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pianoforte and began playing it. Beethoven had not expected this and was surprised to note that Madame Bigot did not hesitate at all because of the many erasures and alterations which he had made. It was the original manuscript which he was carrying to his publisher for printing. When Mme. Bigot had finished playing she begged him to give it to her; he consented, and faithfully brought it to her after it had been printed. Czerny says, very justly, of the unauthorized change afterwards made in the title: "In a new edition of the Sonata in F minor, Op. 57, which Beethoven himself considered his greatest, the title 'Appassionata,' for which it is too great, was added to it. This title would be more fitly applied to the E-flat Sonata, Op. 7, which he composed in a very impassioned mood."
The Pf. Concerto in G, Op. 58, is dated by Schindler 1804, "according to information given by F. Ries"; the new edition of Breitkopf and Hartel's thematic catalogue says (p. 197): "The Concerto was finished in the year 1805," without mentioning its authority. If it had nothing better than Ries's anecdote to offer in proof, the opinion may still be entertained confidently, that this work remained still unfinished until the approach of the concert season, towards the end of the year 1806.1 The Quartets, Op. 59, certainly belong to this year. "Quartetto lmo. . . . Begun on May 26, 1806," are Beethoven's own words; and the opus number, the reports of their production during the next winter, and, especially, the date of their publication, making allowance for Rasoumowsky's right to them for a year, all point to November or December as the latest possible date for their completion. The idea of employing popular airs as themes was by no means new to Beethoven. Without referring to the example set by Haydn, Pleyel, Kozeluch, it had been proposed to him by Thomson; and as to Russian melodies, he must have read the "Allg. Musik-Zeitung" very carelessly not to have had his curiosity aroused by the articles on Russian music published in that journal in 1802—a curiosity which, in the constant intercourse between Vienna, Moscow and St. Petersburg, there would be no difficulty in gratifying. Czerny writes, however, "He had pledged himself to weave a Russian melody into every quartet." But Lenz, himself a Russian and a musician, says: "The Russian themes are confined to the Finale of No. 1 and the third movement of the second Quartet." This is a case in which Czerny's authority can scarcely be gainsaid; otherwise, it might be supposed that the composer of his own motion introduced these two
'But on March 27, 1806, Beethoven offered the Concerto to Hoffmeister and KUhnel together with "Christus am Olberg" for 600 florins. The work, if not completed, must have been well under way early in the year.
The Rasoumowsky Quartets 75
themes in compliment to Rasoumowsky. "The Adagio, E major, in the second Rasoumowsky Quartet, occurred to him when contemplating the starry sky and thinking of the music of the spheres," writes Czerny in Jahn's notes.
Perhaps no work of Beethoven's met a more discouraging reception from musicians, than these now famous Quartets. One friendly contemporary voice alone is heard—that of the "Allg. Mus. Zeit." Czerny told Jahn, that "when Schuppanzigh first played the Rasoumowsky Quartet in F, they laughed and were convinced that Beethoven was playing a joke and that it was not the quartet which had been promised." And when Gyrowetz bought these Quartets he said: "Pity to waste the money!" The Allegretto vivace of the first of these quartets was long a rock of offence. "When at the beginning of the year 1812," says Lenz, "the movement was to be played for the first time in the musical circle of Field Marshal Count Soltikoff in Moscow, Bernhard Romberg trampled under foot as a contemptible mystification the bass part which he was to play. The Quartet was laid aside. When, a few years later, it was played at the house of Privy Councillor Lwoff, father of the famous violinist, in St. Petersburg, the company broke out in laughter when the bass played his solo on one note.—The Quartet was again laid aside."
Thomas Appleby, father of Samuel Appleby, collector of valuable papers referring to the violinist Bridgetower, was a leader in the musical world of Manchester, England, and a principal director of concerts there. When these quartets came out in London, Clementi sent a copy of them to him. They were opened and thrown upon the pianoforte. Next day Felix Radicati and his wife, Mme. Bertinotti, called and presented letters, they being upon a concert tour. During the conversation the Italian went to the pianoforte, took up the quartets and seeing what they were, exclaimed (in substance): "Have you got these here! Ha! Beethoven, as the world says, and as I believe, is music-mad;—for these are not music. He submitted them to me in manuscript and, at his request, I fingered them for him. I said to him, that he surely did not consider these works to be music?—to which he replied, 'Oh, they are not for you, but for a later age!'"
Young Appleby believed in them, in spite of Radicati, and after he had studied his part thoroughly, his father invited players of the other instruments to his house and the first in F was tried. The first movement was declared by all except Appleby to be "crazy music." At the end of the violoncello solo on one note, they all burst out laughing; the next four bars all agreed were beautiful. Ludlow, an organist, who played the bass, found so much to admire and so much to condemn in the half of this second movement, which they succeeded in playing, as to call it "patchwork by a madman." They gave up the attempt to play it, and not until 1813, in London, did the young man succeed in hearing the three Quartets entire, and finding them, as he had believed, worthy of their author. The Symphony in B-flat, Op. 60, was the great work of this summer season. Sketches prove that its successor, the fifth in C minor, had been commenced, and was laid aside to give place to this. Nothing more is known of the history of its composition except what is imparted by the author's inscription on the manuscript: "Sinfonia 4ta, 1806. L. v. Bthvn."
In singular contrast to these grand works and contemporary with their completion, as if written for amusement and recreation after the fatigue of severer studies, are the thirty-two Variations for Pianoforte in C minor. They belong to this Autumn, and are among the compositions which their author would gladly have seen pass into oblivion. Jahn's notes contain an anecdote in point. "Beethoven once found Streicher's daughter practising these Variations. After he had listened for a while he asked her: "By whom is that?" "By you." "Such nonsense by me? O Beethoven, what an ass you were!"
Although the composer did not succeed in bringing his newSymphony and Concerto to public performance this year, an opportunity offered itself for him to give the general public as fine a taste of his quality as composer for the violin, as he had just given to the frequenters of Rasoumowsky's quartet parties in the Op. 59, namely, Op. 61, the work superscribed by its author: Concerto par Clemenza pour Clement, primo Violino e Direttore al Theatro a Vienne, dal L. v. Bthvn., 1806;—or, as it stands on Franz Clement's concert programme of December 23 in the Theateran-der-Wien: "2. A new Violin Concerto by Hrn. Ludwig van Beethoven, played by Hrn. Clement." It was preceded by an overture by Mehul, and followed by selections from Mozart, Cherubini and Handel, closing with a fantasia by the concertgiver. When Dr. Bertolini told Jahn that "Beethoven as a rule never finished commissioned works until the last minute," he named this Concerto as an instance in point; and another contemporary notes that Clement played the solo a vista, without previous rehearsal. The list of publications this year is short:
LITM Sonata pour le Pianoforte, F major, advertised April 9 in the "Wiener Zeitung" by the Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir. The Year's Publications 77
There is no tradition that Beethoven ever explained why he called this his fifty-first, or the F minor his fifty-fourth Sonata. The best that Czerny could suggest is that "perhaps he sketched that number in manuscript and then destroyed them or used them in another form." Others have made lists of all the works in sonataform, including the symphonies; but none has been so probably right as to produce conviction. Grand Trio pour deux Hautbois et un Cor Anglais, C major, advertised by Artaria and Co., April 12, without opus number. At a later date it was called Op. 87. The same work for two violins and viola, and as a sonata for pianoforte and violin, was advertised at the same time. "Andante" (Favori) in F major, for Pianoforte. This was originally the second movement of the Sonata, Op. 53—according to the anecdote before given from Ries's "Notizen."
"Sinfonia eroica," Op. 55, dedicated to Prince Lobkowitz, advertised by the Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir on October 29. Besides these works, Johann Traeg advertised on June 18 "6 Grands Trios pour le Pianoforte, violon oblige et violoncello ad lib.," Op. 60, Nos. 1 and 2. These are arrangements of the Quartets, Op. 18. Also "3 Grands Trios pour le Pianoforte, Violon et Violoncello," Op. 61, No. 1; arrangements of the Trios, Op. 9. Before February, 1807, the other numbers of the two works had been completed and had left the press. The opus numbers were not recognized by Beethoven, for, as is seen above, 60 and 61 belong to original works of a very different order. Chapter V
Beethoven's Friends and Patrons in the First Lustrum of the Nineteenth Century—An Imperial Pupil, Archduke Rudolph—Count Rasoumowsky—Countess Erdody— Baroness Ertmann—Marie Bigot—Therese Malfatti— Nanette Streicher—Zizius—Anecdotes.
HE who dwells with wife and children in a fixed abode, usually finds himself, as age draws on, one of a small circle of old friends; and hoary heads, surrounded by their descendants, the inheritors of parental friendships, sit at the same tables and make merry where they had gathered in the prime of life. The unmarried man, who can call no spot on earth's surface his own, who spends his life in hired lodgings, here to-day and there tomorrow, has, as a rule, few friendships of long standing. By divergency in tastes, opinions, habits, increasing with the years, often by the mere interruption of social intercourse, or by a thousand equally insignificant causes, the old ties are sundered. In the memoranda and correspondence of such a man familiar names disappear, even when not removed by death, and strange ones take their places. The mere passing acquaintance of one period becomes the chosen friend of another; while the former friend sinks into the mere acquaintance, or is forgotten. Frequently no cause for the change can be assigned. One can only say—it happened so. Thus it was with Beethoven, even to a remarkable degree; in part because of his increasing infirmity, in part owing to peculiarities of his character. It was his misfortune, also, that— having no pecuniary resource but the exercise of his talents for musical composition, and being at the same time too proud and too loyal to his ideas of art to write for popular applause—he was all his life long thrown more or less upon the generosity of patrons. But death, misfortune or other causes deprived him of old patrons, as of old friends, and compelled him to seek, or at least accept, the kindness of new ones. A part of this chapter must be devoted to