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In view of these things, Beethoven's report to Archduke Rudolph from Franzensbrunn on August 12th, which will appear presently, will be read with greater interest, and the only known utterance of Goethe touching Beethoven in the letter to Zelter be · viewed with different eyes:
I made Beethoven's acquaintance in Teplitz. His talent amazed me; unfortunately he is an utterly untamed personality, not altogether in the wrong in holding the world to be detestable, but who does not make it any the more enjoyable either for himself or others by his attitude. He is very excusable, on the other hand, and much to be pitied, as his hearing is leaving him, which, perhaps, mars the musical part of his nature less than the social. He is of a laconic nature and will become doubly so because of this lack.
Many things which have been reported and had so much of a legendary sound as to cause them to be received with doubt, may, under the circumstances, serve to complete the story of the relations between Goethe and Beethoven; such, for instance, as the familiar anecdote according to which, when Goethe expressed his vexation at the incessant greetings from passers-by, Beethoven is said to have replied: “Do not let that trouble your Excellency, perhaps the greetings are intended for me.” This is variously related to have occurred in a carriage at Karlsbad and in the Prater, and during a walk together on the old walls at Vienna; while the late Joseph Türk, the Vienna jeweler, who was in Teplitz in the summer of 1812, makes that place the scene of the story. It may, therefore, possibly have some foundation in truth.
Rochlitz, in 1822, reporting a conversation with Beethoven, has him say: "In Karlsbad I got acquainted with him (Goethe)”; but he makes him also say: "at that time, while I was veritably burning with enthusiasm (so recht im Feuer sass), I also conceived my music for his Egmont.” But this music was composed two years before. Beethoven's allusion here to the “Egmont" music certainly, and to meeting with Goethe in Karlsbad probably, if correctly reported, prove nothing but the truth of Schindler's observation: “Beethoven's memory of the past always proved to be very weak.” Dr. Eduard Knoll, of Karlsbad, in a detailed investigation of the dates of the visit of Goethe and Beethoven to Teplitz and Karlsbad—which also fixes August 6th as the date of the Beethoven-Polledro concert-comes to the same conclusion as the present writer, namely: "In all probability Beethoven came in contact with Goethe only in Teplitz, for during Beethoven's presence in Karlsbad, it can be proved Goethe was not there. But even in Teplitz the period of their mutual presence was a rather limited one.”
HELP FOR SUFFERERS AT BADEN
On July 26th, a large portion of the town of Baden, near Vienna, including the palace of Archduke Anton, the cloister of the Augustines, the theatre and casino, the parochial church and the palace of Count Esterhazy, was destroyed by a conflagration which broke out between noon and 1 o'clock. In all, 117 houses were burned. “From Karlsbad under date of August 7, it is reported,” writes the “Wiener Zeitung” of August 29th, that “scarcely had the misfortune which recently befel the inhabitants of Baden become known here before the well-known musicians Herr van Beethoven and Herr Polledroformed the benevolent purpose to give a concert for the benefit of the sufferers. As many of the guests of high station were already prepared to depart and it became necessary to seize the favorable moment, and in the conviction that he who helps quickly helps twofold, this purpose was carried out within twelve hours. ... Universal and rousing applause and receipts amounting to 954 florins, Vienna Standard, rewarded the philanthropic efforts" of the concert-givers. Beethoven himself gives a very different aspect to this concert in a letter to Archduke Rudolph:
Franzensbrunn, August 12, 1812. It has long been my duty to recall myself to your memory, but my occupations in behalf of my health in part and partly my insignificance made me hesitate. In Prague I missed Y. I. H. by just a night; for when I went in the morning to attend upon you, you had departed the night before. In Töplitz I heard Turkish? music 4 times a day, the only musical report which I am able to make. I was much together with Goethe. From Töplitz, however, my physician, Staudenheim, commanded me to go to Karlsbad and from there here, and presumably I shall have to go from here again to Töplitz-what excursions! and yet but little certainty touching an improvement in my condition! Till now I have had always the best of reports concerning the state of Y. I. H.'s health, also your continued favorable disposition and devotion to the musical muse. Of an academy which I gave for the benefit of the city of Baden destroyed by fire with the help of Herr Polledro, Y. I. H. is likely to have heard. The receipts were nearly 1000 florins V. S. and if I had not been embarrassed in the arrangements 2000 florins might easily have been taken in. It was, so to speak, a poor concert for the poor. I found at the publisher's here only some of my earlier sonatas with violin, and as Polledro insisted I had to play an old one. The entire concert consisted of a trio played by Polledro, the violin sonata by me, another piece by Polledro and then an improvisation by me. Meanwhile I am glad that the poor Badensians benefited somewhat by the affair. Pray you accept my wish for your high welfare and the prayer to be graciously remembered by you.
Giovanni Battista Polledro (1781-1853), violinist, concertmaster in Dresden in 1814, Court Chapelmaster in Turin in 1824.
"By Turkish music is meant military music with drums, cymbals, etc.
Three days before, Beethoven had written in a letter to Breitkopf and Härtel:
I must refrain from writing more, and instead splash around in the water again. Scarcely have I filled my interior with an ample quantity of it than I must have it dashed over my exterior. I will answer the rest of your letter soon. Goethe is too fond of the atmosphere of the Courts, more so than is becoming to a poet. Why laugh at the absurdities of virtuosi when poets who ought to be the first teachers of a nation, forget all else for the sake of this glitter.
Beethoven arrived in Franzensbrunn on August 8, and on September 7 returned to Karlsbad, where he remained only a few days; after the 16th of September, he was again in Teplitz. His arrival in Franzensbrunn was simultaneous with that of the family Brentano from Vienna.
Madame von Arnim in her letter to Pückler-Muskau gives some account of the intercourse between Goethe and Beethoven:
They got acquainted with each other in Teplitz. Goethe was with him! he played for him; seeing that Goethe appeared to be greatly moved he said: “O, Sir, I did not expect that from you; I gave a concert in Berlin several years ago, I did my best and thought that I had done really well and was counting on considerable applause, but behold! when I had given expression to my greatest enthusiasm, there was not the slightest applause, that was too much for me. I could not understand it; but the riddle was finally resolved by this: the Berlin public is extremely cultured and waved its thanks to me with handkerchiefs wet with the tears of emotion. This was all wasted on a rude enthusiast like myself; I had thought that I had merely a romatic, not an artistic audience before me. But I accept it gladly from you, Goethe; when your poems went through my brain they threw off music and I was proud to think that I could try to swing myself up to the same heights which you had reached, but I never knew it in my life and would least of all have done it in your presence, here enthusiasm would have had to have an entirely different outlet. You must know yourself how good it feels to be applauded by intelligent hands; if you do not recognize me and esteem me as a peer, who shall do so? By which pack of beggars shall I permit myself to be understood?" Thus did he push Goethe into a corner, who at first did not know how he could set matters to rights, for he felt that Beethoven was right. The Empress and the Austrian archdukes were in Teplitz and Goethe was greatly distinguished by them, and it was by no means a matter of indifference to him to disclose his devotion to the Empress; he intimated as much with much solemn modesty to Beethoven. “Nonsense,” said the latter, “that's not the way; you're doing no good by such methods, you must plainly make them understand what they have in having you or they will never find out; there isn't a princess who will appreciate Tasso any longer than the shoe of vanity squeezes her foot-I treated
"Dr. Riemann adds: "perhaps because he had heard that the Sebalds were in Teplitz"; but, as the letter to the Archduke shows, he was already expecting to be ordered back to Teplitz on August 12.
REBUKING THE COURTIER GOETHE
them differently; when I was asked to give lessons to Duke Rainer, he let me wait in the antechamber, and for that I gave his fingers a good twisting; when he asked me why I was so impatient I said that he had wasted my time in the anteroom and I could wait no longer with patience. After that he never let me wait again; yes, I would have showed him that that was a piece of folly which only shows their bestiality. I said to him: “You can hang an order on one, but it would not make him the least bit better; you can make a court councillor or a privy councillor, but not a Goethe or a Beethoven; for that which you cannot make and which you are far from being, therefore, you must learn to have respect, it will do you good.” While they were walking there came towards them the whole court, the Empress and the Dukes; Beethoven said: “Keep hold of my arm, they must make room for us, not we for them.” Goethe was of a different opinion, and the situation became awkward for him; he let go of Beethoven's arm and took a stand at the side with his hat off, while Beethoven with folded arms walked right through the dukes and only tilted his hat slightly while the dukes stepped aside to make room for him, and all greeted him pleasantly; on the other side he stopped and waited for Goethe, who had permitted the company to pass by him where he stood with bowed head. “Well,” he said, “I've waited for you because I honor and respect you as you deserve, but you did those yonder too much honor.”
In these passages we have the substance of a large portion of the famous third of the Beethoven-Bettina letters. Are they an abstract of that letter or is the letter an expansion of them? In other words, the question is forced upon us: Is that letter authentic? The last paragraph of the Pückler letter affords a decisive answer: “Afterward Beethoven came running to us and told us everything, and was as happy as a child at having teased Goethe so greatly, etc., etc.” Who were they to whom Beethoven came running? They are named in Herr Hiekel's list of visitors: Ludwig (Achim) von Arnim, his young wife Bettina Brentano and Frau von Savigny, her sister! In the pseudo-letter we read: “Yesterday we met the entire imperial family.” Therefore, if the letter to Pückler be true—and it bears all the marks of being so—and if the other be authentic, Beethoven is made to relate the story one day and write a long letter containing it to the same person the next! It follows: when such a letter in Beethoven's well-known handwriting shall be seen and accepted as authentic by competent judges, its genuineness may be conceded but, henceforth, until then, never.2
Beethoven returned to Teplitz with no amelioration, but rather an increase of his maladies, and was compelled to remain
?The credit of suggesting this crushing argument against the authenticity of the letter belongs to Dr. Deiters.-A.W.T.
until near or perhaps quite the end of September. To his great satisfaction, he found there the young lady who had so powerfully attracted him the previous summer. The character of their renewed acquaintance is sufficiently obvious from the series of notes following, which are given in the order which appears to correspond best with their contents.
Teplitz, September 16, 1812. For Amalie von Sebald:
Tyrant-I? Your tyrant? Only a misapprehension can lead you to say this even if your judgment of me indicated no agreement of thought with me! But no blame to you on this account; it is rather a piece of good fortune for you—yesterday I was not wholly well, since this morning I have grown worse; something indigestible was the cause, and the irascible part of me appears to seize upon the bad as well as the good; but do not apply this to my moral nature; people say nothing, they are only people; they generally see only themselves in others, and that is nothing; away with this, the good, the beautiful needs no people. It is here without help and that, after all, appears to be the reason of our agreement. Farewell, dear Amalie; if the moon shines brighter for me this evening than the sun by day you will see with you the least of men.
Beethoven. Dear, good Amalie. After leaving you yesterday my condition grew worse and from last night till now I have not left my bed, I wanted to send you word yesterday but thought it would look as if I wanted to appear important in your eyes, so I refrained. What dream of yours is this that you are nothing to me, we will talk about that by word of mouth, dear Amalie; I have always wished only that my presence might bring you rest and peace, and that you would have confidence in me; I hope to be better to-morrow and that we may spend the few hours which remain of your sojourn in the enjoyment of nature to our mutual uplift and enlivenment. Good night, dear Amalie, many thanks for your kind thought of your friend
Beethoven. I will look through Tiedge.
I only wish to report that the tyrant is slavishly chained to his bed. So it is! I shall be glad if I get along with the loss of to-day. My promenade yesterday at sun-up in the woods, where it was very misty, has increased my indisposition and probably delayed my improvement. Busy yourself meanwhile with Russians, Lapps, Samoyeds, etc., and do not sing too often the song, “Es lebe hoch!"
Beethoven. I am already better. If you think it proper to come to me alone you can give me a great pleasure, but if you think it improper you know how I honor the liberty of all people, and no matter how you act in this and all other cases, according to your principles or caprice, you will always find me kind and