Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/203

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BEETHOVEN.
191
 

Beethoven felt the neglect keenly. The work was produced at Drury Lane a year afterwards—Feb. 10, 1815, and had a great run, but this was through the exertions of Sir George Smart, who himself procured the copy from Vienna.

Early in January 1814 a third concert was given in the great Redoutensaal with the same programme and nearly the same performers as before, except that some numbers from the 'Ruins of Athens' were substituted for Maelzel's march; and on the 27th Feb. a fourth, with similar programme and with the important addition of the Symphony in F—placed last but one in the list. The huge programme speaks of Beethoven himself as clearly as the two first did of the more practical Maelzel. The 7th Symphony was throughout a success, its Allegretto being repeated three times out of the four. But the 8th Symphony did not please, a fact which greatly discomposed Beethoven. On April 11 Beethoven played the B♭ Trio at Schuppanzigh's benefit concert, and in the evening a Chorus of his to the words 'Germania, Germania,' was sung as the finale to an operetta of Treitschke's, à propos to the fall of Paris (March 31). Moscheles was present at the concert, and gives[1] an interesting account of the style of Beethoven's playing. Spohr heard[2] the same trio, but under less favourable circumstances. A month later Beethoven again played the B♭ trio—his last public appearance in chamber music. The spring of 1814 was remarkable for the revival of 'Fidelio.' Treitschke had been employed to revise the libretto, and in March we find Beethoven writing to him—'I have read your revision of the opera with great satisfaction. It has decided me once more to rebuild the desolate ruins of an ancient fortress.' This decision involved the entire re-writing and re-arrangement of considerable portions; others were lightly altered, and some pieces were reintroduced from the first score of all. The first performance took place at the Kärnthnerthor Theatre on May 23. On the 26th the new Overture in E was first played, and other alterations were subsequently introduced. On July 18 the opera was played for Beethoven's benefit. A Pianoforte score, made by Moscheles under Beethoven's own direction,[3] carefully revised by him, and dedicated to the Archduke, was published by Artaria in August. One friendly face must have been missed on all these occasions—that of the Prince Lichnowsky, who died on April 15.

During the winter of 1814-15 an unfortunate misunderstanding arose between Beethoven and Maelzel. The Battle Symphony was originally written at the latter's suggestion for a mechanical instrument of his called the Panharmonicon, and was afterwards orchestrated by its author for the concert, with the view to a projected tour of Maelzel in England.[4] Beethoven was at the time greatly in want of funds, and Maelzel advanced him £25, which he professed to regard as a mere loan, while the other alleged it was for the purchase of the work. Maelzel had also engaged to make ear-trumpets for Beethoven, which were delayed, and in the end proved failures. The misunderstanding was aggravated by various statements of Maelzel, and by the interference of outsiders, and finally by Maelzel's departure through Germany to England, with an imperfect copy of the Battle Symphony clandestinely obtained. Such a complication was quite sufficient to worry and harass a sensitive, obstinate, and unbusinesslike man like Beethoven. He entered an action against Maelzel, and his deposition on the subject, and the letter[5] which he afterwards addressed to the artists of England, show how serious was his view of the harm done him, and the motives of the doer. Maelzel's case, on the other hand, is stated with evident animus by Beethoven's adherents,[6] and it should not be overlooked that he and Beethoven appear to have continued friends after the immediate quarrel blew over. If to the opera and the Maelzel scandal we add the Kinsky lawsuit now in progress, and which Beethoven watched intently and wrote much about, we shall hardly wonder that he was not able to get out of town till long past his usual time. When at length he writes from Baden it is to announce the completion of the Sonata in E minor, which he dedicates to Count Moritz Lichnowsky. The letter[7] gives a charming statement of his ideas of the relation of a musician to his patron.

The triumphant success of the Symphony in A, and of the Battle-piece, and the equally successful revival of Fidelio, render 1814 the culminating period of Beethoven's life. His activity during the autumn and winter was very great; no bad health or worries or anything else external could hinder the astonishing flow of his inward energy. The Sonata is dated 'Vienna, 16th August,' and was therefore probably completed—as far as any music of his was ever completed till it was actually printed—before he left town. On Aug. 33 he commemorated the death of the wife of his kind friend Pasqualati in an 'Elegischer Gesang' (op. 118). On Oct. 4 he completed the Overture in C ('Namensfeier,' op. 115), a work on which he had been employed more or less for two years, and which has a double interest from the fact that its themes seem to have been originally intended[8] to form part of that composition of Schiller's 'Hymn to Joy' which he first contemplated when a boy at Bonn, and which keeps coming to the surface in different forms, until finally embodied in the 9th Symphony in 1823. Earlier in the year he had made some progress with a sixth Piano Concerto—in D—of which not only are extensive sketches in existence, but sixty pages in complete score. It was composed at the same time with the Cello Sonatas (op. 102); and finally gave way to them.[9] But there was a less congenial work to do—Vienna had

  1. Moscheles, Leben, i. 15.
  2. Spohr, Selbstbiog. i, 208. He says it was a new Trio in D, but the Trio in D had been out for five years.
  3. See Moscheles, Leben, i. 17, 18
  4. A. M. Z. 1814, p. 71.
  5. Briefe Nos. 113, 114.
  6. The whole evidence will be given by Mr. Thayer in his forthcoming volume. He assures me that Maelzel has been much sinned against.
  7. Sept. 21, 1814
  8. Nottebohm, Beethoveniana, XIV.
  9. See Nottebohm, N. B. X; and Oriental Palace Programme, Nov. 4, 1875.