« ForrigeFortsett »
"the Mount Of Olives" In London 309
execution. I expect your immediate answer having several orders to attend, and I shall in a little time write more copiously in reply to your favors already received. I beg you to thank the author for the very ingenious and flattering verses, which obtained by your means. Allow me to subscribe myself Sir, your very obedt. & humble servt. Vienna, Feb. 7 [?], 1815. Ludwig van Beethoven. This naturally turns our attention to Beethoven's English affairs. "Christus am Olberg" ("The Mount of Olives," as the oratorio is called in England and America) had been given for the first time in England on February 25, 1814, by Sir George Smart, who in 1861, in conversation with the author at his house (the one in which Weber died), related the circumstances of this production and of "Wellington's Victory," which was a consequence of the success of the oratorio, substantially as follows: In the winter of 1812-1813, Smart undertook the Lenten oratorio season at Drury Lane Theatre, introducing at the first concert, January 30, 1813, Handel's "Messiah" with Mozart's additional accompaniments, but not noting this fact upon the programme. The audience was delighted with the new effects and Mozart's name appeared on the next programme. During this season Smart heard the "Christus am Olberg" spoken of. Desiring to find some novelty the next season and Beethoven having already a great name, he offered £50 to anyone who would procure him the score of that work published by Breitkopf and Hartel—an exceedingly difficult thing to get at that time, when Napoleon had almost hermetically sealed the Continent against England. The next winter (1813-14) Jack Morris, keeper of a tavern or eating-house of the better sort, a man who had free entry behind the scenes of the theatre and was continually there, came to Smart and put the score of the oratorio into his hands, to his (Smart's) great astonishment.
"Well," said Smart, "I'll give you the £50."
"No," was the reply, "I'll take only two guineas, for that's what I paid for it."
"How did you get it?" asked Smart.
"A friend of mine who is a King's Messenger bought it for me in Leipsic."
The only acknowledgment that Morris would take, beside the two guineas, was that Smart should accept an invitation from him to be present at a pugilistic exhibition and at the supper afterwards. The score bears the date of reception, January 7, 1814. Now to bring it out. Samuel J. Arnold translated the text, putting all the characters into the third person, so as not to shock English feelings of reverence by producing Christ and the Apostles on the stage, and Smart adapted the translation to the music. It was rehearsed at his house ("in this room," said he), and very ill received by amateurs present, who told Smart, he was mad to produce such a thing! On February 25th, the first part of the programme of the "Oratorio," a sacred concert, at Drury Lane Theatre, was selections from the "Messiah" in which Catalani sang; Part II, "The Mount of Olives," solos by Mrs. Dickens, Mrs. Bland, Mr. Pyne and Mr. Bellamy; Part III, Musical selections. Parts I and II also closed with selections from "Paradise Lost" read by Miss Smith. The tenth, and last, performance was on May 28th. Subsequently, Kramer, master of the Prince Regent's band, told Smart that the Prince had the score of a Battle Symphony by Beethoven, and he was welcome to the use of it, if he desired to produce it. Smart, encouraged by the success of the "Christus," was delighted, notwithstanding the musicians called the work a piece of musical quackery. On examining it, Sir George saw that it would never do with his audience to end with the fugue on "God save the King," and consulted with Ferdinand Ries as to what kind of close to make. Ries added to the score a short passage of modulation, which led from the fugue into the plain, simple tune. The work was copied, rehearsed, and produced on the 10th of February, 1815, as Part II of a Drury Lane "Oratorio" —the word being used then for a sacred concert, like "Akademie" in Vienna for a secular one. As the orchestra ended Ries' passage of modulation, the hymn was taken up and sung by the principal solo singers, and the full chorus. The audience used also to join in and make the old theatre ring again. The success was immense; it was performed several seasons, and Smart cleared £1000 by it.1 There is a sketchbook in the Mendelssohn collection, which shows in part what compositions employed Beethoven's thoughts about this time. It contains sketches to marches; for a "Symphony in B minor"; a "Sonata 'cello pastorale"; a chorus, "Meeresstille"; a song, "Merkenstein." This confirms a statement of Czerny's: "On 'Merkenstein,' Beethoven composed two little songs, both, I think, for almanacs." The one published by Compositions Offered To England 311
'It was Smart, who also made Beethoven's Mass in C known in England. On April 3rd, 1816, the "Kyrie" as a "First Hymn" with an English text by Arnold, was on the programme; March 17, 1817, the "Second Hymn," and at last the complete work.
Steiner and Co., however, does not appear to have come out in that manner. The date of these sketches is fixed by a memorandum of Beethoven's on the seventh leaf, of Smart's production in London of "Wellington's Victory": "In Drurylane Theatre on February 10th, and repeated by general request on the 13th, 'Wiener Zeitung' of March 2d." This led to inquiry, and Sir George Smart's name, as leader of the Lenten concerts in London, became known to Beethoven, who engaged his friend Haring, who knew Smart intimately, to write the following English letter in his behalf: To Sir George Smart, Great Portland St., London. My Dear Sir George:I see by the papers that you have brought forth in the theatre Beethoven's battle and that it was received with considerable applause. I was very happy to find that your partiality to Mr. B's compositions is not diminished and therefore I take the liberty in his name to thank you for the assistance you afforded in the performance of that uncommon piece of music. He has arranged it for the pianoforte, but having offered the original to his R. H. the Prince Regent, he durst not sell that arrangement to any Editor, until he knew the Prince's pleasure, not only with respect to the dedication, but in general. Having waited so many months without receiving the least acknowledgment, he begged me to apply to you for advice. His idea is to dispose of this arrangement and of several other original compositions to an Editor in London—or perhaps to several united—if they would make a handsome offer—they would besides engage to let him know the day of the appearance for sale of the respective pieces, in order that the Editor here, may not publish one copy before the day to be mentioned. At the end of this letter follows the list of such compositions, with the price, which the Author expects. I am persuaded, Sir George, you will exert yourself to benefit this great genius. He talks continually of going to England, but I am afraid that his deafness, seemingly increasing, does not allow him the execution of this favorite idea. You are informed without doubt that his opera "Fidelio" has had the most brilliant success here, but the execution is so difficult, that it could not suit any of the English houses. I submit here his list with the prices. None of the following pieces has been published, but No. 2, 4 and 9 have been performed with the greatest applause. 1. Serious Quartett for 2 violins, tenor and bass 40 guineas.
2. Battle of Vittoria—Score 70 guineas.
3. Battle of Vittoria arranged for the pianoforte 30 guineas.
4. A Grand Symphony—Score 70 guineas.
5. A Grand Symphony arranged for the pianoforte 30 guineas.
6. A Symphony—Key F—Score 40 guineas.
7. A Symphony, arranged 20 guineas.
8. Grand Trio for the pianoforte, violin and violoncello.....40 guineas.
9. Three Overtures for a full Orchestra each 30 guineas. 10. The Three Arrangements each 15 guineas. 11. A Grand Sonata for the pianoforte and violin 25 guineas.
The above is the produce of four years labor. Our friend Neate has not yet made his appearance here—nor is it at all known where he is roving about. We—I mean mostly amateurs— are now rehearsing Handel's "Messiah"—I am to be leader of the 2d violins; there will be this time 144 violins—first and second altogether, and the singers and remainder in proportion. I have been so unfortunate, as not to receive a single line or answer from England since my stay in Vienna, which is near three months; this discourages me very much from writing, for I have dispatched immediately after my arrival several letters and have been continuing to send letters, but all in vain. Amongst those to whom I wrote about two months ago, is our friend Disi—pray if you meet him and his very respectable family [give them] my best regards. I have passed so many happy hours in his house, it would be highly ungrateful for me to forget such an amiable family. Beethoven happening to call on me just now, he wishes to address a few lines to you [which you will] find at the bottom of this. . . . My direction is "Monsieur Jean de Haring, No. 298 Kohlmarkt, Vienna."
Poor B. is very anxious to hear something of the English editors, as he hardly can keep those of this city from him, who tease him for his works. Haring now writes the following for Beethoven to sign: Give me leave to thank you for the trouble you have taken several times as I understand, in taking my works under your protection, by which I don't doubt all justice has been done. I hope you will not find it indiscreet if I solicit you to answer Mr. Haring's letter as soon as possible. I should feel myself highly flattered if you would express your wishes, that I may meet them, in which you will always find me ready, as an acknowledgment for the favors you have heaped upon my children. Yours gratefully, Vienna 16. March, 1815. Ludwig van Beethoven. And now I shall beg, my dear Sir George, not to take this long letter amiss and to believe that I am always with the greatest regard, Your most humble and obedient servant, Vienna 19. March, 1815. John Haring. The works enumerated in this letter, taking them in the same order, are Op. 95, 91, 92, 93, 97, 113, 115, 117 and 96. Haring was evidently ignorant that all of Beethoven's new works were even then sold, except for England. Steiner had purchased them. The precise terms of the contract between the composer and this publisher are not known; for, although the transaction was too important to have been left to a mere parole agreement, no written instrument has been discovered. Jahn had no copy of any; and Nottebohm writes (November 19, 1875): "I was yesterday in the Works Sold To Steiner 313
comptoir of Haslinger, but there nothing is to be found." The earliest reference to the business yet discovered is a letter to Steiner, from which it is to be inferred that Karl van Beethoven was in some manner interested—perhaps as arranger, under his brother's inspection, of the editions for pianoforte of the orchestral works: Vienna, February 1, 1815. Most Wellborn Lieutenant-General!I have received to-day your letter to my brother and am satisfied with it but must beg of you to pay also the cost of the pianoforte arrangements in addition, as I am obliged to pay for everything in the world and more dearly than others it would be a hardship for me; besides I don't believe that you can complain about the honorarium of 250 ducats—but neither do I want to complain, therefore arrange for the transcriptions yourself, but all must be revised by me and if necessary improved, I hope that you are satisfied with this. In addition to this you might give my brother the collected pianoforte works of dementi, Mozart, Haidn, he needs them for his little son, do this my dearest Steiner, and be not stone,' as stony as your name is—farewell excellent Lieutenant-General, I am always, Yours truly, General-in-Chief, Ludwig van Beethoven. The works purchased by Steiner are named in a list sent by Nottebohm with the letter above cited. It is the copy of an unsigned memorandum, evidently proceeding from Beethoven, which, except the omission of the works mentioned in the Haring letter, runs thus:
Concerning the following original musical compositions, composed by the undersigned, and surrendered as property to the licensed art dealer H. S. A. Steiner. 1st. Score of the opera Fidelio. 2d. Score of the cantata Der glorreiche Augenblick.
3d. Score of a quartet for 2 violins, viola and basso. 4th. Score of a grand Terzet to be sung with pianoforte arrangement. 5th. Score of the Battle of Vittoria with pianoforte arrangement. 6th. Pianoforte arrangement and score of a Symphony in F. 7th. Pianoforte arrangement and score of a Symphony in A major. 8th. Grand Trio for pianoforte, violin and basso in score. 9th. Grand Sonata for pianoforte and violin in score. 10th. Score of a Grand Overture in E-flat major.
11th. Score of a Grand Overture in C major 12th. Score of a Grand Overture in G major.
'German: Stein = English: stone.