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Plans To Keep Beethoven In Vienna 99
uplifting of his genius toward higher ideals and perfection, it necessarily happens that he often was compelled to sacrifice profit and advantage to the Muse. Yet works of this kind won for him a reputation in foreign lands which assures him of a favorable reception in a number of considerable cities and a lot commensurate with his talents and opportunities. But in spite of this the undersigned cannot deny that the many years during which he has lived here and the favor and approval which he has enjoyed from high and low have aroused in him a wish wholly to fulfil the expectations which he has been fortunate enough to awaken; and let him say also, the patriotism of a German has made this place more estimable and desirable than any other. He can, therefore, not forbear before deciding to leave the city so dear to him, to follow the suggestion kindly made to him by His Serene Highness the ruling Prince Lobkowitz, who intimated that a Worshipful Direction was not disinclined under proper conditions to engage the undersigned for the service of the theatre under their management and to ensure his further sojourn here by offering him the means of a permanent livelihood favorable to the exercise of his talent. Inasmuch as this intimation is in perfect accord with the desires of the undersigned, he takes the liberty to submit an expression of his willingness as well as the following stipulations for the favorable consideration of the Worshipful Direction: 1. He promises and contracts to compose every year at least one grand opera, to be selected jointly by the Worshipful Direction and the undersigned; in return he asks a fixed remuneration of 2400 florins per annum and the gross receipts of the third performance of each of such operas. 2. He agrees to deliver gratis each year a small operetta, divertissement, choruses or occasional pieces according to the wishes or needs of the Worshipful Direction, but hopes that the Worshipful Direction will not hesitate in return for such works to give him one day in each year for a benefit concert in the theatre building. If one reflects what an expenditure of capacity and time is required for the making of an opera to the absolute exclusion of every other intellectual occupation, and further, that in cities where the author and his family have a share in the receipts at every performance, a single successful work may make the fortune of an author; and still further how small a compensation, owing to the monetary condition and high prices for necessaries which prevail here, is at the command of a local artist to whom foreign lands are open, the above conditions can certainly not be thought to be excessive or unreasonable. But whether or not the Worshipful Direction confirms and accepts this offer, the undersigned appends the request that he be given a day for a musical concert in one of the theatre buildings; for, in case the proposition is accepted, the undersigned will at once require his time and powers for the composition of the opera and therefore be unable to use them for his profit in another direction. In the event of a declination of the present offer, moreover, since the permission for a concert granted last year could not be utilized because of various obstacles which intervened, the undersigned would look upon the fulfilment of last year's promise as a highest sign of the great favor heretofore enjoyed by him, and he requests that in the first case the day be set on the Feast of the Annunciation, in the second on one of the approaching Christmas holidays.
Ludwig van Beethoven, m. p. Vienna, 1807.
Neither of these requests was granted directly; one of them only indirectly. Nor is it known that any formal written reply was conveyed to the petitioner. The cause of this has been strangely suggested to lie in an old grudge—the very existence of which is a mere conjecture—cherished against Beethoven by Count Palffy, director of the German Drama. But it is quite needless to go so far for a reason. The composer's well-known increasing infirmity of hearing, his habits of procrastination, and above all his inability, so often proved, to keep the peace with orchestra and singers—all this was too well known to the new directors, whatever may have been their own personal wishes, to justify the risk of attaching him permanently to an institution for the success of which they were responsible to the Emperor. It is very evident, that they temporized with him. His petition must have been presented at the very beginning of~fne year; otherwise the grant of a theatre for a concert at the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) would have been useless, for want of time to make the necessary preparations; and an allusion to the "princely rabble" in a letter written in May, proves that no answer had then been given him; and a reference to the matter by the correspondent of the "Allg. Mus. Zeitung" near the end of the year shows that at least none had then been made public. So far as is known, the Directors chose to let the matter drop quietly and gave him none; nor did they revive "Fidelio"—for which abundant reasons suggest themselves. But they gave Beethoven ample proof that no motives of personal animosity, no lack of admiration for his talents or appreciation of his genius, governed their decision. Prince Esterhazy ordered the composition of a mass, andimmediate preparations were made for the performance of his orchestral works "in a very select circle that contributed a very considerable sum for the benefit of the composer," as a writer in the "Allg. Mus. Zeitung" remarks. These performances took place in March "at the house of Prince L." according to the "Journal des Luxus."
Was "Prince L." Lobkowitz or Lichnowsky? The details above given point decisively to the former. It is true that the paroxysm of wrath, in which Beethoven had so unceremoniously parted from Lichnowsky in the Autumn, had so far subsided The Symphony In B-flat
that he now granted the Prince the use of his new manuscript overture; but the contemporary notice, from which this fact is derived, is in such terms as of itself to preclude the idea that this performance of it was in one of the two subscription concerts. In these subscription concerts three new works were performed: the Fourth Symphony,1 in B-flat major, the Fourth Pf. Concerto, in G major, and the "Coriolan" Overture. About the latter something is to be said. The manuscript bears the composer's own date, 1807. Collin's tragedy was originally performed November 24, 1802, with "between-acts music" arranged by Abbe Stadler from Mozart's "Idomeneus." The next year Lange assumed the leading part with a success of which he justly boasts in his autobiography, and played it so often down to March 5, 1805, as to make the work thoroughly familiar to the theatregoing public. From that date to the end of October, 1809 (how much longer we have no means at hand of knowing), it was played but once—namely, on April 24, 1807. The overture was assuredly not written for that one exceptional performance; for, if so, it would not have been played in March in two different concerts. Nor was it played, April 24th, in the theatre; if it had been, the correspondent of the "Allg. Mus. Zeitung," writing after its public performance in the Liebhaber Concerts near the end of the year, could not have spoken of it as "a new overture." It is, therefore, obvious that this work was composed for these subscription concerts. Beethoven had at this time written but
'The genesis of the fourth symphony, in B-flat, Op. 60, is but imperfectly known. Nottebohm's studies of the sketchbooks, which are so frequently helpful, fail us utterly here. The autograph score bears the inscription, "Sinfonia 4'*, 1806, L. v. Bthvn." Having been played in March, 1807, at one of the two subscription concerts at Lobkowitz's, it was, of course, finished at that time. Beethoven referred to it in his letter to Breitkopf and Hartel from Gratz on September 3, 1806. This is not convincing proof that it was all ready at the time, but certainly that it was well under way. On November 18 he wrote to the same firm that he could not then give them the promised symphony, because a gentleman of quality had purchased its use for six months. It is within the bounds of possibility that this reference was to the symphony in C minor, the sketches for which date back at least to 1805, though it was not completed till March, 1808, at the earliest. It would seem that work on the C minor symphony was laid aside in favor of the fourth, which was either written or sketched in the late summer and fall of 1806, and completed in Vienna in time for the performance in March, 1807. The symphony is dedicated to Count Oppersdorff, a Silesian nobleman. The castle of the Counts Oppersdorff lies near the town of Ober-Glogau, which in early times was under their rule. Count Franz von Oppersdorff, who died in Berlin in 1818, was a zealous lover of music who maintained in his castle an orchestra which he strove to keep complete in point of numbers by requiring all the officials in his employ to be able to play upon an orchestral instrument. Partly through bonds of blood and marriage, partly through those of friendship, the family of Oppersdorff was related to many of the noble families of Austria—Lobkowitz, Lichnowsky, etc. The castle of Lichnowsky at Gratz, near Troppau, was scarcely a day's journey from Ober-Glogau. Thus it happened that Prince Lichnowsky, in company with Beethoven, paid a visit to Count Oppersdorff at his castle, on which occasion the orchestra played the Second Symphony. This, as the evidence indicates, was in the fall of 1806. - three overtures—two to "Fidelio"(one of which was laid aside), and that to "Prometheus," which had long ceased to be a novelty. He needed a new one. Collin's tragedy was thoroughly well known and offered a subject splendidly suited to his genius. An overture to it was a compliment to his influential friend, the author, and, if successful, would be a new proof of his talent for dramatic composition—certainly, an important consideration just then, pending his application for a permanent engagement at the theatre. How nobly the character of Coriolanus is mirrored in Beethoven's music is well enough known; but the admirable adaptation of the overture to the play is duly appreciated by those only, who have read Collin's almost forgotten work. The year 1807 was one of the years of Beethoven's life distinguished by the grandeur and extent of his compositions; and it was probably more to avoid interruption in his labor than on
\account of ill health, that early in April he removed to Baden. A letter (to Herr von Troxler) in which occur these words: "I am coming to Vienna. I wish very much that you would go with me on Tuesday to Clementi, as I can make myself better understood to foreigners with my notes than by my speech," seems to introduce a matter of business which called him to the city for a few days. Clementi, called to Rome by the death of his brother, had arrived in Vienna on his way thither, and embraced the opportunity to acquire the exclusive right of publication in England of various works of Beethoven, whose great reputation, the rapidly growing taste for his music, and the great difficulty of obtaining continental publications in those days of "Napoleonic ideas," combined to render such a right in that country one of considerable value. Clementi reported the results of the negotiations with Beethoven in a letter to his partner, F. W. Collard, with whom he had been associated in business for five years, which J. S. Shedlock made public in the "Athenaeum" of London on August 1, 1902. It runs as follows: Messrs. Clementi and Co., No. 26 Cheapside, London. Vienna, April 22d, 1807. Dear Collard: By a little management and without committing myself, I have at last made a complete conquest of the haughty beauty, Beethoven, who first began at public places to grin and coquet with me, which of course I took care not to discourage; then slid into familiar chat, till meeting him by chance one day in the street—"Where do you lodge?" says he; "I have not seen you this long while!"—upon which I gave him my address. Two days after I found on my table his card brought by himClementi Secures A Contract 103
self, from the maid's description of his lovely form. This will do, thought I. Three days after that he calls again, and finds me at home. Conceive then the mutual ecstasy of such a meeting! I took pretty care to improve it to our house's advantage, therefore, as soon as decency would allow, after praising very handsomely some of his compositions: "Are you engaged with any publisher in London?"—"No" says he. "Suppose, then, that you prefer me?—"With all my heart." "Done. What have you ready?"—"I'll bring you a list." In short I agree with him to take in MSS. three quartets, a symphony, an overture and a concerto for the violin, which is beautiful, and which, at my request he will adapt for the pianoforte with and without additional keys; and a concerto for the pianoforte, for all which we are to pay him two hundred pounds sterling. The property, however, is only for the British Dominions. To-day sets off a courier for London through Russia, and he will bring over to you two or three of the mentioned articles. Remember that the violin concerto he will adapt himself and send it as soon as he can. The quartets, etc., you may get Cramer or some other very clever fellow to adapt for the Piano-forte. The symphony and the overture are wonderfully fine so that I think I have made a very good bargain. What do you think? I have likewise engaged him to compose two sonatas and a fantasia for the Piano-forte which he is to deliver to our house for sixty pounds sterling (mind I have treated for Pounds, not Guineas). In short he has promised to treat with no one but me for the British Dominions. In proportion as you receive his compositions you are to remit him the money; that is, he considers the whole as consisting of six articles, viz: three quartets, symphony, overture, Piano-forte concerto, violin concerto, and the adaptation of the said concerto, for which he is to receive £200. For three articles you'll remit £100 and so on in proportion. The agreement says also that as soon as you receive the compositions, you are to pay into the hands of Messrs. E. W. and E. Lee, the stated sum, who are to authorize Messrs. J. G. Schuller and Comp. in Vienna to pay to Mr. van Beethoven, the value of the said sum, according to the course of exchange, and the said Messrs. Schuller and Co. are to reimburse themselves on Messrs. R. W. and E. Lee. On account of the impediments by war, etc., I begged Beethoven to allow us 4 months (after the setting of his MSS.) to publish in. He said he would write to your house in French stating the time, for of course he sends them likewise to Paris, etc., etc., and they must appear on the same day. You are also by agreement to send Beethoven by a convenient opportunity, two sets of each of the new compositions you print of his. . . . Mr. van Beethoven says, you may publish the 3 articles he sends by this courier on the 1st of September, next.1 The closing of the contract with Clementi had been preceded by negotiations with Breitkopf and Hartel for the same compositions. On the same day that Clementi wrote to Collard he also wrote a letter to the Leipsic publishers in which he said that he had
'Dr. Riemann, who introduced this letter in the body of the text of this biography, preceded it with the following observations on the significance of the transac