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there, became one of the most devoted as well as most highly accomplished players of Beethoven's compositions—Marie Bigot. From 1809 to her death in 1820 she lived in Paris, where her superiority, first as dilettante, then as professional player and teacher, made her the subject of one of the most pleasing sketches in Fetis's "Biographie Universelle des Musiciens." From this we learn that she was born of a family named Kiene on March 3, 1786, at Colmar in Alsatia and married M. Bigot, who took her to Vienna in 1804. In the Austrian capital she became acquainted with Haydn, and formed a friendship also with Beethoven and Salieri. Such associations naturally fired her ardently musical nature, and at 20 years of age she had already developed great skill and originality. The first time that she played in the presence of Haydn, the old gentleman was so moved that he clasped her in his arms and cried: "O, my dear child, I did not write this music—it is you who have composed it!" And upon the printed sheet from which she had played he wrote: "On February 20, 1805, Joseph Haydn was happy." The melancholy genius of Beethoven found an interpreter in Madame Bigot, whose enthusiasm and depth of feeling added new beauties to those which he had conceived. One day she played a sonata which he had just composed, in such a manner as to draw from him the remark: "That is not exactly the character which I wanted to give this piece; but go right on. If it is not wholly mine it is something better." (Si ce n'est pas tout & fait moi, c'est mieux que moi.) Bigot, according to Reichardt, was "an honest, cultivated Berliner, Librarian of Count Rasoumowsky." As this was precisely in those years when Beethoven was most patronized by that nobleman, the composer and the lady were thus brought often together and very warm, friendly relations resulted. Jahn possessed for many years the copy of a very characteristic letter of Beethoven to the Bigots, which leads one to suspect that his attentions to the young wife had at one time the appearance of being a little too pointed. The letter is undated; but as the precise date happens to be of no importance, and was of course before 1809, it may be inserted here in order to explode at the outset the nonsense which has been published concerning a fancied inordinate passion of the master for the young lady. Perhaps for this very reason Jahn finally sent it to the "Grenzboten" (II, 1867): Dear Marie, dear Bigot! It is only with the deepest regret that I am compelled to recognize that the purest and most harmless feelings can often be misunderstood— as affectionately as you have met me I have never thought of interpretBeethoven And Madame Bigot 85
ing it otherwise than that you were giving me your friendship. You must deem me very vain and contemptible if you assume that the advances of such excellent persons as yourselves could make me believe that I had at once won your love—moreover, it is one of my first principles never to stand in other than friendly relations with the wife of another man, I do not wish by such relations to fill my soul with distrust against her who may some day share my fate with me—and thus ruin for myself the loveliest and purest life. It is possible that I have jested with Bigot a few times in a way that was not too refined, I told you myself that I am occasionally ill behaved. I am natural in my intercourse with all my friends and hate all restraint. I count Bigot amongst them, if something that I do displeases him, friendship demands that he tell me so—and I will certainly have a care never to offend again— but how can good Marie put so bad a construction on my actions. . . . With regard to my invitation to go driving with you and Caroline it was but natural that I should believe, Bigot having opposed your going with me alone, that both of you deemed it unbecoming or objectionable—and when I wrote I had no other purpose than to make you understand that I saw no harm in it, and when I declared that it was a matter of great importance to me that you should not refuse it was only to persuade you to enjoy the gloriously beautiful day, I had your and Caroline's pleasure in mind more than my own and I thought to compel you to accede to my wishes when I said that mistrust on your part or a refusal would really offend me—you ought really to ponder how you will make amends for having spoilt for me a day that was so bright because of my cheerful mood and the cheerful weather—if I said that you misunderstood me, your present judgment of me shows that I may have been right, not to think about that which you thought about in connection with the matter—when I said that something evil might come of it if I came to you, that was more than anything else a joke which had only the one purpose of showing how everything about you attracts me, that I have no greater wish than always to live with you, is also the truth— even in case there was a hidden meaning in it even the most sacred friendship can yet have secrets, but to misinterpret the secret of a friend —because one cannot at once guess it, that you ought not to do—dear Bigot, dear Marie, never, never will you find me ignoble, from childhood I learned to love virtue—and all that is beautiful and good—you have hurt me to the heart. It shall only serve to make our friendship the firmer. I am really not at all well to-day and I shall scarcely be able to see you, yesterday after the quartets my feelings and imagination continually called up before me the fact that I had made you suffer, I went to the Ridotto (ball) last night to seek distraction, but in vain, everywhere I was haunted by the vision of all of you, ceaselessly it said to me they are so good and probably are suffering because of you. Dejected in spirits I hurried away.1 Write me a few lines. Your true Friend Beethoven embraces you all.
'In June, 1906, Dr. Kalischer published two short notes written by Beethoven to Bigot. They are without date. The first explains Beethoven's departure from Bigot's house on the occasion of a visit as due to a sudden attack of fever; the second.
Gleichenstein introduced Beethoven to a family named Malfatti. The culture, refinement, musical taste and high character of the parents, and the uncommon grace and beauty of their two charming children, young girls now of twelve to fourteen years, rendered the house very attractive to the composer. There was less than a year's difference in the ages of the children; Therese was born January 1st and Anna December 7th of the same year; whether 1792 or 1793, our friendly authority was not certain. Anna became, in due time (1811), the wife of Gleichenstein; and Therese was at one time the object of one of Beethoven's short-lived, unrequited passions. Her niece writes: "That Beethoven loved my aunt, and wished to marry her, and also that her parents would never have given their consent, is true."1 There is nothing to determine conclusively when the master's fondness assumed this intenser form; but there are good reasons (which may perhaps appear hereafter) for believing, that it was at least five years later than our present date. His attentions to the young lady, at all events, attracted no notice outside the family circle, nor did her rejection of them prevent the continuance of warm, friendly relations between the parties, up to and after her marriage in 1817. Dr. Sonnleithner establishes both these facts: Frau Therese Baroness von Drosdick, nte Malfatti (died in Vienna, 60 years old, on April 27,1851), was the wife of Court Councillor Wilhelm Baron von Drosdick. She was a beautiful, lively and intellectual woman, a very good pianoforte player and, besides, the cousin of the famous physician and friend of Beethoven's, Dr. von Malfatti. Herein lies the explanation of an unusually kind relationship with Beethoven which resulted in a less severe regard for conventional forms. Nothing is known of a particular intimacy between her and Beethoven. A relative of the Baroness, who knew her intimately, knows also that she and Beethoven formed a lasting friendship, but as to any warmer feeling on either side he knew nothing, nor anything to the contrary; but he says: "When conversation turned on Beethoven, she spoke of him reverentially, but with a certain reserve."
Through these Malfattis, Beethoven became also known personally to the physician of the same name and "they were great accompanying some music, reads as follows: "I intended to visit you last night, but recalled in time that you are not at home on Saturdays—and I discover that I must virii you very often or not at all—I do not yet know which shall be my choice, but I almost believe the latter—because by so doing I shall evade all compulsion of having to come to you."
'Here Dr. Riemann has introduced into the text: "The serious interest which Beethoven felt for Therese could be questioned or ignored by the biographers so long as certain letters of Gleichenstein were accepted as belonging to the year 1807, which we must certainly now assign to the spring of 1810, a time when Therese had passed her 18th year and may have been 20 since (if the record of her age at her death is correct) she may have been born in 1791, so that, in view moreover of the Italian origin of her family, it was scarcely apposite to speak of her as 'half a child' in 1810."
Malfatti, Bertolini And Mme. Streicher 87
friends for a long time. Towards each other they were like two hard millstones, and they separated. Malfatti used to say of Beethoven: 'He is a disorderly (konfuser) fellow—but all the same he may be the greatest genius.'" The assistant of Malfatti, Dr. Bertolini, was long the confidential physician of Beethoven; and through him he became personally known to the present head of the great firm of "Miller & Co.," wholesale merchants in Vienna, who for many years was fond of describing his interviews, in youth, with the "great Beethoven." Though nothing specially worthy of record took place, Mr. Miller's recollections are interesting as additional testimony to the activity of the master's mind and his enjoyment of jocose, witty and improving conversation. Through a caprice of Beethoven, his cordial relations to Dr. Bertolini came to an abrupt end about 1815; but the doctor, though pained and mortified, retained his respect and veneration for his former friend to the last. In 1831, he gave a singular proof of his delicate regard for Beethoven's reputation; supposing himself to be at the point of death from cholera, and being too feeble to examine his large collection of the composer's letters and notes to him, he ordered them all to be burned, because a few were not of a nature to be risked in careless hands. The reader will not have forgotten Marie Anna Stein of Augsburg—pianoforte-maker Stein's "M&dl," as Mozart called her. After the death of her father (February 29, 1792), she, being then just 23 years of age, assisted by her brother, Matthaus Andreas, a youth of sixteen years, took charge of and continued his business. The great reputation of the Stein instruments led to the removal of the Steins to Vienna. An imperial patent, issued January 17, 1794, empowered Nanette and Andreas Stein to establish their business "in the Landstrasse 301, zur Rothen Rose," and in the following July they arrived, accompanied by Johann Andreas Streicher, an "admirable pianist and teacher" of Munich, to whom Nanette was engaged. The business flourished nobly under the firm-name "Geschwister Stein" until 1802, "when they separated and each carried on an independent business." It is known that Beethoven, immediately upon the arrival of the Steins, renewed his intercourse with them, of which, however, there is but a single record worth quoting, until a period several years later than that before us. Reichardt writes in his letter of February 7, 1809: Streicher has abandoned the soft, yielding, repercussive tone of the other Vienna instruments, and at Beethoven's wish and advice given his instruments greater resonance and elasticity, so that the virtuoso who plays with strength and significance may have the instrument in better command for sustained and expressive tones. He has thereby given his instruments a larger and more varied character, so that they must give greater satisfaction than the others to all virtuosi who seek something more than mere easy brilliancy in their style of playing. This shows us Beethoven in a new character—that of an improver of the pianoforte. The "young Stein" mentioned by Ries, was Nanette's brother Carl Friedrich, who followed his sister to Vienna in 1804. One of Beethoven's characteristic notes to Zmeskall, not dated, but belonging in these years, adds another name to the long list which proves that, however unpopular the composer may have been with his brother musicians, he possessed qualities and tastes that endeared him to the best class of rising young men in the learned professions: The Jahn brothers are as little attractive to me as to you. But they have so pestered me, and finally referred me to you as one of their visitors, that at the last I consented. Come then in God's name, it may be I will call for you at Zizius's, if not, come there direct, so that I may not be left there without the company of human beings. We will let our commissions wait until you are better able to look after them. If you cannot, come to the Swan to-day where I shall surely go. Dr. Johann Zizius, of Bohemia (born January 7,1772), appears at the early age of 28, in the Staats-Schematismus for 1800, as professor of political science to the R. I. Staff of Guards; three years later he has the same professorship in the Theresianum, which he retained to his death in 1824, filling also in his later years the chair of constitutional law in the University. Dr. Sonnleithner made his acquaintance about 1820. In his very valuable and interesting "Musikalische Skizzen aus Alt-Wien" ("Recensionen," 1863), he describes Zizius in a way which shows him to have been a man after Beethoven's own heart until his increasing infirmity excluded him in great measure from mixed society. The attraction of Beethoven's personal character for young persons of more than ordinary genius and culture has been already noted. Another illustration of this was Julius Franz Borgias Schneller, born (1777) at Strasburg, educated at Freiberg in the Breisgau, and just now (1805) professor of history in the Lyceum at Linz on the Danube. Driven into exile because of his active resistance to the French, he had made his way to Vienna, where his fine qualities of head and heart made him a welcome guest in literary circles and gained him the affection of the young writers of the capital. In 1803, he received his appointment at Linz,