NEW QUESTIONS RAISED BY BEETHOVEN RESEARCH:
JOS VAN DER ZANDEN ABOUT FERDINAND RIES


 



FERDINAND RIES
 


In the Beethoven Journal (Winter 2004, volume 19, no. 2), the Dutch Beethoven researcher Jos van der Zanden, in his article, Ferdinand Ries in Vienna:  New Perspectives on the Notizen, discusses the time of Ries' first arrival in Vienna. 

In the introduction to his article, he quotes the following passage from a letter Ries wrote to Nikolaus Simrock of Bonn, on May 6, 1803:  

" . . . I myself now have such a superb teacher.  Beethoven takes more pains with me than I would ever have believed.  Each week I have three lessons, usually from 1:00 to 2: 30." (Van der Zanden, Beethoven Journal Winter 2004, page 5; for those of you who read German, we can also offer the original text from the Henle Gesamtausgabe: " . . .  indem ich nun selbst einen vortrefflichen Lehrer habe.  Beethoven gibt sich mehr Mühe mit mir, als ich hätte glauben können.  Ich bekomme wöchentlich dreimal Stunde, gewöhnlich von 1 Uhr bis 1/2 3. . . . " [Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Volume 1, Letter No. Nr. 136, p. 162; Original: not known.  According to the GA, the text has been derived from an abbreviated rendition in Erich Hermann Müller, Beethoven und Simrock, in: Simrock-Jahrbuch 2 (1929), p. 21].

Van der Zanden contrasts this with the following comment:  

"Yet today it is generally believed that Ries came to Vienna as early as 1801" (Van der Zanden, Beethoven Journal, Winter 2004, p. 51).

We can find this confirmed by taking a brief look at comments from contemporary Beethoven literature:  

1.  In the "Personalia" appendix of his Beethoven book that was published in 2000, Barry Cooper introduces Ferdinand Ries as follows:  

"Ries, Ferdinand (1784-1838), a prominent composer and son of Beethoven's violin teacher Franz (1755-1846), was another Bonn musician who moved to Vienna, arriving here in 1801. . . . " (Cooper: 384).

2.  The second edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians that was published in 2001, in volume 21, refers to Ferdinand Ries.  Let us quote the relevant passage:  

"In 1801 he studied in Munich with Peter Winder for a short time, earning money by copying music.  With this he kept himself, paid his fees and saved enough to go to Vienna in October of that year, armed with a letter of introduction from Franz Anton.  Beethoven received his old teacher's son well, and gave him much help" (Grove, Vol. 21, p. 369).

3.  Klaus Kropfinger, in his Beethoven book that was published in 2001, also refers to Ries' arrival in Vienna, namely in his presentation of Beethoven data in table form:  

"Freunde, Bekannte, Schüler . . . 1801 . . . Klavierunterricht Ries (bis 1802)" (Kropfinger: 25; here, under friends, acquaintantes and pupils, in the year 2001, Kropfinger lists piano lessons for Ries, until 1802).

4.  In the "Chronology" of his Beethoven book that was published in 2003, Lewis Lockwood writes:  

"1801 . . . Stephan von Breuning comes to Vienna, so does Ferdinand Ries, who is to be one of Beethoven's pupils" (Lockwood: 553).

 


 

In his discussion of the Critical Consensus, Van der Zanden first refers to the Thayer edition of Dieters-Rieman [hereinafter referred to as TDR] (p. 62, n. 3), in which the time of Ries' arrival in Vienna was pinpointed, with a degree of certainty, to September/October 1801 and in which it is also pointed out that, with this fairly certain dating, the date/time of arrival of the fall of 1800, which Anton Schindler mentioned in three editions of his Beethoven biography, was corrected.  As Van der Zanden further writes, the arrival date/time of September/October 1801 proposed by TDR has been widely accepted by Beethoven research, while, compared with it, the Thayer-Forbes edition of 1964, was not quite clear with respect to it. However, as Van der Zanden states, neither Thayer-Forbes nor McArdle, in his Beethoven study of 1963, offer an alternative date. 

Let us take a look at what Thayer-Forbes writes about Ries' arrival and initial time in Vienna: 

"Just when the young man arrived in Vienna is not clear; the evidence shows that at some point Ries' memory was playing him tricks.  The editor of the Harmonicon (who must have gotten his dates from Ries himself) has him arrive in Munich in 1801[28] and after "some time" travel to Vienna . . . " (Thayer-Forbes: 295).

"Already during the first days Beethoven found that he could use me, and I was often called as early as five o'clock, which also happened on the day of the oratorio."  

The oratorio was performed on April 5, 1803, and was written within a short period, presumably just before it was rehearsed.  In a letter to Breitkopf & Härtel in 1804 Beethoven refers to it as the labor of "a few weeks", in later correspondence as the work of "14 days."

But Ries was in close touch with Beethoven well before this time, for he writes (Notizen, p. 117):  "On many occasions he showed a truly paternal interest in me.  From this originated the order (1802), which was written in an ill humour because of an unpleasant predicament into which Carl van Beethoven had gotten me:  "You need not come to Heiligenstadt, I have no time to spare."  At that time Count Browne was indulging himself with pleasures, in which, since he was kindly disposed towards me, I was taking part, and was consequently neglecting my lessons." [For those of you who read German, we can also offer this text in its original version from the Gesamtausgabe: "Haben Sie die Güte mir zu berichten, ob's wahr ist, daß Gr.[af] Browne die 2 Märsche[3] schon zum Stich gegeben -- mir liegt daran es zu wissen, -- ich erwart unausgesezt die Wahrheit von ihnen[4] -- nach heilgstadt Brauchen sie nicht zu kommen, indem ich keine Zeit zu verliehren habe. . . . LvBtwn" [Our Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe Volume 1, Letter No. 96, p. 115-116; Original:  Bonn, Beethoven-Haus, Bodmer Collection; to [3]: The GA assumes that this refers to the Marches, Op. 45, No. 1 and No. 2, while No. 3, according to the sketches in the Eroica Sketchbook, was only composed in 1803; to [4]: here, the GA refers to Ries' comment in a letter to Franz Gerhard Wegeler, dated Dec. 28, 1837:  "Letter from 1802.  Count Browne wanted to have all of Beethoven's works; since Beethoven's brother Carl had all kinds of dealings with publishers (with respect to them), I took the greater part of them from him , since, for everything, the full price was paid and since I gladly saw him have these earnings, as I had to find many ways in which I could keep these brothers as my friends, with respect to which, however, Johann B. was far better and more open than his brother Karl; since Count Browne heard that I had bought a part (of works) from Carl (van Beethoven), he did not want to pay, right away, in order to cause him some grief, as, earlier on, I don't know when, he had had some trouble with him.  Since the trust which Beethoven unconditionally bestowed upon me was always unpleasant to him, Carl van Beethoven told his brother Louis that I had received the money and that I did not want to hand it over or that I had spent it, and that he had heard that the two marches had also been sold by me--as a result, I forced B. to go to Count Browne with me where everything was cleared up.  The sale of the marches was a complete lie," see Hill, Ries-Briefe p 787 (no. 507).  With respect to this, the GA still reports that the rumor of the unauthorized sale of the marches had already spread to wider circles, since the publisher Breitkopf & Härtel had written to Beethoven, in connection with a Viennese pirate print of Op. 29, on November 20, 1802 (Letter No. 112), that "a similar case with a work given to Count Browne has already gained attention"; details taken from p. 115 - 116.]

There are other references in the Notizen to the summer of 1802, when Beethoven was in Heiligenstadt, which suggests that at this time a relationship between master and pupil had already been well established.  Thus, Beethoven's promise to Ries' father via Wegeler that "in autumn [1801] or winter [1801-1802] I shall see what I can do for him," appears to have been carried out" (Thayer-Forbes: 296).

 

The contention of Ferdinand Ries' arrival date of September/October 1801 held by TDR, according to Van der Zanden, has also found its way into  The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians of 1980, in which Joseph Herman and Alan Tyson mention "at the end of 1801."  In the same encyclopedia, Cecil Hill, in the entry about Ferdinand Ries, describes it even more precisely with "October 1801."  According to Van der Zanden, these slightly varying dates have been accepted by the reputable Beethoven literature.  In this context, he refers to Barry Cooper's Beethoven Compendium and its mentioning of October 1801, to Peter Clive's painstakingly accurate dictionary, Beethoven and His World, with its indication of "at the end of 1801" or perhaps at the beginning of 1802", to   Sieghard Brandenburg's Gesamtausgabe of the Beethoven Letters with "at the end of 1801/at the beginning of 1802" and also to Emily Anderson, who assumed that Ries probably came to Vienna at the end of 1801, with respect to which one should note that this translator of Beethoven's letters, regarding the dating of his letters, also relied on this date.  

According to Van der Zanden, the general acceptance of Ries' arrival in Vienna at the end of 1801 and/or the beginning of 1802 has only rarely been questioned: 

Kinsky-Halm:  In Das Werk Beethovens/Thematisch-bibliographisches Verzeichnis:  Zum Ursprung des Oratoriums the authors report that, at some time, Max Unger had proposed "March 1803" as arrival date/time, while his source was not mentioned. 

This information provided by Kinsky-Halm, Van der Zanden continues, is put in doubt by information regarding the Piano Sonatas, Op. 31, since in 1802, Beethoven ordered Ries to send the manuscripts to Nägeli which can not be reconciled with Ries' arrival in Vienna in March 1803, as it is noted in the Kinsky-Halm entry to Op. 85.   

Nathan Fishman, in his article on the publication of the Wielhorsky Sketchbook, which was published in 1978, criticized Kinsky-Halm, whereby he preferred the arrival date/time proposed by TDR.   

As Van der Zanden continues, in 1977, the accepted date was disputed again, but not with an argument for a later date/time than that of 1802/1802, but rather:  

In his Beethoven Biography of 1977, Solomon argues that Ries arrived in Vienna for the first time, in 1800, and then, for a second time, at the end of 1801 or at the beginning of 1802. (Solomon, p. 344, no. 10; 2. edition of 1998, p. 450, no. 12).

Van der Zanden does not consider this argument very convincing and refers to Solomon's source, Ludwig Überfeld, Ferdinand Ries' Jugendentwicklung (Bonn: Rost, 1915); however, as Van der Zanden states, one can not find such an argument in this dissertation. 

In conclusion, Van der Zanden writes, in spite of some consensus with respect to the year 1801 as the year of Ferdinand Ries' arrival in Vienna, there also exist enough counter-arguments and uncertainties so that this matter would merit further investigation.  

 


 

Van der Zanden begins his investigation with a look at Contemporary Sources and refers to the 1824 report in the London Harmonicon that is described as "Memoir of Ferdinand Ries", of which he thinks that its details were provided by Ferdinand Ries, himself.  From it, he quotes the passage that describes Ries' time in Munich and his journey to Vienna:

"At length, in the year 1801, he went to Munich with the same friend who had formerly taken him to Arnsberg.  Here he was thrown upon his own resources; and throughout the trying and dispiriting circumstances which, with slight exception, attended the next years of his life, he appears to have displayed a firmness, an energy, and an independence of mind, the more honourable, perhaps, from the very early age at which they were called into action.  At Munich, Mr. Ries was left by his friend, with little money, and but very slender prospect.  He tried for some time to procure pupils, but was at last reduced to copy music at three-pence per sheet.  With this scanty pittance, he not only continued to keep himself free from embarrassments, but saved a few ducats to take him to Vienna, where he had hopes of patronage and advancement from Beethoven.  This celebrated man had been, in early life, the intimate friend of Mr. Ries's father; and the young man had (perhaps in consequence) made his works his chief and favourite study.  He set out from Munich with only seven ducats, and reached Vienna before they were exhausted!  His hopes from his father's early friend were not disappointed; Beethoven received him with a cordial Kindliness, alas! but too rare from men who have risen to eminence and distinction, towards those whose claim upon them is founded on the reminiscences of their humbler state.  He at once took the young man under his immediate care and tuition; advanced him pecuniary loans, which his subsequent conduct converted to gifts; and allowed him to be the first to take the title of his pupil; and to appear in public as such.  At the arrival of Ries at Vienna, Beethoven was engaged in the composition of The Mount of Olives,--and as he was pressed for time, the first services rendered by his pupil were corrections from parts, &c., during the progress of this celebrated work" (Van der Zanden, Beethoven Journal Winter 2004, P. 52).

Van der Zanden then refers to the lines he quoted--at the beginning of his article--from Ries' letter to Simrock, and finds that, "it is particularly interesting to read" the comment in the Harmonicon report that Beethoven, upon Ries' arrival in Vienna, immediately took him under his wings"; he also finds the "discouraging circumstances" in Ries' life in the first years of the 19th century remarkable and notes that, according to the contention of the traditionally accepted arrival date/time of Ries in Vienna (of late 1801/early 1802), this would also have to refer to Ries' first years in Vienna as Beethoven's pupil.  

According to Van der Zanden, the Harmonicon report does not offer a precise arrival date/time for Ries in Vienna.  Most commentators, including TDR, Van der Zanden continues, liked to read 1801 into it.  He considers the Haromonicon refernce to the fact that, at the time of Ries' arrival in Vienna, Beethoven was working on his Oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives, Op. 85, as the most important information conveyed by it and adds that this work was first performed at Beethoven's Academy concert of April 5, 1803 and that Beethoven, on three occasions, mentioned that the work had been composed within a very short time period.  The general accuracy of Beethoven information, Van der Zanden contends, is confirmed by his letter of October 98, 1811, to Breitkopf & Härtel, in which he reports that, at the time at which he wrote Op. 85, his brother Carl had been mortally ill, and that Carl van Beethoven himself had mentioned his serious illness in his letter of March 26, 1803, to Breitkopf & Härtel: "I am am having this letter written to you, since I have been sick in bed for eighteen days with a very serious rheumatic fever" (Van der Zanden, Beethoven Journal Winter 1804, p. 53; here the German text from the GA:  "Ich lasse Ihnen diesen Brief Schreiben weil ich schon 18 Tage an einem sehr heftigen rheumatischen fieber darniederliege" [Source: GA Vol. 1, Letter No. 129, p. 156]).  Van der Zanden writes that this confirms that the Oratorio was actually written during the first months of 1803 in great haste and that, if one assumes that Ferdinand Ries arrived in Vienna when Beethoven was composing it, thus must have been in February or March, 1803.  

As second contemporary source, Van der Zanden mentions the Biographical Notes written by Wegeler/Ries that were published in 1838.  In them, according to Van der Zanden, Ries seriously complicates matters, as follows:  

"A letter of recommendation introduced me.  When I presented it to Beethoven on my arrival in Vienna in 1800, he was intensely occupied with the completion of his oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives, since this was due to receive its first performance in a great Academy concert in the Wiener Theater, an event very advantageous to him" (Quoted by Van der Zanden from: Franz Wegeler and Ferdinand Ries, Biographische Notizen über Ludwig van Beethoven (Coblenz: K. Bädeker, 1838), 75 (hereafter:  Notizen); Beethoven Rememberd / The Biographical Notes of Franz Wegeler and Ferdinand Ries, trans. Frederick Noonan (Arlington, VA: Great Ocean Publishers, 1987), p. 65).

According to Van der Zanden, Ries conntected this passage with Beethoven's reaction to the letter of recommendation by his father to him and with the rehearsal for the Oratorio on the day of its first performance.  Thus, Van der Zanden writes, Ries, also in 1837, as he did in 1824, did not hesitate to connect his arrival in Vienna with Beethoven's work on his Oratorio, and in this context, Van der Zanden also refers to Ries' first anecdote in the Notizen, on Beethoven's writing-out of the trombone parts at 5 a.m. on the day of the first performance:  

"Right from the very few first days Beethoven found that he was able to make use of me, and thus I was frequently called as early as five in the morning, as indeed happened on the day the oratorio was to be performed" (Quoted by Van der Zanden from the above-noted source, p.  65).

Nevertheless, Van der Zanden writes, it can not be denied that in 1837, Ries was firmly convinced that he arrived in Vienna in 1800 and that this was not an error in writing, since he, again, writes in the Notizen that,  "from 1800 to November, 1805" he was in Vienna.   

As Van der Zanden writes, an explanation for this unusually early date that clearly contradicts the information contained in the Harmonicon report, has been provided by Alan Tyson in his 1984 article on Ferdinand Ries.  In it, Tyson contends that the reason for it might be found in Ries' collaboration with Wegeler who, in "his" part of the Notizen quotes Beethoven's letter to him in which the composer, for the first time, described to him the symptoms of his hearing troubles and in which he, at the end, also discusses Ries: 

"As for [Franz] Ries, to whom I send cordial greetings, I will write to you more fully about his son, although I think that he could make his fortune more easily in Paris than in Vienna.  Vienna is flooded with people and thus even the most deserving find it difficult to make a living--In the autumn or the winter when people are hurrying back to town I will see what I can do for him" [Quoted by Van der Zanden from: Brandenburg 1:81, letter no. 65; Anderson 1:62, letter no. 51; here the original text from the GA:  "--wegen Rieß[16], den mir herzlich grüße, was seinen sohn anbelangt, will ich dir näher schreiben, obschon ich glaube, daß um sein Glück zu machen Paris beßer als wien sey,[17] Vien ist überschüttet mit Leuten, und selbst dem Bessern Verdienst fällt es dadurch hart, sich zu halten--bis den Herbst oder bis zum Winter werde ich sehen, was ich für ihn thun kann, weil dann alles wieder in die Stadt eilt--" (Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Volume 1, Letter No. 65, Beethoven to Wegeler  on June 29, 1801, p. 81; to [16]: refers to Franz Anton Ries, Ferdinand Ries' father; to [17]: refers to the GA comment: "Ungeachtet der Warnung Beethovens kam Ferdinand Ries gegen Ende 1801 doch nach Wien"; the GA comments here that, in spite of Beethoven's warning, at the end of 1801, Ries came to Vienna, nevertheless; details taken from p. 81).

Obviously, Van der Zanden writes, Ries' father had asked Wegeler to advise Beethoven of the "Viennese" plans of his son.  

According to Van der Zanden, Beethoven's letter is dated June 29th, however, without an indication of the year in which it was written, and already in the year 1828, it was published in the Viennese Allgemeine Theaterzeitung.  With respect to this Wegeler, as in the Notizen, was of the opinion that Beethoven had written this letter on June 29, 1800.  However, present Beethoven research, without any doubt, assigns this letter to June 29, 1801.    When Ries, as Van der Zanden continues, in 1837, prepared "his" part of the Notizen, he obviously was convinced by Wegeler that "1800" was the correct year, as a result of which he, with respect to his arrival in Vienna, also erred.  

As Tyson argues, Van der Zanden writes, Ries came to the conclusion that it was arranged for him to arrive in Vienna at the end of 1800.   On this basis Ries probably revised his own opinion on the basis of the erroneous dating by his friend Wegeler.  

In concluding his presentation of Contemporary Sources, Van der Zanden writes that these two original sources agree with respect to one important point, namely that Beethoven worked on his Op. 85 when Ries arrived in Vienna.    In the event that Ries' memory is correct in this point, one can, in Van der Zanden's opinion, only draw the conclusion that he arrived in Vienna in February/March 1803, as difficult as this might be to accept.  However, Van der Zanden also admits that this date creates difficult problems and contradicts dates, memoirs and interpretations that, for a long time, have been accepted in Beethoven literature.  Due to this reason, in 1984, Tyson had rejected this assumption and concluded that in the Notizen had confused two events with respect to his arrival in Vienna after he had been traveling elsewhere:    

"He may even have returned to Munich for a short time before coming back just before the April concert, for the autograph score of an early piano sonata, though on paper of a type in common use in Vienna at that time, is dated 'a Munic.' 1803" (here, Van der Zanden quotes from:  Alan Tyson, "Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838): The History of his Contribution to Beethoven Biography," Nineteenth-Century Music 7, no. 3 (1984): 209-211).

As Van der Zanden writes, Tyson was obviously not opposed to Solomon's "two-fold arrival hypothesis" and that in spite of its weakness, since for the Harmonicon report, and in the Notizen, Ries had provided the information that, after his arrival in Vienna, he immediately became Beethoven's pupil.  Moreover, Ries wrote that Beethoven was in the midst of composing his Oratorio when he read his father's letter of recommendation that was addressed to him, which, again, would imply one meeting.  


Before investigating arguments against Ries' possible arrival in Vienna in the winter or spring of 1803, Van der Zanden refers to a document that, thus far, has received little attention.  According to him, it is located in the archives of the Beethovenhaus in Bonn and is a letter by the composer Carl Cannabich (1771 - 1806)--the son of the influential Mannheim composer Christian Cannabich (1758 - 1798)--who had taken over the post of the Court Kapellmeister in Munich that became vacant due to his father's death--to Johann Andreas Streicher in Vienna: 

"An Herrn Herrn A. Streicher
Hochwohlgeb. in Wien

Liebster Freund!

Ohnerachtet unsre Verhältnisse uns schon seit mehrern Jahren getrennt haben, so wage ich es doch, mich in Ihr Gedächtnis zurükzurufen, und Ihnen hiermit einen jungen Künstler, der Sohn des verdientstvollen Konzertmeisters Ries aus Bonn, und einem jungen Mann von vielen Anlagen zu empfehlen. - derselbe denkt sich in Wien einige Zeit aufzuhalten.  Sollten Sie, werthester Freund, Gelegenheit finden, denselben mit Rath zu unterstüzzen und ihm allenfalls eine oder die andere kleine Klavierlection zu seinem Fortkommen in Wien zu verschaffen, so würden Sie mich unendlich verbinden, ich stehe dagegen wieder zu Dienst.

Was macht Ihre liebe Frau? ich bitte Sie, mich in ihr Andenken zurükzurufen.  Vielleicht will es mein günstiges Schiksal, dass ich dieses Vorjahr auf einige Wochen nach Wien komme, dann umarmt Sie Ihr aufrichtiger Freund und Diener

Cannabich

München, den 29ten 10br 1802
Auch Emfpehlunge unbekannterweise von meiner Frau" 

My dearest friend!

In spite of the fact that for several years now our lives have separated, nevertheless I take the liberty of recalling myself to your memory and to recommend to you a young artists, the son of the well-respected concertmaster Ries from Bonn and a young man of many talents.  He plans to live in Vienna for a while.  If you, my most worthy friend, can find an opportunity to support him with your advice or, if need be, to give him a few short keyboard lessons in order for him to get settled in Vienna, you would do me a very great favor, and I will be much obliged to you.

How is your dear wife?  Please recall me to her memory.  Maybe I will be so lucky, in the coming spring, to visit Vienna for a few weeks, in which case you will be embraced by your faithful friend and servant

Cannabich

Munich, 29 December 1802

Also greetings from my wife, without her knowledge" (Van der Zanden, Ferdinand Ries in Vienna:  New Perspectives on the Notizen, Beethoven Journal Winter 2004: 55; let us also provide our own translation to it:

"To the esteemed Herr Herr A. Streicher in Vienna

Dearest friend!

Regardless of the fact that, for several years, our circumstances have kept us apart, I still dare to recall myself to your memory and to herewith recommend to you a young artist, the son of the deserving concertmaster Ries from Bonn, and a young man of many gifts.--The same considers to spend some time in Vienna.  Should you, most worthy friend, find an opportunity to support the same with your advice and to, if need be, to acquire for him one or the other piano lesson for his advancement in Vienna, you would oblige me immeasurably, and I will be at your service, in return.

What is your dear wife doing?  I  ask you to recall myself to her memory.  Perhaps, a favorable fate will enable me to come to Vienna for a few weeks, next spring, then you will be embraced by your sincere friend and servant

Cannabich

Munich, the 29th of December, 1802

Although she does not know you, my wife sends greetings, as well).

Van der Zanden then discusses the TDR quote from the periodical "Rheinisches Antiquariat", according to which, in Munich, Ries is supposed to have received instruction from the opera composer Peter Winter.  As Van der Zanden writes, this information subsequently found its way into The New Grove Dictionary, where it is presented as a fact.   However, as Van der Zanden states, with respect to this "fact", no sources have ever been mentioned and he strongly questions this matter.  Of Winter, it is known that he (at the time in question) was in Paris and that he returned to Munich only in 1802.  Alfhough, as Van der Zanden argues, one can not prove that Winter was not Ries' teacher, in light of the Cannabich letter, it is much more plausible that Ries was his pupil.  

Van der Zanden then discusses Streicher who, as he writes, had a good reputation, and that not only in Vienna but also in other European cities, as a respected teacher and composer and later also as a piano manufacturer.  According to Van der Zanden, he had many friends, particularly in Mannheim and in Munich, where he lived for several years (in Mannheim from 1782 to 1786 and in Munich from 1786 to 1793.  Particularly in Munich, Streicher made a name for himself as a musician, and it was in this capacity that he came into contact with Cannabich.  As Van der Zanden continues, Ries was able to to profit from this connection, since Cannabich introduced him to his former friend and colleague.   

At a first glance, Van der Zanden writes, it looks as if the letter bears the date of November 29, 1802; however, what might look like "11ber" should actually be read as "10ber".  Therefore, the letter would have been written on December 29, 1802 and, undoubtedly, was in Ries' possession before he left for Vienna.  Perhaps, Van der Zanden continues, Ries left Munich shortly after Cannabich had given the letter to him in January, 1803, perhaps he also waited for a few weeks.  In any event, the letter, according to Van der Zanden, explains the lines that Ries wrote to Simrock, not long after that:  

" . . . I myself now have such a superb teacher.  Beethoven takes more pains with me than I would ever have believed.  Each week I have three lessons, usually from 1:00 to 2: 30." (Van der Zanden, Beethoven Journal Winter 2004, page 5; for those of you who read German, we can also offer the original text from the Henle Gesamtausgabe: " . . .  indem ich nun selbst einen vortrefflichen Lehrer habe.  Beethoven gibt sich mehr Mühe mit mir, als ich hätte glauben können.  Ich bekomme wöchentlich dreimal Stunde, gewöhnlich von 1 Uhr bis 1/2 3. . . . " [Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Volume 1, Letter No. Nr. 136, p. 162; Original: not known.  According to the GA, the text has been derived from an abbreviated rendition in Erich Hermann Müller, Beethoven und Simrock, in: Simrock-Jahrbuch 2 (1929), p. 21].

When he wrote this, Van der Zanden states, Ries can only have been in Vienna for a few weeks.  In his opinion, the Cannabich letter would also explain the "discouraging circumstances" of the Harmonicon report, namely the years 1801 - 1803, when Ries was in Munich and not in Vienna, with Beethoven.  

According to Van der Zanden, it is not known whether Ries asctually presented Cannabich's letter in Vienna, since the more than cordial reception by Beethoven might have made it unnecessary.  The, according to Van der Zanden, always well-informed Tyson knew of the existence of the Cannabich letter, but apparently never investigated it, himself.  Pursuant to footnote no. 39 of his 1984 article, apparently and puzzlingly, he was of the opinion that this letter was dated December 29, 1800.  This erroneous assumption might then have led to his belief that Ries arrived in Vienna in 1801, from which Tyson must have concluded that it might be most prudent not to rely on Ries' dates provided in the Notizen.   

Van der Zanden is of the opinion that only after an investigation of all relevant information provided by Ries in the Notizen, it can be decided whether Tyson's conclusions, in light of the new evidence, can be upheld. 


In his investigation  of relevant material contained in Ries' part of the Notizen, Van der Zanden first stresses Ries' great integrity and even describes him as the antithesis to Anton Schindler.  However, as Van der Zanden infers, Ries' life-long, unwavering reverence for Beethoven, and that in spite of the composer's difficult character and behavior, led to the fact that he accepted almost every misfortune and every error on Beethoven's part, often to the point of complete pardon.  Angered by Schindler's actions, Ries insisted on high standards in his collection of information to be presented in the Notizen, which can, as Van der Zanden writes, also be seen in his correspondence with Wegeler.  

As Beethoven biographer, Van der Zanden writes, Ries was not striving for immortality; rather, initially, he was even hesitant to take part in the project, as well as in bringing his recollections to paper.  More than once did he, as Van der Zanden reports, indicate that he considered himself il-suite for the task, particularly from a literary viewpoint.  With respect to this, Van der Zanden points out that in the preface to the Notizen, Ries expressed that only after Wegeler had asked him several times did he agree, and even then still with hesitation, to take part in the Notizen project.  According to his own statement he intended to contribute true sources for future Beethoven research for those writers and researchers who might wish to embark on the project of writing a complete Beethoven biography. 

According to Van der Zanden there is no indication that Ries distorted the truth in any way, at least not intentionally, and it appears to him that all information in the Notizen is basically reliable.  In the event that inconsistencies do exist, they are based on faulty memory, since thirty years had passed before Ries wrote his contribution and since he did not have a diary or documents of a similar nature at his disposal.  However, one should also consider that Ries idolized Beethoven and that, from this  viewpoint, one should read the Notizen with caution. 

On this basis one can, as Van der Zanden writes, individually investigate the reports in the Notizen for inconsistencies with respect to Ries' aarival in Vienna at the beginning of 1803.  Van der Zanden then refers to Table I of his article in which he lists all reports, events and anecdotes of the second part of the Notizen that Ries had compiled.  As he writes, Wegeler also helped Ries with it.  However, as Van der Zanden states, his list does not contain any events that must have taken place after 1809 since they have no bearing on the topic of his article.  As can be seen in the fourth vertical column, Ries has dated less than a third of these events, himself.  The table also contains a column in which the dates are listed that contemporary Beethoven research has arrived at.  The last column to the right categorizes the events into "A" and "B", and that, according to Van der Zanden, by the following criteria: 

"A" refers, according to Van der Zanden, to events in the Notizen of which Ries writes that he personally witnessed them.  These events confirm his personal presence in Vienna.  

"B", according to Van der Zanden, refers to events in the Notizen of which Ries does not state that he personally witnessed them.  Of course, as Van der Zanden writes, this does not mean that Ries was necessarily absent.  In all likelihood, however, he has learned of these events from others.   

"A+" after a date, according to Van der Zanden, means that an event took place in the indicated year or subsequently to it.  

Van der Zanden points out that from the list we can see that some events took place when Ries was not in Vienna, yet, such as events 10, 11, 30 and 44.  Here, Ries obviously described events that he learned about from others, most likely from Beethoven, himself.  Therefore, as Van der Zanden states, all events of the "B" category can not serve as proof for Ries' arrival in Vienna before 1803, since nothing indicates that he witnessed them, himself.  (Accordingly, there is no indication that Ries was present at the first performance of the Horn Sonata, Op. 17, in the year 1800 (event no. 7), or, still in the same year (event no. 6), at the performance of the Clarinet Trio, Op. 11).  Nevertheless, to Van der Zanden, Ries' stories appear completely trustworthy.  For example, Ries' anecdote to Op. 11, in which the improvising Beethoven defeats Steibelt, is confirmed by a conversation book entry by Beethoven's nephew Carl from 1825:  "Schuppanzigh described how you triumphed over Steibelt".  

According to Van der Zanden, Ries chose his words carefully in order to avoid misunderstandings.  An anecdote from the year 1809 confirms Ries' care when (he relates that) Beethoven fled into the house of his brother Karl from the bombardment by the Fench (event no. 45).  Ries is reported by Van der Zanden as having been very carfule here not to state that he was personally present when this happened.  As Rudolf Klein points out, Beethoven's flight did not occur in July, 1809, but rather at the time of the demolition of the northern part of Vienna's city wall, in the vicinity of which the composer lived, and that event took place in November, 1809.  At this time, Van der Zanden writes, Ries had already left Vienna.  This proves that he (Ries) only knew of this event from others.  

If Ries was in Vienna before 1803, as traditional Beethoven research assumes, Van der Zanden argues, then we should consider all events of the "A" category that happened 1803 or later, with respect to searching for evidence for the possibility that Beethoven was in Vienna before 1803, as irrelevant, as all events of the "B" category.  Nevertheless, Van der Zanden finds it rewarding to take a brief look at these events.  

As he states, Ries was in Vienna when the rehearsals for the Third Symphony took place (in December, 1804)--this, Van der Zanden reports, refers to event no. 3, the famous "Horn" anecdote.  On the evening of this day, Ries is reported as having attended a concert at which Beethoven's Quintet for Wind instruments and Piano, Op. 16, was performed, with the famous oboist Ramm from Munich.  As Van der Zanden writes, Ries probably knew Ramm from Munich.  He further states that Ries was also present at the first performance of the Violin sonata, Op. 47, which was played by Beethoven and Bridgetower (event no. 8, May, 1803) and possibly (although Ries does not confirm this), he was also present at the famous "monster concert" in December, 1808 (event no. 9),  The story of the parallel fifths in the String Quartet in c-minor, Op. 18, no. 4, can, as Van der Zanden writes, of course, have occurred any time after 1801, when the Quartet was published.  

According to Van der Zanden, events no. 14 and no. 15 refer to marches that Beethoven composed for Count Browne who employed Ries as his private pianist in his household.  Van der Zanden then refers to The Beethoven Sketchbooks from which can be seen that Sketchbook no. 6 shows that the Marches, Op. 45, were composed in the summer of 1803, in the midst of Beethoven's work at the slow movement of the Eroica.  However, as Van der Zanden continues, there also exists an undated letter by Beethoven to Ries (event no. 39 in Van der Zanden's list) which Ries places in the year 1802.  In this letter, Beethoven writes:  

"Be so kind as to inform me whether it is true that Count Browne has already given the two marches to be engraved--I am very anxious to know this;--I invariably expect you to tell me the truth--You need not come to Heiligenstadt, for I have no time to waste. LVBTHVN" (quoted by Van der Zanden, p. 61, from:  Brandenburg I: 115, letter no. 96; Anderson I:76, letter no. 61; let us quote the original text here:

"Haben sie die Güte mir zu berichten, ob's wahr ist, daß Gr.[af] Browne die 2 Märsche[3] schon zum Stich gegeben -- mir liegt dran es zu wissen; -- ich erwart unausgesezt die Wahrheit von ihnen[4] -- nach heilgstadt Brauchen sie nicht zu kommen, indem ich keine Zeit zu verliehren habe. . . . " (Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Volume 1, Letter No. 96, p. 115; assigned to the year 1802 by the GA; to [3]:  according to the GA, this refers probably to the two marches, Op. 45; to [4]: in this context, the GA refers to Ries' lines to Wegeler of Dec. 28, 1837:  "Letter of 1802.  Count Browne wanted to have all of Beethoven's works; since Beethoven's brother Carl had all kinds of dealings with publishers (with respect to them), I took the greater part of them from him , since, for everything, the full price was paid and since I gladly saw him have these earnings, as I had to find many ways in which I could keep these brothers as my friends, with respect to which, however, Johann B. was far better and more open than his brother Karl; since Count Browne heard that I had bought a part (of works) from Carl (van Beethoven), he did not want to pay, right away, in order to cause him some grief, as, earlier on, I don't know when, he had had some trouble with him.  Since the trust which Beethoven unconditionally bestowed upon me was always unpleasant to him, Carl van Beethoven told his brother Louis that I had received the money and that I did not want to hand it over or that I had spent it, and that he had heard that the two marches had also been sold by me--as a result, I forced B. to go to Count Browne with me where everything was cleared up.  The sale of the marches was a complete lie," see Hill, Ries-Briefe p 787 (no. 507).  With respect to this, the GA still reports that the rumor of the unauthorized sale of the marches had already spread to wider circles, since the publisher Breitkopf & Härtel had written to Beethoven, in connection with a Viennese pirate print of Op. 29, on November 20, 1802 (Letter No. 112), that "a similar case with a work given to Count Browne has already gained attention"; details taken from p. 115 - 116.]

The dating of these lines by Ries--as belonging to the year 1802--was, according to Van der Zanden, also accepted by Anderson and Brandenburg, and that probably due to the fact that Heiligenstadt was mentioned in them.  Beethoven stayed there in 1802; however, as Van der Zanden States, there is no indication that he did not also stay there in 1803.  Let us take a look at what Thayer-Forbes reports with respect to Beethoven's summer residences in the year 1803: 

"At the beginning of the warm season Beethoven, as was his annual custom, appears to have spent some weeks in Baden to refresh himself and revive his energies after the irregular, exciting and fatiguing city life of the winter, before retiring to the summer lodgings, whose location he describes in a note to Ries (Notizen, p. 128) as "in Oberdöbling No. 4, the street to the left where you go down the mountain to Heiligenstadt."" (Thayer-Forbes: 335).

    

The letter quoted by Thayer-Forbes is also contained in the Gesamtausgabe.  Let us quote it, as well:  

"Beethoven an Ferdinand Ries

                                               [Oberdöbling, möglicherweise Sommer 1803][1]

Daß ich da bin, werden sie wohl wissen -- gehn sie zu Stein[2] und hören sie, ob er mir nicht ein Instrument hieher geben kann -- für Geld -- ich fürchte meins hier tragen zu lassen -- kommen sie diesen Abend gegen Sieben uhr heraus -- Meine Wohnung ist in OberDöbling No 4. die Straße links, wo man den Berg hinunter nach heiligenstadt geht --

                                                                                              Beethowen"

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Volume 1, Letter No. 148, p. 172-173; Original: Bonn, Beethoven-Haus, Bodmer Collection; to [1]: with respect to this, the GA writes that the letter usually is dated "summer 1803", but without any indication of a reason, and that this dating usually serves as proof that Beethoven stayed at Döbling during this time; moreover, there do not exist other, more reliable sources; details taken from p. 173.]  

 

Van der Zanden then returns to the authors of The Beethoven Sketchbooks who also accept the year 1802 as the date and who are of the opinion that this must refer to two marches other than those of Op. 45.  This appears contradictory to Van der Zanden.  He argues that, if the Marches Op. 45 were, undoubtedly, composed in the summer of 1803, it should be expected that the marches mentioned in this letter must be the same marches and that here, one can not conclude that this refers to other marches; rather, one has to conclude that Beethoven not only stayed at Heiligenstadt in 1802, but also in 1803.  Van der Zanden intends to return to this in his article.  

He then refers to the concert with the Violin Sonata in a-minor, Op. 23 and to the Piano Sonata in a-minor, Op. 31, No. 2 (Piano Sonata no. 16), which took place at Baden at the summer residence of Count Browne, at which Ries was present.  Ries' recollection that Beethoven instructed him for two hours with respect to his playing of the Piano Sonata Op. 34 (Piano Sonata No. 17) could be assigned to the year 1803 or possibly also later, since it was published in the summer of 1803.  According to Van der Zanden, the invitation by the Westfalian Court (event no. 18) to Beethoven obviously does not create a problem, and also not the memoir of the walk in Döbling, when Beethoven was inspired to the finale of the Appassionata  Op. 53 (Piano Sonata No. 21); as Sieghard Brnadenburg, on the basis of the sketches in Mendelssohn 15 pointed out, this sonata, in all likelihood, was completed in the summer of 1805, when Beethoven stayed at Döbling.  According to Van der Zanden, Beethoven's travelling plans with Ries as his companion was first mentioned by Ries in his letter to Simrock of August 6, 1803:  

 " . . .  Beethoven wird nun höchstens noch 1 1/2 Jahre hierbleiben.  Er geht dann nach Paris, welches mir außerordentlich leid ist.  Ich habe ihm zwar im Spaß gesagt, er müßte mich als Schüler und Cassier mitnehmen, ich wünschte, daß im Ernst was daraus käme..." [Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Volume 1, Letter No. 152, p. 176-178; quoted from p. 176:  " . . . Beethoven will now, at the most, stay here only for 1 1/2 years.  Then he will be off to Paris, which I regret extraordinarily.  While I have told him, in jest, that he would have to take me along as his pupil and paymaster, I would wish that this plan would turn serious"].

Van der Zanden then reports that Richard Kramer investigated Beethoven's interest in Carl Heinrich Graun's  Der Tod Jesu (event no. 23) and that this interest was probably sparked by Beethoven's preparation for the recitatives in Christ on the Mount of Olives.  In this context, Van der Zanden refers to Carl Czerny's report that his father had pointed out a source of this work, which he must have done some time after his first contact with Beethoven at the beginning of 1801.  

Van der Zanden then points out that Muzio Clementi stayed in Vienna in 1804 (event no. 24 of his list) and that the Waldstein Sonata, Op. 43, together with the Andante favori, WoO57 (events no. 25 and no. 26 of the list) were, as is known, composed at the end of 1803.  According to Van der Zanden, Beethoven's performance for a circle of his friends can not have happened any earlier than at the beginning of 1805 (events no. 27 and no. 33 of the list) after he had made some progress with the composition of the opera.  With respect to this, Ries is reported as having written that Beethoven had ordered him to leave the room, since he had played a trick on him with WoO57.  Ries' story of the additional notes in the finale of the Pathethique Sonata Op. 13 and with respect to the First Piano Concerto, Op. 51 (event no. 29 of the list) can have occurred any time after 1799.  Prince Louis Ferdinand's visit in Vienna (no. 31 of the list) according to Van der Zanden, took place in September 1804.  Beethoven's argument with Stephan von Breuning (events no. 34, no. 54 and 55 of the list) took place in July, 1804.  Shortly after, Ries reportedly selected an partment for Beethoven in the Pasqualati House (event no. 35 of the list).  The stories regarding the Thrid Piano Concerto Op. 37 and Nanette Streicher's brother Andreas Friedrich Stein (events no. 36 and no. 37 of the list) can, according to Van der Zanden, also be assigned to the year 1804 or later, after the latter had arrived in Vienna.

Van der Zanden places the shaving cream anecdote (event no. 38 of the list) and Beethoven's letter of recommendation for Ries into the summer of 1805, thus into the year in which Ries had to return to the Rhineland.

According to Van der Zanden, anecdote/event no. 40 of the list must have occurred in Baden, where Beethoven stayed in July, 1804, and the nest event, no. 41 of the list, with respect to Beethoven's frequent visits to Ries, when the latter lived in the house of a tailor who had three beautiful daughters, must have happened in the same month.  

As Van der Zanden writes, the Krumpholz story (event no. 42 of the list) can, of course, have happened any time after 1795, the year in which this violinist arrived in Vienna.  

An anecdote according to which Beethoven allegedly threw a plate with meat and gravy at a waiter in a Viennese restaurant (event no. 46 of the list) does not allow for the assignment of a specific date.  

The remaining events no. 51 to no. 57, pursuant to Van der Zanden, are related to letters that have been written after 1802 and therefore do not pose any problems.  

With events no. 1 and no. 47 as points of departure, in which Ries wrote that he came to Vienna in 1800, there are, as Van der Zanden writes, only six further events that should be examined:  events no. 2, no. 13, no. 20, no. 39, no. 43 and no. 50.  


Van der Zanden then discusses the date of Ries' arrival in Vienna from the viewpoint of existing information regarding his role as witness to the composition of the Third Symphony.  

In doing so, he first turns to Ries' report of o. 77-80 of the Notizen.  There, Ries reports that Beethoven composed the work in Heiligenstadt, a village that he describes as being 1 1/2 hours outside of Vienna.  Van der Zanden points out that this year is not correct and that, with respect to the year, Ries clearly erred, since by now, it has become abundantly clear that the Eroica was composed in 1803.  While Van der Zanden thinks that Ries was mistaken with respect to the year, he things that he might have been right with respect to the place at which the work was composed, since memories of this kind, due to their visual aspects, are very strong.  Therefore, one should not flatly reject the place of composition that Ries names, since there does, as Van der Zanden writes, not exist any convincing evidence that Beethoven did not, after all, spend some time there in 1803.  

Van der Zanden then writes that Beethoven, of course, wrote his Heiligenstadt Will in 1802 and wonders whether, perhaps, the publication of Ignaz von Seyfried's Ludwig Ban Beethovens Studien im Generalbaß, Contrapunkt und in der Compositionslehre a few years before the publication of the Notizen might not have caused Ries to believe that already then, he was with Beethoven.  In this context, Van der Zanden finds it particularly remarkable that in the Notizen, Ries described a walk with Beethoven during which Ries heard the flute play of a shepherd, which Beethoven, however, did not hear, so that he became every depressed (event no. 20 of the list).  As Ries writes, this took place in the countryside.  According to Van der Zanden, a few lines above, Ries wrote that already in 1802, Beethoven had hearing problems.  In his opinion, this suggests that Ries wanted to express that the walk took place in 1802, and he argues that it might have been Beethoven's quite similar report in the Heiligenstadt Will which, in 1837, caused Ries to connect this anecdote with the composition of the Third Symphony and to place both events into the year 1802.  Van der Zanden writes that this possibility should not be entirely excluded since, on p. 113, Ries expressly refers to Seyfried's book, which proves that this book had a certain influence on him.  If this hypothesis is correct, Van der Zanden continues, two very similar walks must have taken place, namely one which Beethoven describes in the Heiligenstadt Will and a second one in the year 1803 which Ries describes but erroneously places into the year 1802.  

Let us compare the two reports:

" -- so war es denn auch dieses halbe Jahr, was ich auf dem Lande verbrachte, von meinem Vernünftigen Arzte[4] aufgefordert, so viel als möglich mein Gehör zu schonen, kamm er <mir> fast meiner jezigen natürlichen Disposizion entgegen, obschon, Vom Triebe zur Gesellschaft manchmal hingerissen, ich mich dazu verleiten ließ, aber welche Demüthigung wenn jemand neben mir stund und von weitem eine Flöte hörte und ich nichts hörte, oder jemand den Hirten Singen hörte, und ich auch nichts hörte[5] solche Ereignisse brachen mich nahe an Verzweiflung, . . . " [Sourcee: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe Volume 1, Letter no. 106, "Heiligenstadt Will", p. 121-125; quoted from p. 122 zitiert; to [4]: according to the GA, this refers to Johann Adam Schmidt (1759-1809), Professor of Anatomy and Surgery, Lecturer on General Medicine at Joseph's Academy who treated Beethoven since 1801; to [5]: according to the GA, this refers to Ferdinand Ries' report in the Notizen). " . . . . thus it was during the half year which I spent in the countryside; urged on by my sensible physician to spare my hearing as much as possible, he almost anticipated my present disposition, although, sometimes, compelled by the urge for company, I let myself be drawn into it; but what a humiliation when someone stood next to me and heard a flute from afar and I heard nothing, or when someone heard a shepherd sing and I heard nothing, again; such events drove me to the brink of despair . . . " [From our own English translation of the 'Heiligenstadt Will' in our Online Biography chapter, Revelations of Silence).

"Beethoven litt nämlich schon im Jahr 1802 verschiedenemal am Gehör, allein das Uebel verlor sich wieder.  Die beginnende Harthörigkeit war für ihn eine so empfindliche Sache, daß man sehr behutsam sein mußte, ihn durch lauteres Sprechen diesen Mangel nicht fühlen zu lassen.  Hatte er etwas nicht verstanden, so schob er es gewöhnlich auf eine Zersteutheit, die ihm allerdings in höherem Grade eigen war.  Er lebte viel auf dem Lande, wohin ich denn öfter kam, um meine Lection zu erhalten. [...] Auf einer dieser Wanderungen [die den Unterrichtsstunden gelegentlich voraus gingen] gab Beethoven mir den ersten auffallenden Beweis der Abnahme seines Gehörs, von der mir schon Stephan von Breuning gesprochen hatte.  Ich machte ihn nämlich auf einen Hirten aufmerksam, der auf einer Flöte, aus Fliederholz geschnitten, im Walde recht artig blies.  Beethoven konnte eine halbe Stunde hindurch gar nichts hören, und wurde, obschon ich ihm wiederholt versicherte, auch ich höre nichts mehr, (was indeß nicht der Fall war,) außerordentlich still und finster", s. Wegeler/Ries S. 98f" [Source: Footnote 4, see to the lest, in which the GA quotes the text from the Notizen wiedergibt.] "Beethoven's hearing began to suffer as early as 1802, but the trouble disappeared for a time.*  He was so sensitive to the onset of his deafness that one had to be very careful not to make him feel the disability by talking loudly.  If he had not understood something, he usually blamed it on his absentmindedness, which was indeed a strongly developed trait. Much of the time he lived in the country, where I often went to take a lesson from him.  Occasionally he would say at eight in the morning after breakfast:  "Let us go for a little walk first."  So we would go for a walk, often not returning until three or four o'clock, after we had eaten something in one of the villages.  On one of these outings Beethoven gave me the first startling proof of his loss of hearing, which Stephan von Breuning had already mentioned to me.  I called his attention to a shepherd in the forest who was playing most pleasantly on a flute cut from lilac wood.  For half an hour Beethoven could not hear anything at all and became extremely quiet and gloomy, even though I repeatedly assured him that I did not hear anything any longer either (which was, however, not the case.) . . . " (Our Source:  Beethoven Remembered: 86-87).

  

With respect to Beethoven's whereabouts in the summer of 1803, Van der Zanden continues, Beethoven research sees itself empty-handed.  In this context we can refer to our above-noted quotes from Thayer-Forbes and from Beethoven's letter to Ries, presumably from the summer of 1803. 

Van der Zanden points out that Beethoven certainly spend some time in the countryside in 1803 since, in his letter to George Thomson of October 5, 1803, he apologizes for his delay in writing on account of, among other reasons, having been in the countryside.  Thomson had written to Beethoven on July 20, 1803 and this letter, in Van der Zanden's opinion, could hardly have arrived earlier in Vienna than by mid-August which would mean that in August, Beethoven was in the countryside, since he received the letter later.  In all likelihood, Beethoven was already in the countryside, sooner, as was his custom.  

If, as Van der Zanden argues, Beethoven was at Heiligenstadt in 1803 during the composition of the Eroica, this might solve a problem that he already mentioned in his article, namely Beethoven's letter to Ries:  

"Be so kind as to inform me whether it is true that Count Browne has already given the two marches to be engraved--I am very anxious to know this;--I invariably expect you to tell me the truth--You need not come to Heiligenstadt, for I have no time to waste. LVBTHVN" (quoted by Van der Zanden, p. 61, from:  Brandenburg I: 115, letter no. 96; Anderson I:76, letter no. 61; let us quote the original text here:

"Haben sie die Güte mir zu berichten, ob's wahr ist, daß Gr.[af] Browne die 2 Märsche[3] schon zum Stich gegeben -- mir liegt dran es zu wissen; -- ich erwart unausgesezt die Wahrheit von ihnen[4] -- nach heilgstadt Brauchen sie nicht zu kommen, indem ich keine Zeit zu verliehren habe. . . . " (Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Volume 1, Letter No. 96, p. 115; assigned to the year 1802 by the GA; to [3]:  according to the GA, this refers probably to the two marches, Op. 45; to [4]: in this context, the GA refers to Ries' lines to Wegeler of Dec. 28, 1837:  "Letter of 1802.  Count Browne wanted to have all of Beethoven's works; since Beethoven's brother Carl had all kinds of dealings with publishers (with respect to them), I took the greater part of them from him , since, for everything, the full price was paid and since I gladly saw him have these earnings, as I had to find many ways in which I could keep these brothers as my friends, with respect to which, however, Johann B. was far better and more open than his brother Karl; since Count Browne heard that I had bought a part (of works) from Carl (van Beethoven), he did not want to pay, right away, in order to cause him some grief, as, earlier on, I don't know when, he had had some trouble with him.  Since the trust which Beethoven unconditionally bestowed upon me was always unpleasant to him, Carl van Beethoven told his brother Louis that I had received the money and that I did not want to hand it over or that I had spent it, and that he had heard that the two marches had also been sold by me--as a result, I forced B. to go to Count Browne with me where everything was cleared up.  The sale of the marches was a complete lie," see Hill, Ries-Briefe p 787 (no. 507).  With respect to this, the GA still reports that the rumor of the unauthorized sale of the marches had already spread to wider circles, since the publisher Breitkopf & Härtel had written to Beethoven, in connection with a Viennese pirate print of Op. 29, on November 20, 1802 (Letter No. 112), that "a similar case with a work given to Count Browne has already gained attention"; details taken from p. 115 - 116.]

According to Ries' statement, Van der Zanden writes, this letter was written in 1802; however, one can only assume that this was an error of the same caliber as the assumption that the Third Symphony was composed in 1802.  In 1803, Van der Zanden continues, Beethoven was occupied for months with the composition of the Third Symphony, and on the basis of the above-noted arguments it appears to him safe to assume that at least a part of the work was composed in Heiligenstadt.  


Van der Zanden subsequently examines his topic from the viewpoint of information on the Piano Sonata Op. 31 and on the String Quintet, Op. 29.  As he states, the publication history is closely related to Ries' collaboration with Beethoven and has an influence on the dating of some undated Beethoven letters.  On pp. 87-90 of the Notizen Ries offers valuable but very puzzling information about these Sonatas.  According to Ries, Beethoven and his brother Carl each promised the Sonatas to another publisher, which led to a quarrel:  

"When the sonatas were ready to be sent off, Beethoven has living in Heiligenstadt. During a walk the brothers quarreled again, eventually even coming to blows.  On the next day he gave me the sonatas, to send to Zurich immediately ... When the proofs arrived, I found Beethoven busy writing. 'Go through the sonatas at the piano,' he said to me, while he remained sitting at his writing desk.  There was an abundance of mistakes in the proofs, which made Beethoven very restless.  At the end of the first Allegro of the Sonata in G major, however, Nägeli had even gone so far to include four measures of his own composition..." (Van der Zanden, Ferdinand Ries in Vienna: New Perspectives on the Notizen, Beethoven Journal Winter 2004, S. 62; van der Zanden quotes this from: Notizen, 87-88, Beethoven Remembered, 76-77).

In the spring of 1802, Van der Zanden continues, Nägeli of Zurich had invited Beethoven to supply him with a number of piano works that he wanted to publish in the series Repertoirede clavecinistes.

Nägeli is reported as having ordered from Beethoven three sonatas (later also a fourth) that were supposed to be published in two parts of two sonata each; however, Beethoven never wrote the fourth sonata.  As Van der Zanden reports, Nägeli still hoped for the fourth sonata as late as in the summer of 1803.  

The Piano Sonatas that, today, are known as Op. 31, no. 1 and no. 2, were published by Nägeli in April 1803, without an opus number, since the three sonatas did not exist, yet, under this opus number.  

According to Van der Zanden, Riesplayed from this edition, and it contained so many errors that Beethoven was greatly angered.  this section of the Ries anecdote, the second part of the above q1uote can, as Van der Zanden writes, easily be assigned to May, 1803.   

Another Nägeli edition that appeared in Novcember 1804 contained the Piano Sonata that, today, is known as Op. 31, no. 3; since Beethoven had refused to provide a fourth Piano Sonata, Nägeli added the Pathethique Sonata.

With respect to that part of the Ries anecdote in which he promised to send the Sonata to Nägeli, in Van der Zanden's opinion, it is tempting to assign it to 1802, thus to a time of which is known that Beethoven stayed at Heiligenstadt from April to October.  

However, as Van der Zanden writes, an examination of the Kessler and Wielhorsky Sketchbooks shows that as late as in October 1802 or possibly even later, Beethoven still worked on the third of the three Nägeli sonatas.  Perhaps, Van der Zanden continues, Beethoven only completed this sonata in early 1803.  This would mean that, in the event that two sonatas were sent to Nägeli in 1802, these could only have been the first two, which appears to him very likely, since the first two Sonatas were published in April, 1803 and since the third could not have been published, yet.  

Howerver, Van der Zanden raises the question whether this could have been the shipment Ries took care of at Beethoven's request.  If this was the case, this would seriously put in doubt Ries' arrival in Vienna in early 1803.

Van der Zanden then asks whether Ries might not have dispatched another shipment from Heiligenstadt, and perhaps later than in 1802.  In answering this question, Van der Zanden writes, one has to consider that Beethoven perhaps also stayed in Heiligenstadt in 1803, although no information with respect to this is available.  

Moreover, Van der Zanden argues, in the event that in 1802, two sonatas were actually dispatched to Nägeli in Zurich, there must have been a reason for it, namely, that the third sonata that was available in early 1803 was held back since Beethoven intended to write a fourth Sonata, which he, ultimately, did not follow through with.  

Perhaps, Van der Zanden writes, Ries sent a third Sonata from Heiligenstadt in the spring of 1803, and perhaps the parcel also contained corrections for the first two sonatas since Ries, after all, wrote of "sonatas".  Such a separate shipment (of the third sonata) would also explain a comment by Ries in a later letter to Simrock, with respect to Beethoven's refusal to write a fourth sonata and with respect to the delay of the publication of the third sonata.  

According to Van der Zanden, the String Quintet, Op. 29, poses a comparable dating problem.  In the Notizen Ries writes that Beethoven demanded from Artaria to deliver to Ries all 50 already printed copies of this pirate edition.  Beethoven then ordered Ries to "correct" these so roughly with ink that they could not be sold, anymore.  Often, Van der Zanden continues, it was assumed that this occurred in 1802, since Artaria's edition was published in the summer of that year.  However, G.A. Griesinger, in his letter of December 8, 1802, to Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, wrote that Artaria, in order to end the quarrel with Beethoven, was willing to publish his edition two weeks after the Breitkopf & Härtel edition of Op. 29, who was presumed to be the rightful owner of this work.  This would mean, as Van der Zanden contniues, that Artaria did not provide the 50 copies to Beethoven respectively Ries before January, 1803.  However, he considers it more likely that these were only handed over after Beethoven published a declaration in the  Wiener Zeitung  of January 22, 1803, to the effect that Artaria's edition was faulty, incorrect and very useless to players.  

Van der Zanden writes that these copies should not be confused with the twlve copies that Beethoven had received as free copies, before,  With respect to this, he refers to Beethoven's letter of November 13, 1802 to  Breitkopf & Härtel (GA Volume 1, Letter No. . 110, p. 128 - 132).  As he states, Brandenburg wrote that these copies were disfigured, which, in his opinion, makes little sense, if Ries was to destroy free samples that had no market value.  

Van der Zanden then discusses event no. 50 of the list, a letter by Beethoven that Ries dated with "probably/presumably 1801".  In this letter Beethoven admonishes Ries for not advising him of his bad financial situation:  

" . . . I must reproach you for not having applied to me long ago.  Am I not your true friend?  And why do you conceal your need from me?  Not one of my friends is to be short of money as long as I have some" (quoted by Van der Zanden from:  Brandenburg 1:109, letter no. 87; Anderson 1:88, letter no. 71; with respect to this letter, we can also offer you the original text from the Gesamtausgabe:

"Beethoven an Ferdinand Ries

                                                               [Wien, April 1802][]1]

    hier lieber Rieß, nehmen sie gleich die 4 von mir corrigirte Stimmen[2], und sehen sie die andern abgeschriebenen darnach durch, und wenn sie Versichert sind, daß 4 von den abgeschriebenen Stimmen recht richtig und genau corrigirt sind, so will ich übermorgen um die 4 <von mir> mit N. I bezeichnete Stimmen schicken, dann können sie die anderen nach den von ihnen durchgesehnen corrigiren -- hier den Brief an gr. Browne[3], es steht drin, daß er ihnen die 50 # voraus geben muß, weil sie sich eqipiren müßen, dies ist eine Nothwendigkeit, die ihn nicht beleidigen kann, dann nachdem das geschehen söllen sie künftige Woche schon am Montag mit ihm nach Baden gehn -- Vorwürfe muß ich ihnen denn doch machen, daß sie sich nicht schon lange an mich gewendet, bin ich nicht ihr wahrer Freund, warum verbargen sie mir ihre Noth, keiner meiner Freunde darf darben, so lange ich etwas hab, ich hätte ihnen heute schon eine kleine Summe geschickt, wenn ich nicht auf Browne hoffte, geschieht das nicht, so wenden sie sich gleich an ihren Freund

                                                                                              Beethowen"

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Volume 1, Letter No. 87, p. 109; Original: Bonn, Beethoven-Haus, Bodmer Collection; to [1]: here, the GA refers to the fact that the letter is probably connected to the Academy concert that was planned for April, 1802, which, however, did not take place, and which mentions the beginning of Ries' employment with Count Browne at the start of the warm season, as a further indication for the dating of the letter; to [2]: according to the GA, this refers to the string parts of a new orchestra work, probably the Second Symphony, Op. 36; to [3]: according to the GA, this refers to Johann Count BrowneCamus; details taken from p. 109].

According to Van der Zanden, Emily Anderson assigned this letter to March 1803 and Brandenburg to April 1802.  Since the letter discusses Ries' future employment with Count Browne, it can be assumed that it was written in spring.  

Van der Zanden concludes that Ries was certainly hired on by Count Browne for the summer of 1803, which is confirmed by the episode with the Marches, Op. 45.  This would suggest that the letter was possibly written in April or even already in March, 1803, which would agree with Ries' bad financial situation at the time of his arrival in Vienna.  Perhaps, Van der Zanden writes, Beethoven's magnanimity might have been a result of his successful academy concert of April 5, 1803.  


According to Van der Zanden, an examination of the content of the Notizen leads to the conclusion that there is not one solid indication that Ries came to Vienna already in 1802 and that it can be safely assumed that he arrived there in early 1803, most likely in February or March, provided that Beethoven probably also stayed at Heiligenstadt during the spring of this year.  This enw dating of Ries' arrival would require a re-arranging of some letters contained in the Gesamtausgabe, and according to him, it offers some interesting points for reflection:   

First of all, Ries would then not have been Beethoven's helper for four to five years, but only for half of the time.  Such a correction, Van der Zanden writes, would remind us of a similar correction with respect to the length of Anton Schindler's acquaintance with the composer.  However, in his view, nothing indicates that Ries intentionally exaggerated the length of his time with Beethoven.  He might merely have had a bad memory for dates.  

Van der Zanden continues that it is interesting to imagine what events Ries might not have witnessed:  

This correction of the arrival date of Ferdinand Ries in Vienna, Van der Zanden concludes, would also call for the revision of other incorrect assumptions with respect to the relationship between Ries and Beethoven that would still have to be investigated.  


In conclusion, we can still offer you a compliation of the List Van der Zanden provides, however, with our own look at Ries texts from Beethoven Remembered, and a compilation of all relevant letters contained in the  Henle-Gesamtausgabe:

TABLE FORM PRESENTATIONS TO THE TOPIC

For obvious reasons, we have to refrain from drawing our own conclusions from Van der Zanden's article, since it represents a very interesting first initiative that can and might be followed up by further research.  Only this further development will show to what extent a revision of the dating of the source material will occur.  


Bibliography:

Beethoven Remembered  The Biographical Notes of Franz Wegeler and Ferdinand Ries.  Foreword by Christopher Hogwood.  Introduction by Eva Badura-Skoda.  Translated from the German  Biographische Notizen über Ludwig van Beethoven (1838, 1845) by Frederick Noonan.  Arlington, VA:  1987.  Great Ocean Publishers.

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

Kropfinger, Klaus.  Beethoven.  Kassel, Basel, London, New York, Prag, Stuttgart, Weimar: 2001.  Bärenreiter Metzler, MGGPrisma.

Lockwood, Lewis.  Beethoven - The Music and the Life.  New York: 2002.  Norton & Company.

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

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

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.  Edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrell.  Oxford: 2001.  Oxford University Press.

Van der Zanden, Jos.  Ferdinand Ries in Vienna:  New Perspectives on the Notizen.  Beethoven Journal.  Winter 2004.  Volume 19. Number 2.