Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/191

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BEETHOVEN.
179
 

converted it a few years after. The second is probably much later, and is specially interesting from the fact that Beethoven explained it[1] to be a dialogue between two lovers, he entreating and she resisting. The Sonatas are dedicated to the Baroness Braun.

The other publications of 1799 are variations: 10 on Salieri's 'La Stessa'; 7 on Winter's 'Kind, willst du'; and 8 on Süssmayer's 'Tandeln.'[2] A comparison of the dates of publication with those of the appearance of the operas from which the themes are taken, shows that two of these were written shortly before publication.

Beethoven was now about to attack music of larger dimensions than before. His six string Quartets, the Septet, the 1st Symphony, and the 'Mount of Olives,' are fast approaching, and must all have occupied him more or less during the last year of the century. In fact the sketches for the three first of the quartets (first in date of composition), Nos. 5, 1, 6, are positively assigned to this year, though there is evidence that the earliest of the three had been begun as far back as 94 or 95.[3] And though sketches of the Septet have not yet been made public, yet it is contrary to all Beethoven's habits in the case of so important a piece, and apparently quite spontaneously undertaken, that he should not have been at work at it for a long while before its production. The same with regard to the 1st Symphony. Both were produced on April 2, 1800. Traces of the Symphony, or of a previous one in the same key,[4] are found as early as the beginning of 95, and there is no doubt that two such experiments in a new field must have occupied much time and labour. Besides these he was working on a very important new Sonata in B♭ (op. 22).

The few recorded events of 1800 are all closely connected with music. On Wednesday, April 2, Beethoven gave the first concert which he had attempted in Vienna for his own benefit. It took place at the Burg Theatre, which was given him for the occasion, at 7 p.m., and the progamine was as follows:—I. Symphony, Mozart. 2. Air from the Creation. 3. A grand Pianoforte Concerto, 'played and composed' by Beethoven. 4. The Septet. 5. Duet from the Creation. 6. Improvisation by Beethoven on Haydn's Emperor s Hymn. 7. Symphony, No. 1. The Concerto was doubtless one of the two already known—the Septet had been previously performed at Prince Schwarzenberg's,[5] had pleased immensely, and Beethoven was evidently proud of it. 'It is my Creation,' said he—let us hope not in Haydn's presence. He had not forgotten Bonn, and the theme of the variations is said by Czerny[6] to be a Rhine Volkslied. The work was dedicated in advance to the Empress, and though not published for some time, became rapidly popular. So much for the compositions, but the performance appears from the report in the Leipsic paper[7] to have been shameful; the band disliked Wranitzky the conductor, and vented their dislike on the music. In addition to this it appears that the rehearsal, if it took place at all, was a very imperfect one. A reference in one of Beethoven's letters (April 22, 1801) shows that it was his custom not to write in the piano part into his Concertos, and therefore to play them from memory.

On the 18th of the same month Beethoven appeared again at the concert of Punto the horn-player, with a Sonata for Horn and Piano, composed for the occasion. This he had naturally not been able to touch while preparing for his own concert, and in fact it was written down on the day before the performance.[8] Here again there cannot have been much chance of rehearsal. But with two such players it was hardly needed; and so much did the Sonata delight the hearers, that in defiance of a rule forbidding applause in the Court Theatre the whole work was unanimously encored. On the 27th, the anniversary of the day on which he first entered Bonn, Beethoven's old master, the Elector, returned to the capital. In May Steibelt made his appearance in Vienna from Prague, where his charlatanerie and his real ability had gained him prodigious financial success. We have already alluded to his conflict with Beethoven. In Vienna he does not appear to have succeeded, and in August he was again in Paris.

The announcement of Beethoven's benefit concert names No. 241 'im tiefen Graben,' 3rd storey, as his residence. He had now left Prince Lichnowsky's, and he maintained this lodging for two years. In this year we hear for the first time of his going to the country for the autumn. He selected Unter-Döbling, a village two miles north of Vienna, and his lodging was part of the house occupied by the Grillparzer family. Madame Grillparzer long recollected his fury on discovering her listening to his playing outside the door, and the stern revenge he took.[9]

As regards publications 1800 is a blank, but composition went on with immense energy. If we throw back the Symphony and the Septet into 1797, we have still the Horn Sonata and the Piano Sonata in B♭ (op. 22)—a work of great moment—the Six Quartets, the String Quintet in C, the Piano Concerto in C minor. Of all these very important works we have Beethoven's own mention in a letter of Dec. 15, 1800, in addition to the evidence as to date afforded by the sketch-books.[10] And besides these we are bound to believe that the Ballet of Prometheus, performed March 28, 1801, occupied him at least during the hitter portion of the year. An incident of this summer was Beethoven's letter to Matthison (Aug. 4) sending him his 'Adelaide,' a letter interesting for its courteous and genial tone, for its request for another poem, and for its confession that his early works had already begun to dissatisfy him. After his return to town occurred Czerny's introduction to him. Czerny, then a lad of just upon 10, became Beethoven's pupil

  1. Schindler, on Beethoven's authority, Biographie (1840), p. 224, Moscheles' ed. ii. 124.
  2. B. & H. 172, 173, 174.
  3. Nottebohm, N. B. No. XVI.
  4. Ibid. No. XIX.
  5. Thayer, ii. 99.
  6. Thayer, ii. 99
  7. Ibid, ii. 98.
  8. Ries, p. 82.
  9. Thayer, ii. 104
  10. Ibid, ii. 118.