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4. Fourth Concerto for Pianoforte and Orchestra. Dedicated to His Highness, Archduke Rudolph of Austria, Op. 58. Advertised. by the Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir in the "Wiener Zeitung" on August 10. 5. Concerto pour le Pianoforte avec accompagnement de grand Orchestre, arrangé d'après son 1er Concerto de Violon et dédié à Madame de Breuning. Œuvre 61. Advertised in the same journal on August 10. 6. "In questa tomba oscura," the last of 63 settings of the same text by various composers, published by T. Mollo, and advertised in the "Wiener Zeitung" of September 3.
Chapter VIII Jerome Bonaparte's Invitation—The Annuity Contract— Operatic Projects—Seyfried's "Studies"—The Siege of Vienna—Increased Cost of Living—Dilatory Debtors—The Year 1809.
THE offer of an honorable position in Cassel—permanent, so long as Napoleon's star might remain in the ascendant and his satellite retain his nominal kingship of Westphalia—was one no less gratifying to Beethoven, than surprising and perplexing to his friends. Knowing both the strong and the weak points of his character, they saw the extreme improbability that, with his increasing deafness, his removal thither could in the end redound to his profit, honor, or happiness. On the other hand, they saw him—at the very moment when he was giving new proofs of those stupendous powers which elevate him far above all other instrumental composers—forced to consider the question of seeking in a small provincial capital that permanent provision for his future necessities which, in the home of his choice at the end of sixteen years' residence, he saw no hope of obtaining. What an inexcusable, unpardonable disgrace to Vienna would be the departure of Beethoven under such circumstances! It was the first time the question had been presented; but being presented it was promptly met by a request from persons of "high and the highest rank that he state the conditions under which" he would decline the call to Cassel and remain in Vienna. Here was one of those happy opportunities for conferences, notes, letters and despatches innumerable, which Beethoven all his life seems to have so eagerly embraced and enjoyed. Several of his notes to Gleichenstein on the topic have been preserved, but are not worth transcribing, except those containing instructions for the drafting of the conditions of his remaining in Vienna. A letter dated January 7, 1809, by Beethoven to Breitkopf and Hartel, indicates that at the opening of the year 1809, Beethoven was still firmly resolved to go to Cassel. In it occurs this passage:
At last I am forced by the intrigues and cabals and contemptible actions of all kinds to leave the only surviving German fatherland on the invitation of his Royal Majesty of Westphalia, I am going thither as chapelmaster with an annual salary of 600 ducats in gold—I have only to-day sent my assurance that I will come by post and am only waiting my decree before making preparations for my journey which will be by way of Leipsic—therefore in order that my journey shall be the more brilliant for me I beg of you if not too prejudicial to your interests not to make anything known of my works till Easter—in the case of the sonata which is dedicated to Baron Gleichenstein, please omit the "K. K. Concipist," as it is distasteful to him. In all probability abusive letters will again be written from here about my last musical academy to the "Musikalische Zeitung"; I do not ask that what is against me be suppressed; yet somebody ought to be convinced that nobody has more personal enemies here than I; this is the more easily to be understood, since the state of music here is steadily growing worse—we have chapelmasters who know so little about conducting that they can scarcely read a score themselves—it is worst of all, of course, auf der Wieden—there I had to give my academy and all kinds of obstacles were put in my way. The Widows' Concert, and Herr Salieri is among the first, was guilty of the hideous act of threatening to expel every musician who played for me—notwithstanding that several mistakes which I could not help were made, the public accepted everything enthusiastically— nevertheless, scribblers from here will certainly not fail again to send miserable stuff against me to the "Musikalische Zeitung"—the musicians were particularly angry because when a blunder was made through carelessness in the simplest, plainest place in the world, I suddenly commanded silence and loudly called Again—such a thing had never happened to them before; the public at this showed its enjoyment—but it is daily growing worse. The day before my concert, in the easy little opera Milton, at the theatre in the city, the orchestra fell into such disorder that chapelmaster and director and orchestra veritably suffered shipwreck—for the chapelmaster instead of being ahead was behind in his beat and then came the director. (On the back of the cover):I beg of you to say nothing with certainty about my appointment in Westphalia until I write to you that I have received my decree.— Farewell, etc. It seems likely that the suggestion that formal stipulations for a contract under which Beethoven would decline the offer from Cassel and remain in Vienna be drawn up came from Countess Erdody. At any rate Beethoven writes to Gleichenstein: "Countess Erdody is of the opinion that you ought to outline a plan with her according to which you might negotiate in case they approach you as she is convinced they will. If you have time this afternoon, the Countess will be glad to see you."
The outline of the proposition which was to be submitted to certain noble gentlemen was drawn up by Beethoven for Gleichenstein as follows:
Plan To Keep Beethoven In Vienna 137
(On the outside: "Outline for a Musical Constitution.") First the offer of the King of Westphalia is to be set forth. B. cannot be held down to any obligation on account of this salary since the chief object, viz., the invention of new works would suffer thereby—this remuneration must be assured to Beethoven until he voluntarily renounces it—the Imperial title also if possible—to alternate with Salieri and Eibeler—the promise of active court service as soon as possible—or adjunction if it be worth while. Contract with the theatres likewise with the title of Member of one of the Committees of Theatrical Direction—a fixed day forever for a concert, even if there be a change in the directorate in the theatre, in return for which Beethoven binds himself to compose a new work every year for one of the charity concerts as may be thought most useful—or to conduct two—a place at a money changer's or such kind where Beethoven would receive the stipulated salary—the salary must be paid also by the heirs. On some of these points Beethoven changed his mind and wrote again thus: It is probably too late to-day—I could not get your writing back from E.—until now, inasmuch as A. wanted to add a few items, buts, and inasmuches—I beg of you to have everything turn on the true and proper practice of my art, thus you will write what is in my heart and head—the introduction is what I am to get in Westphalia, 600 ducats in gold, 150 ducats travelling expenses, for which I have to do nothing except conduct the King's concerts which are short and not numerous— I am not even bound to conduct any opera that I may write—from all which it is clear that I can devote myself wholly to the most important purpose of my art to compose works of magnitude—also an orchestra at my disposal. N. B. The title of Member of one of the Theatrical Committees is dropped—It could bring nothing but vexation—in respect of the Imperial duties I think the point must be handled delicately—not less than the demand for the title of Imperial Chapelmaster, than a regard to my being placed in a position through a court salary to give up the sum which the gentlemen are now paying me. I think that this might best be expressed as a hope or a highest wish sometime to enter the Imperial service, when I could at once accept as much less as the sum received from his Imperial Majesty amounts to. (On the top of the last page): N. B. We shall need it to-morrow at 12 o'clock, because we must then go to Kinsky. I hope to see you to-day. Under these instructions the "Conditions" were drawn up by some person unknown, in manner and form following: It must be the striving and aim of every true artist to achieve a position in which he can devote himself wholly to the elaboration of larger works and not be hindered by other matters or economical considerations. A musical composer can, therefore, have no livelier desire than to be left undisturbedly to the invention of works of magnitude and then to produce them in public. In doing this he must also keep his old age in view and seek to make ample provision for himself against that time. The King of Westphalia has offered Beethoven a salary of 600 ducats in gold for life and 150 ducats travelling expenses, on the single condition that he occasionally play for him and conduct his chamber concerts, which are to be not numerous and short. This offer is certainly entirely in the interest of art and the artist. Beethoven, however, has so great a predilection for life in this city, so much gratitude for the many proofs of good will which he has received here, and so much patriotism for his second fatherland, that he will never cease to count himself among Austrian artists and will never make his domicile elsewhere if the opportunities mentioned above are measurably offered him here. Persons of high and the highest ranks, having asked him to state under what conditions he would be willing to remain here, he has complied with the request as follows: 1. Beethoven should receive from a great personage assurance of a salary for life even if a number of persons of rank contribute to the sum. This salary under the existing conditions of high cost of living, could not be less than 4000 florins a year. Beethoven desires that the donors of this salary consider themselves co-authors of his new works in the large forms, because they place him in a position to devote himself to their production and relieve him of the need of attending to other affairs. 2. Beethoven should always have freedom to make artistic tours, because only by such can he make himself very well known and acquire some property. 3. It would be his greatest desire and most ardent wish sometime to enter into the actual Imperial service and by reason of the salary expected from such a source to be able to waive in whole or in part the compensation set forth above; meanwhile the title merely of an Imperial Chapelmaster would make him very happy; if it could be obtained for him his stay here would be still dearer to him. Should this desire some day be fulfilled and he receive a salary from His Majesty, Beethoven will forgo his claim on as much of the 4000 florins as the Imperial salary amounts to, and if this is 4000 florins, then he would forgo the entire 4000 florins above specified.
4. As Beethoven desires to perform his new works in public, he desires an assurance from the Court Theatrical Directors, for themselves and their successors, that on Palm Sunday of each year he shall have the use of the Theater-an-der-Wien for a concert for his own benefit.
In return for this assurance, Beethoven would bind himself to arrange and conduct a charity concert every year or, in case of inability to do this, to contribute a new work for such a concert.1
The conditions proving acceptable, the business was concluded and Beethoven retained in Vienna by this
'The agreement between this memorial and the letters written on the subject (apparently to Gleichenstein—though Thayer was not willing to commit himself on this point) make it most probable that he was the author of the document. Even the sentimental suggestion that the contributors might look upon themselves as co-authors of the great works to come, went out from Beethoven in one of the notes probably sent to Gleichenstein.