BEETHOVEN'S MISSA SOLEMNIS
MARKETING STRATEGIES
EARLY AND ULTIMATELY UNSUCCESSFUL
NEGOTIATIONS WITH PUBLISHERS
CHRONOLOGICAL OVERVIEW



 



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

INTRODUCTION

 

Our knowledge of the time frame of the creation of the Missa solemnis provides us with a good point of departure for our chronological look at Beethoven's first, ultimately unsuccessful, negotiations with various publishers for its publication.  Some of us might even venture as far as combining the two time frames in our minds.  In doing so, we would certainly, 'in hindsight', be in a better position of not getting confused than the composer, himself, in the very midst of all of his trials and tribulations.

In our following presentation of this topic we preferred not to combine our chronological overview with a chronological listing of Beethoven's letters on one page.  Therefore, this page provides you with a chronological overview on the topic, while the letters will be presented in chronological order, in subsequent pages.  We hope that this will allow you to use this page as a 'road map', while the correspondence pages will allow you to delve more deeply into various details, so that you might ultimately be able to form your very own opinion on this topic.  

 

CHRONOLOGICAL OVERVIEW

Thayer (p. 743) refers to Beethoven's intensive work on the Missa solemnis in the year 1819:

" . . . So diligently did he apply himself that he had hopes not only of finishing it in time for the installation of the Archduke as Archbishop of Olmütz, but he wrote to Ries on November 10 that he had already nearly completed it and would like to know what could be done with it in London" (Thayer: 743).

Let us quote this letter her that actually does not yet belong to the publication correspondence discussed here, directly from the Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe:  

 Beethoven an Ferdinand Ries in London

                                                                W i e n, am 10. November [Oktober][1] 1819.

Lieber Ries!

   . . . 

   . . . Für heute schließe ich, melde Ihnen nur, daß ich eine neue große Messe beinahe vollendet;[7] schreiben Sie mir, was Sie damit in L. (London) machen könnten; allein bald, sehr bald . . .; -- nächstens schreibe ich Ihnen weitläufiger.  In Eile!  Ihr wahrer guter Freund

                                                                                     B e e t h o v e n .

Beethoven to Ferdinand Ries in London

                                                  V i e n n a , the 10th of November [Oktober][1] 1819.

Dear Ries!

   . . . 

   . . . I am closing for today and only add that I have almost completed a new great mass;[7] write to me what you might be able to do with it in L.[London]; alone, soon, very soon . . .; -- at the next opportunity, I will write more.  In haste!  Your true good friend 

                                                                                     B e e t h o v e n .

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, Letter No. 1341, p. 322-323]

[Original: not known; Text pursuant to the GA following the first print in Wegeler/Ries, p. 152; to [7]: refers to op. 123 and to the fact that the Mass was only completed in 1822; details taken from p. 323].

 

Therefore, Thayer's report and Beethoven's letter to Ferdinand Ries appear to confirm that these were Beethoven's 'baby steps' in his new 'marketing venture'.

With respect to Beethoven's first direct offer of the Mass to a publisher, Thayer (p. 757-758) reports that it can be found in Beethoven's letter of February 10, 1820, to Nikolaus Simrock, in which he offered the work for a price of 125 Louis d'Or.  As Thayer writes, Beethoven repeated his offer on March 9, 1820, and on March 14, 1820, he suggested that he might perhaps be able to set the price somewhat lower.   As Thayer further reports, from Beethoven's letter of March 18, 1820, to Simrock, we can learn that Simrock had made a counter-offer of 100 Louis d'Or, which Beethoven accepted with a few additional conditions that he would set, and that he expressed his confidence that Simrock would find these reasonable.  

With respect to the negotiations Beethoven had entered into with Simrock, Thayer (p. 768) also refers to the conversation book entries of this time that reflect a decreasing interest in Beethoven's circles in Simrock's offer of 100 Louis d'Or but also an increased need for this money.  With respect to this, Thayer quotes Oliva's entry, in part, in his own English version.  Perhaps, it would be of interest to us to rely on the German conversation book entry to which we want to render our own translation into English: 

"100 Louis d'Or wären 200 Ducaten, das wäre wenig  1 Louis d'Or ist 2 Ducaten  ein Louis gilt 9.12. oder etwas mehr nach dem Gold agio; -- Preußische Friedrichs d'Or gelten weniger  ich weiß es bestimmt  wieviel haben Sie bey Simrock verlangt?  doch 150 Louis d'Or?  125, ist 250 Ducaten  Dasselbe sage ich ihnen  eher als die heraus kamen

["100 Louis d'Or would be 200 ducats, that would be little  1 Louis d'Or is 2 ducats  one Louis is 9.12 or a bit more in Gold agio; -- Prussian Friedrichs d'Or are less  I know it, for sure  how much have you asked of Simrock?  hopefully 150 Louis d'Or? 125, that is 250 ducats  I tell you the same  before they came out . . . "]

---

Die Wällschen [888] sind etwas schmutzig, man darf ihnen ja nicht entgegenkommen -- sonst drücken sie 

["The foreigners* are somewhat sleazy, one must not give in to them, at all--otherwise, they press . . . " Translator's note" 'Wällsche" [rather" Welsche"] refers to people outside of the Austrian Empire, which can best be reflected as 'foreigners' in this context]

---

Glauben Sie mir wegen den Louis d'Or, ich weiß es weil eine eigene Rechnungs Art ist, -- doch müssen Sie unterscheiden Louis d'Or, -- und Napoleons, oder neue Münze, die gilt weniger, 

["Believe me with respect to the Louis d'Or, I know it since it is a unique way of calculating,--however, you must distinguish between Louis d'Or,--and Napoleons, or new currency which is worth less, . . . "]

---

man rechnet im Reich noch alte Louis d'Or zu f. 9.12. gut Geld, -- oder f 11 -- im gleichen Reichsgeld,

[in the 'Reich', one still refers to old Louis d'Or for f. 9.12., good money,--or f 11--in the same 'Reichs' money," . . . [Translator's note: 'Reich' refers here to the main territory of the old 'Roman' Empire]]

---

200#              900

2                   900

                     450

                   ____

                  f2250" (Konversationshefte [Conversation Books], Vol. 1, p. 383-384).

Thayer (p. 768) then points out that Franz Brentano in Frankfurt had power of attorney from Beethoven to negotiate with Simrock in Bonn on his behalf.  To this, Oliva rendered his own comments which Thayer renders in his own English translation.  Since, at this time, we do not have access to this volume of the Conversation Books, we want to quote directly from Thayer:   

"In April Oliva writes again: "Have you written to Simrock that he must not publish the mass at once as you want first to send it or hand it to the Archduke?"  Again: "If you send the Recepisse on the stage-coach he will certainly send you the money at once."  And later"  "It would be quicker to give the music to the stage-coach and send Brentano the receipt--at the same time informing Simrok that Brentano had been assured of its dispatch; then Brentano can send you the money at once without waiting to receive the music."  In April again: "But he has not yet replied to your last offer of the mass?  I mean Simrock--200 ducats could help you out greatly-- Because of your circumstances.  You must not delay writing to Simrock or Brentano; -- Brentano can send you the money at once--or at least very soon.-- I am surprised that Simrock has not answered yet" (Thayer: S. 768).

As Thayer (p. 768) further reports, on April 23, 1820, Beethoven again asked that the Louis d'Or should be sent to Brentano and wrote that Simrock would receive the Mass "by the end of May or beginning of June", while Beethoven's next letter of July 23, 1820, with respect to the Missa shows that Simrock had replied on July 10th and that he had questioned the monetary terms of the Louis d'Or.   As Thayer writes, in his reply, Beethoven refers to the value of 2 ducats or to the equivalent of 1 Louis d'Or in florins that that with that, everything would be settled and that he would receive the Mass in the next month.   

Thayer (p. 769) points out that Simrock's August 1820 answer can be derived from Oliva's conversation book entries from the end of August, which we quote here from Thayer:  

"Leave Simrock's letter with me, I'll answer it and give you the letter this afternoon;--if you are satisfied with it sign it and I will post it tomorrow.  There must be no delay."  "He says the Mass can be used only by Catholics, which is not true.  He is paying too little rather than too much with 200 ducats"  (Thayer: 769).

According to Thayer, in his reply of August 30, 1820, Beethoven set the florin value at 9 per Louis d'Or and asked for 900 florins and corrected Simrock with respect to the use of the Mass in pointing out that his first Mass, in the Breitkopf edition, had been printed with an additional German text and that it had been performed in Protestant cities and that he would be prepared to supply a German text for the new Mass, as well.  

As Thayer further reports, Simrock's letter of November 12, 1820 to Brentano refers to a misunderstanding with respect to the price of the "new great mass" that Beethoven wanted to sell for 100 Louis d'Or and to which he had agreed, with the understanding that the Louis d'Or would be worth as much as they are worth in Bonn, Leipzig and Germany, namely the equivalent of Friedrichs d'Or, 'Pistolen' (pistols).  In order to avoid unpleasantness after the receipt of the Mass from Beethoven he had clearly explained this to him, and in his letter of September 23, 1820, he repeated that he means Friedrichs d'Or and that he was not in a position to pay more and that he would have the sum ready in exchange for the receipt of the Mass which Beethoven had promised to supply with a Latin and a German text.  He [Simrock] has also had the impression that he had asked for a quick decision since he did not want his money tied up in Frankfurt, for too long.  However, since he has not heard anything for four weeks, he had not counted on the Mass, anymore and used the money otherwise.   However, when he learned from Brentano's November 8, 1820, letter that Beethoven had agreed to giving the Mass to Simrock, he had found himself in the embarrassing situation that he did not have Louis d'Or on hand, however, since Brentano had not mentioned anything in the meantime, he would try to obtain that money if Brentano would not be ready to take the equivalent in florins at a course of 9.36.   He asked to be informed of the arrival of the Mass so the he would be able to instruct Heinrich Verhuven to receive it in exchange for the money.   

According to Thayer, Simrock waited for four weeks before he gave up his hopes to receive the Mass and it took ten our more weeks before Beethoven answered Simrock's letter with his letter of November 28, 1820.  In it (Thayer p. 769-770) Beethoven pointed out that he, since he was not well-versed in money matters and financial matters, had waited for a friend who only arrived recently and that, in the meantime, he had learned that he might have lost at least 100 florins C.M. and that he could have received 200 gold ducats, earlier, while Simrock's offer was still preferable since, in his opinion, 100 Louis d'Or were still worth more, and in the meantime, it was already too late since the firm that wanted to have the Mass from him had ordered another large work from him and that he preferred not to make an offer, what Simrock would certainly understand.  As soon as the Mass would be supplied with a German text, he would send it to Brentano where Simrock could then send 100 'Pistolen' instead of Louis d'Or, according to his interpretation, and had he, Beethoven, would lose at least 50 florins Viennese Standard and that he hoped that Simrock would at least pay this amount.  

With this, Thayer's report on the progress of Beethoven's negotiations for the publication of the Mass in the year 1820 end.  Before we turn to their progress in the year 1821, further comments by Thayer and Solomon allow us to take a look at Beethoven's financial situation of this time that give us an opportunity to consider the negotiations of this year and the conversation book entries in a overall context.    

With respect to this, Thayer (p. 766) reports that on October 1820, Beethoven received 300 florins from Artaria through Oliva and that, in his letter of December 17, 1820, to Artaria, he thanked the latter for the 750 florins he had loaned him and that he asked him for yet another 150 florins and that he was afraid to lose one of his eight bank notes.  

As Thayer further reports, Beethoven was also in contact with Steiner who reportedly sent him a list of his indebtedness to which Beethoven is reported as having reacted angrily.  According to Thayer, Steiner's December 29, 1820 reply to Beethoven relates to the loan of 2,400.00 florins Viennese Standard (in total).  Thayer quotes Beethoven's notes in pencil that he had left on this letter:  

"The 1300 florins V.S. were probably received in 1816 or 1817--750 fl. V.S. still later, perhaps in 1819-the 300 fl. are debts which I assumed for Frau van Beethoven and can be chargeable for only a few years--the 70 florins may have been for myself in 1819.--Payment may be made of 1200 florins a year in semi-annual payments"  (Thayer: 767).

As Thayer writes, a further note refers to Steiner's willingness to receive 600 florins each on April 15 and October 15, 1821, and from a letter to Haslinger, dated September 5th, that was presumably written in 1822, Thayer quotes Beethoven as follows:  "I beg Steiner to go to Dr. Bach tomorrow afternoon where the 600 fl. C.M. may be received, the other 600 will be available also from Dr. Bach as soon as possible" (Thayer: 767-768).   Thayer further reports that, with respect to these payments, disagreements between the parties arose again, in 1823.  

Let us compare Thayer's report with Solomon's description of Beethoven's financial situation of this time:  

"During the early 1820s, Beethoven earned little money from publications, dedications, or concerts.  His main income was the princes' annuity, along with the interest on his eight bank shares (worth 4,000 florins in silver, 10,000 in depreciated currency).  These were not sufficient, however, to meet Beethoven's rather high expenses.  He maintained two servants at virtually all times, took a summer residence each year, and had a taste for simple but well-prepared foods and good wines.  Furthermore, he had to pay for Karl's board and schooling--2,000 florins per year, he claimed; Johanna's contribution from her pension had long since fallen into arrears.  And legal fees, although we do not know their size, must have substantially eroded Beethoven's finances.  Like most older people on a fixed income, he feared to touch his capital and insisted that the bank shares had been set aside as Karl's inheritance.  It is not surprising, then, that Beethoven began to slip into debt.  Over the preceding years, he had borrowed almost 2,500 florins from Steiner.  Furthermore, Wolfmayer had apparently paid Beethoven 1,000 florins for his Requiem.  And in 1820, Artaria loaned him 750 florins, with repayment guaranteed by Archduke Rudolph.  The previous year, he had also obtained an advance of 400 florins from the Society of the Friends of Music as partial payment for his oratorio.  In December 1820, Steiner wrote a restrained but firm letter to Beethoven requesting his money, and repeatedly reminding the composer of his moral obligations . . .  Beethoven and Steiner agreed on an extended repayment schedule, and the composer managed to forestall other creditors' demands for several more years; but the pyramiding debt would ultimately lead Beethoven into a complex series of machinations concerning the sale of his Missa Solemnis and, more poignantly, to a rupture in his relationship with several of his friends and associates" (Solomon: 271-272). 

After this description of the situation by Solomon and after his comment on its consequences, let us move on to taking a look at the negotiations for publication of the Mass, in the year 1821.  

From our Biographical Pages we already know that in the winter of this year, Beethoven suffered from a rheumatic fever.  In his letter of March 14, 1821 (Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, Letter No. 1429, p. 438-439) to Nikolaus Simrock (which Thayer, however, does not mention in his chapter to this year) Beethoven promised him the Mass for April and referred to his illness as the reason for the delay.  

That Beethoven suffered from jaundice in the summer of this year, which he spent in Unterdöbling, is also known to us from our Biographical Pages and from our Creation History of the Mass. 

With respect to further negotiations for the publication of the Mass, Thayer (p. 779-780) discusses Beethoven's correspondence with Franz Brentano.  However, in doing so, he does not refer to the latter's letter to Beethoven of October 18, 1821 (Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, Letter No. 1443, p. 451-452, which has not been preserved and the existence of which has been derived from Brentano's note on Letter No. 1419 and from Letter No. 1445).  According to the GA, in it, Brentano asks for the manuscript of the Mass for which he had paid Beethoven an advance.    

Thayer then quotes Beethoven's letter of November 12, 1821, to Franz Brentano, in which he apologized and referred to his ill health as the reason for any delay and in which he stated that his health was somewhat improving.  As Beethoven further writes, the Mass would have to be gone through "note by note", which he would have to do himself and which he could only now begin to embark on.  In addition, Beethoven reports that he had to write several occasional works and hinted that he wanted ask Simrock to set the value of the Louis d'Or higher since he had received several other offers about which he would soon write to him.  In conclusion, Beethoven expressed his hope that he would soon be able to repay the advance.  

With respect to Beethoven's closing remark, Thayer points out that one could conclude from it that he had received an advance for the fee of the Mass from Brentano and that Beethoven's letter of December 20, 1821 confirms this hunch.  As Thayer reports, in this letter (Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, Letter No. 1451, p. 465-466),  Beethoven wrote that he was expecting another letter with respect to the Mass and that he would send it to him in order to allow him to form his own opinion about it.  Beethoven is also reported as having promised Brentano that the honorarium would be made out and sent to him directly, from which he could then deduct the amount that he, Beethoven, owed him, and that he was eternally grateful to him for this advance; in closing, Beethoven also mentioned his dedication of op. 109 (Piano Sonata No. 30) to his daughter Maximiliane, to whom he had addressed his letter of December 6, 1821 and that this should not be misunderstood.  

Thayer still mentions that Brentano kept Simrock informed of the situation and concludes his report for the year 1821 with this reference.  

With respect to Beethoven's 1821 correspondence regarding the publication of his Mass, we can still refer to three further letters that Thayer does not discuss in his chapter to the year 1821:  

1.  On November 13, 1821, Beethoven wrote to Adolf Martin Schlesinger in Berlin (Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, Letter No. 1446, p. 454-459) and, in reply to his request, told him the price for the Mass (as being 100 Louis d'Or, however, neither Friedrichs d'Or nor 'Pistolen'< 200 gold ducates or 900 floins 'with agio') and asked for Schlesinger's prompt reply;

2.  Schlesinger's reply of December 1, 1821 (Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4, Letter No. 1448, p. 461, not preserved, existence derived from Letterr No. 1447 and No. 1450) consists of the latter's acceptance of this offer with the stipulation that Beethoven should provide one more copy and a piano reduction; 

3.  Beethoven's reply  of December 12, 1821, to Schlesinger shows his regret that Schlesinger made stipulations such as the provision of an additional copy and of a piano reduction but that he agreed to it and that, as a counter-proposal, he also suggested that he could provide him with yet another copy of the score, but for an additional 100 florins.  Schlesinger was to send the money to Franz Brentano in Frankfurt and that, after receipt of the draft, the Mass would be sent to him; if he would not agree to this, he could hold on to his money until the mass was delivered.  

In light of Beethoven's illnesses of this year it is not surprising that his correspondence with respect to the publication of the Mass was not more extensive, which would change, however, in the following year.  

First, Thayer (p. 784) reports that in 1822, Beethoven's negotiations with respect to the Missa were continued with various publishers.  With respect to Thayer-Forbes' report in the standard biography chapter to the year 1822 we should point out that we will follow its outline while also referring to correspondence that is not directly mentioned in it, and with respect to this, we rely on the Henle-Gesamtausgabe [hereinafter referred to as GA] of Beethoven's letters and will render our references to these letters in indentation.  

The first of these letters is that of January 8, 1822, by Adolph Martin Schlesinger to Beethoven (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1456, p. 471-472, original not known, existence derived from Letters No. 1450 and No. 1458) in which he offered the composer 650 Reichstaler in Prussian currency for a month at sight, for the Mass including a piano reduction.  

On February 20, 1822, Beethoven replied (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1458, p. 474-476) and accepted Schlesinger's offer of 650 Reichstaler which he was to pay to a "Herr von Herz" in Vienna, while the material could be handed over to Cappi & Diabellin in Vienna for dispatch to Leipzig; he also related greetings to Schlesinger's son Moritz in Paris, whose friendly delivery of a veal roast, during his stay at Mödling, he still remembered.  

In his letter of April 9, 1822 (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1460, p. 476-477, mentioned by Thayer on p. 785) to Schlesinger in Berlin, Beethoven repeated his promise of February 20, 1822, as well as that the copy costs were to be calculated extra and that they should be kept as low as possible.  With respect to this, Beethoven also suggested to Schlesinger that he could let him have two extra songs for 45 florins each and mentioned that from the 'Wiener Modezeitung', he could receive 8 ducats per song.  As soon as the sum of 650 Reichstaler will have arrived in Vienna, continued Beethoven, he could send the Mass off and asked for payment of the money to a banker like Gaimuller, a good Viennese banker, and also asked for a speedy transaction.  

In his letter of May 1, 1822 (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1462, p. 479-480--this letter is also mentioned by Thayer on p. 785--to Schlesinger in Berlin, once again, Beethoven asked for the money to be send since other publishers, too, had shown an interest in the Mass, also Viennese publishers, while he had decided, however, that the Mass should not be published in Vienna and also asked for his acceptance of his April 9, 1822, offer and that payment should not be delayed more than for four weeks.  (Thayer also refers to Beethoven's letter to Schlesinger of May 29, 1822, which has not been preserved, however, and which is not contained in the Gesamtausgabe). 

At this point, we can return to Thayer-Forbes on p. 784, with Thayer quoting Simrock's letter to Beethoven of May 13, 1822 (GA Vol. 4, No. 1464, p. 481-482).  In it, Simrock reminded Beethoven that he had already promised the Mass for a year and that payment for it had already been deposited in Frankfurt in October, 1820.  On May 18, 1821, Beethoven had written to him that he had been ill for six weeks and had promised him the Mass, again.  He, Simrock, had asked Franz Brentano about the arrival of the Mass, at the Fall Fair of 1821 and at the Spring Fair of 1822 and, each time, had received the reply that it had not arrived, yet.  For this reason, he asked Beethoven for his final decision.  

Beethoven's reply, continues Thayer, is not known, but could be deduced from his May 19, 1822, letter to Franz Brentano (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1466, p. 485-487).  In this letter, Beethoven explained to Brentano that he had suffered from gout of the chest, for four months and that he had almost not been able to work, at all, and that the Mass would arrive in Frankfurt in June, 1822.  As a further reason for the delay, he mentioned that Archduke Rudolph did not want to see the Mass published, so soon and that he only had returned the score and the parts to him, three days ago and that the Mass would now have to be copied, again, but that it should be in Frankfurt by the end of June, the latest.   From Vienna and from elsewhere, he had received better offers; however, he had all rejected them since he had given Simrock his word and that he would keep it, even if he would lose money in doing so.  Beethoven expressed his hope that Simrock would compensate for it, in some other manner, perhaps also with respect to the complete edition of his works.  

As Thayer (p. 785) further reports, Brentano corresponded with Simrock, and received a letter from him on May 29, 1822 (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1467, p. 487-488), in which Simrock regretted that ill health was, in part, to be blamed for the fact that he had been waiting every day for the Mass, for a year, while the money had been in Frankfurt with Verhuven, since he did not want Beethoven to wait for the money, for even a day.  

Thayer (p. 785-786) then discusses Schlesinger's reply to Beethoven of July 2, 1822 (GA Vol. 4, No. 1474, p. 502-503), in which Schlesinger expresses that with respect to the Mass everything was in order and that Beethoven was to send the two songs, right away; he would send him a draft for the 650 Reichstaler, for fourteen days at sight, since he did not trust the Viennese music dealers.  In his opinion, they did not have any respect for property and are difficult to motivate to render payment.  

As Thayer further reports, Schlesinger's son Moritz wrote to Beethoven on July 3, 1822 and his father on July 13, 1822, with respect to op. 111, with very disappointing results for Beethoven, so that, at least for the time being, Beethoven appeared to be willing to break his negotiations with these two publishers off.  However, since these letters are not directly related to the publication of op. 123, we are not discussing them in detail, here.  

Rather, let us return, with Thayer-Forbes (p. 786), to Simrock's correspondence with Beethoven.  Thayer notes that Simrock had written to Beethoven on August 22, 1822  (GA Vol. 4, No. 1488, p. 523, original not known, existence derived from Letter No. 1494), in which Simrock, according to the GA, pressed for the dispatch of the Mass. 

Beethoven's reply of September 13, 1823 (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1494, p. 529-530), Thayer continues, had been written to Simrock from Baden, since Beethoven's Krankheit von dreiviertel Jahren" [illness of three-quarters of a year] had not ended, yet.  In it, Beethoven briefly replied to Simrock's letter and mentions that he had been offered a higher fee for the Mass by other publishers and that his general circumstances and his ill health now forced him to ask 1,000 florins C.M. at twenty and asked him to let him know if he was willing to pay that much.  

Thayer (p. 787) reports that Simrock must have replied to this letter that, instead of the Mass, he would accept other works from Beethoven.  (According to our knowledge, this correspondence is not contained in Volume 4 of the Gesamtausgabe along with the letters of this year).  

Thayer then introduces a new correspondent in this matter, C.F. Peters of Leipzig, as follows: 

"In 1814 C.F. Peters had purchased the Bureau de Musique founded in 1798 by Hoffmeister and Kühnel, publishers of a number of Beethoven's compositions, including the First Symphony, between 1800 and 1805" (Thayer: 787).  

On May 18, 1822, Thayer continues, Peters wrote to Beethoven (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1465, p. 483-484) and expressed that he had intended and wanted to get in touch with Beethoven, for a long time, but that, out of respect for the Viennese publishers, he had refrained from doing so, thus far.   However, since it was evident that Beethoven also had his works published outside of Vienna, he would no longer hold back, himself.  At the last fair, he had spoken to Steiner and the latter had not expressed any objections so that he gave him a list of the compositional genres in which he wished to obtain works from Beethoven.   He pointed out that he did not strive to publish Beethoven's works for monetary gain, but rather only for his honor.   Beethoven, Thayer continues, replied to him on June 5, 1822  (GA Vol. 4,  Letter No. 1468, p. 488-491).  After he thanked Peters for his letter, he explained that he was only able to briefly answer it, since he was very busy and that he had been ill for five months.    He had met Steiner a few days ago and the latter did not mention anything about Peters, to the contrary, he urged him to only have his works published by him, now and in future.  From this, Peters would be able to see how Steiner should be judged.  Due to this reason, continued Beethoven and since he loves honesty, he preferred other publishers.   In mentioning works that would be available, Beethoven wrote that the greatest work that he had composed, thus far, was a great Mass with choruses, four solo voices and full orchestra and that he had been offered 100 Louis d'Or in hard cash for it, while now, he would have to ask 1,000 florins C.M. at twenty for it, for which he would also provide a piano reduction.  What was most important to him, however, was the publication of his complete works that he still wanted to arrange during his life time, and he wanted to add one new work for each compositional genre and that the asking price for this was 10,000 florins C.M. at twenty.  In conclusion, Beethoven explained that he was not a businessman and asked Peters for discretion in order to avoid unpleasantness and asked him for a quick reply.  

Thayer (p. 789) reports that Beethoven did not have to wait for an answer, very long, since already on June 15, 1822, Peters replied to him (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1469, p. 495-498).   In his letter, Peters expressed his regrets about Steiner's duplicity and mentioned the genres of works for which he had given Steiner a list:  a string quartet, a trio of any kind, a full-orchestra concert overture, songs and small solo piano pieces and then discussed Beethoven's offers.   He called the Grand Mass "the most admirable" of these compositions and accepted the price of 1,000 florins C.M.  He did not consider a contract necessary between honest men and asked Beethoven to send him the Mass and its piano reduction for 1,000 florins C.M. at 20, considered the matter settled and asked him when he could count on receiving the Mass, since he was not rich and had to schedule it for printing.  He also asked Beethoven not to tell anyone how much he would pay for the Mass.  As he further wrote, at that time, he did not want to publish the Mass or other larger vocal works by Beethoven alone, but rather in conjunction with other works and asked him for songs, bagatelles for piano solo and four military marches, but also for the new string quartet for which he, however, would not be able to pay 50 ducats.  Moreover, he [Beethoven] should feel free to tell Steiner that he was negotiating with Peters.   

Thayer (p. 790) then refers to Beethoven's reply of June 26, 1822 (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1473, p. 500-501), in which the composer promised the Mass to Peters for the end of July, for the agreed-upon price.  He also added one of Steiner's pre-printed contract forms.  He also explained to Peters that he had never sought commissions from Steiner or other publishers since he wanted to see how far his fame had spread and also offered Peters three songs and four marches for the price of 40 ducats.  In conclusion, he asked Peters for his comment on the matter of the publication of his complete works.   

Peters, Thayer continues, replied to this letter on July 3rd, 1822 (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1475, p. 503-505).  In it, he agreed to pay 40 ducats for the songs and marches and showed concern for Beethoven's financial situation and expressed that he wanted to help him.  

Thayer reports that, before this letter reached Beethoven, on July 6, 1822, he had sent a post script to his letter of June 15 (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1478, p. 508-509).  In it, he discussed Peters' request for bagatelles and a string quartet and quoted 8 ducats as price per bagatelle and explained that he could not sell the string quartet for a lower price.  With respect to the Mass, Beethoven concluded, that everything was settled.  

In his letter of July 12, 1822 (Thayer: 791, GA Vol. 4, No. 1480, p. 511-513) that Thayer also briefly mentions, Peters discussed other works, but not the Mass.  With respect to the fee for the other works he pointed out that it would amount to about 200 to 300 florins at 20; however, since he could not determine the exact amount, he asked Beethoven to withdraw the sum from the Meisl brothers (bankers) in exchange for a receipt, and that it would not matter to him, Peters, whether Beethoven would withdraw the amount now or later, after his receipt of the works.  The sum would be ready for him, in any event.  He, Peters, would be able to arrange payment for all of Beethoven's works that he would deliver to him, in this pleasant way. 

As Thayer (p. 791) reports, on August 3, 1882, Beethoven wrote to Peters (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1487, p. 522-523) that the Mass could be sent as soon as the fee for the Mass and the other works would have arrived.  

That Peters paid promptly, Thayer continues, is proven by Piringer's (the conductor of the Concerts Spirituels) of July 25, 1822, to Beethoven, that 300 florins had arrived at Meisl Bros. for the songs and the four marches, while Beethoven was less prompt in withdrawing the money, which he, however, still did before he sent the works off.   

In his lines to Peters of September 13, 1822, that he had written from Baden (GA Vol. 4, Letter No.1496, p. 531-533) Beethoven wrote that Piringer had mentioned something to Steiner of his dealings with Peters and that he regretted that Peters had sent him the 300 florins so soon and that he, out of fear of gossip, had withdrawn the money and promised to send the works, soon.  

As Thayer (p. 792) reports, In his last letter to Peters of this year, of November 22, 1822 (GA Vol. 4, Letter No. 1512, p. 549-550), Beethoven first referred to Peters' letter of November 9, 1822 (GA Vol.  4, Letter No. 1509, original not known, existence derived from Letter No. 1512 of November 22, 1822) in which the latter, according to the GA, reminded him to send the promised songs, marches and bagatelles and in which he also asked about the Mass that had been firmly promised to him.  With respect to this, Beethoven replied that one Mass was already completed, and another one, not yet and that he, Peters, had allowed himself to be confused by gossip and that he, Beethoven, did not know which of the two Masses he would give to him.    

Thayer relates the gossip Beethoven mentioned to the compositions that Peters had bought but not received, yet.  Thayer finds it very likely that gossip about the Mass had reached Leipzig since Peters was also in contact with Steiner and others and that he also knew that the Mass had been composed for the installation of Archduke Rudolph in Olmütz, since he, himself had commented that, on account of this, it would have to be "something excellent".  Therefore, Thayer argues, the Mass that Beethoven had promised to Peters at the end of July 1822, could only have been the Mass in D Major, while it is also true that at this time, Beethoven also thought of composing more than one Mass, perhaps even three and that his his sketchbook of this time one can find a note:  "Das Kyrie in der zweiten Messe nur mit Bläsern und Orgel" [the Kyrie of the second Mass only with wind instruments and organ], and that, somewhere else in these sketches, one can find six bars of a theme for a Dona nobis with the title "Cis-Moll-Messe" and that there also exist two other references to this Dona.  Thayer considers it possible that the second Mass was planned for the Emperor and that Beethoven had said, himself, that he was also thinking of a third Mass.  

Since Peters, as Thayer (p. 793) reports, became impatient, Beethoven wrote to him on December 20, 1822 (GA Vol.  4, Letter No. 1515, p. 553, original not known) that nothing that was intended for Peters was completely finished and that, due to lack of time, he was not able to discuss the delays in the copying of these works, while he, once again, asked Peters for his opinion in the matter of the publication of his complete works.   

Thayer (p. 794)mentions Beethoven's letter of August 22, 1822 to Artaria  (GA Vol.  4, Letter No. 1489, p. 523-524) separately, at the end of his discussion of Beethoven's Missa publication correspondence of this year.  In this letter, Thayer writes, Beethoven mentioned that for the Mass, he had been offered 1,000 florins C.M. and that he could not accept a lower fee, and he asked Artaria for a reply by the next day, a day on which mail was leaving, since his decision was expected, elsewhere.  

Thayer argues that op. 123 had been discussed in this letter and not "one" of various Masses.  When Beethoven offered it to Artaria, he had already offered it to Simrock, Schlesinger and Peters, so that, altogether, four publishers hoped to receive it. 

Let us move on to discussing Beethoven's Mass publication endeavors of the year 1823.

As Thayer (p. 821) reports, at the end of 1822, Beethoven planned to postpone the publication of the Mass in order to sell manuscript subscriptions of it to the European courts.  We will discuss this topic in separate pages of this section. 

With respect to further negotiations with publishers in the matter of the publication of the Mass, we can, in spite of the subscription plan, also see further negotiations unfolding, abut also the end of Beethoven's correspondence with his initial negotiating partners.  Let us, first, take a look at Beethoven's new Viennese negotiations and then as the remaining correspondence with Peters, Simrock and Brentano: 

In describing the creation history of the Diabelli Variations, Thayer (p. 853) also discusses Beethoven's negotiations with Diabelli for the publication of the Missa solemnis and reports that, with respect to the variations, in the fall of 1822, the parties had agreed that Beethoven's variations would be published separately from those of other composers.   In March, 1823, Diabelli called Schindler into his shop and "had a talk" with him, which also found reflection in the conversation book of that time:  

" - Diabelli called me today while I was passing and said to me that he would take the Mass and publish it in to months by subscription.  He guarantees you the 1000 florins, as he says he has already told you.  You can hafe as many copies as you want.

- So often I have wanted to ask you to take better care of your pocketbook.  Was there much in it? 

Diab. only asks of you that you let him know your decision within a few days, then he will have the work begun at once and promises that everything shall be ready by the end of May.  You, however, will not have any further care in the matter.  

-  I think the proposition a very good one, the more, because the work will be printed at once.  

-  Then decide the thing quickly, and settle with him right away." 

(As Thayer reports, Beethoven appeared to have doubts or scruples because of the subscription invitations that he had sent to the European courts.)  

" - It will make no difference to the most exalted courts if printed copies are put out.  

-  Do you want the 1000 florins in cash at once or later--he assures me that they will be guaranteed to you; the business now is that you come to an understanding" (Thayer: 854).

As Thayer (p. 855) further reports, in the meantime, Diabelli also wanted to publish the three supplementary pieces (the Graduale, the Offertory and the "Tantum Ergo"), but that Beethoven still hesitated.   

"-  It would be best if your were to persuade Diab. to print the work at once, but wait a few months with the publication by subscription.  Then you will not be compromised in the mater, nor he either" (Thayer: 855).

After a further discussion between Diabelli and Schindler:

" - Diabelli agrees to wait until the tardy answers have been received before opening the subscription.  But he is not willing to wait a whole year" (Thayer: 855).

And in April:

" - As to how you are agreed about it,--the only question is whether you give Diab. the privilege of announcing the subscription a month before he pays. 

-  It is his own wish not to take the Mass in hand until he has paid" (Thayer: 855).

According to Thayer, in a later conversation book, Schindler wrote:  

" - Diab. told me also that he will pay for the Mass as soon as he receives it, but he would like to have it by July 1 in order to have it ready by the St. Michael Fair" (Thayer: 855).

As Thayer reports, Diabelli asked for it on August 1st and September 1st, while Beethoven had resolved not to disappoint his subscribers and that he had written to Schindler:  "There are only two courses as regards the Mass, namely, that the publisher delay the publication a year and a day; or, if not, we cannot accept a subscription" (Thayer: 855; "Es gibt nur zwei Möglichkeiten bezüglich der Messe, nämlich, dass der Verlag die Veröffentlichung um ein Jahr und einen Tag verschiebt oder, falls nicht, dass wir keine Subskription annehmen können" (our translation into German, here a direct quote from the GA:  "nur 2 Arten gibts mit der Meße nemlich, daß der verleger selbe vor tag u. Jahr nicht herausgiebt, oder wo nicht, so können wir keine subscription annehmen" (Vol.  5, Letter No. 1615, p. 96, however, the GA lists this letter as having been written shortly after March 20, 1823, thus after the beginning of the negotiations with Diabelli on March 20, 1823).  

From another undated letter to Schindler, Thayer continues, one could see that Diabelli and Beethoven had entered into a contract.  "Nothing is to be changed in the Diabelli contract except that the time when he is to receive the Mass from me be left undetermined" (Thayer: 855), here our direct quote from the GA:  "Es wird im Diab.[ellischen] Instrument gar nichts geändert, als daß man nur die Zeit, wann+<die>Sie die Meße von mir erhalten+noch unbestimmt läßt,--" (GA Vol. 5, Letter No. 1634, p. 109, ascribed to shortly after April 24, 1823).  According to Thayer, the contract included both works and difficulties soon arose.   With respect to this, Beethoven wrote to Schindler:  "From my little book I see that you have doubts in the matter of the Mass and Diab., wherefore, I beg you to come soon, for in that case we will not give him the Var. either, as my brother knows somebody who wants to take them both.  We are therefore in a position to talk to him" (Thayer: 855; hee our direct quote from the GA: "aus meinem Büchel sehe ich, daß sie die sache wegen der Meße mit Diab.[elli] bezweifeln, daher bitte ich sie bald zu kommen, denn man gibt im die Var.[iationen] alsdenn auch nicht, da mein Bruder jemand weiß, der Beydes nehmen will. -- man kann also mit ihm darüb.[er] sprechen" (Letter No. 1622 from Vol. 5, p. 101, ascribed by the GA to the beginning of April, 1823).

In this matter, Thayer continues, in which Schindler acted as go-between, the following emerged:  

"Dear S.! ----

   I wish that the business which is so disagreeable to you might be brought to a conclusion soon.  Moreover I was not, unfortunately, completely wrong in not quite trusting Diab.-- . . . " (Thayer: 856; here our direct quote from the GA:

"Lieber S.! -----

Ich wünsche, dass das Geschäft, das Ihnen so unangenehm ist, bald zu Ende geführt wird.  Leider war ich außerdem nicht ganz im Unrecht, Diabelli nicht zu vertrauen. -- . . . " (Thayer: 856; dazu wiederum ein direktes Zitat aus der GA: "Ich wünsche daß diese für Sie verdrießliche Sache auf's beste endige, übrigens hatte ich doch leider nicht ganz Unrecht, dem Diab.[elli} nicht ganz zu trauen" (Vol. 5, Letter No. 1635, p. 110, ascribed by the GA to the time around the 24th of April, 1823).

With respect to this, Thayer writes, Schindler left the following comment:  

    "This concerns a contract between Diabelli and us concerning the Mass.  Diab. spoke solely of plans for the work which were not only disadvantageous to the work but also damaging for the composer which I completely resisted, whereupon Diab. became very rude and declared that since the contract was good as closed he would summon me before a court of law if the contract was broken off.  This threat, however, did not help him at all; he had to take back the document" (Thayer: 856; here our direct quote from the GA:

"Dies bezieht sich auf einen Vertrag zwischen uns und Diabelli bezüglich der Messe. Diab. sprach nur von Plänen, die nicht nur für das Werk von Nachteil waren, sondern auch für den Komponisten, so dass ich ihnen ganz widersprach, worauf Diabelli sehr unhöflich wurde und erklärte, dass der Vertrag so gut wie abgeschlossen sei und er mich deshalb vor Gericht holen könne, falls er gebrochen werde.  Diese Drohung half ihm jedoch überhaupt nicht.  Er musste das Dokument zurücknehmen" (Thayer: 856; aus Anmerkung [3] des o.g. zitierten Originalbriefs aud der GA können wir auch Schindlers Kommentar direkt zitieren:  "Dies bezieht sich auf einen Conflict zwischen Diabelli und mir betr. der MesseDiab.[elli} ließ nur Pläne mit der Messe hören, die sowohl dem Werke nachtheilig, als für den verfaßer verletzend waren, die ich alsogleich bekämpfen mußte, worauf Diab.[elli] sehr grob wurde u erklärte, weil der Vertrag fast so gut wie gegenseitig abgeschlossen war, er werde mich vor Gericht fordern, wenn der Vertrag rückgängig werde.  Diese Drohung halt ihm jedoch nichts, er mußte das Vertragsinstrument zurücknehmen" (GA Vol. 5, p. 111).

Therefore, Thayer writes, Diabelli was one publisher more who did not receive the Mass, while, as a consolation, he received the Variations. 

With respect to the further course of Beethoven's 1823 correspondence with respect to his negotiations with 'previously existing candidates' for the publication of the Missa we can report that: 

Beethoven wrote to Peters in Leipzig on February 20, 1823 that soon, he would receive one or the other mass, since one was already completed, a second one, not yet, while on a third one, work had not begun, yet  (Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1545, p. 51-52; see also Thayer, p. 793).

In his letter to Peters of February 26, 1823, again, he announced that the latter would receive one of the three Masses, soon (Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1583, p. 62-63).

In his letter to Beethoven of March 4, 1823, Peters released Beethoven from his obligation to send him a Mass  (Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1604, p. 80-84; see also Thayer, p. 793).

In his letter to Simrock of March 10, 1823, Beethoven again promised him "a" Mass, but that he also wrote that he did not know, yet, which one (of the two written ones) he would receive and that he also mentioned a third Mass that he wanted to compose for the Emperor  (Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1607,  p. 86-87; see also Thayer, p. 787).

In a letter of the same date to Franz Brentano in Frankfurt, Beethoven expressed the hope that the latter would already have received the 300 florins sent him in repayment of his debt (Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1608, p. 87-88).

The content of a further letter of Beethoven to Peters, dated March 15, 1823, is not known, while its existence, according to the GA, can be derived from a remark in Beethoven's calendar of that time (Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe Vol. Band 5, Letter No. 1624, p. 103).

In his letter to Beethoven of April 14, 1823, Franz Brentano confirmed the receipt of 300 florins (Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1628, p. 106).

The year 1824 brought with it further, ultimately unsuccessful, negotiations with respect to which Thayer (p. 914-915) points out that, in his February 25, 1824, letter to Maurice Schlesinger in Paris, Beethoven offered him the Mass for 1,000 florins C.M: 

"In Ansehung ihrer Aufforderung wegen Werken von mir trage ich Ih[nen eine]* grosse solenne Messe mit Chören, Solo's und ganzem Orchester[3] an; Ihr Va[ter woll]te* sie früher schon nehmen,[4] da ich jedoch bloß von meinen Werken leben m[uß,]* bothen sich mir noch einige Vortheile an, indem mehrere Monarchen dies[e Mes[se* im Manuscript angenommen haben,[5] wobey übrigens nicht die geringste G[efahr]* vorhanden ist, daß etwas davon veräußert werde.  Das Honorar ist 100[0 f.]* Conv[enzions] Münze . . . ich ersuche Sie nun um die [schleunige]* Antwort, weil auch Andre sind, die diese Werke nehmen wollen. [Die]* Messe kann, sobald sie gestochen, herausgegeben werden. . . . " [Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1782, p. 270-271; "In regards to your request for works of mine I offer you a great solemn Mass with choruses, solo parts and full orchestra; your father already wanted to have it, earlier, however, since I have to solely live off the sale of my works, there offered themselves to me various advantages in that several monarchs have subscribed for manuscripts of the Mass, with respect to which, by the way, there is no danger, whatsoever . . . .  The honorarium is 1,000 florins C.M. . . . I ask you for a speedy reply, since others are also interested in having these works.  The Mass can be published as soon as it is printed. . .  ."].

Beethoven then still explained to Maurice Schlesinger that he planned to visit France during the next winter and that the place at which he was to receive payment for the Mass could be determined either by him or by Schlesinger.  

As Thayer further reports, Beethoven also offered the Mass to the Leipzig publisher Heinrich Albert Probst in his letter of March 10, 1824:  

" . . . ich habe eine große Solenne Meße geschrieben, welche ich jetzt schon herausgeben könnte,[6] leider muß ich nun doch über mich selbst sprechen, indem ich sage daß sie wohl mein gröstes werk, was ich geschrieben, das Honorar wäre 1000 fl. C.M. -- . . . " [Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1788, p. 282-282; " . . . I have written a great solemn Mass which I could already have published, now, unfortunately, I have to talk about myself, now in mentioning that it might well be the greatest work that I have written, the fee would be 1,000 fl. C.M.-- . . . "].

(We can learn from the Gesamtausgabe that Beethoven also offered the Mass to B. Schott's Sons in Mainz for the same price, under the same date [Letter No. 1787, p. 278-281].  We will discuss these negotiations in subsequent pages of this section).

As Thayer reports and as can be seen from the Gesamtausgabe (Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, Letter No. 1796, p. 289-290) Probst replied on March 22, 1824, that he would convey his decision to Beethoven after the completion of the delivery and payment by him of some smaller works that they had discussed, and that, due to Probst's hesitation and due to his knowledge of the state of negotiations between C.F. Peters and Beethoven, a contract was not formed between Probst and the composer.  With this, the 'actual' correspondence with respect to Beethoven's unsuccessful publication attempts of the Missa solemnis ends. 

 


However, we might also wish to take a look at the following correspondence:  

During the second half of 1824, Beethoven was in indirect contact with C.F. Peters.  From letters no. 1825 and no. 1910 of the Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 5, we can learn that in September, 1824, Streicher had advised Beethoven to publish his Mass in form of a piano reduction with the addition of parts for the singing voices.  Therefore, in letter no. 1875 of September 16, 1824 (p. 363-364), Streicher wrote to Peters--in the role of a mediator between Peters and the Leipzig singing socieites.  The tone of Beethoven's lines to C.F. Peters of December 12, 1824 (letter no.1910, Gesamtausgabe Vol. 5, p. 394-395) is very laconic:

" . . . Streicher hat ihnen wegen etwas geschrieben, so wie ich es ihm auch selbst schon hier sagte, daß diese sache schwer gehen würde, so war es auch wohl in der wirklichkeit, ich melde ihnen nur, daß es mit der ganzen angelegenheit der Meße gar nichts seyn kann,[1] da ich selbe eben jezt sicher zugesagt einem Verleger[2], u. es also natürlich, daß <mit>die von Streicher gemachten vorschläge nun gar nicht in Ausführung können gebracht werden -- . . . " [" . . . Streicher has written to you with respect to something; as I have already told him here, myself, that this matter would be difficult, it apparently turned out, in reality, I only tell you that nothing can come of the entire matter, since I have already promised the work to a publisher, so that Streicher's suggestions can not be carried out-- . . . "].

(The publisher that Beethoven had already promised the Mass to was the one who actually published it, B. Schott & Sons in Mainz, which we will discuss in separate pages). 

In concluding our chronological presentation and discussion of Beethoven's unsuccessful negotiations with respect to the publication of the Missa solemnis, we might want to briefly quote Streicher's comments to Beethoven's behavior towards Peters that he made in his letter to the latter of March 5, 1825:  

" . . . Was soll ich aber zu dem Betragen Beethovens gegen Sie sagen, oder wie soll ich ihn zu entschuldigen suchen?[2]  Ich kann es nur durch seine eigene Meynung thun, die er von sich selbst in meinem Hause geäußert hatte.  "Alles was ich ausser der Musik thue, gerät schlecht und ist dumm" diß sind seine eigene Worte, die auch mit seinen Handlungen, so wie auch mit den Erfahrungen die seine Freunde mit ihm und durch ihn gemacht haben, vollkommen übereinstimmen.[3] . . . Bey alle den Launen, Wiedersprüchen, Capricen, Bizarrerien, muß man ihn aber doch achten; besonders aber wegen seiner tiefen, herrlichen Compositionen, von welchen die lezteren Alles übertreffen, was er früher gemacht hat. . . . " (Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe Vol. 5, Letter No. 1944, p. 35; " . . . However, what can I say to Beethoven's behavior towards you, or how can I try to excuse him?  I can only do so by referring to his own opinion of himself that he rendered in my home:  "Everything that I endeavor, besides music, turns out to be bad and stupid" those are his own words, that completely concur with his actions as well as with the experiences that his friends have made with him and through him.  . .  . In spite of all caprices, contradictions, bizarre actions, etc., one has to still respect him, particularly for his profound, wonderful compositions of which the latter surpass everything that he had composed, earlier. . . . ").

Let us add to Streicher's comments some comments by present-day Beethoven biographers and researchers.  The first is that by Thayer-Forbes:  

" . . . The painstaking work that Beethoven put into the works of these late years came from his innermost heart and he never felt that he had done enough.  While he was absorbed with this kind of work he was free of his cares and guided only by the demands of his art.  In his long letter to Peters of March 20, 1823, already mentioned, Beethoven speaks of the necessity in his position of considering his own interests and adds:  "It is another thing during the work itself, since I never think of gain, thank God, but only how to compose.  These were his principles.

Then too there was his health and the duress already described which cramped the elasticity of his nature and diminished his delight in creating.  "To begin a great work makes me shudder," he is once supposed to have said.  So many big plans remained inexecuted and the completion of big works laid considerable claims on his time.  So he wrote small pieces and resuscitated old, forgotten ones.  Also his income had diminished due to the reduced payments on the pension supplied by his princely admirers and due to his limited productivity of the last few years;--consequently, he was in need of straight cash.  His expenses included those for the care of his nephew and the cost of his stays at resorts for the care of his own health, and these compelled him to concern himself with his earnings.  Hence came the necessity to get the highest possible fees for his works, for dealings unfortunately with many parties at once, and for acceptance of advance payments.  His embarrassments compelled him to borrow money since the bank shares that he owned he no longer considered his own but an inheritance for his nephew and not to be touched.  Thus, he owed money, among others, to Steiner and Artaria.  To the former he owed nearly 3000 florins, as he wrote to his brother, and this explains not only the painful relations with Steiner but also Beethoven's wish to have his new works published by foreigners.  To Artaria he owed 1000 florins; yet it will be remembered he wrote to the firm that the sum of 150 florins which he hoped soon to pay back on his debts must not now be deducted from a possible fee since he needed the whole amount; this sheds light on the extent of his financial cares.

These circumstances invite one's deepest sympathy; the noble impulses of his heart on all other levels and the reasons which necessitated his doing everything to better his affairs are well known; yet the conscientious reporter cannot ignore the actual, public facts and, hard as it is, cannot acquit Beethoven of the reproach that his conduct did not agree with the principles of strict honor and justice.  These are dreary episodes in the history of Beethoven which nevertheless cannot be overlooked if he is to be wholly understood as a man; but how withdrawn they are from the heights reached by the works that he composed during these troubled times" (Thayer: 784-795).

Maynard Solomon comments as follows:  

" . . . Like most older people on a fixed income, he feared to touch his capital and insisted that the bank shares had been set aside as Karl's inheritance.  It is not surprising, then, that Beethoven began to slip into debt. . . . the pyramiding debts would ultimately lead Beethoven into a complex series of machinations concerning the sale of this Missa Solemnis and, more poignantly, to a rupture in his relationship with several close friends and associates" (Solomon: 271-272).

With respect to Beethoven's motivation for the composition of his Missa solemnis, William Kinderman writes:  

" . .  .  Notwithstanding his financial anxieties and his sharp business practice in connection with the Missa solemnis, Beethoven's greater musical masterpieces can scarcely be regarded as works written 'for money'; such a view loses sight of the priority of his artistic enterprise, which is more evident during these years than ever before.  We do not need to seek special economic motives for his Missa solemnis, or for his later sonatas and quartets: he quite justifiably demanded higher fees in view of the enhanced scale and content of such works.  The relatively small number of pieces completed lent urgency to his concerns to be fairly compensated" (Kinderman: 217-218).

Cooper's comment is succinctly brief: 

 " . . . the lengthy saga of its sale does Beethoven little credit"   (Cooper: 302).

Before we turn to our presentation of Beethoven's correspondence, this writer merely wishes to express her humble lay opinion that, according to her understanding of the situation and of the comments by experts, at least, Beethoven's subjective motivation for the preservation of his small 'fortune', as an inheritance for his nephew Karl, and also his attempts at providing for the latter during his life time, do not entirely discredit him.  

How his attempts at doing so affected his environment is a matter with respect to which I do not claim to have the right to judge the composer.  Rather, I am glad, that there is so much material that is available to Beethoven research as well as to interested lay people that allows us to not only cherish the artistic merit and value of the Missa solemnis but to also consider the circumstances in which this work has been written and marketed.  

 

 

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