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learns that they mention his name either in praise or blame he will indeed (I know him and know his strong self-reliance) not read them at all; herein, too, he maintains his independence, he whose cradle and throne the Lord established away from this earth. . . . Beethoven's body has a strength and rudeness which is seldom the blessing of chosen spirits. He is pictured in his countenance. If Gall, the phrenologist, has correctly located the mind, the musical genius of Beethoven is manifest in the formation of his head. The sturdiness of his body, however, is in his flesh and bones only; his nervous system is irritable in the highest degree and even unhealthy. How it has often pained me to observe that in this organism the harmony of the mind was so easily put out of tune. He once went through a terrible typhus and from that time dates the decay of his nervous system and probably also his melancholy loss of hearing. Often and long have I spoken with him on this subject; it is a greater misfortune for him than for the world. It is significant that before that illness his hearing was unsurpassably keen and delicate, and that even now he is painfully sensible to discordant sounds; perhaps because he is himself euphony. . . . His character is in complete agreement with the glory of his talent. Never in my life have I met a more childlike nature paired with so powerful and defiant a will; if heaven had bestowed nothing upon him but his heart, this alone would have made him one of those in whose presence many would be obliged to stand up and do obeisance. Most intimately does that heart cling to everything good and beautiful by a natural impulse which surpasses all education by far. . . . There is nothing in the world, no earthly greatness, nor wealth, nor rank, nor state can bribe it; here I could speak of instances in which I was a witness. Remarks follow upon Beethoven's ignorance of the value of money, of the absolute purity of his morals (which, unfortunately, is not true) and of the irregularity of his life. "This irregularity reaches its climax in his periods of productiveness. Then he is frequently absent days at a time without any one knowing whither he is gone." [?]
We know no reason to suppose that Beethoven received Weissenbach's poem before the interview with him; but, on the contrary, think the citations above preclude such a hypothesis. Moreover, the composer's anxiety to have an interview at the earliest possible moment arose far more probably from a hint or the hope, that he might obtain a text better than the one in hand, than from any desire to discuss one already received. What is certain is this: Beethoven did obtain from Weissenbach the poem "Der glorreiche Augenblick," and cast the other aside unfinished—as it remains to this day. First, Beethoven had to complete his overture, the supposed scope and design of which may occupy us a moment. Scott said, that when he wrote "Waverly, or 'Tis Sixty Years Since," it had already become impossible for the people of England Europe After The Vienna Congress 295
and Scotland, in their greatly changed and improved condition, to form any correct conception of the state of public feeling in those kingdoms in 1745, when the Pretender made that last effort against the House of Brunswick which is the subject of "Waverly," and the defeat of which is commemorated by Handel in "Judas Maccabseus." It is equally difficult for us to conceive adequately the sensations caused by the downfall of Napoleon at the time of which we are writing. When monarehs play chess with armies, "check to the king" means the shock of contending foes and all the horrors of war; but in perusing the history of Bonaparte's campaigns, we become so interested in the "game" as to forget the attendant ruin, devastation and destruction, the blood, carnage and death, that madeall central Europe for twenty long years one vast charnel-house. But only in proportion as the imagination is able to form a vivid picture of the horrors of those years, can it conceive that inexpressible sense of relief, the universal joy and jubilee, which outside of France pervaded all classes of society, from prince to peasant, at the fall of the usurper, conqueror and tyrant. And this not more because of that event, than because of the all-prevailing trust, that men's rights, political and religious—now doubly theirs by nature and by purchase at such infinite cost—would be gladly and gratefully accorded to them. For sovereign and subject had shared danger and suffering and every evil fortune together, and been brought into new and kindlier relations by common calamities; thus the sentiment of loyalty—the affectionate veneration of subject for sovereign—had been developed to a degree wholly unprecedented. Nothing presaged or foreboded the near advent and thirty years' sway of Metternichism. No one dreamed, that within six years the "rulers" at this moment "of happy states" would solemnly declare, "all popular and constitutional rights to be holden no otherwise than as grants and indulgences from crowned heads";1 that they would snuff treason in every effort of the people to hold princes to their pledged words; and that their vigilance would effectually prevent the access of any Leonore to the Pellicos, Liebers and Reuters languishing for such treasons in their state prisons. At that time all this was hidden in the future; the very intoxication of joy and extravagant loyalty then ruled the hour. It was, as we believe, to give these sentiments musical expression, that Beethoven now took up and wrought out certain themes and motives, noted by him five years before in connection with the memorandum: "Freude schbner Gotterfunken Tochter—
'See the Laybach Circular of May, 1821. Ouverture ausarbeiten."1 The poetic idea of the work was not essentially changed—the joy of liberated Europe simply taking the place of the joy of Schiller's poem. But the composer's particular purpose was to produce it as the graceful homage of a loyal subject on the Emperor's name-day. How else can the autograph inscription upon the original manuscript be understood: "Overture by L. v. Beethoven, on the first of Wine-month, 1814— Evening to the name-day of our Emperor"? In the arts, as in literature, there is no necessary connection between that which gives rise to the ideas of a work, and the occasion of its composition; the occasion of this overture was clearly the name-day festival of Emperor Franz; why then may it not in the future, as in the past, be known as the "Namensfeier" Overture?
Assuming the "first of the Wine-month" (October 1) to date the completion of the work, there remained three days for copying and rehearsal. The theatre had been closed on the 29th and 30th of September, to prepare for a grand festival production of Spontini's "La Vestale" on Saturday evening, October 1st; but for the evening of the name-day, Tuesday the 4th, "Fidelio" (its 15th performance) was selected. It was obviously the intention of Beethoven to do homage to Emperor Franz, by producing his new overture as a prelude on this occasion. What, then, prevented? Seyfried answers this question. He writes: "For this year's celebration of the name-day of His Majesty, the Emperor, Kotzebue's allegorical festival play 'Die hundertjahrigen Eichen' had been ordered. Now, as generally happens, this decision was reached so late that I, as the composer, was allowed only three days, and two more for studying and rehearsing all the choruses, dances, marches, groupings, etc.," This festival play was on the 3d and rendered the necessary rehearsals of Beethoven's overture impossible.2
"Fidelio" was sung the sixteenth time on the 9th. Tomaschek, one of the auditors on that evening, gave to the public in Beethoven's Opinion Of Meyerbeer 297
'See Nottebohm's "Beethoveniana," Chap. XIV.
'Since this was written, Herr Nottebohm has kindly communicated a supplementary article on this overture containing portions of newly discovered sketches with the remark by Beethoven: "Overture for any occasion—or for concert use" and closing thus: "The last sketches were written about March, 1815." This seems a contradiction of the date given at the beginning of the autograph (October 1, 1814). This contradiction can be explained. Beethoven evidently noted the date when he began writing out the score, but interrupted the work (because the overture was not performed on the name-day of the Emperor?) and did not take it up again until several months had passed, when the sketches and hints for passages which occur later may have originated.' Certainly this is possible; but the different dates assigned to the Petter sketchbook (1809 in this work, 1812 in the "Beethoveniana") necessarily lead to an irreconcilable divergence of opinion. A studious reconsideration of the subject ends in the conviction that the historic evidence, as it now stands, renders unnecessary any alterations in the text.
1846 notes of the impression made upon him, in a criticism which, by its harshness, forms a curious contrast to Weissenbach's eulogy. Having exhausted that topic, however, Tomaschek describes his meetings in an account which has a peculiar interest not only because, though general descriptions of Beethoven's style of conversation are numerous, attempts to report him in detail are very rare. The description is also valuable because of its vivid display of Beethoven's manner of judging his contemporaries, which was so offensive to them and begat their lasting enmity. A dramatic poem, "Moses," words by Klingemann, music (overture, choruses and marches) by von Seyfried, was to be given on the evening of Tomaschek's first call. Tomaschek says he has no desire "to hear music of this kind" and the dialogue proceeds- as follows:B.—My God! There must also be such composers, otherwise what would the vulgar crowd do? T.—I am told that there is a young foreign artist here who is said to be an extraordinary pianoforte player.1 B.—Yes, I, too, have heard of him, but have not heard him. My God! let him stay here only a quarter of a year and we shall hear what the Viennese think of his playing. I know how everything new pleases here. T.—You have probably never met him? B.—I got acquainted with him at the performance of my Battle, on which occasion a number of local composers played some instrument. The big drum fell to the lot of that young man. Ha! ha! ha!—I was not at all satisfied with him; he struck the drum badly and was always behindhand, so that I had to give him a good dressing-down. Ha! Ha! Ha!—That may have angered him. There is nothing in him; he hasn't the courage to hit a blow at the right time. Before Tomaschek visited Beethoven again, Meyerbeer's opera "Die beiden Caliphen" had been produced at the Karnthnerthor Theatre. Tomaschek comes to take his farewell. Beethoven is in the midst of preparations for his concert and insists upon giving him a ticket. Then the conversation goes on:T.—Were you at 's opera?
B.—No; it is said to have turned out very badly. I thought of you; you hit it when you said you expected little from his compositions. I talked with the opera singers, and that night after the production of the opera at the wine-house where they generally gather, I said to them frankly: You have distinguished yourselves again!—what piece of folly have you been guilty of again? You ought to be ashamed of yourselves not to know better, nor to be able to judge better, to have made
such a noise about this opera! I should like to talk to you about it, but you do not understand me. T.—I was at the opera; it began with hallelujah and ended with requiem. B.—Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! It's the same with his playing. I am often asked if I have heard him—I say no; but from the opinions of my acquaintances who are capable of judging such things I could tell that he has agility indeed, but otherwise is a very superficial person.
T.—I heard that before he went away he played at Herrn 's and
pleased much less. B.—Ha, ha, ha, ha! What did I tell you?—I understand that. Let him settle down here for half a year and then let us hear what will be said of his playing. All this signifies nothing. It has always been known that the greatest pianoforte players were also the greatest composers; but how did they play? Not like the pianists of to-day, who prance up and down the keyboard with passages which they have practised— putsch, putsch, putsch;—what does that mean? Nothing! When true pianoforte virtuosi played it was always something homogeneous, an entity; if written down it would appear as a well thought-out work. That is pianoforte playing; the other thing is nothing! T.—I am also carrying away from here a very small opinion of 's knowledge.
B.—As I have said, he knows nothing outside of singing. T.—I hear that is creating a great sensation here. B.—My God! he plays nicely, nicely—but aside from that he is a . He will never amount to anything. These people have their little coteries where they go often; there they are praised and praised and that's the end of art! I tell you he will never amount to anything. I used to be too loud in my judgments and thereby made many enemies— now I criticize nobody and, indeed, for the reason that I do not want to injure anybody, and at the last I say to myself: if there is any good in it it will survive in spite of all attacks and envy; if it is not solid, not firm, it will fall to pieces, no matter how it is bolstered up.
Of some minor compositions belonging to this autumn, this is the story: The Prussian King's Secretary, Friedrich Duncker, brought to Vienna, in the hope of producing it there, a tragedy, "Leonore Prohaska," "which tells the story of a maiden who, disguised as a soldier, fought through the war of liberation." For this Beethoven composed a soldiers' chorus for men's voices unaccompanied: "Wir hauen und sterben"; a romance with harp, %, "Es blunt eineBlume"; and a melodrama with harmonica. It is also stated, that he instrumentated for orchestra the march in the Sonata, Opus 26, Duncker preferring this to a new marcia funebre.1 Dr. Sonnleithner had also a note from some quarter —discredited by him—that even an overture and entr'actes were
'That Beethoven transcribed the march in the Sonata, Op. 26, for orchestra is confirmed by the following letter of Chapelmaster Ad. Muller (pire) written to the author in answer to a note of inquiry: