Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Wretched Domestic Conditions 349

Zmeskall, whose patience and forbearance were inexhaustible, had again provided his friend with servants—a man and his wife— and something was done towards making the lodging in the Sailerstatte ready to receive the nephew at the end of the quarter. But this was not yet to be. The circumstances explain the following little letter to Zmeskall of date November 3, 1816: Dear Z. Your non-recommendation of the servants engaged by me I can also not recommend—I beg of you at once to hand over to me through Hr. Schlemmer the papers, testimonials, etc., which you have from them. I have reason to suspect them of a theft. I have been continually ill since the 14th of last month and must keep to my bed and room. All projects concerning my nephew have foundered because of these miserable persons. Further information is provided by the following letter to Giannatasio: Valued Friend: My household greatly resembles a shipwreck, or threatens to, in brief I have been so swindled in reference to these people by one who affects to be a connoisseur, moreover my recovery seems to be in no hurry. To engage a steward whose exterior and interior is unknown under such circumstances, and to leave the education of my Karl to chance, I can never do, great as are the sacrifices which in many respects I shall again be called upon to make, I therefore beg you to keep my Karl again for this quarter, I shall accept your suggestion regarding his cultivation of music to this extent that Karl shall leave you 2 or even 3 times a week evenings at 6 o'clock and remain with me till the next morning when he shall return to you again by about 8 o'clock. Every day would be too taxing for K. and for me, since it would always have to be at the same hour, too wearisome and restricting. We shall discuss more in detail during this quarter what would be most practicable and considerate also for me, for, in view, unfortunately of the fact that my circumstances are continually getting worse I must also use this expression, if your residence in the garden had been better adapted to my health, everything would more easily have been arranged. As regards my indebtedness to you for the last quarter I must beg of you to bring the matter directly to my attention as the bearer of this has been blessed by God with a certain amount of stupidity which one might not begrudge him if others were not affected by it. Regarding the other expenditures for Karl during his illness or matters connected with it, I beg of you to have patience for a few days as I have large expenditures just now on all hands. I should also like to know how I am to conduct myself toward Smettana in view of his successfully accomplished operation. So far as his compensation is concerned if I were rich or not in the condition of all (except the Austrian usurers) whom fate has bound to this country, I would not ask at all. I only mean an approximate estimate. Farewell, I embrace you with all my heart, and will always look upon you as the friend of myself and my Karl. In November, Mr. Lonsdale wrote as follows in behalf of Mr. Birchall:

S

Sir: London, November 8, 1816.

In answer to yours of the 1st October, I am desired by Mr. Birchall to inform you, he is glad to find you are now satisfied respecting his promise of paying you £5 ... in addition to what you before received according to agreement; but he did not think you would have delayed sending the receipt signed after the receipt of the 130 ducats merely because you had not received the £5 . . ., which latter sum was not included in the receipt. Till it comes Mr. Birchall cannot, at any rate, enter into any fresh arrangement, as his first care will be to secure those pieces he has already paid you for, and see how they answer his purpose as a Music Seller and without the receipt he cannot prevent any other Music Seller from publishing them. In regard to the airs with variations, the price of £30, which is supposed you mean for each, is considerably more than he could afford to give, ever to have any hopes of seeing them repay him —if that should be your lowest price—Mr. Birchall will give up his idea of them altogether. The Symphony in A will be quite ready for publication in a week; Mr. Ries (who has kindly undertaken the inspection of your works) has it now looking over—but it will not come out till the day comes you may appoint. Mr. Birchall fears the Sonata in G and the Trio in B-flat have been published in Vienna before his—he will be obliged to you to inform him of the day, when you write, that they were published. I am sorry to say, that Mr. Birchall's health has been very bad for two or three years back, which prevents him from attending to business and as there are, I fear, but little hopes of his being much better, he is less anxious respecting making any additions to his catalogue than he otherwise would have been; he is much obliged to you for the offer of the Sonata and the Trio, but he begs to decline it for the reasons before mentioned. Hoping to hear soon respecting the paper sent for your signature, I am Sir, for Mr. Birchall, etc. C. Lonsdale. P. S. The Sonata in G is published and the Trio will be in a few days. Is Mr. Beethoven's opera of Fidelio published? Where and by whom? To this letter Beethoven sent an answer addressed to Mr. Birchall dated December 14, 1816, as follows: Vienna, December 14, 1816.—1055 Sailerstatte. Dear Sir: I give you my word of honor, that I have signed and delivered the receipt to the house, Fries and Co., some day last August, who, as they say, transmitted it to Messrs. Coutts and Co., where you'll have the goodness to apply. Some error might have taken place that instead of Messrs C. sending it to you, they have been directed to keep it till fetched. Excuse this irregularity, but it is not my fault, nor had I ever the idea of withholding it from the circumstance of the £5 not being included. Should the receipt not come forth at Messrs. C, I am ready to sign any other and you shall have it directly with return of post.

End Of The English Connection 351

If you find variations in my style too dear at £30, I will abate, for the sake of your friendship, one-third, and you have the offer of such variations as fixed in our former letters for £20 each air. Please to publish the Symphony in A immediately, as well as the Sonata and the Trio—they being ready here. The grand opera Fidelio is my work. The arrangement for the pianoforte has been published here under my care, but the score of the opera itself is not yet published. I have given a copy of the score to Mr. Neate under the seal of friendship and whom I shall direct to treat for my account in case an offer should present. I anxiously hope your health is improving. Give me leave to subscribe myself, Dear Sir, Your very obedient servant, [Postmark, Dec. 31, 1816.] Ludwig van Beethoven. This letter closed the correspondence; for upon the death of Mr. Birchall his successor, Lonsdale, did not deem the connection with the composer to be worth retaining. Letters to Zmeskall, Sir George Smart and Neate, in London, tell of incidents which make up the history of the latter part of the year 1816: (To Zmeskall—December 16.) Here dear Z. you will receive my friendly dedication1 which I hope will be a precious souvenirof our long-continued friendship and be accepted as a proof of my respect and not as the end of a long-spun thread (for you belong to my earliest friends in Vienna). Farewell—Abstain from the decayed fortresses, the attack exhausts more than those on the well preserved. As ever, Your friend, Beethoven. N. B. If you have a moment's time please tell me how much a livery will cost now (without cloak) with hat and boot money. The most extraordinary changes have taken place, the man, thank God, has gone to the devil, but on the other hand the wife seems disposed to attach herself all the more closely. (To Sir George Smart, dictated to Haring.) Vienna, December 16, 1816.—1055 Sailerstatte, 3d Floor. My dear Sir: You honor me with so many encomiums and compliments that I ought to blush, tho' I confess they are highly flattering to me and I thank you most heartily for the part you take in my affairs. They have rather gone a little back through the strange situation in which our lost—but happily recovered—friend Mr. Neate found himself entangled. Your kind letter of 31 October, explained a great deal and to some satisfaction and I take the liberty to enclose an answer to Mr. Neate, of whom I also received a letter, with my entreaties to assist him in all his undertakings in my behalf.

'To the Quartet in F minor. Op. 95. You say that the Cantata might serve your purpose for the Oratorios and I ask you if you find £50 too much to give for it? I have had no benefit for it whatever until now, but I still should not wish to ask of you a price by which you might be a loser. Therefore we shall name £40, and if your success should be great, then I hope you will have no objection of adding the £10, to make the sum as mentioned. The Copyright would be yours and I should only make the condition of my publishing it here at a period, which you will be pleased to appoint and not before. I have communicated to Mr. Haring your kind intentions (good wishes) and he joins with me in the expression of the highest regard, which he always entertained for you. Mr. Neate may keep the different works except the Cantata if you accept it and I hope he will have it in his power with your assistance to do something for me, which from my illness and from the state of the Austrian finances would be very welcome. Give me leave to subscribe myself with the greatest esteem and cordiality, Ludwig van Beethoven. (Mr. Haring, at Beethoven's dictation, to Mr. Neate.) Vienna, December 18, 1816. My dear Sir: Both letters to Mr. Beethoven and to me arrived. I shall first answer his, as he has made out some memorandums, and would have written himself, if he was not prevented by a rheumatic feverish cold. He says: What can I answer to your warmfelt excuses? Past ills must be forgotten, and I wish you heartily joy that you have safely reached the long-wished-for port of love. Not having heard of you, I could not delay any longer the publication of the Symphony in A, which appeared here some few weeks ago. It certainly may last some weeks longer before a copy of this publication appears in London, but unless it is soon performed at the Philharmonic, and something is done for me afterwards by way of benefit, I don't see in what manner I am to reap any good. The loss of your interest last season with the Philharmonic, when all my works in your hands were unpublished, has done me great harm; but it could not be helped, and at this moment I know not what to say. Your intentions are good, and it is to be hoped that my little fame may yet help. With respect to the two Sonatas, Op. 102, for pianoforte and violoncello, I wish to see them sold very soon, as I have several offers for them in Germany, which depend entirely upon me to accept; but I should not wish, by publishing them here, to lose all and every advantage with them in England. I am satisfied with the ten guineas offered for the dedication of the Trio, and I beg you to hand the title immediately to Mr. Birchall, who is anxiously waiting for it; you'll please to use my name with him. I should be flattered to write some new works for the Philharmonic— I mean Symphonies, an Oratorio, or Cantatas, etc. Mr. Birchall wrote as if he wished to purchase my "Fidelio." Please to treat with him, unless you have some plan with it for my benefit concert, which in general I leave to you and Sir George Smart, who will have the goodness to deliver this to you.

Dr. Kanka's Help Implored 353

The score of the opera "Fidelio" is not published in Germany or anywhere else. Try what can be done with Mr. Birchall, or as you think best. I was very sorry to hear that the three Overtures were not liked in London. I by no means reckon them among my best works, (which, however, I can boldly say of the Symphony in A), but still they were not disliked here and in Pesth, where people are not easily satisfied. Was there no fault in the execution? Was there no party spirit? And now I shall close, with the best wishes for your welfare, and that you enjoy all possible felicity in your new situation of life. Your true friend, Ludwig van Beethoven. Toward the end of the month Beethoven wrote a lengthy letter to Dr. Kanka: Vienna, December 28, 1816. My very dear and honored friend:

To-morrow's post-wagon will carry for you a Symphony by me in score, the reported Battle Symphony in score, Trio and a Violin Sonata and a few song pieces—I know that you feel in advance that I am grateful for all that you do for me as lately also for the quick remittance recently of my semi-yearly [dues]. But now again a request, rather an imposition, yes even a commission. The city of Retz, consisting of about 500 houses will appoint you as Curator of a certain Johann Hamatsch in Prague, for heaven's sake do not decline such a simple judicial matter for thereby my poor little nephew will finally receive a small fortune, of course the matter will first have to be passed on by our magistracy here, inasmuch as the mother will probably have some benefit of it, think of it how much time these things will take, my poor unfortunate brother died without seeing the end, for the courts have such care for His Majesty, that the predecessor of the present syndicus of the city of Retz wanted to pay my brother 5000 florins for 500 (x) such are the honorable men which our amiable Christian monarch has around him—the present syndicus is himself an honest and capable man (for, if he wanted to he might have been like the former), meanwhile the aforementioned Hamatsch in Prague (a tradesman) has not yet given notice of his acceptance (N. B.—for 4 or 5 years). The syndicus Bayer of Retz will therefore send you the Curatel decree together with a copy of the bill of exchange from the magistracy of Retz, I know much too well how small and trivial the case is for a man of brains like yourself, if you do not think it fitting, I beg of you to choose somebody for it and to promote the matter as much as you can—but it would in every respect be better if you would undertake it, perhaps a mere consultation with the man (in Prague) would bring the matter to a conclusion. xThe present syndicus needed only 30 days and as many nights to extricate the matter from its former confusion in which it had been left. My nephew, so dear to me, is in one of the best institutions in Vienna, displays great talent, but all this goes to my expense and the Retz affair might enable me to spend a few hundred florins more on the education of my dear nephew. I embrace you as one of my dearest friends.

« ForrigeFortsett »