Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/189

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BEETHOVEN.
177
 

29, 95; Songs, 'Adelaide, 'and 'Opferlied,'[1] both to Matthison's words, and 'Seufzer eines Ungeliebten,'[2] all probably composed in 95; Canon 'Im Arm[3] der Liebe,' an exercise with Albrechtsberger ; 12 Minuets and 12 'Deutsche Tänze' for Orchestra,[4] composed Nov. 95.

On March 29, 95, Beethoven made his first appearance before the outside public at the annual concert in the Burg Theatre, for the widows' fund of the Artists' Society. He played his Concerto in C major.[5] The piece had probably been suggested by Salieri, and with it Beethoven began a practice which he more than once followed when the work was bespoken—of only just finishing the composition in time; the Rondo was written on the afternoon of the last day but one, during a fit of colic. At the rehearsal, the piano being half a note too flat, Beethoven played in C#.[6] Two days after he appeared again at the same theatre at a performance for the benefit of Mozart's widow, playing a Concerto of Mozart's between the acts of the 'Clemenza di Tito.'[7]. Later in the year he assisted another benevolent object by writing 12 minuets and 12 waltzes for orchestra for the ball of the 'Gesellschaft der bildenden Künstler' on the a 2nd Nov. He was evidently a favourite with the Artists, who advertise 'the master-hand of Herr Ludwig van Beethoven,' while they mention Süssmayer who also contributed music without an extra word. These dances, after publication, remained in favour for two more seasons, which is mentioned as a great exception to rule. On Dec. 18 he again appeared in public at a concert of Haydn's in the 'little Redoutensaal,' playing a Concerto of his own—but whether the same as before is not stated. The dedication of the Sonatas and his co-operation at Haydn's concert allow us to hope that the ill-feeling already alluded to had vanished. So closed the year 1795. Bonn was at this time in the hands of the Republican army, and Beethoven's brother the Apotheker was serving as a 'pharmacien de 3ème classe.'

1796 was a year of wandering. Haydn and he appeared together at a second concert on January 10.[8] In the interval Beethoven went perhaps to Prague, certainly to Nuremberg. On Feb. 19 he was in Prague again, where he composed the Scena[9] 'Ah! perfido' for Madame Duschek, the friend of Mozart. From thence he travelled to Berlin, played at court, amongst other things the two cello sonatas op. 5, probably composed for the occasion, and received from the King a box of louis d'or, which he was proud of showing as 'no ordinary box, but one of the kind usually presented to ambassadors.' At Berlin his time was passed pleasantly enough with Himmel the composer and Prince Louis Ferdinand. He went two or three times to the Singakademie,[10] heard the choir sing Fasch's psalms, and extemporised to them on themes from those now forgotten compositions. In July the Court left Berlin, and Beethoven probably departed also; but we lose sight of him till Nov. 15, the date of a 'farewell-song'[11] addressed to the volunteers on their leaving Vienna to take part in the universal military movement provoked by Napoleon's campaigns in Italy. The war was driving all Germans home, and amongst others Beethoven's old colleagues the two Rombergs passed through Vienna from Italy, and he played for them at a concert.

The publications of 1796 consist of the 3 Piano Sonatas, op. 2 (March 9); 12 Variations on a minuet à la Vigano[12] (Feb.), and 6 on 'Nel cor piu sento'[13] (Mar. 23); 6 Minuets (also in March) for Piano, originally written for orchestra—perhaps the result of his success with the 'bildender Künstler.'[14] Of the compositions of the year, besides those already named, may be mentioned as probable the Piano Sonata in G,[15] the second of the 2 small ones (op. 49); and another of the same rank in C[16] for Eleanore von Breuning; we may also ascribe to the latter part of this year the Duet Sonata (op. 6); 12 Variations on a Russian dance;[17] the String Quintet (op. 4), arranged from an Octet for wind instruments, very probably of his præ-Vienna time. The Russian Variations were written for the Countess Browne, wife of an officer in the Russian service, and were acknowledged by the gift of the horse which we have already mentioned as affording an instance of Beethoven's absence of mind. But the winter months must have been occupied by a more serious work than variations—the Quintet for piano and wind (op. 16),[18] which Beethoven produced at a concert of Schuppanzigh's on April 6, 1797, and which is almost like a challenge to Mozart on his own ground, and the not less important and far more original Pianoforte Sonata in E♭ (op. 7). This great work, 'quite novel, and wholly peculiar to its author, the origin of which can be traced to no previous creation, and which proclaimed his originality so that it could never afterwards be disputed,' was published on Oct. 7, '97 but must have been often played before that date. The sketches for the 3 Sonatas, op. 10, are placed by Nottebohm in this period, with the Variations on the 'Une fìevre brûlante.' The three String Trios, op. 9, also probably occupied him during some part of the year. The Serenade Trio, op. 8, though published in 1797, more probably belongs with op. 3 to the Bonn date. The Variations on 'See the conquering hero' for Pianoforte and Cello, dedicated to the Princess Lichnowsky,[19] were published during this year, and were probably written at the time.

Vienna was full of patriotism in the spring of 1797. Haydn's 'Emperor's Hymn' had been sung in the theatre for the first time on Feb. 12,[20] and Beethoven wrote a second military Lied, 'Ein

  1. B. & H. 253.
  2. Ibid. 258.
  3. Ibid. 256.
  4. Ibid. 16, 17.
  5. Thayer, i. 294
  6. Wegeler, p. 36.
  7. Wismarck. Chronik de Hofburgtheater, p. 98.
  8. Hanslick, Concertwissen in Wien, p. 105.
  9. 'Une grande Scene mise en musique, par L. v. Beethoven, à Prague, 1798,' is Beethoven's own title (Nottebohm, Beethoveniana, p. 1, note).
  10. Fasch's Journal, Thayer ii. 13. Strange that Zelter (Corr. wih Goethe) should not refer to this visit. Mme von Voss's Journal, too, is blank during these very months.
  11. B. & H. 290.
  12. Ibid. 169.
  13. Ibid. 168.
  14. Ibid. 194.
  15. Nottebohm, Catalogue, p. 216.
  16. B. & H. 109.
  17. Ibid. 170.
  18. An unusual combination, which may explain why so fine a work remained in MS. till 1801.
  19. B. & H. 110.
  20. Schmid, Joseph Haydn und N. Zingarelli, etc. (Vienna, 1847), p. 8.