Now with the Manuscript Addition to the
Character Traits and Anecdotes
of the Most Legendary Piano Wrestling
in the History of Music
as close Work-Fellow and Conductor
during the Important Early Days .
So Composer of the Choral for the Requiem , too .
And in 1831
as the second earliest
more comprehensive communications
“ Biographische Notitzen ”
Ludwig van Beethoven
Offered here in their by themselves complete
deviating from the print
Containing i. a. also
his fascinating experience report
“ 1798 piano match with the virtuoso Wölffl ”
at the house of Baron Wetzlar
as grandiose example of Beethoven’s improvising virtuosity
And in continuation of the Notitzen
the Core Manuscript of the
“ Character Traits and Anecdotes ”
(Seyfried, Ignaz Ritter von, composer, conductor, and musical writer, 1776 Vienna 1841).
Biographische Notitzen + Character Traits and Anecdotes
on Ludwig van Beethoven
Autograph manuscripts. (1831.) 12 pp. on 3 double leaves + ½ leaf and 13 pp. on 9 (4 blue) single leaves resp. Dark brown kid portfolio with blind tooled facsimilated title Biographische Notitzen / über / Ludwig van Beethoven on the front cover (37 x 23.5 cm) & 13-line gilt stamped in German in the inside cover
“ The ‘Biographical Notes’ / of Ignaz von Seyfried / (1776 Vienna 1841) / as the second earliest comprehensive source / of the Beethoven literature / in the 1831 autograph manuscript / deviating from the 1832 print / regarding one of the / most moving moments in Beethoven’s life / Including i. a. also / his fascinating report of the event / of the / ‘1798. piano match with the virtuoso Wölffl’ ”
with the sheets of the Beethoven Biography Manuscript as original filling, into which the manuscript sheets of the Character Traits and Anecdotes in their different sizes, papers + colors have been exactly incorporated per own laid portfolio in such a manner that their nine themes lie upon seven gilt stamped numbered sheets with flaps to stick in. Gilt stamped then also the frontcover of the portfolio in German with
“ Ludwig van Beethoven / (Character Traits and Anecdotes / communicated / by / Ignaz von Seyfried / Autograph Manuscript) / 1831 ”.
Ludwig van Beethoven. Studien im Generalbasse … Aus dessen hs. Nachlasse gesammelt u. hrsg. von … Seyfried. (Nebst einem Anhange biographischer Notizen [“ Early contribution to the Beethoven literature ”, Wolffheim Catalogue II/1929, 423, in spaced type] etc.) Vienna, Haslinger, (1832, prescripted by 1214 subscribers!). Appendix pp. 3 ff.
Nohl, Beethoven nach den Schilderungen seiner Zeitgenossen, 1877, pp. 25, 38-43, 182 f.; Kerst, Die Erinnerungen an Beethoven, 1913, per 15 passages according to the index; Bettina von Seyfried, Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried, 1983/1990 (still not knowing the manusript here); Honegger-Massenkeil VII (1982, revised 1987), 346; Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart XII, 603 f.; Sadie, New Grave Dict. of Music and Musicians, 1980, XVII, 208 f.; ADB XXXIV, 113 ff., and, Beethoven, II, 251 ff.; Wurzbach XXXIV, 176 ff.; Prietznigg, Mitteilungen aus Wien – Zeitgemälde, 1835 (more comprehensive presentation of Seyfried together with catalogue of works); Bauer, Ignaz Ritter v. Seyfried. Kurze Lebensgeschichte. C. 1950 (typoscript in Institute for Musicology, Vienna, according to B. v. Seyfried, as Prietznigg, too); Rolland, L. v. Beethoven, 1918, + Beethoven the Creator, 1929.
The autograph manuscript of the Notitzen has been laid before the musicologist Bettina von Seyfried (see literature). She has no doubt on the authenticity, though the quality of the writing were not as careful as accustomed of other autographs by Seyfried. The opinion here is, that this may be an expression of his deep emotion corresponding with the content as comparatively known from Grillparzer who already worked on the funeral oration when the master’s death became certain to him. “At this moment it did a strong fall in my inside … and like it happened to me at other works if real emotion overcame me: I could not complete the oration in the same pithiness in which it was started” (Kerst, op. cit., vol. II, p. 249; from the view of today just this unpithy ending of greatest beauty). But surely conditionally on his health and economical difficulties, too, overshaddowing his last fifteen years.
The years 1827-1829 were marked by incurable stomach cancer in its initial state; Seyfried prepared himself for an early death. Additionally in 1831 the plague caused considerable financial losses as many of his pupils left the town. With the result important here “Thus I started to elaborate the beginning for Beethoven’s Studies,
namely the biographical notes …
just the way as the work was published during this year’s (1832) easter fair” (Seyfried in his autobiography, quoted from B. v. S., page 33, footnote 183, as also the notes on the circumstances have been taken from B. v. S., pp. 32 ff.). The text itself would suggest as earliest day of writing March 2nd, 1830, as the dying day of Prince Rasumowski’s chamber virtuoso Ignaz Schuppanzigh, with Franz Weiß already deceased February 25th ( “ ‘Thus had been!’ since unfortunately already the first two leaves of that wonderful leaf of trefoil have fallen off!” ).
The manuscripts rank as
second to the earliest biography on Beethoven ,
after that also only short one of 1827 by Johann Aloys Schlosser, active in Freiburg/Breisgau, since 1828 on his own as book/art seller + publisher in Augsburg, as a merely outsider and also-musicologist (L. v. B. Eine Biographie desselben … Hrsg. zur Erwirkung eines Monumentes für dessen Lehrer Joseph Haydn; Cooper 1996: “… has long intrigued scholars, and many have pointed out the flaws in Schlosser’s ‘Biography’”).
And far before the “Biographische Notizen” by Wegeler-Ries (1838) following in the title. The first anyway out of question for the Vienna time while Ries, pupil of 1801/05, could not be eye/earwitness for such important incidents as the pianistic fights with Wölfl yet and the Leonore/Fidelio distaster anymore resp.
And accordingly even more ahead of the biography by Schindler (1840) who still was a child in those early years and was accepted only reluctantly by Beethoven at first – thus 1814 as the earliest – and is witness just for the last eight years.
The ranking of Seyfried’s record thus matchless
as documented for the time from 1853 till 2008 as following.
Rating + Ranking
“ The preceeding biographic sketch contains everything
what is known about the circumstances of the adored master
and is authentic fact ”
(Henry Hugh Pierson on occasion of the new edition of the ‘Studien’).
“ (The portrayal, see below) is in the appendix
of those otherwise forged ‘Beethoven-Studien’ by
Ignaz von Seyfried, who already in those days
was on friendly terms with Beethoven
and thus is
a reliable witness in this matter ”
(Ludwig Nohl, Beethoven nach den Schilderungen seiner Zeitgenossen).
“ (Seyfried’s) personal character was undisputed .
It was normal that he had access to the musical circles ,
and his reminiscences of music and musicians in these years
can be viewed as
results of personal observation …
The adverse light that (has fallen) on him as the editor
of the so-called Studien Beethovens
does not fall on the actual reports on actual things …
and the chapter which is communicated here
from the appendix to the ‘Studies’ …
bears all signs of a true report
from the writer’s own memory ”
(Alexander Weelock Thayer, Ludwig van Beethovens Leben).
“ Seyfried had a close relationship with Beethoven ,
experienced many things
together with ( him )
and reported several of these to the posterity …
(S)o his informations on Beethoven are
of great value .
… because of the many informations on Beethoven
the appendix to (the Studien)
is still highly esteemed
and used manyfold ( so again in 1978 by Salomon ) .
which are insignificant for the time in Bonn
but valuable for Beethoven’s work in Vienna
… In the present manual there is
repeatedly referred to Seyfried’s communications ”
(Theodor Frimmel, Beethovenhandbuch).
“ As a whole the most comprehensive reference
(Seyfried) receives in the literature on Beethoven ”
“ ( Seyfried’s ) informations on Beethoven
are of great biographical value ”
(Honegger-Massenkeil, Große Lexikon der Musik, vol. VII,
the latter Director emeritus of the Institute for Musicology at the university and, 1972-1974,
provisional head of the Beethoven Archive, both Bonn).
This approval and esteem resounding in unison through the times thus cannot be dirtied by the single dissonance then released by the Beethoven Haus in Bonn. From there
“ I cannot award any special scientific or collectible value
(to the Seyfried manuscript)
and do not consider the (then quite lower) price as being appropriate . ”
An opinion intelligable here only in connection with the re-appearance of the manuscript in 1987 under the aspect – see then per 2007 + 2008, too – that it got to Bonn, but into other hands there. Because its missing in literature up to Bettina von Seyfried’s great dissertation-investigation of 1983 – at least in view of this the level of knowledge was not updated for the typoscript edition of 1990 –
makes its re-appearance
an event for two reasons .
First in the usual sense as, so for once Schletterer in the ADB in 1892,
“ S(eyfried’s) complete musical bequest passed into the possession of his disciple Binder, conductor at the Josephstädter Theater … Since he also died without heirs in 1860 it must be suspected that
Seyfried’s after all very valuable manuscripts
may have been frittered away. ”
And else as, so Sadie from newer view, much seems to have come back into firm possession:
“ His works (as writer) in manuscript and in print
are in the important libraries in Vienna . ”
The latter casting a glare on their present rareness. As then following the course of things autographic Beethoveniana in general become rarer and rarer and therewith more and more precious on the market. While their important inventory of the Louis Koch collection, e.g., in the 1950s changed for the present still into the private Bodmer collection, so at once together with this to the Beethoven House in Bonn. By which almost 800 (sic!) autographs, original editions, and letter documents definitely get lost for the market like a beat of the drum, unattainable for new collector’s desire in present and future.
Eventful at least on quite a different level as in a spectacular case – see below – deviating from the printed version. And thus in the case here it should be a marginal aspect only that in
“ The institutions of the public sector (develop)
their own standards of value which regrettably
not always further collecting + keeping ”
(F. H. Franken in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on the publication of “Internationales Symposion Musikerautographe” by the Institute for Austrian Documentation of Music).
“ In case the original is not sold yet
I would be glad if you would inform me of the price
of the precious manuscript ”
(a musicologist associated with the Beethoven House in Bonn in a private mail to here on occasion of the order of the reproduction + transcription of the manuscript).
Further private call in respect of the Seyfried manuscript
from the circle as before
under emphasis of Seyfried’s position + importance
in the Beethoven context
A) On the manuscript of the Biographische Notitzen in detail :
35 x 21.5 cm à 36-45 lines and, last page, 28 lines resp. & the ½ leaf (14.3 x 21.2 cm) breaking off after 6 lines.
(Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried.) Biographische Notitzen. Reduced complete reproduction of the manuscript with transcription. Bonn, Niemeyer, 1990.
Written in brown pen and ink on uncut laid paper with figurative + typographic watermarks and almost fluently readable – transcription nevertheless attached – the manuscript is
complete by itself .
The sheets numbered I. to IV. (I-III of 4 half-page columns each, IV as half leaf written on one side only) and starting with – according to his own statement –
“ Ludwig van Beethoven saw the light of the world in Bonn on December 16th in 1772 … ” (corrected in print to Dec. 17, 1770, observing the rearrangement of the sentence in the manuscript),
“ How the art enthusiastic Vienna honoured Beethoven’s remembrance is notoriuosly known; also Prague, Berlin, Breslau, even most towns of Germany rivaled to give the departed the last tribute, and still celebrate his dying day yearly in the most solemn way … This (the tomb) has been concluded within a year’s time and was inaugurated solemnly. / It consists. (Following space, then)
On the funeral itself an essay whose authenticity is proven by all eyewitnesses and which shall be, printed word by word, the conclusion of this biographic sketch.
(Following on the half-leaf)
/: Now is inserted the preliminary report on the ‘Miserere’.:/ (Following again space, then)
I. Address, written by Grillparzer, and given on the Währinger graveyard by the Imperial-Royal Court Actor ”
(Anschütz, but breaking off before for the end of the page).
In print the above reference to the effected inauguration of the tomb is followed by 6 lines on Franz Kirchlehner from Nußdorf near Vienna who covered the deficiency for the tomb stone. – The essay on the funeral determined to be “the conclusion” in print under its own title. Instead of this the print contains 7 lines about having been (not) married and build while the manuscript continues as quoted “(Now is inserted the preliminary report …)”, probably the genesis of especially Seyfried’s contribution, rendered only as part of “Leichenbegängnis”.
Otherwise the manuscript is richly honeycombed with all those
much demanded fascinating proofs of manuscripts
as strike-throughs, changings, and rearrangements within the text itself, and, isolated and also by another hand and in pencil, too, on the half pages intentionally kept free for this purpose, which mostly are corrected in print accordingly. Among the highlights the manuscript is interspersed with not less before and ahead
that highly important deviation from the print
regarding that generous gift of 100 pound Sterling from
the London Philharmonic Society
moving Beethoven on his deathbed beyond words as he believed to be impoverished.
March 14th, 1827, twelve days before his death, Beethoven had written to his friend Moscheles :
“ … Truly, a very harsh fate has met me! But I resign to the findings of fate and only ask the Lord to direct his divine decree in a way that as long as I have to endure death in life I am kept from penury. This would give me enough strength to endure my fate in submission to the will of God as hard and horrible it ever might be.
Thus my dear Moscheles I recommend my cause to you again … ”
(Kaliccher 1215). – On this literature states :
“ Beethoven … had asked both the Philharmonic Society in London and Moscheles who was in England then to arrange a concert on his behalf. The Society was generous enough to send 100 (Pound Sterling) immediately what moved Beethoven deeply. His friend Rau tells:
‘ It was heart-rending to see him, folding his hands,
being all tears of joy and gratefulness. ’
Caused by his joyful emotion one of his wounds opened during the night … ”
(Rolland 1918, pp. 128 ff.). – Correspondingly Beethoven to Moscheles again :
“ With what emotion I read your letter of the 1st March is not to be described in words.
This magnaminity of the Philharmonic Society ,
with which they anticipated my request, has touched my inmost heart … [Tell these worthy men that, if God restores me to health, I shall try practically to show my gratitude by works … A whole sketched symphony (the 10th) is in my desk, also a new Overture … In short, I shall try to fulfill any wish expressed by the Society, and never have I undertaken a work with such ardour as will now be displayed. May it only please God to restore me soon again to health, and then
I shall prove to these magnanimous Englishmen
that I know how to value their sympathy me in my sad condition .]
… Your noble attitude I shall never forget, and I shall soon render my thanks in particular to Sir Smart (Sir George S., London publisher) and Herr Stumpff (see below) … ”
(Kalischer 1218). – This letter dates of March 18, 1827, at the 26th he died.
And in this sense then also Schindler in his report of April 12, 1827 to the publishers Schott Sons in Mayence who on his part had forwarded a generous lot of 20-year-old Rüdesheimer for which the master had asked him at medical advice, “on the last hours of life of the gigantic Van Beethoven” (CÄCILIA VI, pp. 309-312) :
“ He then, once again, begged me not to forget Schott, also again to write in his name to the Philharmonic Society to thank them for their great gift, and to add that the Society had comforted his last days, and that even on the brink of the grave he thanked the Society
and the whole English nation for the great gift .
God bless them … ”
With his request for conciliatory assistance on 8th February Beethoven had appealed to Stumpff (the harp manufacturer J. A. St., who only a short time ago had hugely delighted the master with “the great luxury edition of Handel’s works”, here by Kalischer erroneously addressed with Max St.; compare index and note to 1034) and on 22nd February to Sir Smart and friend Moscheles, all London. His follow-up letter to the latter of 14th March had crossed with the fair reply letter of the first of March 1 in which are found sentences as
“ How much the information had frightened myself and penetrated with pains … I cannot express by words! … in spirit often I stand in the room at the bed of the patient and ask the doctor so frankly, so uneasily … and would likely wring from him, that the disease not critical and that the patient would be soon cured completely! … could hot heartfelt wishes of a friend effect the recovery, so the hearts of your admirers would soon rise on the surge of a symphony of thanks gushing from your breast to that who only all can help …
In conformity with your wish and without the slightest delay I won Messrs. G. Smart and Moscheles for the good cause, I also acquainted the directors of the Philhharmonic Society with the matter, whereupon it was at once resolved
to hand over for the present ( sic! )
a sum of one hundred pounds
to Baron Rothschild here, with a request that it should be forwarded by the first post to the Rothschild in Vienna … ”
(Kalischer 1200). – Hereto Seyfried reports
only in the manuscript here ,
thus not before in “Caecilia” in 1828, too, that Stefan von Breuning as lifelong intimate friend and from now guardian of nephew Karl, himself dying only a few months later (June 4, 1827), had returned this no longer required gift :
“ The whole estate by the way amounted to 20000 fl. – in print specified as 9000 fl. Conv. silver coins plus 125 St. Duc. outstanding debts – by what the rumour Beethoven was near to suffer penury is refuted.
For this reason the aid of (not mentioned 100) Pound Sterling
generously sent from England
has been returned with thanks
by the executor Mr. Privy Councillor von Breuning. ”
England-statement of most beautiful content
one of the most moving moments in the life of Beethoven ,
even not changed in the manuscript,
is missing in print .
Relating to the execution of the last will Beethoven’s letters to his legal confident Dr. Johann Baptist Bach of March 6, 1823 + January 3, 1827 (Kalischer 879 + 1199) and Kalischer’s foot-note to the codicil of March 23, 1827 (K. 1219) nevertheless should not been overlooked in this connection. As likewise not Beethoven’s statement towards Schott’s Sons of March 20, 1827 signed by von Breuning and Schindler as requested witnesses, as appendix to just the letter 1220 above accompanied by Kalischer’s résumé
“ The English nation and Messrs. Schott’s Sons in Mayence thus remained back as
most heart-warming final remembrance in the mentality of the dying Beethoven ”.
As equally fascinating research and the general public furthermore highlighted
on Beethoven’s legendary capabilities to improvise, concerning literature until today. Correspondingly generations later von Dommer recapitulated in ADB:
“ Especially the breath-taking power of his improvisations hardly anyone could resist as
reports from his biographies state . ”
And yet in our time Reclam’s Konzertführer states :
“ His art to improvise freely
is described as unique . ”
On this Seyfried’s own memory ( Nohl :
“ Now follows the scene of a wrestling … ” )
as ear and eye witness from the beginning onwards ,
thus also at the soirées at the house of Baron von Wetzlar (Raymund von W., protector of Mozart to whose “truly good friends” the “rich baptized Jew” – so Mozart in the letter to his father of November 24, 1781 – belonged and who had given along Wölfl, too, best recommendations), where Beethoven and Joseph Wölfl (Salzburg 1772 – 1812 or 1814 near London, “pianist of most extraordinary kind”, ADB; Beethoven dedicated his 1796 piano sonata, The “loving” Sonata, op. 7, to him) rivaled with each other, expressly carried as event sui generis in Kerst’s periodical list
“ 1798. Piano match with the virtuoso Wölffl .”:
“ There the most interesting competition of both athlets not rarely provided the numerous though selected gathering an artistic treat beyond description; both presented their newest inventions; now the one or the other left his instantanious ideas of his glowing fantasy running freely; then both took place at two pianos. Improvised mutually on themes given each other, and thus produced a lot of four-handed cappricci that, if written down in the moment of birth, would have resisted transitoriness. —
“ It would have been difficult if not impossible to present one of the fighters the palm for his technical skills … Even then Beethoven revealed in improvising his character inclining more to the sinister dark; when revelling in the immeasurable realm of the tones, then he was also wrenched from earthly things; his spirit had broken all fetters, shaken off the yoke of slavery, and flew triumphantly jubilating up into the light ether; now his play roared like a wild foaming cataract, and sometimes the conjuror forced the instrument to an effort that even the strongest construction was almost unable to obey; then he sank back, exhausted, exhaling faint complaints, melting in melancholy, – again the scale raised, triumphing over passing earthly misery, turned up in devotional sounds … But, who can fathom the ocean’s deepness? It talks in a mysterious language whose cryptic hieroglyphs only the insider is allowed to solve! —
“ Wölfl, on the other hand, educated in Mozart’s school was always the same; never shallow, but always clear, and just by this more accessible for the majority … Still a quite unique pleasure grew to the unprejudiced and impartial viewer in quietly reflecting both the Maecenas (Prince Lichnowsky on Beethoven’s, Baron von Wetzlar on Wölfl’s side). As they followed in close attentiveness the performance of their protégés, giving each other applauding looks … ”
All this now here in the manuscript
by a witness blessed in such a way !
Who otherwise and beforehand remarks on this:
“ But the main field of honour of the ingenious art disciple was the free improvisation and the ability to work a given theme and perform it thematically; in which as Gerber (Lexikon der Tonkünstler, 1812/14) … tells he gave a highly honourable probe extempore before the scholared composer Junker at Cologne. ”
The source of a directly involved one
– also in regard of physiognomical observations not mentioned in “Biographische Notitzen” Seyfried served as such – he is, too, for the disastrous first performances of Fidelio on which he reports in the “Biographische Notitzen” here :
“ The Fidelio now come to European fame got on stage then under a in no way lucky constellation … Also for the Prague stage B. projected a new, less difficult overture … In the course of the following years the directors of the Kärntnerthor Theatre chose … this opera as their benefit performance. It now received its present form, was divided into 2 acts, and provided with the imposing overture in E major. But even this was not written down completely on the first evening (May 23, 1814) and had to be supplemented temporarily by that for the Ruins of Athens. ”
Into this most tremendous creative period
– for which von Dommer in the ADB sees the period from 1800 till 1812/13 while Rolland stays closer to the master himself :
“ The Eroica and the Appassionata were in Beethoven’s eyes the culminating peaks of his genius. Speaking generally, the works of this period of three years (1803-1806) remain his favourites until near his death … Among these privileged works Leonore occupies a special position. He placed it on the same height as the others, and he loved it more because it had suffered more … It is one of the Great Days of music. It inaugurates an era ” (Beethoven the Creator, 1929, pp. 207 + 101) –
falls the close contact
between Beethoven and Seyfried
which is sketched in the “Biographische Notitzen” here.
“ Mainly to this period the close ties of friendship with the editor of these pages date. We lived under the same roof, were daily companions at the table … All what his never resting genius created in the limited period of two years (note: partly in first attempts) – the wonderful Leonore, the oratorio: Christ at the Mount of Olives, the concerto for violin, the symphony Eroica, and Pastorale, just as that in C minor, the concertos for piano in G, E flat, and C minor which he all (thus in a greater period than the mentioned two years) composed for several academies staged for his benefit, and
“ produced with the quite good orchestra under my direction, –
all these guarantors of immortality I was so lucky to admire first. ”
To the painstaking evolution of all of them the name of von Seyfried is tied forever. One has to bear this in mind when approaching the spiritual – and thus material – estimation of this autograph manuscript.
generally very good, only first + last page slightly browned, small centerfold repairs and two ink break-throughs. Adequately, too,
in a showcase kid portfolio with the blind stamped
“ Biographische Notitzen. (on) Ludwig van Beethoven ” .
Worthy its high quality as a unique document
“ of one of the most fertile periods
of occidental musical life ”
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).
B) On the manuscript of the continuous Character Traits and Anecdotes in detail :
À 17-30 lines in brown ink on 5 (4 written on both sides) leaves of laid paper, the four large ones of which (23.8-24 x 18-18.5 cm) on form paper with smoothed out centerfold with print on one side (in German)
“ Orchestra Report / from the imperial royal private Theater / an der Wien. (to which Seyfried belonged to for decades as conductor) / of 180 ” and “ Orchestra Report. / Rehearsal or Performance / Members failing to appear / Come too late. / Gone too early. / Notes. ” resp.
as well as 4 sheet written on one side of the blue cover paper (21.4-22 x 12-12.5 cm; smoothed out centerfold) of
“ Cæcilia / eine Zeitschrift / für die / musikalische Welt / herausgegeben / von einem Vereine von Gelehrten / Kunstverständigen und Künstlern. ”
co-published by Seyfried of issues 3-6, Mayence, Schott, 1824/25. – Almost fluently readable, transcription included, however. – Except for one page typeset nonetheless crossed out with pencil by the typesetter as mark of being done, but more distinctly perceptible on the blue paper only, yet not really disturbing and quite contrarily mark of work and creation so valued with autographs. In this connection then also Seyfried’s corrections in the form of inserts, deletions of words and lines let connoisseurs and purists alike get value for the money. – Beside some small tears in the upper margin of two blue sheets and a light paper vestige at the outer edge of another one of impeccable preservation.
Present here as by themselves concluded parts on the basis of the new edition of 1853 edited by Pierson following the Biographische Notitzen (pp. 3-10) the opening pages 14 to 19, paragraph 1 with their first 8 reports marked as independent in print , that is
“ Beethoven spent the summer months in the countryside every year … (1)
When the master performed his Fantasia with Orchestra and Chorus publicly for the first time … (2)
Someone sent Beethoven a New Year’s card … (3)
The more the deficiency of the sense of hearing and the in the course of his last years of living … (4)
In conducting our master was by no means a model … (5)
When Beethoven was not yet afflicted by his organic infirmities … (6)
Our Beethoven absolutely not belonged to the obstinate composers … (7)
When Beethoven composed at his Fidelio … ” (8)
as well as the great final accord of pages 26/27
“ Beethoven was, in the truest sense of the word, a real German … even the exotic little word: Pianoforte he tried to eradicate, and he chose for it the characteristic expression: Hammer-Clavier as properly fitting representative … ” (9)
Correspondingly to that the master had bound Messrs. Steiner & Comp. in Vienna by letter of 23rd January 1817 “that henceforth all our works which have German titles are to have Hammerclavier instead of Pianoforte …
Instead of Pianoforte Hammerclavier –
(centered in the original) by which it has its agreement once for all” (Kalischer 618 with additional reference to the Seyfried passage here and the annotation “So applied nevertheless only to the sonatas in A [op. 101] and B-flat major [op. 106]”).
Preceding the latter (9) the long part of Griesinger’s tradition, pages 23 bottom to 26 top, as later addition by Pierson (see Bettina von Seyfried, op. cit., p. 63, paragraph 3) is not subject of Seyfried’s work and therefore not an omission within his present manuscript.
Beginning therefore with the start for the summer-resort in Mödling for which “a carriage-and-four (was) loaded with few effects indeed, yet with an immense load of music … and the owner of these treasures marched blithely, per pedes Apostulorum, ahead …”. But open nature was barely reached when the master already forgot everything around him … Per pedes Apostulorum. Here then the opening,
in Horst Seemann’s marvelous 1976 DEFA film
Beethoven – Tage aus einem Leben / Days in a Life the final scene :
the moving-happy Beethoven marches behind his removal van, unimpressed by everything around him – an automobile boulevard traffic of the progressed 20th century.
And present fourth part on its full large pages inspired Seemann to his
splendid dinner scene “ The Soup , The Soup ”
The Master as Cook Mehlschöberl !
Here then the source of this famous anecdote ,
kept nevertheless from days long dating back. Then already about 1799 the master closed a humorous billet to the colleague Hummel with “… (Your Beethoven / also named Mehlschöberl)” (Kalischer 28 along with the foot-note in German
“ … It is very interesting to see how the amusing nickname ‘Mehlschöberl’ appeared already at this period to be current among the composer’s friends. In a favourite buslesque ‘The Gay Coition’ the ‘Cook Mehlschöberl’ plays a prominent part. As Ignaz v. Seyfried now tells us Beethoven occasionally took pleasure in it during the last period of his earthly pilgrimage … ”
Exquisiteness 5 then brings the master from the circle of his lunch guests back before the orchestra before which he now “became ever smaller and at the pianissimo slipped under the desk so to speak. Just as the masses of sound swell, also he grew up like out of a trapdoor, and with the entrance of the full instrumental power he became, rising to tiptoe, almost gigantic and seemed to want to, rowing wavily with both arms, glide up to the clouds … With increasing hardness of hearing frequently a rough discord arose of course … Also in such cases the eye came to his support; for he observed the strike of the strings, guessed from it the just performed figure, and soon saw his way again.”
Tradition 6 on the back of the same sheet as the previous top-notch stays on location and by no means behind that, but now as audience of performances by colleagues, “gladly and repeatedly opera performances; especially those in the then so wonderfully flourishing Theater an der Wien; now and then also for the benefit of his own good as in a manner to speak he just had to set the foot out of his room (“We lodged [at that time] under one and the same roof, were daily table companions”, so Seyfried in his Biographische Notitzen, see page 6 here), and into the first floor. There mostly Cherubini’s and Mehul’s creations fascinated him, which just in the same epoch began to enthuse all Vienna. There he planted himself hard behind the orchestra back and held out, quiet like a stuffed dummy, until the last stroke of the bows. This was the only mark, however, that the work of art inspired him; if on the contrary it failed to come up to him then … Actually it was difficult, quite impossible indeed, to figure from his face signs of applause or dislike; he was always the same, seemingly cold, and equally reserved in his opinion about art fellows; only the mind worked restlessly in the interior, the animal frame resembled a soulless marble … However, the listening to a quite miserable bad music … he also proclaimed by a roaring laughter. Everyone who knew him more closely knows (at least 1853 with Pearson it will be “knew”!) that he was no less a first-rank virtuoso in this art; only a pity … as he frequently condescended to laugh at his own most secret thoughts and ideas without rendering any account on it. ”
Tradition 7 follows adequately on separate large sheet written on one side :
“ … When he then became aware, however, how the musicians responded to his ideas, playing together with growing fire,
became moved , electrified , enthused
by the magic charm of his musical creations ,
then his face became radiant, pleasure and satisfaction shone from all features, a pleasant smile played around the lips, and a thundering: ‘Bravi tutti!’ rewarded the successful performance.
It was the noble genius’ first and finest moment of triumph
against which, as he confessed frankly, even the thundering applause of a large, responsive audience was in the shade … when, however, especially in the scherzos of his symphonies at the sudden unexpected change of the beat, everything fell apart, then he stroke a resounding laugh, assured: ‘he would not have expected it anything else; he had already waited for it beforehand’ and showed an almost childish joy that he had succeeded: ‘to unhorse such seasoned knights.’ ”
Collectors listen to the fanfare ! So only one who was present blows !
Eighthly more of the early years or Seyfried assisting the master at the piano concertos 3-5
“ When B: composed at his Fidelio he domiciled, as was already mentioned in the biographical notes, in the residential premises of the Theater an der Wien and arranged several academies which earned the highest art interest by both the introduction of his latest brain childs and his own master play. During the performance of the piano concertos in C minor, G and E-flat he invited me /: that is the publisher /: friendly to turn over, and took a delight in my surprise when, in spite of the aided eyes, I was not able to notice little more than nothing in the open part except for the clef, the indication and various cross-lines running over the sheet. He had, just for recollection, noted the ritornelle and the beginnings of the solos by symbols only understandable by him … At such a state of affairs we therefore made the agreement according to which I should be advised to turn over each time before the ending of a page. During the production, however, the then still so merry master, for ever inclined to any harmless joke and innocent teasing, could not help to corner me and delay the arranged signal as long as possible, usually up to the latest moment of decision … ”
Ninthly + ending : the Beethoven talking politics and – once more Horst Seemann !
“ Although having a perfect command of the Latin, French and Italian language, nor a stranger to the English (missing in print , nevertheless documented by letter to Ferdinand Ries in London of 9th July 1818 [Kalischer 637] concerning the stay with the London Philharmonic Society intended for January 1818 at the latest:
‘7th: Still I ask for the … confirmation in English language … ’
[contrary hereto on September 11, 1817 to friend Zmeskall, K. 655: “The reply from London … merely in English language, do you know then no one who could translate the letter to us also only orally?”]) he yet preferred, wherever possible, his national idiom. If he could have had it his way all his works would have been published in print with German title sheets … Among Germany’s poets Göthe was and remained his darling. Also in other fine arts and sciences he had, without showing off, more than just superficial knowledge;
with particular pleasure he talked in the intimate circle
about political issues ,
with such a clear general view , true conception , and clear opinion
as one would have never believed of the diplomatic proselyte living just in and for his art. ”
How vividly we do recall Horst Seemann’s informer reporting to Metternich what rebellious things that Beethoven had uttered again in the pub last night and having to take what de Gaulle used to say in case of Sartre : how could I apprehend Voltaire ! By which Seemann of course at the same time treated his East Berlin big shots’ red shinbones .
Without doubt ,
the core manuscript of the Character Traits and Anecdotes .
Concluding with the assessment
“ While half the world resounds in laud and praise of the transfigured singer, only few are (in print ‘may well be’) able to appreciate his high value as a human in its fullest extent … Because the majority … could not even remotely imagine the interior marvelous core … ”
Ignaz von Seyfried was one of those few .
Something blows from his lines , his writings begin to breathe , reflecting the sympathy wielding the pen . By this, however, striking chords as only a manuscript can touch .
And how much Ignaz von Seyfried then also had present ending at heart is revealed by the additional sentence of this last manuscript page by which he suggests to Ludwig van’s “best of all Tobiasses” , the mutual friend Haslinger as publisher of also the Studien im Generalbasse – only here per manuscript ! –
“ /: The previous could possibly most felicitously form
the absolute ending of the Anecdotes and Character Traits. :/ ”
Just as then done and therefore present here, too.
And what rank Seyfried enjoyed at his time is proven by the 1700 performances of his own compositions placing him “ahead of all by far, followed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with 400”. However, 100 years ago Schletterer saw his lasting compositional achievement in his religious compositions, concluding with the words:
“ He was as great an artist as an amiable man .
His portrait in lithograph by Kriehuber was published in Vienna (in 1829) .”
(The portrait worked by Alois Martin Stadler, 1792-1841,
has been lithographed at J. Höfelich in 1846.)
Corresponding to all this the number (92) of his pupils from up to Petersburg, Moscow, Odessa, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Milan, and partly on highest recommendations, gathered arround him since 1803 though mainly only after 1825.
His burial accordingly “with an immense crush of all classes”. And the “Österreichische Morgenblatt” of Sep. 1st, 1841, classified him
“ into the society of immortal composers
Beethoven and Franz Schubert …
In their union he is the third ’ … ”
After studying philosophy and law he got his piano lessons by W. A. Mozart and L. Koželuch while Joh. Gg. Albrechtsberger (1736-1809), the famous theorist and teacher of Beethoven, too, court organist and conductor at the Stephansdom, instructed him in composition, as did his friend P. von Winter, too. 1797 he was conductor at the Freihaus Theatre of E. Schikaneder, then, until about 1825/28, at the Theater an der Wien.
“ Since 1803 (Nohl: 1800, Thayer 1802-1805) he had been on friendly terms with Beethoven (‘belonging to his warmest admirers’, ADB) and
conducted in 1805 ( recte 1806 )
both performances of the second version of ‘Fidelio’ ”
On the assumed conducting as a whole, or in parts only (Kinsky-Halm: Leonoren overture III) including the first performance and both the two repetitions in 1805 literature is parted. The contemporary critiques are as little productive in this regard as the memoirs of contemporaries seem to be reliable. And Bettina von Seyfried exercises greatest familiar restraint especially on the question of particular performances, however, referring to Seyfried himself and his note in “Caecilia” (1828, p. 219) :
“ The symphonies and concerts (Beethoven) first produced for his benefit at the Theater an der Wien (where S. was conductor for 30 years), the oratorio, and the opera, I rehearsed, according to his instructions, with the singers, held all auditions with the orchestra, and personally conducted the performances .”
As then already documented by above Beethoven letter of April 1806 regarding Fidelio.
Secured finally in any case, that he wrote the choral music for the requiem which became his own, too. “After the holy consecration his corpse was lead on a four-in-hand state carriage in a torchlight procession … to the new Währinger cemetary” (B. v. S., p. 36).
This then the man to whom we owe present Beethoven Biography as a
contemporary autograph document
of great warmth
and beauty of expression .
The writing of which reflecting at least partly the personal affection wielding the pen. Striking chords by this as only an autograph manuscript can strike. Since
“ only by the soul … the beauty
and the intellectual value of autographs
can be realized ”
( Stefan Zweig ) .
As musical writer – Wurzbach wrote – “he published mostly anonymously (as here, too) …
“ In all these … articles are a real treasure of appropriate remarks and judgements thoroughly grasping the subject, further laid down reliable contributions in biographies. ”
And von Dommer rates especially this one as one of those
“ works published not long after (Beethoven’s) death by persons who had known him yet and had been close to him … as references of contemporaries … (of which) one … could put together his character most clearly. ”
And since besides Seyfried’s report in “Caecilia” there is almost no biographical press material, not even Grillparzer’s funeral oration contains anything in this direction – the necrologies of the “Leipziger musikalische Zeitung” of March 28 and the “Berliner Nachrichten” of April 5, 1827, fill just 1½ and 2½ pp. resp. in Seyfried’s appendix of 1832 – Seyfried’s record, quite extensive for “Notes”, has the precedence of an authenticity based on “friendly relations for more than three decades” as not known of Schlaffer. Supported additionally by a “Brothership in Apoll”
(so Beethoven in fall [?] 1822 to Seyfried :
“ My Dear worthy Brother in Apollo!
Hearty thanks for the trouble you have taken about my human work, and I rejoice that its success has become generally acknowledged; I hope that you never will pass me over when I am in a position to serve you with my modest powers. The worshipful Committee of Burgers is already sufficiently convinced of my good-will; in order to confirm this to them, we will again have a friendly talk about the way in which they may best be served. If a master like yourself sympathises with us, things ought never to go badly.
With hearty esteem, your friend,
[Kalischer 849 with the annotation “It was in 1822 when Beethoven, at the end of September, produced his great fugued Overture in C at the inauguration Josephstadt theatre. At a concert for the hospital funds this work, under the direction of Seyfried, was performed to the great satisfaction of the composer.”] )
as the base of the older friendship, the mutual work, and the house community during, it may be repeated,
“ one of the Great Days of music ”
as among the Beethoven biographers qualifying Seyfried exclusively whose good and hearty relation to Beethoven “emerges indeed from (his) letters” (Nohl). All this thus
the comprehensible criterions
of the manuscript here, concerning
the experienced biography
of a life about which is written 165 years after its end :
“ From the day he died, Beethoven has been immortal. Other composers – Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Bruckner, Mahler – took years and years to achieve similar status … ‘No living man (so Grillparzer’s funeral oration, see above) enters the halls of immortality. The body must die before the doors are opened. He whom you mourn is now among the greatest men of all time. Unassailable forever’ … for it is a reminder that in Beethoven’s genius there was indeed ‘the surest promise of immortality’. Is Mozart similarly blessed? Is Bach or Schubert, or any of the other composers whose music we continually celebrate and to whom posterity has awarded the worth of greatness? The answer, I think, is no. At least, I don’t believe that Mozart and all are immortal in the same way that Beethoven is … And (so) it is no wonder that Beethoven’s exalted position has never been seriously threatened … it seems that many of the ideas born of that spirit took permanent hold in Western Culture … Beethoven was of his time, but he is also of our time, more so than any of his mates in the Great Composer’s Hall of Fame. Eighteen years after his death he was memorialized in Bonn, 165 years after his death he is being memorialized in St. Louis, probably for the same reasons ”
(James Wierzbicki, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 13, 1992).
Thus quite as in 1927/28 Rolland said with the words “It is our Beethoven, whom no other musician – and how many others are dear to us! – can ever replace in our confidence” (op. cit. II, 234).
Or as Oswald Spengler wrote respectfully comparatively with regard to the possibility of a definition of the soul “It would be easier to break up a theme of Beethoven with dissecting-knife or acid …” (Der Untergang des Abendlandes I , 300).
And for one of the most moving moments in the life of just this immortal then
the above-mentioned unprinted passage
in the manuscript of the Biographische Notitzen. In connection with a truly splendid and noble gesture. That by the London Philharmonic Society. Which “the dying (had called on) for help over land and sea” (Stefan Zweig, Sinn und Schönheit der Autographen).
In autograph manuscript here by a man who himself got the obituary:
“ But you friends
give a tear to (Ignaz von Seyfried’s) remembrance ,
he was not just a great artist ,
he was also a – great man !
Throughout his entire life ”
(August Schmidt in 1841 in the necrology stretching over three issues of the “Allgemeine Wiener Musikzeitung”, then again, with only minor changes, in 1848 in his “Denksteine”, quoted after B. v. Seyfried).
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