in the conversations.  From these recordings, Thayer writes, we can also learn that the Duchess of Parma, Maria Louisa, had also been approached, in which case Odelgha also acted as go-between.  It was also intended to write to Countess Neuberg with respect to a subscription.  As Thayer reports, it was Count Lichnowsky who brought up the name of Maria Louisa and who offered to write to Count Neuberg who was reportedly an acquaintance of his.  

As Thayer writes, the case of Tuscany differs from the others insofar as a copy of the score had been sent to the Grand Duke before he even subscribed for it.  With respect to this assumption, Thayer relies on a remark of Carl van Beethoven in the conversation books of the time:  "I shall go to Odelgha on Sunday.  We must get to work, or they will keep the Mass and send nothing" (Thayer: 829).  

Let us compare Thayer's comments with the correspondence featured in the Henle Gesamtausgabe:  

1.   Feb. 11, 1823:  Letter by Carl von Odelghas to Grand Duke Ferdinand III. of Tuscany; (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1567, p. 43);
      recommendation of the subscription; 
2.   Feb. 21 or 22, 1823: Subscription invitation to Grand Duke Ferdinand III. of Tuscany; (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1576, p. 53);
3.   Jul. 1, 1823: Beethoven's letter to Archduke Rudolph (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1686, p. 163-167);
      request to support the subscription; 
4.   Jul. 14, 1823: Archduke Rudolph's letter to Ferdinand III. (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1699, p. 182-183);
     recommendation of the subscription.

In conclusion we point out that, with respect to the acceptance of the subscription by the Grand Duke, from the year 1824, we could not find any correspondence in the Henle Gesamtausgabe and that we have not listed the correspondence with respect to Maria Louisa and Count and Countess Neuberg in the above, brief list, as it is not directly related to this subscription and since it, moreover, did not lead to any further subscription(s).  



Thayer (p.  824) reports that Beethoven added a post script to his July 1, 1823, letter to Archduke Rudolph in which he asked his patron for his assistance with respect to another subscriber, the Dresden court, since he had grown impatient on account of not having receive a positive reply from them.  It appears that at first, Beethoven received a rejection which, however, did not entirely discourage him from trying once more.  Let us first quote the relevant passages of the post script from Thayer and then feature the equivalent part of the original text from the Henle Gesamtausgabe:

"Should Your Imperial Highness wish to favor me with a letter, I beg of you to address it "to L.v. Beethoven in Vienna," from whence I receive all letters here safely through the post.--If convenient, will Y.I.H. graciously recommend the Mass to Prince Anton in Dresden, so that His Royal Majesty of Saxony might be induced to subscribe to the Mass, which will surely happen if Y.I.H. were to show the slightest interest in the matter.  As soon as I am informed that you have shown me this favor, I shall at once address myself to the Director General of the Theatre and Music there, who is in charge of such matters, and send him the invitation to subscribe for the King of Saxony which, however, I do not wish to do without an introduction from Y.I.H.-- . . . --Y.I.H. will pardon me for inconveniencing you by this request but Y.I.H. knows how little importunate I am as a rule.  However, should there be anything objectionable to you in my request, anything the least unpleasant, you will understand as a matter of course that I would be no less convinced of your magnanimity and graciousnessIt is not greed nor the desire for speculation, which I have always avoided, but necessity which compels me to do everything possible to extricate myself from this position.  In order not to be too harshly judged, it is perhaps best to be frank.--Because of my constant illness, which prevented me from composing as much as usual, I am burdened with a debt of 2300 florins C.M. which can be liquidated only by extraordinary efforts.  If things are improved for my be these subscriptions, for which thee is every hope, I shall be able to get a firm foothold again through my compositions.--Meanwhile, my Y.I.H. be pleased to receive my frankness not ungraciously.  If I were not apt to be blamed for not being as active as formerly, I would have kept silent as I have always done.  As regards the recommendations, I am nevertheless convinced that Y.I.H. is always glad to do good wherever possible and will make no exception in my case--" (Thayer: 824-825). 


    Wenn E. Kaiserl. Hoheit mich beglücken wollten mit einem schreiben, so Bitte ich nur gnädigst die Aufschrift "an l.v.Beethoven in Vien" machen zu laßen, wo ich alle Briefe auch hier Durch die Post ganz sicher erhalte -- Wenn E.K.H. die gnade haben wollten, Wenn es sich für ihre Verhältniße schikt, doch dem Prinzen Anton in Dresden die Meße zu emphelen, so daß Seine Königl. Majestät <der Kurfürs[t]> von Sachsen auf die Meße Subscribirten,[19] welches gewiß geschieht, wenn E.K.H. sich nur irgend auf eine Art dafür zeigten; sobald ich nur davon unterrichtet wäre, daß Sie diese gnade mir erw<ei>iesen <werden>hätten, so würde ich mich gleich an den dortigen generaldirektor des Königl[ichen] Theaters u. der Musick wenden, welcher d.g. auf sich hat, u. ihm die Subscriptions Einladung für den König von Sachsen schicken,[20} welches ich aber ohne eine Emphelung <I>E.K.H. nicht gern thun möchte; . . . -- E.K.H. verzeihen schon mein beschwerlich fallen durch d.g. Bitten, jedoch wissen E.K.H. wie wenig ich sonst zudringlich bin, aber sollte im Mindesten irgend ein anstoß obwalten, der ihnen unangenehm wäre, so versteht es sich ohnehin, daß ich deswegen nicht weniger von ihrem Edelmuthe u Gnade überzeugt wäre, Es ist nicht Geiz nicht Speculations sucht, welche ich immer geflohen, allein die Nothwendigkeit heischt alles aufbieten, um aus diesem Zustande heraus zu kommen, Offenheit, um nicht hart beurtheilt zu werden, ist wohl das Beste; --

    Durch meine beständige Kränklichkeit, wodurch ich nicht so schreiben konnte wie sonst, habe ich eine schulden-Last von 2300 fl. C.M.[25] wirklich nur durch außerordentliche Anstrengungen ist diese zu tilgen, geht es nur irgend mit dieser Subscript.[ion] etwas beßer wie bisher, so wird doch geholfen, u. wird meine Gesundheit beßer, wofür alle Hoffmung da ist, so werde ich durch meine Kompositonen mich auch noch wieder auf feste Füße stellen können -- Unterdeßen geruhen E.K.H. diese meine Offenheit nicht ungnädig aufzu>merken>nehmen, könnte man mich nicht beschuldigen, nicht so thätig zu seyn als sonst, so würde ich geschwiegen haben, wie immer, was die Emphelungen anbetrift, so bin ich ohnehin überzeugt, daß E.K.H. überall wo möglich gerne gutes wirken, u. bey mir hierin keine ausnahme machen werden. --

Eure Kaiserliche Hoheit mit tiefster Ehrfurcht treuster Diener


[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No.1686, p. 163-167]  

Thayer (p. 825) reports that Archduke Rudolph fulfilled Beethoven's wish with respect to the Saxon court and that he wrote to General v. Könneritz in Dresden and promised to send the invitation to the King.  In a second letter, that of July 25, 1823, Beethoven enclosed a letter to the brother of the King, Prince Anton, which contained an invitation to the King.   

These efforts were successful since King Friedrich August subscribed and since, in his letter of July 31, Archduke Rudolph was able to write to his music teacher that the King was expecting his beautiful Mass.  As Thayer further reports, on September 12, 1823, Prince Anton wrote to Beethoven that he did not doubt that his brother would fulfill his wish, particularly since he had corresponded with his brother, the Cardinal, in the matter.  As Thayer also reports, the money must have arrived in Vienna soon thereafter, since Beethoven wrote to Schindler:    "In order that evil report may no longer inure the poor Dresdeners too much, I inform you that the money reached me today, with all marks of respect" (Thayer: 825).  

Let us compare Thayer's remarks with the correspondence featured in the Henle Gesamtausgabe:  

1.   Jan.  23, 1823:  Enquiry with the Saxon embassy in Vienna (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1530, p. 8-9);
2.   Jul. 1, 1823: Beethoven's post script in his letter to Archduke Rudolph (GA Vol. 5, Letter No. 1686, p. 153-167);
3.   Jul. 14, 1823: Archduke Rudolph's letter to Prince Anton in Dresden (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1700, p. 183) request to
      support the subscription;
4.   Jul. 17, 1823: Beethoven's letter to Hans Heinrich von Könneritz in Dresden (GA Vol. 5, Br. No. 1704, p. 188-189), request
      to support the subscription; 
5.   'shortly before Jul.  23, 1823':  Beethoven's lines to Schindler, ascribed by the GA to 'shortly before Jul. 23, 1823' 
      (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1709, p.  193-194); request for a 'clean' subscription invitation, very likely to the Dresden court
      (pursuant to the GA);
6.   Jul. 23, 1823:  Beethoven's subscription invitation to the Dresden Court (fragment, GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1710, p. 195);
7.   'shortly before Jul. 25, 1823': Beethoven's lines to Schindler, ascribed by the GA to 'shortly before Jul. 25, 1823, GA Vol.
      5, Ltr. No. 1712, p. 196), reference to the text on the envelope;
8.   'shortly before or on Jul.  25, 1823': Beethoven's letter to Prince Anton in Dresden (draft, GA Vol. 5, Lt. No.
      1714, p. 197-198); refers to the possibility of 3 further pieces to be added to the Missa;
9.   Jul. 25, 1823:  Beethoven's letter to Könneritz in Dresden (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1715, p. 198-199); contains Beethoven's 
      lines to Prince Anton, with the subscription invitation to the Saxon court;
10.  Jul. 31, 1823:  Archduke Rudolph's letter to Beethoven (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1718, p. 283); contains information that he
      wrote to his brother-in-law, Prince Antonm and that the King was awaiting the Mass;
11.  Sept. 12, 1823:  Letter of Prince Anton of Saxony to Beethoven (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1741, p. 227); confirmation of receipt
      of Beethoven's letter and the subscription invitation;
12.  Nov. 20,1823:  Beethoven's lines to Georg August von Griesinger (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1751, p. 234); advises the latter that
      his nephew will deliver the copy of the score this morning. 

With respect to this subscriber we should note in conclusion that we could not find Thayer's comment by Beethoven to Schindler in the Henle Gesamtausgabe.  



With respect to Beethoven's attempts at gaining this court as a subscriber, Thayer (p. 825-826) reports tat Beethoven sent an invitation there that he had signed on February 5, 1823, through the Hessian ambassador in Vienna, Baron von Türckheim,  a sophisticated connoissseur who later took over the post of General Director of the Grand Ducal Theatre in Darmstadt.  Since, as Thayer further writes, the composer Louis Schlösser stayed in Vienna during this time, Baron von Türckheim provided him with an opportunity to make the acquaintance of Beethoven by asking him to present to the composer the news of the acceptance of the subscription invitation by his court.  According to Thayer, Beethoven read the document with great joy and said to  Schlösser:  "Such words as I have read do me good.  Your Grand Duke speaks not only like a princely Maecenas but like a thorough musical connoisseur of comprehensive knowledge; it is not alone the acceptance of my work which rejoices me but the estimation which in general he places upon my works" (Thayer: 826). 

Let us compare Thayer's favorable report with the correspondence featured in the Henle Gesamtausgabe:  

1.   Feb. 5, 1823:  Subscription invitation, GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1550, p. 25-30;
2.   Feb. 26, 1823: Letter by Schleiermacher from Darmstadt to Beethoven, GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1584, p. 63;
     Übermittlung der Annahme und Bitte um Zusendung einer Abschrift;
3.  Mar. 24, 1823: Beethoven;s letter to Schleiermacher; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1618, p. 98;
     Letter of thanks for the acceptance of the subscription, discussion of further details; 
4.  Aug. 8,1823: Beethoven's letter to Schleiermacher in Darmstadt, GA Vol.  5, Ltr. No. 1723, p. 207-208;
    Announcement of the dispatch of the copy of the score and discussion of further details. 

In conclusion we should mention that  we will encounter Louis Schlösser again in connection with the Paris subscription.  



With respect to this court, Thayer (p. 826-827) reports that Beethoven's attempts at receiving a subscription ultimately remained unsuccessful, although he did not only write to the court, but even to Goethe.  As Thayer further reports, this letter has been preserved in the Weimar Archives and is quoted in full in the 1964 edition of the standard biography:

                                                                                                                "Vienna, February 8th, 1823

Your Excellency!

    Still living as I have lived from my youthful years in your immortal, never-aging words, and never forgetting the happy hours spent in your company, it nevertheless happens that I must recall myself to your recollection--I hope that you received the dedication to Your Excellency of "Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt" composed by me.  Because of their contrast, both seemed to me adapted for expression in music; how gladly would I know whether I have fittingly united my harmonies with yours.  Advice too, which would be accepted as very truth, would he extremely welcome to me, for I love the latter above all things and it shall never be said of me veritas odium parit.--It is very possible that a number of your poems which must ever remain unique, set to music by me, will soon be published, among them "Rastlose Liebe."[14]  How highly would I value some general observations from you on the composition or setting to music of your poems!--Now a request to Y.E.   I have composed a Grand Mass which, however, I do not want to publish at present, but which is to be sent to the principal courts; the honorarium for the same is 50 ducats only.  I have addressed myself in the matter to the Grand Ducal Weimarian Embassy, which has accepted the appeal to His Serene Highness and promised to deliver it.  The Mass can also be used as an oratorio and everyone knows that the benevolent societies are suffering from the lack of such things!--My request consists in this, that Y.E. call the attention of His Serene Highness, the Grand Duke, to this matter so that His Highness may also subscribe.  The Grand Ducal Weimarian Embassy gave me to understand that it would be very beneficial if the Grand Duke could be induced to regard the matter favorably in advance.--I have composed [geschrieben] so much but have gained from it [erschrieben] scarcely a thin.[15; Beethoven is playing on words--"schrieben," to write or to compose, and "erschrieben"--to gain by writing.  "Ich habe so vieles geschrieben, aber erschrieben--beinahe gar nichts."]  Now I am no longer alone but have for six years been father to the son of my deceased brother, a promising youth in his sixteenth year, wholly devoted to learning and already at home in the rich literature of ancient Greece.  But in these regions such things cost a great deal and, in the case of young students, not only the present but also the future must be borne in mind; and as much as I formerly kept my thoughts directed aloft I must now also turn my gaze earthward--My income is worthless[16:  "Mein Gehalt [income] ist ohne Gehalt" [without worth].  The pun cannot be translated into English.]--My poor health has for several years made it impossible for me to make professional journeys or to seize upon the many opportunities which yield profit!--Y.E. must not think that it is because I am asking a favor that I have dedicated "Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt" to you--this was already done in May, 1822.  I had not thought of this method of making the Mass known at that time--not till a few weeks ago.--The respect, love and esteem which I have cherished for the only and immortal Goethe since the days of my youth have remained with me.  Feelings this this are not easily put into words, especially by a bungler like myself, who has always been bent only on making tones his own.  But a singular feeling impels me to tell you this, inasmuch as I live in your works--I know that you could not refuse to help an artist who feels only too keenly how far mere monetary reward is from his art.  Yet now he is compelled by necessity because of others to work and labor for others--The good is always plain to us and therefore I know that Y.E. will not deny my request--

    A few words from you would fill me with happiness--

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

                                                                                                                      Beethoven" (Thayer: 826-827).

Let us also feature the original German text from the Henle Gesamtausgabe:   

Beethoven an Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in Weimar

                                                                                      Vien am 8ten Februar 1823

Euer Exzellenz

    Immer noch wie von meinen Jünglingsjahren an Lebend in ihren Unsterblichen nie veralternden Werken, u. Die glücklichen in ihrer Nähe verlebten Stunden nie Vergeßend,[1] tritt doch der Fall ein, daß auch ich mich einmal in ihr Gedächtniß zurückrufen muß -- ich hoffe Sie werden die Zueignung an E.E. von Meeres stilen u. Glückliche Fahrt in Töne gebracht von mir erhalten haben,[2] Beyde schienen mir ihres Kontrastes wegen sehr geeignet auch diesen durch Musick mittheilen zu können, wie lieb würde es mir gewiß seyn zu wißen, ob ich passend meine Harmonie mit der Ihrigen verbunden, auch Belehrung welche gleichsam als wahrheit zu betrachten, würde mir aüßerst willkommen seyn, denn leztere liebe ich über alles, u. es wird nie bei mir heißen: Veritas odium parit.[3] -- Es dörften bald vieleicht mehrere ihrer immer einzig bleibenden Gedichte in Töne gebracht Von mir erscheinen, worunter auch "Rastlose Liebe" sich befindet,[4] wie hoch würde ich eine Allgemeine Anmerkung überhaupt über das komponiren oder in Musick sezen ihrer Gedichte achten!--

    Nun eine Bitte An E.E. ich habe eine große Meße gechrieben,[5] welche ich aber noch nicht herausgeben will, sondern nur bestimmt ist, an die Vorzüglichsten Höfe gelangen zu machen, das Honorar beträgt nur 50#, ich habe mich in dieser Absicht an die Großherzogl. Weimar. Gesandschaft gewendet, welche das Gesuch an Sr. Großherz. Durchl.[6] auch angenommen u. vers[p]rochen hat, es an Selbe gelangen zu machen, die Meße ist auch als oratorium gleichfalls aufzuführen, u. wer weiß nicht, daß heutiges Tages die Vereine für die Armuth d.g. benöthigt sind! +Meine Bitte besteht darin, daß E.E. Seine Großherzogl. Durchl. hierauf aufmerksam machen mögten, damit Höchstdieselb. auch hierauf subscribirten, die Großherz. Weimar. Gesandschaft eröfnete mir, daß es sehr zuträgl. seyn würde, wenn der Großherz. vorher schon dafür gestimmt würde.[7]+ -- ich habe so Vieles geschrieben, aber erschrieben -- beynahe gar nichts, nun aber bin ich nicht mehr allein, schon über 6 Jahre bin ich vater eines Knabens meines verstorbenen Bruders,[8] eines hoffnungsvollen Jünglings im 16ten Jahre den wissenschaften ganz angehörig u. in den reichsten Schichten Der Griechheit schon ganz zu Hause, allein in diesen Ländern kostet d.g. sehr viel, u. bey studirenden Jünglingen muß nicht allein an die Gegenwart, sondern selbst an die Zukunft gedacht werden, u so sehr ich sonst bloß nur nach Oben gedacht, so müßen doch jezt meine Blicke auch sich nach Unten erstrecken -- mein Gehalt ist ohne Gehalt --

    Meine Kränklichkeit seit mehreren Jahren ließ es nicht zu, Kunstreisen zu machen, u. überhaupt alles das zu ergreifen, was zum Erwerb führt--sollte ich meine gänzliche Gesundheit wieder erhalten, so dörfte ich wohl noch manches andere bessere erwarten dörfen --

    E.E. dörfen aber nicht denken, daß ich wegen der jezt gebeteten Verwendung für mich ihnen MeeresStille u. Glückliche Fahrt gewidmet hätte, dies geschah schon im May 1822, u. die Messe auf diese weise bekannt zu machen, daran ward noch nicht gedacht, bis jezt vor einigen Wochen[9] -- die Verehrung Liebe u. Hochachtung welche ich für den einzigen Unsterbliichen Göthe von meinen Jünglingsjahren schon hatte, ist immer mir geblieben, so Was läßt sich nicht wohl in Worte faßen, besonders von einem solchen Stümper wie ich, der nur immer gedacht hat, die Töne sich eigen zu machen, allein ein eigenes Gefühl treibt mich immer, ihnen so viel zusagen, indem ich in ihren schriften lebe. --

    Ich weiß Sie werden nicht ermangeln einem Künstler, der nur zu sehr gefühlt, wie weit der bloße Erwerb von ihr entfernt, einmal sich für ihn zu verwenden, Wo Noth ihn zwingt, auch wegen anderen, für andere zu walten zu wirken -- das gute ist unß allzeit deutlich, u. so weiß ich, daß E.E. meine Bitte nicht abschlagen werden -- Einige Worte von ihnen an mich würden Glückseeligkeit über mich verbreiten. --

Euer Exzellenz mit der innigsten unbegrenztesten

Hochachtung verharrender


[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No.1562, p. 37-39]

[Original:  Weimar, Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv; to [1]: refers to the fact that Beethoven had met Goethe during his summer 1812 stay at Teplitz; to [2]: refers to op. 112; to [3]: refers to the saying "truth produces hatred", after  Terenz, Andria, I.i.41 ["obsequium amicos veritas odium parit"]; to [4]: refers to the fact that the lied that had already been sketched in 1796 remained unfinished; to [5]: refers to op. 123; to [6]: refers to Letter No. 1547 of Feb. 4, 1823 and to the fact that on Jan. 23, 1823, Beethoven had addressed a request for assistance with respect to the subscription, to the Embassy of Weimar in Vienna; to [7]: refers to the fact that the Grand Duke did not subscribe; to [8]: refers to Beethoven's nephew Karl van Beethoven; to [9]: refers to the subscription plans for op. 123 and to Letters No. 1`523, 1525 and 1550; details taken from p. 38-39.] 


Relying on Schindler, Thayer (p. 827) further reports that Beethoven did not receive a reply to his letter and that the Grand Duke did not subscribe.  That the invitation reached its destination becomes clear from Thayer's report of the interest of the Weimar Embassy in Vienna that Beethoven mentioned.  However, this letter has not been preserved in the Weimar Archives. 

As Thayer further reports, this was not a good time in the life of the already 73-year-old Goethe who was ill and bedridden.  From Goethe's diary of this month we can learn that he had undergone blood-letting, had bouts of fever and that his doctors were afraid to lose him.  After that, his stay at Marienbad and his encounter with Ulrike von Leventzow prevented him from replying to the composer.  

Unfortunately, our simple listing of the Henle Gesamtausgabe correspondence contains less lively details than Thayer's report:  

1.    Jan. 23, 1823:  Request addressed to the Vienna Embassy of the Weimar court; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1531, p. 9;
2.    Feb. 8, 1823: Beethoven to Goethe in Weimar; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1562, p. 37-39; see above.



As Thayer (p. 827) writes, Bavaria's story is rather short.  In a conversation book of the end of May, 1823, Schindler had written:  "A negative answer had come from Bavaria."  Lt us compare this brief comment with our listing of the letters contained in the Henle Gesamtausgabe:  

1.   Jan. 23, 1823:  Request to the Embassy in Vienna of the Kingdom of Bavaria; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1527, p. 7;
2.   Jan. 25, 1823:  The Bavarian ambassador in Vienna to King Max Joseph in Munich; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1536,
     p. 12-13; passing Beethoven's request on; recommendation by the Music Director:  there existed already enough
     material on masses, no new one would be required;
3.  Feb. 25, 1823: negative reply of the state ministry to the Embassy in Vienna; GA Vol. 5,
     Ltr. No. 1536, p. 13; according to Schindler, Beethoven learned of this reply through him on March 20, 1823.

From the last GA comment it would appear that Schindler's conversation book entry might go back to March rather than May 1823.  



As Thayer (S. 827) reports, Beethoven sent a copy of the invitation for the subscription, in French, to the King of Naples; however, he did not receive a subscription.  Therefore, our listing of the relevant correspondence is equally brief:  

1.   Apr. 7, 1823:  Beethoven to King Ferdinand I in Naples; GA Vol. 5, Lt. No. 1623, p. 102; invitation for the subscription.


With respect to Beethoven's attempt at receiving a subscription to the Mass from the King of France, Thayer (p. 827-829) reports that Beethoven also tried to enlist the help of the composer Luigi Cherubini and quotes his draft of a letter to him that, at least at the time of the 1964 publication of this standard biography, was still among Schindler's papers at the Berlin Archives ['Preussischer Kulturbesitz'].  Let us quote the English version of this draft from Thayer:  

"Highly respected Sir!

    It is with great pleasure that I embrace the opportunity to approach you in writing.  In spirit I am with you often enough, inasmuch as I value your works more than all others written for the stage.  However, the beautiful world of art must deplore the fact that for a considerable period no theatrical work of yours of large dimensions has appeared, at least not in our Germany.  Highly as your other works are esteemed by true connoisseurs, it is a veritable loss to art not yet to possess a new product of your great mind for the theatre.  True art remains imperishable and the genuine artist feels sincere pleasure in real and great products of genius; and so I too am enraptures whenever I hear a new work of yours and feel as great an interest in it as in my own works.--In brief, I honor and love you.--If it were not for my continual ill health I could see you in Paris, and with what extraordinary delight would I discuss artistic matters with you!--And here I must add that to every artist and art-lover I always speak of you with enthusiasm, otherwise you might perhaps believe, since I am about to ask a favor of you, that this was merely an introduction to the subject.  I hope, however, that you will not attribute such low-mindedness to me--

    My request is as follows:  I have just completed a grand solemn Mass, and I desire to send it to the European courts, because for the present I do not wish to publish it.  Through the French Embassy here I have forwarded an invitation to His Majesty the King of France to subscribe to this work.  I know that if you would advise His Majesty to take the Mass, he would surely do so.  Ma situation critique demande que je ne fixe seulement come ordinarie mes pensées aux ciel au contrairs, il faut les fixer en bas pour les necessites de la vie; whatever may be the fate of my request to you, I shall always love and honor you et vous resteres toujours celui des mes contemporains, que je l'estime le plus si vous me voulez faire un estréme plaisir, c'etoit si m'ecrireres quelques lignes, ce que moe soulagera bien--l'art unie touta le monde, how much hore then true artists, et peut etres vous me dignes aussi, de me mettre also to be counted amongst this number, 

                                                       avec la plus aute estime, votre ami e serviteur

                                                                                                                                 Beeth." (Thayer: 828)

Beethoven an Luigi Cherubini in Paris (Konzept)

                                                                                [Wien, um den 12. März 1823][1]

Hochgeehrtester Herr!

    Mit großem Vergnügen ergreife ich die Gelegenheit[2] mich Ihnen schriftl. zu nahen.  Im Geiste bin ich es oft genug, indem ich Ihre Werke über alle andere theatralische schätze.  Nur muß die >schöne> Kunstwelt bedauern, daß seit längerer Zeit, wenigstens in unserm Deutschland, kein neues theatral. Werk von Ihnen erschienen ist.[3]  So hoch auch Ihre anderen Werke von wahren Kennern geschätzt werden, so ist es doch ein wahrer Verlust für die Kunst, kein neues Produkt Ihres großen Geistes für das Theater zu besitzen.  Wahre Kunst bleibt unvergänglich u der wahre Künstler hat inniges Vergnügen an <wahren u>großen <genialischen> Geistes-Produkten.  Eben so bin ich auch entzückt, so oft ich ein neues Werk von Ihnen vernehme, u nehme größeren Antheil daran, als an meinen eigenen; kurz ich ehre u liebe Sie.  Wäre nur meine beständige Kränklichkeit nicht schuld, Sie in Paris <zu> sehen zu können, mit welchem außerordentlichen Vergnügen <könnte> würde ich mich über Kunstgegenstände mit Ihnen besprechen! -- Nur muß ich noch hinzusetzen, daß ich sowohl bey jedem Künstler <u> als Kunstliebhaber mich stets mit Enthusiasmus über Sie äußere, sonst könnten Sie vielleicht glauben, daß <ich> <weil ich eben itzt etwas von Ihnen zu bitten habe daß> weil ich eben itzt im Begriffe bin, Sie um eine <große> Gefälligkeit zu bitten, dieß blos der Eingang dazu <wäre> seye.  Ich hoffe <aber> u bin überzeugt, daß Sie mir keine so niedrige und <entwürdigende><Handlungs>Denkungsweise zumuthen.

    Ich habe so eben eine große solenne Messe vollendet,[4] u bin Willens, selbe an die <vorzüglichsten> europaischen Höfe zu senden, weil ich sie vor der Hand nicht öffentlich im Stich herausgeben will.

    Ich habe daher durch die französische Gesandschaft hier auch eine Einladung an Se Maj den König von Frankreich ergehen lassen, auf dieses Werk zu <praenumeriren>subscribiren,[5] u bin überzeugt, daß <S> der König selbe auf Ihre Empfehlung gewiß nehmen werde.[6]  Ma situation critique demande, que je ne fix pas seulement comme ordinaire mes voeux aux ciels, au contraire il faut les fixer aussi[7[ en bas pour les neccessités de la vie.  Wie es auch gehen mag mit meiner Bitte an Sie, ich werde Sie dennoch allezeit lieben u verehren.  Et vous resterez toujours celui des mes contemporains, que je l'estime le plus.  Si vous mes voulez faire une extrême plaisir, e'etoit <s'il> si vous m'ecrirez quelques lignes, ce que me soulagera bien.  L'art unie tout le monde wie vielmehr wahre Künstler, u vielleicht werden Sie mich auch würdigen unter jene Zahl zu rechnen.

    Uibrigens <verharre ich mit> in der festen Versicherung, daß Sie meine Bitte nicht mißdeuten werden, verharre ich in größter Hochachtung u Verehrung Ihr wahrer Freund


[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1611, p. 90-94]

[Original:  Berlin, Staatsbibliothek; to [1]:  refers to Beethoven's calendar for the year 1823, which contains two notes with respect to his letter to Cherubini: "12 do (=March) to Cherubini" (by Schindler's hand), and by Beethoven's hand: "on March 15th to Cherubini"; to [2]: refers to the fact that the letter was obviously added to a mail that was sent to Maurice Schlesisnger and that was supposed to be passed on to Cherubini by the latters; to [3]:  refers to the fact that after his opera Les abencérages (1813) Cherubini had only composed smaller pieces to Pasticcios; to [4]:  refers to op. 123; to [5]: refers to Letter No. 1599, which has not been preserved; to [6]:  refers to the fact that, according to Schindler, Cherubini did not receive Beethoven's letter and that he, due to this, was not in a position to assist him in this matter; to [7]: refers to Beethoven's pencil note; details taken from p. 91.]


As Thayer reports, this letter was sent off on March 15, 1823.  However, as Thayer writes, Cherubini never received this letter and as late as in 1841, he expressed his regrets with respect to this matter.  As Thayer continues, this did not turn out to the disadvantage of Beethoven.  King Louis XVIII not only subscribed but also, within a year, sent him a bold medal that weighed 21 Louis d'or, with the inscription:  "Donnée par le Roi an Monsieur Beethoven."  As Thayer writes, Claude Louis Duc de La Chatre, the first chancellor of the King, added the following lines:  

"I hasten to inform you. Monsieur, that the King received with favor the gift of the Score of Your Mass set to Music and charged me to send you a gold medal to him in effigy.  I am pleased to be able to transmit to you the evidence of His Majesty's satisfaction and I take this occasion to offer you the assurance of my respectful consideration.

                                                                        First Chamberlain of the Kings Chamber

                                                                                         Duke d'Achats

Tuileries, February 20, 1824" (Thayer: 829).

Let us also feature the original text from the Henle Gesamtausgabe:  

Herzog Claude Louis Duc de la Châtre[1] im Auftrag König Ludwigs XVIII. von Frankfreich an Beethoven

                                                                                   [Paris, 20. Februar 1824]

Chambre du Roi.[2]

  Je m'empresse de vous prévenir, Monsieur, que le Roi a accueilli avec bonté l'hommage de la Partition de Votre Messe en Musique[3] et m'a chargé de vous faire parvenir une médaille d'or à son effigie.[4]  Je me felicite d'avoir à vous transmettre la témoignage de la satisfaction de sa Majesté et je saisis cette occasion de vous offrir l'assurance de ma considération distinguée.

                                                                                        Le Premier Gentilhomme

                                                                                               de la Chambre du Roi.

                                                                                            Le duc le Lachâtre

Aux Tuileries ce 20 febrier 1824.

M.[onsieur] Beethoven.

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1781, p. 269-270]

[Original:  Berlin, Staatsbibliothek; to [1]:  refers to Claude Louis Duc de la Châtre; to [2]: refers to "Vordruck"; to [3]: refers to op. 123; to [4]: refers to the fact that today, the medal is in the possession of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna; details taken from p. 270.]


Thayer relates Schindler's comment that this was a great honor for Beethoven, perhaps the highest that was ever bestowed upon him during his life time.  However, Thayer also points out that Schindler erred by describing the medal as payment of the subscription fee.  In his letter to Archduke Rudolph, dated July 1, 1823, Beethoven wrote to him that the King of France had accepted his invitation for a subscription.  As Thayer writes, Beethoven received the medal at the beginning of 1824, more than eight months later and that Beethoven's financial situation as well as his reply to the Prussian emissary with respect to the suggestion that he might prefer a medal over payment, should serve as sufficient proof that Beethoven did not want, or could not refuse to accept payment of a fee.  Perhaps, Thayer surmises, Louis XVIII sent the fee through the usual channels and subsequently sent the medal as a special token of his appreciation. 

With respect to Beethoven's more--or less--ambivalent attitude towards official honors, Maynard Solomon writes:  

"Nevertheless, he himself also related that Beethoven's receipt in 1824 of a gold medal weighing 21 louis d'or and inscribed by the king of France was "the greatest distinction conferred upon the master during his lifetime."  Beethoven wrote to Bernard that Louis XVIII's gift showed "that he is a generous King and a man of refined feeling," and asked him to print the news of the royal distinction in Bernard's Wiener Zeitung.  He sent an impression of the medal to Prince Galitzin and wrote proudly to him:  "The medal weighs a half pound in gold and [has] Italian verses about me.'"  (Solomon: 273-274).

In our listing of relevant correspondence contained in the Henle Gesamtausgabe, we encounter Louis Schlösser, once more:  

1.   Mar. 1, 1823:  Invitation for subscription to King Louis XVIII. of France; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1599, p. 76;
2.   Mar. 12, 1823: Beethoven to Cherubini in Paris; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1611, p. 90-94, see above;
3.   Apr. 10, 1823: The Royal Minister to the French Ambassador in Vienna; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1624, p. 104-105;
      Announcement of the acceptance of the invitation;
4.   Apr. 21, 1823: Ludwig Schwebel, 2nd Secretary of the French Embassy, to Beethoven; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No.
     1632, p. 108; dispatch of the acceptance;
5.   May 5, 1823: Beethoven to Louis Schlösser in Paris; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1645, p. 121-122;
      request to pass on the second letter to Cherubini;
6.   May 6, 1823: Beethoven to Cherubini in Paris; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1646, p. 122-123;
      recommends Schlösser to him, enquires if he has received the first letter;
7.   Feb. 20, 1824: Herzog Claude Louis Duc de la Chatre for King Louis XVIII to Beethoven:  
     GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1781, p. 269-270; confirmation of receipt of the copy of the score to the Mass; announcement of the
     Gold Medal;
8.  Apr. 4, 1824; Ludwig Schwebel to Beethoven; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1805, p. 297; dispatch of the medal.


Thayer (P. 829), relying on Schindler, reports that Beethoven sent a carefully drafted cover letter and invitation to the King of Sweden, but that the latter did not subscribe.  Therefore, our listing of relevant correspondence contained in the Henle Gesamtausgabe is very short:  

1.   Feb. 26, 1823:  Beethoven to King Karl IV. Johan of Sweden; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1585, p. S. 64; polite request
      if he can send an invitation for subscription; 
2.   Mar. 1, 1823: Beethoven to King Karl IV. Johan of Sweden; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1601, p. 77-78;
      Invitation for subscription


Thayer (P. 829) further reports that the King of Denmark subscribed, while, however, no details have become known of this acceptance so that one has to assume that everything went smoothly.    From our following listing of Henle Gesamtausgabe correspondence and from Thayer's report it might be concluded that no other piece of correspondence than the invitation for subscription has been preserved and that the acceptance might be derived from conversation book notes:  

1.  Feb. 6, 1823:  Invitation for subscription to the King of Denmark, GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1553, p. 31; with respect to the
     possible acceptance, the GA refers to n. 31 in BKh 3, p. 116 and BKh 6, p. 67.

From GA comments it also would appear that, according to Schindler's note from March 4, 1823, the Danish Ambassador, Count  Joachim Friedrich von Bernstorff (1771-1835) was at first not willing to accept Beethoven's letter to that it would have had to be sent by mail.  As the GA further remarks, it appears that Beethoven then enlisted the help of the singer Guiseppe Siboni as a go-between, who worked in Copenhagen at that time.


Thayer (P. 829 - 831) then turns to the 'Russian' subscriptions and first reports that Beethoven asked Prince Galitzin to assist him with his attempts at gaining the Czar as a subscriber.  In his letter of June 2, 1823, Galitzin reported to Beethoven that the invitation has been accepted and that the Russian court will send an official letter of acceptance.  As Thayer further reports, the money arrived soon after than.  On July 9, 1823 Schindler wrote these lines to Beethoven:  

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

                                                                                                   Fidelissimus Papageno" (Thayer: 830).

Let us also feature the original text from the Henle Gesamtausgabe:

Anton Felix Schindler an Beethoven in Hetzendorf

                                                           [Wien,] den 9. July 1823.

    Ich mache mir das Vergnügen, Ihnen hiemit anzuzeigen, daß auf Befehl des Kaisers aller Reussen 50 geharnischte Reiter als russisches Contingent hier angelangt sind,[1] um unter Ihren Fahnen <zu> das Vaterland zu verfechten.  Der Führer dieser Kerntruppen ist ein russicher Hofrath.[2]  Hr Clavierm.[acher[ Stein[3] hat von ihm den Auftrag, das Quartier für selbe bey Ihnen zu bestellen. . . . .

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1696, p. 178]

[Original: Berlin, Staatsbibliothek; to [1[: according to the GA, this refers to Schindler's comment: "Es waren die 50 Duk.[aten] von dem russ. Kaiser für das subscribirte Exp. von der Missa solemnis" ["those were the 50 ducats from the Russian Emperor for the copy of the Missa solemnis"]; to [2]: probably refers to Court Councillor Gregor von Kudriawski who was mentioned in the conversation books; to [3]: refers to Matthäus Andreas Stein, details taken from p. 178]. 


According to Thayer, the manager of the Russian Embassy's business affairs, Obreskow, appears to have enquired as to how  payment should be made.  Beethoven then instructed Schindler as follows:

"The letter to H.v.Obreskow follows.  Take it along with you and say concerning the money that only a receipt need be sent to me for which, as soon as I return it, the money can be paid to the bearer of the receipt.--As soon as I receive this money you will receive the 50 fl. V.S. right away for your trouble.  Say nothing more than necessary, for people only find fault with it.  Also do not speak of the Mass as not being finished which is not true, for the new pieces are only additions--Don't trouble me with anything else--

                                                                            Papageno's master wishes you well" (Thayer: 830).

Let us also feature the original text from the Henle Gesamtausgabe: 

Beethoven an Anton Felix Schindler

                                                         [Hetzendorf, nach dem 9. Juli 1823][1]

    Hier[2] folgt der Brief an den H.[errn] v. Obrescow.[3] gehen sie nun damit hin., u.[4] sagen sie, was das geld betrift, so braucht man nur mir eine Quittung zu schicken, wofür man alsdenn, sobald ich <hins> selbe hinschicke, das geld <mir> dem übergeb.[er] der quittung geben kann -- sobald ich dieses Geld erhalte, erhalt.[en[ sie gleich 50 fl. w.w. für ihre Bemühungen,[5] nichts sprechen als das nöthige, denn man hält sich drüber auf, ebenfalls nicht sprechen von nicht fertig seyn der Meße, welches nicht wahr ist, denn die neuen Stücke sind nur Zugabe[6] -- verschonen sie mich mit allem übrigen -- Meister des papageno leben sie wohl. . . .

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1697, p. 179-180]

[Original:  Berlin, Staatsbibliothek; to [1]: refers to the fact that on July 9, 1823, Schindler had reported on the arrival of the fee of 50 ducats for the copy of the score to the Mass that the Russian Czar had subscribed to; to [2]: refers to the fact that this was originally written with pencil; to [3]: refers to Schindler's comment, "Hr. von Obreskow war damals in Abwesenheit des Gesandten der Leiter der russ. Gesandtschaftsgeschäfte" ["At that time, during the absence of the Ambassador, Hr. v. Obreskow managed the affairs of the Embassy"]; to [4]:  refers to the fact that afterwards, a pencil remark was made:  "presentee";  to [5]: refers to Schindler's comment: "Dieser Wortlaut überhaupt wäre werth eine Reihe von commentirenden Betrachtungen daran zu knüpfen, es mag jedoch nur bemerkt seyn, daß ich die oft u oft verprochenen 50 Gulden für meine Bemühungen niemals erhalten habe, ja, ich würde sie nicht angenommen haben, weil ich mir nur zu gewiß war, daß Beethoven mich, falls ich sie annehme, nicht mehr wie seinen treuergebenen Freund, sondern wie einen Lohndiener behandelt haben würde.  Dagegen bezeigte ich ihm wahrhaft Freude, als er mir bald darauf wieder einige Orig.[inal] Partituren geschenkt hat." ["These words would be worth making a number of commenting observations, namely that I have never received the 50 florins that were promised to me more than once, nay, I would not even have accepted them, since I was only too aware of the of the possibility that, had I done so, Beethoven would no longer have treated me like a friend but rather like a paid servant.  Instead, I showed true delight when he, soon thereafter, presented me with some original scores."] According to the GA, contrary to this comment, from conversation book entry it would appear that Schindler had counted on the sum of 50 florins and that he actually received them, from which debts that had been incurred, in the meantime, had been deducted, see Letter No.  1735 of  Aug. 23,  1823; to [6]: refers to the fact that Beethoven had planned to write a Graduale, Offertorium and Tantum ergo to the Mass; details taken from p. 179.]


As Thayer reports, the Russian Embassy became impatient when the delivery of the copy of the score was delayed, since, in a note to Schindler [that, according to Thayer, was dated by Schindler to the winter of 1824], Beethoven wrote:  

Beethoven an Anton Felix Schindler

                                                       [Hetzendorf, Anfang August 1823][1]

    hier das Pacquett für die rußis.[che] Gesandsch[a]ft

    ich bitte es gleich zu besorgen -- <was> übrigens sagen sie, daß ich nächstens ihn[2] selbst besuchen werde, indem es mich kränkt, daß man Mißtrauen in mich sezt,[3] u. ich gottlob zu beweisen im stande bin, daß ich dies keineswegs verdiene, u meine Ehr es auch nicht leidet.

H.[errn] v. Schindler.

{Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1720, p. 204-205]

[Original:  Berlin, Staatsbibliothek; to [1]: probably refers to the dispatch of the copy of the score of the Missa solemnis to the Czar of Russia, for which the fee of 50 ducats had arrived in Vienna on July 9, 1823; to [2]: refers to the manager of affairs at the Russian Embassy in Vienna, Alexander Obreskow; to [3]: refers to the fact that Beethoven's grievance might be related to the decision of the Russian Embassy that the fee of 50 ducats should only be paid out to him once the copy of the score would be handed over; details taken from p. 205].


As can be seen from the original text of the GA, Beethoven did not write these lines in the winder of 1824, but rather at the beginning of August, 1823.  

As Thayer further reports, in the meantime, Prince Galitzin had also subscribed and, in his letter to Beethoven of August 3, 1823, he had suggested that the Mass should also be offered in Russia in a public subscription for a price of four to five ducats, since there were few music lovers in Russia who were able to pay 50 ducats for a hand-written copy of the score.  All the he could do, himself, Galitzin wrote, was to take out a subscription, himself, so that the Mass could be performed in a benefit concert for the widows of the musicians that was held before Christmas, each year.  From this, Thayer concludes that Galitzin's subscription was that of a copy of the score for the price of 50 ducats and that plans for a public subscription in Russia did not materialize, since Beethoven did not want to venture into it in light of the subscriptions by the European courts that he had already received.   Galitzin then agreed to allow Beethoven to apply the 50 ducats that he had already sent to Vienna in payment of the first string quartet that he had commissioned from him, to pay for the subscription.  In his letter of September 23 respectively of October 3, 1823, to Beethoven, he advised the letter that he had instructed the Viennese banker Henikstein that the 50 ducats should be made available to Beethoven, right away.  As Thayer reports, Galitzin received the score on November 29, 1823, while the performance of the Mass was delayed until April 6, 1824.  As Thayer points out, this was the first performance of the Mass.   

Moreover, on June 21, 1823, Beethoven also sent an invitation for a subscription to the Philharmonic Society of St. Petersburg in order to provide to the people of Russia the unique opportunity to recive a copy for 50 ducats.  

Let us compare Thayer's comments with our listing of relevant correspondence contained in the Henle Gesamtausgabe:  

1.   Jan. 23, 1823:  Beethoven to Prince Galitzin; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1619, p. 99; request to pass on the invitation for
      subscription to the Czar of Russia;
2.   June 2, 1823: Galitzin to Beethoven; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1664, p. 141; advice of the acceptence of the subscription
      by the Czar; 
3.   August 3, 1823: Galitzin to Beethoven; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1724, p. 208-209; Galitzin's subscription
     and additional suggestion of a public subscription in St. Petersburg;
4.  Sept. 17, 1823: Beethoven to Beethoven; GA Vol.  5, Ltr. No. 1743, p. 229-230; Request for dispatch of 50 ducats
     for the copy of the score to the Mass;
5.  Oct. 3, 1823: Galitzin to Beethoven; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1746, p. 231-232; regarding the dispatch of the 50 ducats to
     the banker Henikstein;
6.  Oct. 3, 1823: Galitzin to Henikstein; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1747; p. 232; Payout order regarding the 50 ducats;     
7.  Oct. 25, 1823: Henikstein to Galitzin; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1749, p. 233; confirmation of receipt of Letter No. 1747;
     and forwarding of the receipt for the 50 ducats;;
8.  Nov. 29, 1823: Galitzin to Beethoven; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1752, p. 234-236; confirmation of receipt of the
     copy of the score to the Mass;
9.  Dec. 13, 1823: Beethoven to Galitzin; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1757, p. 240-241; comments on the copy of the score to 
     the Mass.



Thayer (p. 831) further reports that Beethoven did not send an invitation to the Imperial Austrian court in order not to jeopardize his chances of an appointment as court composer.  



As Thayer (p. 831) writes, Beethoven sent an invitation to Prince Esterhazy, at the request of Artaria, although he--also in consideration of his experiences with this 'patron' who commissioned from him his first Mass in C-Major, in the year 1807--did not set his hopes too high.  Beethoven's hunch was confirmed, as Thayer writes that Esterhazy did not subscribe.  To complete our information on this unsuccessful attempt, let us list all relevant correspondence contained in the Henle Gesamtausgabe:  

1.    May 29, 1823:  Invitation for subscription to Prince Esterhazy; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1600, p. 135;
2.    June 8, 1823: Prince Esterhazy to Beethoven; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1674, p. 152; rejection of the invitation. 



As Thayer (p. 831) reports, Beethoven did not send an invitation to the English court and that very likely due to his experience with the Battle Symphony.   What role Beethoven's letter of August 2, 1823 to Franz Brentano in Frankfurt played with respect to England, can not be ascertained.  What we know is that in this letter, Beethoven asked Brentano for his help with the dispatch of a parcel to England which, according to the GA, might have contained a copy of the score of the Mass.  We also know that Brentano replied to Beethoven on August 8, 1823.  



Thayer (S. 831) then reports that Beethoven also invited two German singing societies to subscribe to the Mass, namely the Berlin Singing Academy and the Frankfurt 'Cäcilienverein', and that he wrote the following letter to the director of the Berlin Singing Academy, the composer Karl Friedrich Zelter, on February 8, 1823:  

"My gallant fellow artist!

    Let me make a request to you in writing, since we are so far apart the we cannot speak with one another.  Unfortunately my writing can occur only occasionally--I have written a Grand Mass, which might also be performed as an oratorio (for the benefit of the poor--as is the good custom that has been introduced), but I did not want to publish t in print in the ordinary way, but to give it to the principal courts only.  The fee amounts to 50 ducats.  Excepting the copies subscribed for, none will be issued, so that the Mass will be practically only in manuscript--However, there must be a passable number if the composer is to gain anything--I have sent a request from here to the Royal Prussian Embassy that His Majesty the King of Prussia might be inclined to take a copy, and have also written Prince Radziwill concerning his taking an interest in it--I ask of you that you do what you can in the matter.  A work of this king might also be of service to the Singakademie, for there is little to keep it from being performed by voices alone; but the more doubled and multiplied the latter is in combination with the instruments, the more effective it would be--It might also be in place as an oratorio, such as is in demand for the Benevolent Societies--As I have been more or less ill for several years and therefore am not in the most splendid circumstances, I have had recourse to this means.  I have written much--but gained from it--almost zero!--I am more disposed to send my glances upwards--but a man is compelled for his own and for others' sake to direct them downwards.  But this too is part of man's destiny--With sincere regards I embrace you, my dear fellow artist.

                                                                                                           Your friend Beethoven" (Thayer: 831-832).

Let us also feature the original text from the Henle Gesamtausgabe:

Beethoven an Karl Friedrich Zelter in Berlin

                                                                                     Vien am 8ten Februar 1823

Mein wackerer Kunstgenoße!

    Eine Bitte an sie läßt mich schreiben, da wir einmal so weit entfernt sind, nicht mit einander Reden zu können, so kann aber auch leider das schreiben nur selten seyn --

    ich schrieb eine große Meße[1], welche auch als oratorium könnte (für die armen) (eine jezt schon gute eingeführte Gewohnheit) gegeben werden, wollte aber selbe nicht auf die gewöhnliche Art im Stich herausgeben, sondern an die ersten Höfe nur zukommen machen, das Honorar beträgt 50#, außer denen Exemplaren, worauf subscribirt ist, Wird sonst keins ausgegeben, so daß die Meße nur eigentlich in Manuscript ist +aber Es muß doch schon eine ziemliche Anzahl seyn, wenn <es>etwas dabey für den Autor herauskommen soll+ ich habe allhier der königl. preußischen Gesandschaft ein Gesuch überreicht, daß Sr. Majestät der König von Preußen geruhen mögten ein Exemplar zu nehmen,[2] habe auch <ich> an Fürst Radziwill geschrieben,[3] daß selbe sich darum annehmen -- was sie hiebey selbst wirken können, erbitte ich mir von ihnen, ein d.g. werk könnte auch der singakademie[4] dienen, denn Es dörfte wenig fehlen, daß es nicht beynahe durch die Singstimmen allein aufgeführt werden könnte,[5] je mehr verdoppelter u verfielfältigt selbe aber mit vereinigung der Instrumente seyn <wird>werden, desto geltender dörfte die wirkung seyn -- auch als oratorium, da die vereine für die Armuth d.g. nöthig <geben> haben, dörfte es am Plaze seyn --

    schon mehrere Jahre immer kränkelnd, u. daher eben nicht in der glänzendsten Lage, nahm ich Zuflucht zu diesem Mittel, zwar viel geschrieben--aber erschrieben--beynahe 0 -- mehr gewohnt meinem Blick nach oben --aber gezwungen wird der Mensch oft um sich u. anderer willen, so muß er sich nach unten senken,u. >jedoch auch dieses gehört zur -- Bestimmung des Menschen. --

mit wahrer Hochschätzung umarme ich Sie meinen lieben Kunstgenoßen

ihr Freund


[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1563, p. 39 - 40]

[Original:  Bonn, Beethoven-Haus, Bodmer Collection, to [1]: refers to op. 123; to [2]: refers to Letter No. 1552 of February 6, 1823 and to the fact that already before that, Beethoven had written to the Embassy, namely on Jan. 23, 1823, see Letter No. 1529; to [3]: refers to Letter No. 1558 that has not been preseerved; to [4]: refers to the fact that from 1800 on, Zelter was the Director of the Berlin Singakademie; to [5]: refers to the fact that, probably due to this remark, Zelter asked for an a capella arrangement of the Missa solemnis, see Letter No. 1577 of  Febr. 22, 1823; details taken from p. 40.]


Thayer also mentions the similarity of this letter to that of the same date that Beethoven had written to Goethe, and he assumes that Beethoven first wrote the letter to Zelter since he made many comments that appear natural in a letter to a colleague and not necessarily in a letter to a poet.   However, as Thayer further points out, there  appears to exist an unpleasant difference between the two letters with respect to an important issue:   In his letter to Goethe, Beethoven wrote that the Mass would not be published, at this time, while he wrote to Zelter that the publication was not planned, at all.  Thayer considers it possible that Zelter became aware of this discrepancy and that this might have led to the breakup of their negotiations that had begun so promisingly.  In his letter of February 22, 1823, Zelter is reported by Thayer to have written to Beethoven that he wanted to acquire the Mass for the Singakademie, on his own account, provided that Beethoven would arrange it for the use by the Singakademie, namely practically without instruments, a version that he might then easily use for further commissions from other singing academies or societies.  As Thayer reports, Beethoven replied to this in his letter of March 25, 1823:  

" .  .  .  I have carefully considered your suggestion for the Singakademie.  If it should ever appear in print I will send you a copy without pay.  It is true that it might almost be performed a la capella, but to this end the whole would have to be arranged.  Perhaps you have the patience to so this--Besides, there is already a movement in it which is entirely a la capella and I am inclined to call this style the only true church style.  I thank you for your readines.  From such an honored artist as you, I would never accept anything.--I honor you and desire only an opportunity to prove this to you in deed" (Thayer: 832-833).

The original (Henle Gesamtausgabe) text reads as follows:

Beethoven an Karl Friedrich Zelter in Berlin

                                                                                  Vien am 25ten März 1823

Euer wohlgebohrn!

    Ich ergreife diese Gelegenheit, um ihnen alles gute von mir zu wüschen -- die überbringerin bat mich Sie ihnen bestens zu ephelen, ihr Nahme ist <Mal>Cornega[1],  . . .

    ich habe noch genau nachgedacht ihrem vorschlag für ihre singAkademie,[3] sollte dieselbe einmal im Stich erscheinen, so schicke ich ihnen ein Exemplar ohne etwas <zu>dafür zu nehmen, gewiß ist daß vieles beynahe bloß a la capella aufgeführt werden könnte, das ganze müßte aber doch hiezu noch eine Bearbeitung finden, u vieleicht haben sie die Geduld hiezu. -- übrigens kommt ohnehin ein Stück ganz a la Capella  bey diesem Werke vor, u. mögte gerade diesen Styl vorzugsweise den einzigen wahren KirchenStyl nennen -- dank für ihre Bereitwilligkeit von einem Künstler, wie sie mit Ehren sind, würde ich nie etwas annehmen,--ich ehre sie u. wünsche nur Gelegenheit zu haben, ihnen dieses thätlich zu beweisen.

mit Hochschäzung ihr Freund u. Diener


an Seine Wohlgeboh Hr. Professor Zelter in Berlin

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1621, p. 99-101]

[Original:  Musée de Mariemont; to [1]: refers to Nina Cornega, an Italian singer and Salieri; to [2]: refers to a different draft of this letter in BKh 3, p. 132; to [3]: refers to Letter No. Nr. 1577 of Feb. 22,  1823; details taken from p. 101.]


As far as is known, Thayer continues, this matter was concluded with this letter.  Let us compare Thayer's comments with our listing of relevant Henle Gesamtausgabe correpondence:  

1.    Feb. 8, 1823:  Beethoven to Zelter; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1563, p. 39-40; see above;
2.    Feb. 22, 1823: Zelter to Beethoven; GA Vol.  5, Ltr. No. 1577, p. 53-54; acceptance of the subscription,
       however, without instrumental accompaniment;
3.    Mar. 25, 1823: Beethoven to Zelter, GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1621, p. 99-101; see above.

As Thayer further reports, Beethoven's negotiations with the Frankfurt Cäcilienverein were more successful.  On March 19, its director, J.N. Scheible, wrote to Beethoven and subscribed to the Missa. Our listing of relevant Henle Gesamtausgabe correspondence is as follows:  

1.   Feb. 11, 1823:  Beethoven to the Frankfurt Cäcilienverein; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1569a, p. 44; invitation for the subscription;
2.   Mar. 19, 1823: J.N. Scheible to Beethoven; GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1613, p. 95; acceptance of the invitation.

This is what we can report with respect to Thayer's account of individual subscribers.  Let us also take a brief look at Thayer's concluding overview:  




With respect to this, Thayer (p. 833) writes that from the list of subscribers that was sent to the actual publisher of the Mass, in November 1825, it would appear that the following courts, entities or individuals suscribed to the Missa solemnis:   The Czar of Russia, the Kings of Prussia, Saxony, France and Denmark, the Grand Dukes of Tuscany and Hesse-Darmstadt, the Princes Galitzin and Radziwill and the Frankfurt   Cäcilienverein.  To be thorough, let us compare Thayer's listing with that of the original text of Beethoven's letter of November 25, 1825, to B. Schott's Söhne in Mainz: 

Beethoven an B. Schott's Söhne in Mainz

                                                                [Wien, 25. November 1825]

Euer Wohlgeboren!

. . .

Die Pränumerantenliste muß der Dedication vorgestochen werden:

1. Der Kaiser von Russland
2. der König von Preussen
3. der König von Frankreich u.
4. K. von Dänemark
5. Churfürst von Sachsen
6. Großherzog von Darmstadt
7. Großherz. von Toscana
8. Fürst Galitzin
9. Fürst Radziwill[3]
10. der Caecilienverein von Frankfurt.

. . . 

Beethoven to B. Schott's Söhne in Mainz

                                                                [Vienna, 25th of November, 1825]

Esteemed Sir!

. . .

The list of subscribers has to be featured before the dedication: 

1. The Czar of Russia
2. the Kinig of Prussia
3. ther King of France and
4. K. of Denmark
5. the Elector of Saxony
6. the Grand Duke of Darmstadt
7. the Grand Duke of Tuscany
8. Prince Galitzin
9. Prince Radziwill[3]
10. the Caecilienverein of Frankfurt.

. . . 

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 6, Letter No. 2094, p. 188-190]

[Original:  Mainz, Stadtbibliothek; to [3]: refers to the GA list of subscribers:  Alexander I., Czar of Russia (1777-1825), Friedrich Wilhelm III., Kinig of Prussia (1770 - 1840), Louis XVIII, Kinig of Frankreich (1755 - 1824), Frederic VI., King of Denmark (1768 - 1839), Friedrich August III., Elector, from 1806 n King Friedrich August I. of Saxony (1750-1827), Ludwig I., Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt (1753-1830), Ferdinand III., Grand Duke of Tuscany (1769-1824), Prince Nikolaus Galitzin (1794 - 1866), Anton Heinrich Prince of Radzivill; details taken from p. 189-190).


As Thayer further reports,  Beethoven's remuneration was reduced by 500 ducats on account of the copying costs, whereby Schlemmer appears to have been the main copyist.  However, this copyist must already have been ill, since he died before the end of the year.  His successor Rampel reportedly caused Beethoven a great deal of  grief and, due to this, was mainly held responsible for the delays.  However, as Thayer writes, also the composer's changes to the work were partly responsible for delays. With respect to Beethoven's profit, Maynard Solomon writes:   

"This was not solely or even primarily undertaken as a commercial enterprise, although Beethoven's profit, after deducting the cost of copying, was more than 1,600 florins" (Solomon: 272).

To the listing(s) contained in Beethoven's letter to B. Schott  und Söhne in Mainz and to the GA listing (whereby one can observe a minor discrepancy with respect to the Frankfurt Cäcilienverein) we can add the following list of courts and individuals who did not subscribe after Beethoven had sent an invitation to them:  

1.   Bavaria:  see our above report based on Thayer and on the Gesamtausgabe;
2.   Weimar; see our above report based on Thayer and on the Gesamtausgabe;
3.   The Berlin Singakademie; see our above report based on Thayer and on the Gesamtausgabe;
4.   Württemberg: with respect to this, Thayer did not report; from the GA comments it would appear that Beethoven's 
      enquiry with the Embassy, dated Jan.  23, 1823 (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1532, p. 10) was dispatched to Stuttgart on Jan. 
      25, 1823, (GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1537, p. 35-37);
5.  Hesse-Kassel: see our introductory report to Thayer's comment that the Letter of Jan. 23, 1823, GA Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1525,
     p. 6-7 was not sent off right away; the GA then features Beethoven's invitation for the subscription of Feb. 6, 1823, as
     Letter No. 1554 in Vol. 5 (p. 31-32), whereby it is pointed out that it is not clear as to whether the enquiry was delivered
     to the Embassy in Vienna; 
6.  Baden; see our above listing of initial enquiries with the Viennese Embassies; no further correspondence appears
     to exist; 
7.  Mecklenburg: see our above listing of initial enquiries with the Viennese Embassies; no further correspondence appears
     to exist;
8.  Sweden: see our above report based on Thayer and on the Gesamtausgabe; 
9.  Prince Esterhazy: see our above report based on Thayer and on the Gesamtausgabe;
10. The Archbishop Rudnay of Esztergom (Gran): see GA, Vol. 5, Ltr. No. 1625, p.103-104;
     no further correspondence appears to exist. 

However, since this is not the end of all attempts at gaining subscriptions for the Missa solemnis, we refer you to our separate listing of letters by Streicher and Beethoven with respect to Streicher's endeavors with respect to further subscriptions by German singing societies: 

Streicher's Endeavors

With Streicher's letter to C.F. Peters with respect to his 'excuse' of Beethoven's behavior towards this Leipzig publisher, we are already familiar from our last section of this work description.  After this introductory overview to the topic of Beethoven's attempts at gaining subscribers to the Mass, we can refer you to our chronological feature of the original correspondence: