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conceptions that during the past five years had been assuming form and consistency in his mind, to which Bernadotte may have given the original impulse, and which we know as the “Heroic Symphony.” . Let us turn to Stephan von Breuning and a new friend or two. Archduke Karl, by a commission dated January 9, 1801, had been made Chief of the “Staats- und Konferenzial-Departement für das Kriegs- und Marine-Wesen,” and retained the position still, notwithstanding his assumption of the functions of Hoch- und Deutsch-Meister. He undertook to introduce a wide-reaching reform at the War Department, which demanded an increase in the number of Secretaries and scriveners. Stephan von Breuning is the second in the list of five appointed in 1804, Ignatz von Gleichenstein the fifth. It is believed, that the Archduke had discovered the fine business talents, the zeal in the discharge of duty and the perfect trustworthiness of Breuning at the Teutonic House, and that at his special invitation the young man this year exchanged the service of the Order for that of the State. There is abundant evidence, that the young Rhinelanders then in Vienna were bound to each other by more than the usual ties: most of them were fugitives from French tyranny, and liable to conscription if found in the places of their birth, though this was not the case with Breuning. There was, in addition to the ordinary feeling of nationality, a common sense of exile to unite them. Between Breuning and Gleichenstein therefore -two amiable and talented young men thus thrown into daily intercourse an immediate and warm friendship would naturally spring up; and an introduction of the latter to Breuning's friend Beethoven would inevitably follow, in case they had not known each other in the old Bonn days.
Another young Rhinelander, to whom Beethoven became much attached, and who returned the kindness with warm affection for him personally and a boundless admiration for his genius, became known to the composer also just at this time. Willibrord Joseph Mähler, a native of Coblentz—who died in 1860, at the age of 82 years, as pensioned Court Secretarywas a man of remarkably varied artistic talents, by which, however, since he cultivated them only as a dilettante and without ASSOCIATION WITH W. J. MÄHLER
1Thayer considered the “first street to the left” to be the Herrengasse. J. Böck (Gnadenau) argued in “Die Musik," Vol. II, No. 6, that the house in which the "Eroica" was composed was the present Hauptstrasse No. 92 of Döbling and bore the old No. 4 of the Hofzeile. In 1890 the owner of the house and the Männergesangsverein of Döbling placed a tablet on the "Eroica” house, whose occupants “were still in possession of a tradition concerning Beethoven's occupation of it.” So says Dr. Riemann.
confining himself to any one art, he achieved no great distinction. He wrote respectable poetry and set it to correct and not unpleasing music; sang well enough to be recorded in Boeckh's “Merkwürdigkeiten der Haupt- und Residenz-Stadt Wien” (1823) as “amateur singer," and painted sufficiently well to be named, on another page of Boeckh, “amateur portrait painter." He painted that portrait of the composer, about 1804–5, which is still in possession of the Beethoven family, and a second 181415—(Mr. Mähler could not recall the precise date)-once owned by Prof. Karajan. Several of the portraits now in possession of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna are from his pencil; but two or three of the very best specimens of his skill have been sold to a gentleman in Boston, U.S.A.1
Soon after Beethoven returned from his summer lodgings to his apartment in the theatre building, Mähler, who had then recently arrived in Vienna, was taken by Breuning thither to be introduced. They found him busily at work finishing the “Heroic Symphony.” After some conversation, at the desire of Mähler to hear him play, Beethoven, instead of beginning an extempore performance, gave his visitors the finale of the new Symphony; but at its close, without a pause, he continued in free fantasia for two hours, “during all which time," said Mr. Mähler to the present writer, “there was not a measure which was faulty, or which did not sound original.” He added, that one circumstance attracted his particular notice; viz.: "that Beethoven played with his hands so very still; wonderful as his execution was, there was no tossing of them to and fro, up and down; they seemed to glide right and left over the keys, the fingers alone doing the work.” To Mr. Mähler, as to most others who have recorded their impressions of Beethoven's improvisations, they were the non plus ultra of the art.
There was, however, be it noted in passing, a class of good musicians, small in number and exceptional in taste, who, precisely at this time, had discovered a rival to Beethoven, in this his own special field. Thus Gänsbacher writes, as cited by Frölich in his “Biographie Voglers":
Sonnleithner gave a musical soirée in honor of Vogler and invited Beethoven among others. Vogler improvised at the pianoforte on a theme given to him by Beethoven, 412 measures long, first an Adagio and then fugued. Vogler then gave Beethoven a theme of three measures (the scale of C major, alla breve). Beethoven's excellent pianoforte playing, combined with an abundance of the most beautiful
Th. von Frimmel discusses the Beethoven portraits in his "Neue Beethoveniana,” p. 189 et seq., and “Beethoven-Studien,” Vol. II (1905).
thoughts, surprised me beyond measure, but could not stir up the enthusiasm in me which had been inspired by Vogler's learned playing, which was beyond parallel in respect of its harmonic and contrapuntal treatment.
An undated note of Beethoven, to Mähler, which belongs to a somewhat later period—since its date is not ascertainable nor of much importance-may be inserted here, as an introduction to Mr. Mähler's remarks upon the portrait to which it refers:
I beg of you to return my portrait to me as soon as you have made sufficient use of it—if you need it longer I beg of you at least to make haste-I have promised the portrait to a lady, a stranger who saw it here, that she may hang it in her room during her stay of several weeks. Who can withstand such charming importunities, as a matter of course a portion of the lovely favors which I shall thus garner will also fall to you.
To the question what picture is here referred to, Mr. Mähler replied in substance: “It was a portrait, which I painted soon after coming to Vienna, in which Beethoven is represented, at nearly full length, sitting; the left hand rests upon a lyre, the right is extended, as if, in a moment of musical enthusiasm, he was beating time; in the background is a temple of Apollo. Oh! If I could but know what became of the picture!"
“What!” was the answer, to the great satisfaction of the old gentleman, “the picture is hanging at this moment in the home of Madame van Beethoven, widow, in the Josephstadt, and I have a copy of it."
The extended right hand—though, like the rest of the picture, not very artistically executed—was evidently painted with care. It is rather broad for the length, is muscular and nervous, as the hand of a great pianist necessarily grows through much practice; but, on the whole, is neatly formed and well proportioned. Anatomically, it corresponds so perfectly with all the authentic descriptions of Beethoven's person, that this alone proves it to have been copied from nature and not drawn after the painter's fancy. Whoever saw a long, delicate hand with fingers exquisitely tapering, like Mendelssohn's, joined to the short stout muscular figure of a Beethoven or a Schubert?
A few of Beethoven's letters belonging to this period must be introduced here. The first, dated September 22, 1803, addressed to Hoffmeister, is as follows:
1A copy of this portrait which belonged to Thayer is now in the possession of Mrs. Jabez Fox, and is presented in photogravure as frontispiece to the present volume.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH GEORGE THOMSON
Herewith I declare all the works concerning which you have written to me to be your property; the list of them will be copied again and sent to you signed by me as your confessed property. I also agree to the price, 50 ducats. Does this satisfy you?
Perhaps I may be able to send you instead of the variations for violin and violoncello a set of variations for four hands on a song of mine with which you will also have to print the poem by Goethe, as I wrote these variations in an album as a souvenir and consider them better than the others; are you content?
The transcriptions are not by me, but I revised them and improved. them in part, therefore do not come along with an announcement that. I had arranged them, because if you do you will lie, and, I haven't either time or patience for such work. Are you agreed?
Now farewell, I can wish you only large success, and I would willingly give you everything as a gift if it were possible for me thus to get through the world, but-consider, everything about me has an official appointment and knows what he has to live on, but, good God, where at the Imperial Court is there a place for a parvum talentum com ego?
In this year began the correspondence with Thomson. George Thomson, a Scotch gentleman (born March 4, 1757, at Limekilns, Dunfermline, died at Leith, February 18, 1851), distinguished himself by tastes and acquirements which led to his appointment, when still a young man, as “Secretary to the Board of Trustees for the Encouragement of Arts and Manufactures in Scotland”—a Board established at the time of the Union of the Kingdoms, 1707 (not the Crowns, 1603), of England and Scotland-an office from which he retired upon a full pension after a service of fifty years. He was, especially, a promoter of all good music and an earnest reviver of ancient Scotch melody. As one means of improving the public taste and at the same time of giving currency to Scotch national airs, he had published sonatas with such melodies for themes, composed for him by Pleyel in Paris, and Koželuch in Vienna-two instrumental composers enjoying then a European reputation now difficult to appreciate. The fame of the new composer at Vienna having now reached Edinburgh, Thomson applied to him for works of a like character. Only the signature of the reply seems to be in Beethoven's hand:
Edinburgh. North Britain
Vienna le 5. gbre 1803.
J'ai reçu avec bien de plaisir votre lettre du 20 Juillet. Entrant volontiers dans vos propositions je dois vous declarer que je suis prêt de composer pour vous six sonates telles que vous les desirez y intro
qui n'as prie de merois peutêtre pose tant
duisant même les airs ecossais d'une manière laquelle la nation Ecossaise trouvera la plus favorable et le plus d'accord avec le genie de ses chansons. Quant au honoraire je crois que trois cent ducats pour six sonates ne sera pas trop, vu qu'en Allemagne on me donne autant pour pareil nombre de sonates même sans accompagnement.
Je vous previens en même tems que vous devez accelerer votre declaration, par ce qu'on me propose tant d'engagements qu'après quelque tems je ne saurois peutêtre aussitôt satisfaire à vos demandes.Je vous prie de me pardonner, que cette reponse est si retardée ce qui n'a été causée que par mon sejour à la campagne et plusieurs occupations tres pressantes.-Aimant de preference les airs eccossais je me plairai particulierement dans la composition de vos sonates, et j'ose avancer que si nos interêts s'accorderront sur le honoraire, vous serez parfaitement contenté. Agréez les assurances de mon estime distingué.
Louis van Beethoven.
50 D. 1803. Louis van Beethoven, Vienna, demands 300 ducats for composing six Sonatas for me. Replied 8th Nov. that I would give no more than 150, taking 3 of the Sonatas when ready and the other 3 in six months after; giving him leave to publish in Germany on his own account, the day after publication in London.
The sonatas were never composed. Not long afterwards, on October 22, Beethoven, enraged at efforts to reprint his works, issued the following characteristic fulmination in large type, filling an entire page of the journal:
WARNING. Herr Carl Zulehner, a reprinter at Mayence, has announced an edition of all my works for pianoforte and string instruments. I hold it to be my duty hereby publicly to inform all friends of music that I have not the slightest part in this edition. I should not have offered to make a collection of my works, a proceeding which I hold to be premature at the best, without first consulting with the publishers and caring for the correctness which is wanting in some of the individual publications. Moreover, I wish to call attention to the fact that the illicit edition in question can never be complete, inasmuch as some new works will soon appear in Paris, which Herr Zulehner, as a French subject, will not be permitted to reprint. I shall soon make full announcement of a collection of my works to be made under my supervision and after a severe revision. 1
iThe publication of a complete edition of his compositions frequently occupied the mind of Beethoven. In 1806 Breitkopf and Härtel tried to get all of Beethoven's works for publication by them; it is likely that similar efforts on the part of Viennese publishers date back as far as 1803. Later the plan plays a role in the correspondence with Probst and Simrock. As late as 1824 it was urged by Andreas Streicher. It has already been said that Beethoven at an early date desired to make an arrangement with a publisher by which he might be relieved of anxiety about monetary matters. He wanted to give all his compositions to one publisher, who should pay him a fixed salary.