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Title: Beethoven: A Memoir (2nd Ed.)
Author: Graeme, Elliott
Language: English
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project.)



[Illustration: BEETHOVEN.

Maclure & Macdonald, Lith. London]

BEETHOVEN:

A Memoir

BY ELLIOTT GRAEME.

WITH AN INTRODUCTORY ESSAY BY DR. FERDINAND HILLER. OF COLOGNE.

SECOND EDITION.

"How glorious it is to live one's life a thousand times!"

BEETHOVEN

LONDON CHARLES GRIFFIN AND COMPANY; STATIONERS' HALL COURT.

1876.

[_The right of translation is reserved._]



PREFACE.


The following brief sketch can lay no claim to originality; it is merely
a slight _résumé_ of the principal events in the master's life (from the
works of Schindler, Ries, and Wegeler, and more especially from Marx and
Thayer), and is intended for those who, without the leisure to go deeply
into the subject, yet desire to know a little more about the great
Tone-poet than can be gathered from the pages of a concert programme,
however skilfully annotated.

       *       *       *       *       *

The few letters introduced have been translated as nearly as possible in
the manner in which they were written. Beethoven's epistolary style was
simple, fervent, original, but certainly not polished.

       *       *       *       *       *

The author feels convinced that any shortcomings in the "Memoir" will be
more than atoned for by Dr. Hiller's eloquent and appreciative
"_Festrede_," which seems to have been dictated by that poetic genius,
the possession of which he so modestly disclaims.

    E.G.

    LONDON,
    _17th December, 1870._



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.


The first edition of this little book was exhausted within a few months
of publication, and I have repeatedly been asked since to reprint it,
but have hitherto withheld my consent, trusting to be able to undertake
a more comprehensive work on the subject. As, however, the necessary
leisure for this is still wanting to me, and the demand for the "Memoir"
continues, it is fated to reappear, and I can but commend it again to
the kind indulgence of the reader.

Several rectifications as to dates, &c., have been made throughout, in
accordance with the recent researches of ALEXANDER THAYER, and the
chapter entitled _Lehrjahre_ has been partly rewritten on the basis of
NOTTEBOHM'S _Beethoven's Studien_ (_Part I., Unterricht bei Haydn und
Albrechtsberger_) by far the most important contribution to
Beethoven-literature which has appeared for some time. It may, indeed,
be considered the first step to the _systematic_ study of the Master,
and as such deserves to be better known in England than is at present
the case.

    E.G.
    LONDON.
    _August, 1876._



CONTENTS.


                                                                       PAGE

    ESSAY _quasi_ Fantasia "On the Hundredth Anniversary of Beethoven's
    Birth," by Dr. Ferdinand Hiller                                     vii

    CHAP. I.--INTRODUCTORY: Origin of the Family Van Beethoven--The
    Electorate of Cologne--Court of Clemens August the Magnificent--Ludwig
    van Beethoven the Elder--Johann van Beethoven--Bonn in 1770           1

    CHAP. II.--BOYHOOD: Birth--Early Influences and Training--Neefe--First
    Attempts at Composition--The Boy-Organist--Max Friedrich's National
    Theatre--Mozart and Beethoven--Disappointment                        12

    CHAP. III.--YOUTH: Despondency--The Breuning Family--Literary
    Pursuits--Count Waldstein--National Theatre of Max Franz--King Lux and
    his Court--The Abbé Sterkel--Appointment as Court Pianist--First
    Love--Second Visit of Joseph Haydn                                   31

    CHAP. IV.--LEHRJAHRE: Arrival in Vienna--Studies with Haydn--Timely
    Assistance of Schenk--Albrechtsberger--Beethoven as a Student--His
    Studies in Counterpoint--What did Beethoven compose in Bonn?--Why have
    we so few examples of _fugue_ in his early works?--Letters to Eleanore
    v. Breuning                                                          46

    CHAP. V.--THE VIRTUOSO: Family Occurrences--Music in Vienna--Van
    Swieten--Prince Lichnowski--Beethoven's Independence, Personal
    Appearance, Manners--Rasoumowski Quartet--Occurrences in Lichnowski
    Palace--First Three Trios--Artistic Tour to Berlin--Woelfl--Beethoven
    as an Improvisatore--Steibelt                                        69

    CHAP. VI.--CONFLICT: Deafness and its Consequences--His Brothers'
    Influence--Letters to Wegeler--"Mount of Olives"--Beethoven's
    Will--Beethoven as a Conductor--As an Instructor--Sinfonia
    Eroica--"Leonora" ("Fidelio")--"Adelaïde"                            93

    CHAP. VII.--LOVE: The Fourth Symphony--Julia Guicciardi--Letters to an
    Unknown--To Bettina Brentano--Beethoven's Attachments--Domestic
    Troubles--Frau Nanette Streicher--Daily Life--Composing "_im Freien_"
                                                                        127

    CHAP. VIII.--VICTORY AND SHADOW: Period of Greatest Creative
    Activity--Hummel--The Battle of Vittoria--Congress of
    Vienna--Maelzel--Pecuniary Difficulties--Adoption of Nephew--The
    Philharmonic Society--The Classical and Romantic Schools--The Jupiter
    Symphony--His Nephew's Conduct--Last Illness                        147

    REMARKS ON THE PIANOFORTE SONATAS, BY DR. HILLER                    171

    CATALOGUE OF BEETHOVEN'S WORKS                                      178


[Illustration]



[Illustration]



THE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF BEETHOVEN'S BIRTH.[1]

    "_Quasi Fantasia._"


The year 1749 brought us Goethe; 1756, Mozart; 1759, Schiller; and 1770,
Beethoven. Thus, within the short space of twenty-one years four of the
greatest poetic geniuses were born--four men of whom not only the German
Fatherland, but all mankind must be proud.

And even more happy than proud, since the most splendid gift which the
Divine Being from time to time vouchsafes to poor humanity is that of
genius. Through it we receive the highest good in which we are capable
of participating--the forgetfulness of self in a nobler life. Genius it
is that gives us, if but for a few short hours, that which the believer
awaits with earnest hope in another and a better world.

Has there ever existed a poet who transported our souls into his ideal
kingdom with more irresistible force than our Beethoven? Certainly not.
More universal effects have been achieved by others, but none more deep
or noble. Nay, we may say without exaggeration that never did an artist
live whose creations were so truly _new_;--his sphere was the
unforeseen.

Amidst so much that is trivial and dispiriting in art and life, the
widely diffused interest, the delight in the creations of the wondrous
man is a bright sign of our times. I do not say the _comprehension_ of
them; that is not, and cannot be the case. But there are, perhaps, no
poems in the love and admiration of which so many of the highest
intellects concur as the tone-poems of our master. To the essential
nature of our Art, which bears within itself the all-reconciling element
of love, must we attribute the fact that against it the most violent
differences in religious, political, and philosophical opinion make no
stand--it is the might of Beethoven's genius which subdues the proudest
minds, while quickening the pulsations of the simplest hearts.

If in anything the will of man shows itself weak, nay, helpless, it is
in the matter of intellectual creation. A very strong will (is not even
this beyond the reach of most?) may lead to great learning, to brilliant
technical acquirements, to virtue itself--a spontaneous poetic thought
in word, tone, or colour, it will never be able to bring forth. Thus,
the true relation of genius to us is that of a star, diffusing light and
warmth, which we enjoy and admire. Since, however, to the higher man
recognition and gratitude are necessities, since he desires to add
intelligence and reverence to his admiration, and would willingly offer
up love also to the subject of it, he begins to investigate. He asks,
what the divine germ, existing even in the lisping child, demanded for
its development; what brought it out into blossom--what influences
worked upon it beneficially--to what extent he who was so nobly gifted
was supported and furthered by moral strength--how he used the talent
committed to him--finally, how he fought through the life-struggle from
which no mortal is exempt.

And then he inquires again and further; which of his qualities, which of
the properties peculiar to himself, affect us most strongly?--in what
relation does he stand to the development of his art--in what to that of
his nation?--how does he appear with regard to his own century?

A mere attempt at answering these questions, and the many connected with
them, would require an enormous apparatus of a biographic and æsthetic
nature, including a knowledge of the history of art and culture, and an
acquaintance with musical technicalities. It does not fall either within
our power or the scope of these pages to make any approach to such a
task. A few slight hints may suffice to prevent our forgetting (amid the
extraordinary and all-engrossing occurrences of the present time) the
day which sent to us a hundred years ago the no less extraordinary man,
who, a prophet in the noblest sense of the word, foresaw and declared
(though only in tones) the nobleness and greatness which will be
revealed by the German people, if friendly stars shine upon their
future.

A species of caste seems to have been implanted in man by nature--there
are families of statesmen, warriors, theologians, artists. It will
nevertheless be admitted that while it is often the case that
circumstances, family traditions, cause the sons to follow in their
fathers' footsteps, it frequently happens that the calling lays hold of
the man, becomes, in the truest sense of the word, a _calling_.

Several of our first composers have sprung out of families in which the
profession of music was chiefly followed--but certainly not many. One
thing, however, was common to nearly all--they were marvellous children,
prodigies. _Prodigy!_ now-a-days an ominous word, recalling immediately
to mind industrious fathers, who force on concerts, and musical
attainments which do not refresh by their maturity, but only excite
astonishment at the precocity of those from whom they are exacted. The
abuse of the phenomenon has brought the latter itself into a bad light.
A musical hothouse plant forced into premature bloom through vanity or
the thirst for money may soon become stunted; none the less, however,
does the fact remain, that no intellectual gift shows or develops itself
earlier than that of music. Bach, Handel, Mozart, Hummel, Rossini,
Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Liszt, Joachim, were prodigies. Nature
knows what she is about. He alone to whom this wondrous tone-language
has become a second mother tongue, will be able to express himself with
freedom in it; but how soon do we begin to attempt our mother tongue!
And how few succeed in really learning to _speak_ it!

It would be inexplicable had not our Beethoven been also a prodigy. He
was one, but after such a sound, healthy sort, that those about him were
more struck by the thought of his great future, than enthusiastic about
his achievements at the time. The compositions which have been preserved
to us from his boyish days bear traces, even then, of the frank, honest
mode of expression which remained his to the end of his career.
Naturally, their contents are trifling; what has a boy of twelve years
to communicate to the world, if his inner life develop itself according
to nature? Borne onwards by his artistic readiness, he attained,
however, at a very early age an honourable, independent position with
regard to the outer world. He had barely quitted childhood when he was
organist at the Elector's Court in Bonn. At a later period he occupied
for several years the post of violist in the orchestra. The viola was
then one of the most neglected orchestral instruments, and we must form
but a slight estimate of Beethoven's achievements upon it. It was,
however, invaluable for him, the future Commander of the instrumental
tone-world, to have served _in the line_. In fact, every striving young
composer ought, as a matter of duty, to act for at least one year as
member of an orchestra, were it only at the great drum. It is the surest
method of making the individuality of the different sound organs
ineffaceably one's own. When the latter are entrusted to capable
executants (as was the case in the Electoral orchestra), the idea of a
definite personality is added to the peculiarity of the instrument,
which is not at all a bad thing. How often in later years may the image
of one or other of his former colleagues have presented itself vividly
and helpfully to the mind of the master, as he sat meditating over a
score! How often may he have heard in spirit an expressive solo
performed by one of them!

The stimulus which Beethoven received from singers in those early days
at Bonn did not work very deeply. His own father, indeed, was one of the
Elector's vocalists, and sang both in church and on the stage. But he
was a sorry fellow, who saw in his gifted son only a means of
extricating himself from his gloomy pecuniary difficulties, and
certainly not the man to inspire him for the wedding of Word to
Tone--the noblest union ever contracted.

Even in the most magnificent of Beethoven's vocal works there exists a
certain roughness; the words domineer over the melody, or the latter
over the poem. That perfect union--that melting in one another of both
factors--which is peculiar to Mozart and Handel is found only separately
(_vereinzelt_) in him. Would a youth spent in the midst of a great
song-world have led our master along other paths?

Certainly not without significance for his development was the fact,
that he was born on the lovely banks of our joyous old Rhine. Do we not
sometimes hear it surging like a wave of the mighty stream through the
Beethoven harmonies? Do we not feel ourselves blown upon by the fresh
mountain air? And do not the cordial, true-hearted melodies, which so
often escape from the master, breathe the very magic of one of those
enchanting evenings which we talk or dream away on the shore of the most
truly _German_ stream? The taste for an open-air life (a life _im
Freien_, in freeness, as the German language so nobly expresses it)
remained faithful to him until the end; and we can scarcely picture him
to ourselves better than as wandering in forests and valleys, listening
for the springs which sparkled within himself.

Scientific knowledge, even in its most elementary form, was hardly
presented to the notice of the young musician, and if at a later period
any interest in such pursuits had arisen within him, he would have been
obliged to dismiss it. On the other hand, he buried himself with his
whole soul in the loftiest works of poetry, that second higher world,
and always came back with renewed delight upon the works of Homer,
Shakspere, Goethe, and Schiller. Many and varied were the influences
which they exerted upon him. They were to him "intellectual wine," as
Bettina once named his music. But those are completely mistaken who
expect to find, either in them or anywhere else, positive expositions or
elucidations of Beethoven's compositions, as some have occasionally
attempted to do, building their theory partly on utterances of the
master. When the latter refers the constantly inquiring secretary,
Schindler (I know not on what occasion), to Shakspere's "Tempest," it
was, after all, only an answer--nothing more. The awakening of pure
musical imagination is just as inexplicable as are its results. One
thing alone stands firm,--that which speaks to the heart, came from the
heart,--but the life-blood which pulsates at the heart of the true
artist is a thousand times more richly composed than that which flows in
our veins. No æsthetic physiologist will ever be able to analyze it
completely. And, in life, is it only the deep thoughts, the
extraordinary occurrences, which call forth all our sensations, out of
which alone our happiness and our misery are formed? Is not a calm,
serene autumn day enough to entrance our inmost nature? a single verse
to console us? the friendly glance of a maiden to throw us into the
sweetest _reverie_? What trifling influences affect the eternally rising
and falling quicksilver of our hopes! And thus the smallest occasions
may have been sufficient to cause vibration in a soul so highly strung
as Beethoven's. Most powerfully, however, in such a genius, worked the
pure creative impulse, that eternally glowing fire in the deepest
recesses of his nature, with its volcanic--but, in this instance,
blissful eruptions.

We know that Beethoven proceeded as a young man to Vienna, which he
never afterwards left. He found there (at least in the first half of his
residence) enthusiastic admirers, intelligent friends, admission to
distinguished circles, and lastly, that most necessary evil--money.
Nobody will grudge to the lively, good-humoured, imperial city the fame
of being able to designate as her own a brilliant line of our greatest
tone-poets. But then she ought not to take it amiss that we should
wonder how, within her walls, at _that_ time, so magnificent an artistic
development as Beethoven's should ever have been accomplished. Shall we
say, not _because_, but--_in spite of_ her? or shall we utter the
supposition that no agglomeration of men can be sufficient for genius,
since it treads a way of its own, which bears no names of streets? When,
however, the question comes under discussion, of the relation of a great
composer to _that_ public among whom his lot is cast, we cannot deny
that it is easier to understand how a Handel created his oratorios in
the so-called unmusical London, than how Beethoven composed his
symphonies in the musical Vienna of the period. The former found himself
in London in the midst of a grand public life,--grand were the powers
over which he held sway, like the continually increasing throngs of
listeners who streamed to his performances. When, on the other hand, we
hear of the difficulty with which Beethoven, during the course of a
quarter of a century, succeeded in giving about a dozen concerts in
which his Titanic orchestral poems were performed _for the first time_,
we become faint at heart. And I cannot do otherwise than express my
conviction that, under other conditions, no inconsiderable portion of
his works, which are (to use Schumann's expression) _veiled symphonies_,
would have revealed their true nature. The world of the musician would
hardly have been more enriched thereby, but the musical public would
have benefited. For millions would have been edified, where now hundreds
torment themselves (with quartets and sonatas) for the most part in
vain.

Yes! these symphonies and overtures, with their unpretending
designations, are the first poems of our time, and they are _national
poems_ in a far truer sense than the songs of the Edda, and all
connected with them, ever can or will be for us, despite the efforts of
littérateurs and artists. Yes! in the soul of this Rhinelander, who
every day inveighed against the town and the state in which he lived,
who was zealous for the French Republic, and ready to become
Kapellmeister to King Jerome--in this soul was condensed the most ideal
Germania ever conceived by the noblest mind. With the poet we may
exclaim, "For he was ours!"--_ours_ through what he uttered--_ours_
through the form in which he spoke--_ours_, for we were true to the
proverb in the way we ill-treated and misunderstood him.

"Industry and love" Goethe claims for his countrymen. No artist ever
exercised these qualities with regard to his art in a higher degree than
did Beethoven. _She_ was to him the highest good--no care, no joy of
life could separate him from her. Neither riches nor honours estranged
him from the ideal which he perceived and strove after so long as he
breathed. He never could do enough to satisfy himself either in single
works or in his whole career. He spared himself no trouble in order to
work out his thoughts to the fullest maturity, to the most transparent
clearness. To the smallest tone-picture he brought the fullest power.
His first sketches, like the autographs of his scores, show in the
plainest manner that inflexible persistency, that unwearied patience,
which we presuppose in the scientific investigator, but which, in the
inspired singer, fill us with astonishment and admiration. In all
conflicts (and every artistic creation is a conflict) the toughest
difficulty is _to persevere_.

Truth was a fundamental part of Beethoven's character. What he sang came
from his deepest soul. Never did he allow himself to make concessions
either to the multitude and its frivolity, or to please the vanity of
executants. The courage which is bound up with this resembles the modest
bravery of the citizen, but it celebrates even fewer triumphs than the
latter.

Beethoven was proud, not vain. He had the consciousness of his
intellectual power--he rejoiced to see it recognised--but he despised
the small change of every-day applause. Suspicious and hasty, he gave
his friends occasion for many complaints, but nowhere do we find a trace
of any pretension to hero-worship. He stood too high to feel himself
honoured by such proceedings; but, at the same time, he had too much
regard for the independent manliness of others to be pleased with a
homage which clashed against that.

What a fulness of the noblest, the sublimest conceptions must have lived
and moved in him to admit of their crystallizing themselves into the
melodies which transport us!--softness without weakness, enthusiasm
without hollowness, longing without sentimentality, passion without
madness. He is deep but never turgid, pleasant but never insipid, lofty
but never bombastic. In the expression of love, fervent, tender,
overflowing with happiness or with melancholy, but never with ignoble
sensuality. He can be cordial, cheerful, joyful to extravagance, to
excess--never to vulgarity. In the deepest suffering he does not lose
himself--he triumphs over it. He has been called humorous--it is a
question whether music, viewed in its immediateness and truth, be
capable of expressing humour--yet it may be that he sometimes "smiles
amid tears." With true majesty does he move in his power, in his
loftiness, in the boldness of his action, which may rise to
defiance--never to senseless licence. A little self-will shows itself
here and there, but it suits him well, for it is not the self-will of
obstinacy, but of striving. He can be pious, never hypocritical; his
lofty soul rises to the Unspeakable; he falls on his knees with
humility, but not with slavish fear, for he feels the divinity within. A
trace of heroic freedom pervades all his creations, consequently they
work in the cause of freedom. The expression, "_Im Freien_"--liberty!
might serve as the inscription on a temple dedicated to his genius!

Like Nature herself, he is varied in his forms, without ever
relinquishing a deep-laid, well-concerted basis; he is rich in the
melodies which he produces, but never lavish; he acts in regard to them
with a wise economy. In the working out of his thoughts he unites the
soundest musical logic to the richest inventive boldness. Seldom only
does he forget the words of Schiller,--"In what he leaves _unsaid_, I
discover the master of style."

This wise economy does not forsake him either in the selection or the
number of the organs which he employs. He avoids every superfluity, but
the spirits of sound which he invokes must obey him. Nevertheless, not
to slavish servitude does he reduce them; on the contrary, he raises
them in their own estimation by that which he exacts from them. What
might be urged against him, perhaps, is that he sometimes makes demands
upon them to which they are not adequate, that his ideal conception goes
beyond their power of execution.

He has spoken almost exclusively in the highest forms of instrumental
music, and where, in one way or other, words are added to these, he has
always been actuated by high motive. He sings of Love and Freedom with
Goethe, of Joy with Schiller, of the heroism of Conjugal Love in
"Fidelio;" in his solemn Mass he gives expression to all those feelings
which force their way from man to his Maker.

Enough, enough! we would never have done, were we to say all that could
be said about such a mind. Dare we now really claim his creations, which
breathe the highest humanity, as specially _German_? I think this will
be granted us when we add to it the consideration that our greatest
poets and thinkers have, in like manner; struck root firmly in their
nationality, whence they have grown up--away, beyond--into those regions
from which their glance embraced but _one_ nobly striving human family.

It has been often declared that we, for long, felt and recognised our
national unity only through the works of our poets, artists, and
philosophers; but it has never been fully recognised that it was our
first tone-poets in particular, who caused the essential German
character to be appreciated by other nations. There are, perhaps, no two
German names which can rejoice in a popularity--widely diffused in the
most dissimilar nations--equal to that of Mozart and Beethoven. And
Haydn, and Weber, and Schubert, and Mendelssohn! what a propaganda have
they made for the Fatherland! That they speak a _universal_ language
does not prevent their uttering in it the best which we possess _as
Germans_.

Nevertheless, as men are constituted, it is not to be denied that what
enchants does not on that account overawe them; they _esteem_ the
beautiful, they _respect_ only force and strength, even should these
work destroyingly.

Well, then! Germany has now shown what she can do in this way; she will
bloom afresh, and follow out her high aims in every direction. The
consideration which we could long since have claimed as a people, will
then be freely accorded to the German state.

As a musician, I can wish for the nation nothing better than that it
should resemble a Beethoven symphony,--full of poetry and power;
indivisible, yet many-sided; rich in thought and symmetrical in form;
exalted and mighty!

And for the Beethoven symphonies I could wish directors and executants
like those of whom the world's history will speak when considering the
nineteenth century. But History, if at all true to her task, must also
preserve the name of the man who, nearly seventy years ago, created the
Eroica,--an achievement in the intellectual life which may place itself
boldly by the side of every battle which has left invigorating and
formative traces on the destiny of mankind.

    FERDINAND HILLER.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: This Essay also appeared in Germany in the _Salon_.]

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



BEETHOVEN:

A Memoir.



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.

    Origin of the family VAN BEETHOVEN--The Electorate of Cologne--Court
    of Clemens August the Magnificent--Ludwig van Beethoven the
    Elder--Johann van Beethoven--Bonn in 1770.


Towards the middle of the seventeenth century there lived in a Belgian
village near Louvain a family of the name VAN BEETHOVEN. To their
position in life we have no clue, unless it be that contained in the
name itself (_beet_, root; _hof_, garden), which after all only
indicates that the occupation of some remote progenitor was akin to that
of the "grand old gardener" from whom we all claim descent. The
question, however, is immaterial.

A member of this family left his native place, and in the year 1650
settled in Antwerp, where he married, and became the founder of a race,
one of whom was destined to render the hitherto obscure name immortal.

The grandson of this Beethoven had twelve children, the third of whom,
Ludwig, followed the example of his great-grandsire, and quitted the
paternal roof at an early age. It has been imagined that this step was
the result of family disagreements; however that may be, it is certain
that after the lapse of some years Ludwig was again in friendly
correspondence with his relations.

The youth bent his steps towards the home of his ancestors, where he
probably had connections, and succeeded in getting an appointment for
the period of three months in one of the churches of Louvain. As this
was merely to fill the place of the _Phonascus_ who was ill, young
Beethoven found himself when the three months were over again adrift.

He was but eighteen; tolerably well educated, however; a cultivated
musician, and the possessor of a good voice. With these qualities he was
pretty sure of making his way, and in the following year we hear of him
at Bonn, the seat of government of the splendour-loving Clemens August,
Elector of Cologne.

It has been thought that he received a special summons thither, but this
is, to say the least, doubtful. It is more probable that the young man,
with the love of change and the confidence in his own abilities natural
to his age, was drawn to Bonn by the dazzling reports that were spread
far and wide of the Mæcenas then on the episcopal throne.

A few words may not be out of place here as to the nature of the
independent Ecclesiastical States (and specially of Cologne), which
occupy so large a space in the history of Germany prior to the French
Revolution; since the fact of the great master having been born in one
of these communities had an influence on his career which would have
been wanting had fate placed him in a state of more importance,
politically speaking.

We in England are inclined to hold somewhat in contempt the petty German
court--the "Pumpernickel" of Thackeray,--with its formality, its gossip,
its countless rules of etiquette, and its aping the doings of its
greater neighbours. And yet in this ridicule there is a touch of
ingratitude, for how greatly are we indebted to these "Serene
Transparencies," and their love of pomp and display! How many
masterpieces of art owe to their fostering care their very existence!
How many men eminent in science and literature have to thank them for
that support and encouragement without which their works, if produced at
all, must have fallen to the ground dead-born! People talk of the divine
power, the inherent energy of genius, but what a loss is it for the
world when that energy is consumed in the effort of keeping soul and
body together! The divine power will and does manifest itself at length,
but enfeebled and distorted by the struggle which might have been
averted by a little timely aid.

These prince-bishops of Cologne generally belonged to some royal house,
the office being in fact regarded as a convenient sinecure for younger
sons. They were chosen by the Chapter, subject only to the approval of
the Pope and the Emperor, as the supreme spiritual and temporal heads,
the people themselves having no voice in the matter.

They ruled over a small territory of about thirty German miles in
length, and in some places only two or three in breadth. Within this
limited area there were several wealthy and flourishing towns; among
which, strangely enough, that which gave its name to the diocese was not
included, a feud of the thirteenth century between the reigning
archbishop and the burghers of Cologne having resulted in the
recognition of the latter as a free imperial city, and the removal of
the court to Bonn, which continued to be the seat of government until
the abolition of the Electorate in 1794.

Were it not that the loss of so wealthy a town as Cologne was of no
small moment to the episcopal coffers, the change must have been
agreeable rather than otherwise, for Bonn, even in those days, fairly
bore the palm from Cologne as a place of residence. Here, then, for
about five hundred years, the little state flourished, better perhaps
than we, with our modern ideas as to the union of the temporal and
spiritual power are willing to admit, and especially in the last fifty
years of its existence, was this the case.

Debarred by the limited income at their disposal from taking any
prominent part in political life, cut off from ordinary domestic ties
and interests, the archbishops were driven to seek compensation for
these deprivations in some favourite pursuit; and to their credit be it
said, not the delights of the chase or the table alone engaged their
attention. The old genius of appreciation of art transferred its
presence from the Arno to the Rhine, and began to exert in the Electors
of Cologne an influence of great importance in the æsthetic development
of Germany.

The four last Electors especially distinguished themselves, and shed a
lustre on their court, by the number of talented men they drew around
them, and the liberal patronage they bestowed on music and the drama.
Joseph Clemens, the first of these, was himself a composer, after the
usual fashion of royal dilettanti, no doubt, but a keen discerner of
talent in others.

His successor, Clemens August, had passed his youth in Rome, where,
although modern taste was on the decline, the imperishable monuments of
art by which he was surrounded seem to have breathed something of their
own spirit into him. He did a great deal towards beautifying the town of
Bonn; built, besides churches and cloisters, an immense palace, the
present university, and greatly enlarged the villa of Poppelsdorf, now
the Natural History Museum. His household was conducted on the most
magnificent scale, grand fêtes were of common occurrence, and his court
was thronged by celebrities of every rank.

Especially did the reputation of the court music stand high. The
archbishop, like his predecessor, was a connoisseur, and selections from
the operas of Handel and the cantatas of Sebastian Bach were performed
at Bonn in a style worthy of the imperial court at Vienna.

It was to this brilliant little capital, then, that young Ludwig van
Beethoven made his way in the year 1732, with a light heart and still
lighter purse, and begged for an engagement as one of the court
musicians, which distinction, after the customary year's probation, was
formally granted him, with an annual stipend of four hundred guldens, at
that time considered a very good income for so young a man.

His career seems to have been uniformly successful and honourable.
Existing documents speak of him as successively simple _Musicus_, then
_Dominus van Beethoven_, next as _Musicus Anticus_, and finally in the
year 1761 as _Herr Kapellmeister_, when his name also figures third in a
list of twenty-eight _Hommes de chambre Honoraires_ in the "Court
Calendar." This success is the more remarkable when we reflect that
Ludwig van Beethoven the elder was no composer, and in those days the
musical director in the service of a prince was expected to produce
offhand, at an hour's notice, appropriate music for every family
occurrence, festival or funeral; so that his appointment as
kapellmeister must have created no little jealousy, especially as there
were several eminent composers at court. But in truth it would have been
impossible for him to find much time for composition amid the
multifarious duties that devolved upon him. In addition to the general
responsibility over all pertaining to musical matters, including the
oversight of the numerous singers, choristers, and instrumentalists in
the Elector's service, he was expected to conduct in church, in the
theatre, on private occasions at court, to examine the candidates for
vacancies in the choir and orchestra, and also to take the bass part in
several operas and cantatas. Truly the Herr Kapellmeister held no
sinecure, if his royal master did!

Notwithstanding, he seems to have led a quiet, even-going life, able,
unlike the most of his colleagues, to lay by a little sum of money,
happy in the exercise of his art (alas, poor man! domestic bliss was
denied him), respected and beloved by all.

Such was the grandfather of the great Beethoven. He died when the boy
was but three years of age; nevertheless the old man in the scarlet robe
usually worn at that time by elderly people, with his dark complexion
and flashing eye, seems to have made no ordinary impression on
Beethoven's childish mind. He always spoke with reverence of his
grandfather, whom he doubtless regarded as the founder of the family,
and the only relic that he cared to have when settled in Vienna was a
portrait of the old man, which he begs his friend Wegeler in a letter to
send him from Bonn.

We have hinted that Ludwig van Beethoven was not happy in his home. If
every one is haunted by some skeleton, his was grim enough. Not many
years after their marriage his wife Josepha had become addicted to
drinking, and in fact her habits were such that it was found necessary
to place her in the restraint of a convent at Cologne. Thayer attributes
this failing to grief for the loss of her children, only one of whom
lived to manhood; but this trait in her character was unfortunately
reproduced in her son Johann.[2]

The latter appears to have been a man of vacillating, inert temperament,
gifted with a good voice and artistic sensibility, but not capable of
any sustained effort. At the age of twenty-four we find him filling the
post of Tenor in the Electoral Chapel with the miserable stipend of one
hundred thalers, and not distinguished in any way, unless we except his
ingenuity in spelling or misspelling his own name in the petitions which
he from time to time addressed to the Elector for an increase of salary.
In these he calls himself _Bethoven_, _Betthoven_, _Bethof_,
_Biethoffen_; but this instance does not warrant us in concluding that
he was a man of no education whatever, for the orthography even of those
who considered themselves scholars was at that time very erratic.

At the age of twenty-seven, on an income not much larger than that just
mentioned, Johann van Beethoven took unto himself a wife. The entry in
the register of the parish of St. Remigius runs thus:--

    "Copulavi-- "Nov. 12, 1767.

    "JOHANNEM VAN BEETHOVEN, filium legitimum LUDOVICI VAN BEETHOVEN et
    MARIÆ JOSEPHÆ POLL,

    Et

    MARIAM MAGDALENAM KEFERICH, viduam LEYM, ex Ehrenbreitstein, filiam
    HENRICI KEFERICH et ANNÆ MARIÆ WESTROFFS."

The object of his choice was a young widow, Maria Magdalena, daughter of
the head cook at the castle of Ehrenbreitstein. Her first husband,
Johann Leym, one of the _valets de chambre_ to the Elector of Treves,
had left her a widow at the age of nineteen. The fruit of this plebeian
union between the tenor singer of the Electoral Chapel and the daughter
of the head cook to his Grace the Archbishop of Treves was the great
maestro.

What a downfall must the discovery of this fact have been to the
numerous Viennese admirers of Beethoven, who for long persisted in
attributing to him a noble origin, confounding the Flemish particle
_van_ with the aristocratic _von_! It was impossible, they thought, that
Beethoven's undoubted aristocratic leanings could be compatible with so
humble a parentage. Hence the absurd fable, promulgated by Fayolle and
Choron, which represented him as a natural son of Frederic II., King of
Prussia, which was indignantly repudiated by Beethoven himself.

In general careless of his own reputation, he could not bear that the
slightest breath of slander should touch his mother; and in a letter
addressed to Wegeler begged him to "make known to the world the honour
of his parents, particularly of his mother." Her memory was always
regarded by him with the deepest tenderness, and he was wont to speak
lovingly of the "great patience she had with his waywardness."

We cannot conclude this short sketch better than by presenting the
reader with Thayer's picturesque description of Bonn, as it must have
appeared in the eyes of the young Beethoven.

The old town itself wore an aspect very similar to that of the present
day. There were the same churches and cloisters, the same quaint flying
bridge, the same ruins of Drachenfels and Godesberg towering above the
same orchard-embedded villages. The Seven Hills looked quietly down on
the same classic Rhine, not as yet desecrated by puffing tourist-laden
steamboat or shrieking locomotive.

Gently and evenly flowed the life-current in the Elector's capital, no
foreboding of nineteenth century bustle and excitement causing even a
ripple on the calm surface.

"Let our imagination paint for us a fine Easter or Whitsun morning in
those times, and show us the little town in its holiday adornment and
bustle.

"The bells are ringing from castle tower and church steeple; the country
people, in coarse but comfortable garments (the women overladen with gay
colours), come in from the neighbouring villages, fill the
market-places, and throng into the churches to early mass.

"The nobles and principal citizens, in ample low-hanging coats, wide
vests, and knee-breeches (the whole suit composed of some
bright-coloured stuffsilk, satin, or velvet), with great white
fluttering cravats, ruffles over the hands; buckles of silver, or even
of gold, below the knee and on the shoes; high frizzed and powdered
perruques on the head, covered with a cocked hat, if the latter be not
tucked underneath the arm; a sword by the side, and generally a
gold-headed cane; and, if the morning be cold, a scarlet mantle thrown
over the shoulders.

"Thus attired they decorously direct their steps to the castle to kiss
the hand of his Serene Highness, or drive in at the gates in ponderous
equipages, surmounted by white-powdered, cocked-hatted coachman and
footman.

"Their wives wear long narrow bodices with immense flowing skirts. Their
shoes with very high heels, and the towering rolls over which their hair
is dressed, give them an appearance of greater height than they in
reality possess. They wear short sleeves, but long silk gloves cover
their arms.

"The clergy of different orders and dress are attired as at the present
day, with the exception of the streaming wigs. The Electoral Guard has
turned out, and from time to time the thunder of the firing from the
walls reaches the ear.

"On all sides strong and bright contrasts meet the eye; velvet and silk,
'purple and fine linen,' gold and silver. Such was the taste of the
period; expensive and incommodious in form, but imposing, magnificent,
and indicative of the distinction between the different grades of
society."

Such was the Bonn of 1770.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 2: We are told on good authority that the elder Beethoven had
invested his money in "two cellars of wine," which he bought from the
growers of the district, and sold into the Netherlands. An unlucky
speculation! Johann, we learn, was early an adept at
"wine-tasting."--THAYER, Vol. i. App., p. 328.]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER II.

BOYHOOD.

    Birth--Early Influences and Training--Neefe--First Attempts at
    Composition--The Boy Organist--Max Friedrich's National
    Theatre--Mozart and Beethoven--Disappointment.


On the 17th of December, 1770, in the old house in the Bonngasse, Ludwig
van Beethoven first saw the light. He was not the eldest child, Johann
having about eighteen months previously lost a son who had also been
christened Ludwig.

Beethoven's infant years flew by happily, the grandfather being still
alive, and able to make good any deficiency in his son's miserable
income; but in the year 1773 the old man was gathered to his fathers,
and the little household left to face that struggle with poverty which
embittered Beethoven's youth.

The father, however, was not yet the hardened, reckless man he
afterwards became, and could still take pleasure in the manifest joy
exhibited by his little son whenever he sat at the pianoforte and
played or sang. The sound of his father's voice was sufficient to draw
the child from any game, and great was his delight when Johann placed
his little fingers among the keys and taught him to follow the melody of
the song.

On the title-page of the three Sonatas dedicated to the Elector
Maximilian Friedrich, Beethoven says, "From my fourth year music has
been my favourite pursuit;" and such would seem to have been really the
case.

The readiness with which the child learned was, however, unfortunate for
him. No long interval had elapsed since the extraordinary performances
of the young Mozarts had astonished the whole musical world, and the
evil genius of Johann van Beethoven now prompted him to turn his son's
talents to the same account. He resolved to make of Ludwig a prodigy,
and foresaw in his precocious efforts a mine of wealth which would do
away with any necessity for exertion on his part, and allow him to give
full scope to what was fast becoming his dominant passion.

With this end in view he undertook the musical education of his boy, and
the little amusing lessons, at first given in play, now became sad and
serious earnest. Ludwig was kept at the pianoforte morning, noon, and
night, till the child began positively to hate what he had formerly
adored.

Still the father was relentless: Handel, Bach, Mozart, all had been
great as child-musicians; and if the boy (only a baby of five years)
showed signs of obstinacy or sulkiness, he must be forced into
submission by cruel threats and still more cruel punishments. Many a
time was the little Ludwig seen in tears, standing on a raised bench
before his pianoforte, thus early serving his apprenticeship to grief.

In short, Johann was fast doing all he could to ruin the genius of his
son, when, fortunately for the world, it soon became evident that if
Ludwig were to do wonders as a prodigy, he would require a better
teacher than his father, and the boy was accordingly handed over to one
Pfeiffer, an oboist in the theatre, and probably a lodger in Johann's
house.

This man seems to have been of a genial, kindly nature, though only too
willing to second his landlord's views with regard to the boy; for we
learn that when the two came home from the tavern far on in the night
(as was too often the case) the little Ludwig would be dragged from his
bed and kept at the pianoforte till daybreak! Beethoven seems, however,
to have had a great regard for Pfeiffer, who was an excellent pianist,
and from whom he declared he had learned more than from any one else.

On hearing many years after that he was broken down and in poverty, he
sent him, through Simrock the music publisher, a sum of money.

This ruthless conduct on the part of Johann, though unjustifiable and
inhuman, probably layed the foundation of the technical skill and power
over the pianoforte which so greatly distinguished Beethoven. It is not
positively certain that the father gained his end, and made money by
exhibiting the child, though we have the testimony of the widow Karth
(who as a child inhabited the same house as the Beethovens) that on one
occasion the mother made a journey to Holland and Belgium--probably to
some relations in Louvain,--where she received several considerable
presents from noble personages before whom the wonder-child had
performed. This, however, is a mere childish reminiscence, not to be
depended on, though it certainly coincides with all we know of Johann's
character.

The boy was also forced to learn the violin, and this he disliked
infinitely more than the piano, a fact which puts to flight the pretty
anecdote narrated in the "Arachnologie" of Quatremère Disjonval, who
gravely states that whenever the boy began to practise--in an old ruined
garret filled with broken furniture and dilapidated music-books--a
spider was in the habit of leaving its hiding-place, and perching itself
upon his violin till he had finished. When his mother discovered her
son's little companion she killed it, whereupon this second Orpheus,
filled with indignation, smashed his instrument! Beethoven himself
remembered nothing about this, and used to laugh heartily at the story,
saying it was far more probable that his discordant growls frightened
away every living thing--down to flies and spiders.

When he was nine years old, Pfeiffer left Bonn to act as bandmaster in a
Bavarian regiment, and the boy was placed under the care of Van den
Eeden, the court organist. At his death, which took place not long
after, Ludwig was transferred to his successor, Christian Gottlob
Neefe, whose pupil he remained for several years.

This Neefe, long since forgotten, was one of the best musicians of the
time, and thought worthy to be named in the same breath with Bach and
Graun. He was a ready composer, and the favourite pupil of Johann Adam
Hiller, Bach's successor as Cantor in the Thomasschule at Leipzig. He
appears, moreover, to have been an amiable, conscientious man, and so
high did his artistic reputation stand that he, although a Protestant,
was tolerated as organist in the archbishop's private chapel.

How comes it, then, that with all these qualifications Beethoven would
not afterwards allow that he had profited by his instructions? The
question is not easily solved. Beethoven himself wrote from Vienna to
his old teacher in 1793, "I thank you for the advice which you often
gave me whilst striving in my divine art. If I ever become a great man
you have a share in it."

Notwithstanding this tribute there was a coldness between them. It may
be that master and pupil had not that entire sympathy with each other
which is essential to any worthy result from the relationship.

Beethoven, as we know, was self-willed, and overflowing with an
originality which, even at that early age, would not easily brook
dictation. Neefe, on the other hand, was a _young_ man, and endowed, as
he himself tells us in his Autobiography, with a certain satirical
tendency, which he may have allowed somewhat too free play in
criticising his young pupil's efforts in composition. If the latter
conjecture be correct, it gives the clue to the earnest advice Beethoven
was wont to give the critics in after years--never to judge the
performances of a beginner harshly, as "many would thus be deterred from
following out what they might, perhaps, have ultimately succeeded in."
Contempt to a sensitive, shrinking nature is like the blast of the east
wind on a tender flower; downright condemnation is easier to bear than
the sneer which throws the young aspirant, smarting and humiliated, back
into himself--his best energies withered for the moment.

Whatever Beethoven's feeling to Neefe may have been, it did not, at any
rate, prevent his making very decided progress under his tuition, at
which the organist himself rejoiced, as we learn from the following
letter written by him, and published in _Cramer's Magazine_--the first
printed notice of Beethoven:--"Louis van Beethoven, son of the Tenor
mentioned above, a boy of eleven years, with talent of great promise. He
plays the pianoforte with great execution and power, reads very well at
sight, and, to say all in brief, plays almost the whole of Sebastian
Bach's 'Wohl-temperirte Clavier,' which Herr Neefe has put into his
hands. He who knows this collection of preludes and fugues through all
the keys (which one might almost call the _non plus ultra_) will
understand what this implies. Herr Neefe has also given him, so far as
his other occupations permit, some introduction to the study of
thorough-bass. Now he exercises him in composition, and for his
encouragement has had printed in Mannheim nine variations for the
pianoforte written by him on a March. This young genius deserves help in
order that he may travel. He will certainly be a second Wolfgang Amadeus
Mozart if he continue as he has begun."

What could be kinder than the tone of this letter?

The allusion to Mozart in the last sentence does credit to Neefe's
discernment, as the great composer was at that time comparatively little
known. It is to be presumed that at this period Beethoven also studied
the works of C.P.E. Bach, since there is evidence that he was familiar
with them. His progress, in short, was such that we find him in 1782,
when he had not completed his twelfth year, installed as Neefe's
representative at the organ, while the latter was absent on a journey of
some duration.

Thus we may picture the boy Beethoven to ourselves, at an age when other
children are frolicsome and heedless, as already a little man, earnest,
grave, reserved, buried in his own thoughts, his Bach, and his organ. He
had no time to join his young companions in their games, even had his
inclination prompted him to do so; for besides the hours devoted to
music, he attended the public school, where he went through the usual
elementary course, and learned besides a little Latin. His knowledge of
the latter must, however, have been very slight, as when composing his
first Mass he was obliged to make use of a translation, which,
considering that he was brought up in a Catholic family, is singular
enough. Johann v. Beethoven was not the man to waste money, as he
thought, on giving his son a liberal education, so that the degree of
culture attained by Beethoven was due only to his own efforts and the
influences afterwards thrown around him.

In the year 1783 the three sonatas already alluded to were published,
Beethoven at the time being nearly thirteen--not _eleven_ years of age
as was stated,--the falsifying of his age being part of his father's
plan with regard to him. We give the dedication entire, because (though
probably not written wholly by Beethoven himself) it offers a curious
contrast to his subsequent ideas regarding the princes and great ones of
the earth:--

    "Most illustrious Prince! From my fourth year music has been my
    favourite pursuit. So early acquainted with the sweet Muse, who
    attuned my soul to pure harmonies, I won her, and methought was
    loved by her in return. I have now attained my eleventh year, and my
    Muse has often whispered to me in hours of inspiration, Try to write
    down the harmonies of thy soul! Eleven years old, thought I, how
    would the character of author become me? and what would riper
    artists say to it? I felt some trepidation. But my Muse willed it--I
    obeyed, and wrote.

    "And dare I now, most Serene Highness, venture to lay the first
    fruits of my youthful labour before your throne? and may I hope that
    you will cast on them the encouraging glance of your approval? Oh
    yes! for knowledge and art have at all times found in you a wise
    protector, a generous patron; and rising talent has thriven under
    your fatherly care. Filled with this cheering conviction I venture
    to approach you with these youthful efforts.

    "Accept them as the pure offering of childlike reverence, and look
    with favour,

    "Most illustrious Prince,

    "On them and their young composer,

    "LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN."

It has been generally imagined that Neefe was paid by the Elector for
the instruction given to Beethoven, but this is merely a supposition,
without any proof whatever. It is more than likely that Neefe considered
the assistance rendered to him by the boy an equivalent for his lessons.
We have seen how, as early as 1782, he was qualified to relieve him in
the organ duty, rather a heavy task, owing to the number of services at
which the organist was expected to be present.

In addition to this, Neefe soon found another way of employing him--but
this will require a little explanation.

Whilst awaiting his appointment as court organist, Neefe had acted as
musical director to a troupe of singers known as the Grossmann Company,
from the name of the leader and organizer. This was one of the best
operatic companies in Germany, all its members being actors of
experience and reputation.

Now it had entered the Elector's head to take this company into his own
service, and found a national theatre (in imitation of that at Vienna)
which should serve as a school of refinement for the worthy citizens of
Bonn. Neefe found himself, therefore, burdened with double duties as
conductor and organist, and in the season of 1783, owing to the absence
of one of his colleagues (the well-known Lucchesi), was almost
overwhelmed with work. He found it impossible to attend the morning
rehearsals in the theatre, and accordingly young Ludwig was appointed
_cembalist_ in the orchestra, _i.e._, to preside at the pianoforte. In
those days this was considered a distinction (as such Haydn regarded it
in London), and in fact only an accomplished musician could fill the
post, as all the accompaniments were played from the score.

To this early initiation may be attributed the extreme facility with
which Beethoven read, _a prima vista_, the most involved and complicated
scores, even when in manuscript, and that manuscript written by a Bach
in a manner calculated to drive any ordinary reader to despair.

For two seasons young Ludwig was the accompanist at all rehearsals, and
in addition to the advantage of thus working out in the most practical
way all that he learned of theory, he also gained a thorough
acquaintance with the works of Grétry and Gluck.

The operas were varied by dramatic representations, and these must have
had an immense influence on the observant, reflective boy; for the
_répertoire_ of the company was large, and embraced not only the
standard pieces of the day, but the new plays of Lessing, and "The
Robbers" of Schiller, which had begun to create a ferment of excitement
throughout Germany; besides translations from Molière, Goldoni, and our
own Garrick and Cumberland.

To return to our young _cembalist_, the two years 1783-84 must have been
a busy time to him between the chapel and the orchestra, but not a penny
did he receive for his services, although he may have earned a trifle by
playing the organ every morning at the six o'clock mass in the church of
St. Remigius.

When he was thirteen, however, through Neefe's influence he was
nominated officially to the post he had so long filled in reality, that
of assistant organist, and would have drawn a salary but for an event
which threw him back again.

The Elector Max Friedrich died, the operatic company was dismissed, and
Neefe, having nothing to do but play his organ, had no further need of
an assistant.

This must have been a great blow to the boy; not that he cared for the
money in itself, but he knew how it would have lightened his poor
mother's cares, and shed a gleam of sunshine over the poverty-stricken
household.

His father was now beginning to throw off all restraint; his failing was
generally known, and more than once he was rescued from the hands of the
police and brought home by his son in a state of unconsciousness. Long
ere this, two sons, Caspar Anton Carl and Nikolaus Johann, respectively
four and six years younger than Ludwig, had been added to the family,
and doubtless many were the secret councils between the boy and his
mother as to how the few thalers of Johann (_minus_ what was spent in
the alehouse) could be made to meet the needs of the household. It was
probably about this time that Beethoven began to give lessons, that most
wearisome of all employments to him, and so for more than a year, to the
great hindrance of his own studies, contributed his mite to the general
fund.

The year 1785, however, brought with it a little heartening; Ludwig's
former appointment as assistant organist was confirmed by the new
Elector, and with the yearly stipend of a hundred thalers an era of hope
dawned for the lad.

Max Franz, Archbishop of Cologne, was the youngest son of Maria Theresa,
and the favourite of his brother, the Emperor Joseph II., whom he
strongly resembled in character and disposition.

To any one familiar with the musical history of the period and the
Emperor's relation to Mozart, this will be sufficient to indicate the
pleasure with which the Bonn musicians must have hailed his advent. Nor
were their expectations disappointed; Max Franz surpassed his
predecessors not only in the munificence of his support, but (what is
perhaps of more importance) in the real interest shown by him in the
progress of art at his court. Neither did he confine his patronage to
music alone (though, as was natural in a son of Maria Theresa, this was
his first care); painting, science, and literature alike felt the
influence of his generous mind. The university was founded and endowed
by him, and the utmost efforts made to meet that universal demand for a
higher culture, and that striving after truth in art, which the works of
Schlegel, Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, and others were rapidly
disseminating throughout the length and breadth of Germany. As Wegeler
(the friend and biographer of Beethoven, at that time a medical student
of nineteen) writes, "It was a splendid, stirring time in many ways at
Bonn, so long as the genial Elector, Max Franz, reigned there." It can
readily be imagined, therefore, that a youth so full of promise as
Beethoven could not escape the notice of such a prince, and that to his
own talents, backed by the recommendation of Neefe--not to the influence
of any patron--he owed the only official appointment ever held by him.

For the next year he seems to have had a comparatively easy life, his
salary no doubt going to his mother, and the little he could make by
teaching carefully put aside for a great purpose he had formed. A
characteristic anecdote of this period is worth repeating, inasmuch as
Beethoven himself used often to speak of it with glee in after life as a
specimen of his boyish achievements.

In the old style of church music, on the Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday
of Passion Week it was usual to sing select portions from the
Lamentations of Jeremiah, consisting of short phrases of from four to
six lines. In the middle of each phrase a pause was made, which the
accompanist was expected to fill up as his fancy might dictate by a
free interlude on the pianoforte--the organ being prohibited during
these three days. Now it so happened that the singer to whom this was
allotted in the Electoral Chapel was one Heller, a thoroughly
well-practised but somewhat boastful musician. To him Beethoven declared
that he was able to throw him out in his part without employing any
means but such as were perfectly justifiable. Heller resented the
insinuation, and rashly accepted a wager on the subject. When the
appropriate point was reached, Beethoven ingeniously modulated to a key
so remote from the original one, that although he continued to hold fast
the key-note of the latter, and struck it repeatedly with his little
finger, Heller was completely thrown out, and obliged abruptly to stop.
Franz Ries the violinist, father of the afterwards celebrated Ferdinand,
and Lucchesi, who were present, declared themselves perfectly astounded
at the occurrence, and the mystified singer rushed in a tumult of rage
and mortification to the Elector and complained of Beethoven. The
good-humoured Max Franz, however, rather enjoyed the story, and merely
ordered the young organist to content himself with a more simple
accompaniment for the future.

In the spring of 1787, Ludwig at length reached the height of his boyish
aspirations. His little savings had accumulated to what was in his eyes
a large sum, and he looked forward with eagerness to a journey to
Vienna. It has been supposed that the funds for this visit were supplied
by others, but this is improbable. At that time Beethoven had no
wealthy friends; there is no evidence to show that the Archbishop
assisted him, and certain is it that no money was forthcoming from his
father. We are obliged to fall back upon the supposition that his own
scanty earnings, eked out perhaps by his mother, were his only means,
especially as we know that they proved insufficient for his purpose, and
that he was obliged to borrow money for his journey home.

What were Beethoven's intentions with regard to this visit?

His father's conduct, which must have many a time brought the flush of
shame to his young brow, his mother's evidently failing health, the
numerous unsupplied wants of the family, now increased by the birth of a
daughter,[3]--all these circumstances combined to urge on his sensitive,
loving nature the necessity of making some exertion, of taking some
decided step for the assistance of his dear ones.

Vienna, so far away, was his goal; there were assembled all the great
and noble in art--Gluck, Haydn, Mozart! the very mention of these names
must have roused the responsive throb of genius in the lad. To Vienna he
would go, and surely if there were any truth in the adage that "like
draws to like," these men must recognise the undeveloped powers within
him; and help him to attain his object.

That some such hopes as these must have beat high in Beethoven's breast,
animating him for the effort, is evident from the reaction that set in,
the despair that took possession of him when he found himself forced by
the iron course of events to abandon his project.

Arrived in the great capital he obtained an interview with Mozart, and
played before him. The maestro, however, rewarded his performance with
but feeble praise, looking upon it as mere parade; and probably in
technical adroitness the boy before him was far behind the little
Hummel, at that time under his tuition; for Beethoven's style, through
his constant organ-playing, was somewhat heavy and rough.

Beethoven, sensitively alive to everything, perceived Mozart's opinion,
and requested a thema for an improvisation. Somewhat sceptically Mozart
complied, and now the boy, roused by the doubt cast upon his abilities,
extemporized with a clearness of idea and richness of embellishment that
took his auditor by storm. Mozart went excitedly to the bystanders in
the anteroom, saying, "Pay heed to this youth--much will one day be said
about him in the world!"

The amiable Mozart did not live to see the fulfilment of his prophecy,
but he appears to have taken an interest in the boy, and to have given
him a few lessons.

Beethoven afterwards lamented that he had never heard Mozart play, which
may perhaps be accounted for by the fact that the master was much
occupied at the time with his "Don Giovanni," and also had that year to
mourn the loss of his father.

The following letter fully explains the cause of Beethoven's sudden
departure from Vienna, and the apparent shipwreck of all his hopes:--

    "_Autumn._ _Bonn_, 1787.

    "MOST WORTHY AND DEAR FRIEND,--I can easily imagine what you must
    think of me--that you have well-founded reasons for not entertaining
    a favourable opinion of me, I cannot deny.

    "But I will not excuse myself until I have explained the reasons
    which lead me to hope that my apologies will be accepted.

    "I must tell you that with my departure from Augsburg, my
    cheerfulness, and with it my health, began to decline. The nearer I
    came to my native city, the more frequent were the letters which I
    received from my father, urging me to travel as quickly as possible,
    as my mother's health gave great cause for anxiety. I hurried
    onwards, therefore, as fast as I could, although myself far from
    well. The longing to see my dying mother once more did away with all
    hindrances, and helped me to overcome the greatest difficulties. My
    mother was indeed still alive, but in the most deplorable state; her
    complaint was consumption; and about seven weeks ago, after enduring
    much pain and suffering, she died.

    "Ah! who was happier than I, so long as I could still pronounce the
    sweet name of mother, and heard the answer! and to whom can I now
    say it? To the silent images resembling her, which my fancy presents
    to me?

    "Since I have been here, I have enjoyed but few happy hours.
    Throughout the whole time I have been suffering from asthma, which I
    have reason to fear may eventually result in consumption. To this is
    added melancholy, for me an evil as great as my illness itself.

    "Imagine yourself now in my position, and then I may hope to receive
    your forgiveness for my long silence.

    "With regard to your extreme kindness and friendliness in lending me
    three carolins in Augsburg, I must beg you still to have a little
    indulgence with me, as my journey cost me a great deal, and here I
    have not the slightest prospect of earning anything. Fate is not
    propitious to me here in Bonn.

    "You will forgive my having written at such length about my own
    affairs; it was all necessary in order to excuse myself.

    "I entreat you not to withdraw your valuable friendship from me;
    there is nothing I so much desire as to render myself worthy of it.

    "I am, with all esteem,

    "Your most obedient servant and friend,

    "L. V. BEETHOVEN,

    "_Cologne Court Organist_.

    "_To_ Monsieur de Schaden,

    "_Counsellor at Augsburg_."

When years afterwards Ferdinand Ries came as a boy of fifteen to
Beethoven in Vienna, and solicited his help and countenance, the
master, who was much occupied at the time, told him so, adding, "Say to
your father that I have not forgotten how my mother died. He will be
satisfied with that." Franz Ries had, in fact, at the time of the
mother's illness, lent substantial assistance to the impoverished
family; and this to the heart of the son was a sure claim on his lasting
gratitude.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 3: Margaret, who died while still an infant.]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER III.

YOUTH.

    Despondency--The Breuning Family--Literary Pursuits--Count
    Waldstein--National Theatre of Max Franz--King Lux and his
    Court--The Abbé Sterkel--Appointment as Court Pianist--First
    Love--Second Visit of Joseph Haydn.


How "flat, stale, and unprofitable" must everything in Bonn have
appeared to our Beethoven after the charms of Vienna--charms real in
themselves, and surrounded by the ideal nimbus of his fresh young hopes
and strivings! The desolate, motherless home, his neglected orphan
brothers, his drunken father, the weary round of teaching,--it was no
light task for an impetuous, ardent genius to lift; but it had to be
faced, and with a noble self-sacrifice he entered on the dreary path
before him.

He had his reward--the very occupation which he disliked more than any
other, opened up to him a friendship which secured to him more peace and
happiness than he had yet known, and whose influence was potent
throughout his whole life--that, namely, with the family Von Breuning.

Madame von Breuning was a widow; her husband, a state councillor and a
member of one of the best families in Bonn, had perished in the attempt
to rescue the Electoral Archives from a fire that had broken out in the
palace, and since this calamity she had lived quietly with her brother,
the canon and scholar, Abraham v. Keferich, solely engaged in the
education of her children. These were four in number: three
boys--Christoph, Stephan, and Lenz; and one girl--Eleanore. It appears
that Beethoven (who was about four years older than Stephan) was
receiving violin lessons at the same time with the latter from Franz
Ries; and Stephan, struck, no doubt, with the genius of his
fellow-pupil, managed to get him introduced to his mother's house in the
capacity of pianoforte teacher to the little Lenz. Madame von Breuning
was not slow to perceive the extraordinary gifts of her son's new
acquaintance; and learning incidentally, with her woman's tact, the sad
state of matters at home, opened her heart as well as her house to the
motherless boy. He soon became one of the family, and used to spend the
greater part of the day and often the night with his new friends.

It is impossible to over-estimate the value of this friendship to the
young man. What a contrast to his own neglected home did the
well-ordered house of Madame v. Breuning present! Now for the first time
he was admitted to mix on equal terms with people of culture; here he
first enjoyed the refining influence of female society (did any
remembrance of Leonore suggest his ideal heroine?); and here also he
first became acquainted with the literature of his own and other
countries.

The young Breunings were all intellectual, and in the pursuit of their
studies they were encouraged and assisted by their uncle, the canon.
Christoph wrote very good verses, and Stephan also tried his hand at
some, which were not bad. The striving of these young people would
naturally lead our sensitive musician to reflect on his own defective
education, and to endeavour so to rectify it as to render himself worthy
of their friendship. Beethoven's love of the ancient classical writers
may be traced to this period, when Christoph and Stephan were studying
them in the original with their uncle, though it is not probable that he
ever learned Greek. His knowledge of Homer was gained through Voss's
translation, and his well-worn copy of the "Odyssey" testifies to the
earnest study it had received from him. French and Italian he seems to
have been acquainted with so far as he deemed it necessary; but his
principal literary studies were confined to Lessing, Bürger, Wieland,
and Klopstock. The last especially was his favourite, and his constant
companion in the solitary rambles among the mountains which he was fond
of indulging in. There, alone with the nature he venerated, the sonorous
lines and rolling periods of the German Milton sank deeply into his
mind, to be reproduced years after in immortal harmonies. At a later
period Klopstock was replaced in Beethoven's esteem by Goethe, of whose
poems he was wont to say that they "exercised a great sway over him, not
only by their meaning, but by their rhythm also. Their language urged
him on to composition."

But of all the blissful influences which tended to make this time the
happiest in his life, not one was so powerful as that of Madame von
Breuning herself. To her everlasting honour be it said that she was the
first of the very few individuals who ever thoroughly understood the
morbid and apparently contradictory character of Beethoven; and greatly
is it to the credit of the latter that he merited the love of such a
woman. Not his abilities alone gave him a place in her heart; it was his
true, noble, generous nature that won for him a continuance of the
favours first bestowed upon the artist. Madame v. Breuning thoroughly
appreciated Beethoven; he felt that she did. Hence the tacit confidence
that existed between them--he coming to her as to a mother, and she
advising him as she would have done one of her own sons. Beethoven used
to say of her that she understood how to "keep the insects from the
blossoms."

Even she, however, sometimes failed in one point, that, namely, of
inducing him to give his lessons regularly. It has been hinted before
that this was an unpalatable task to Beethoven. Wegeler describes him as
going to it _ut iniquæ mentis asellus_, and this dislike grew with every
succeeding year. Even his subsequent relation to his illustrious friend
and pupil, the Archduke Rudolph, was in the highest degree irksome to
him; he looked upon it as a mere court service. But while in Bonn our
composer was not in a position to choose his occupation. "Necessity
knows no law," and the higher claims of genius were forced to submit to
very sublunary considerations. Madame v. Breuning's representations
would sometimes succeed so far as to induce him to go to the house of
his pupil; but it was generally only to say that he "could not give his
lesson at that time--he would give two the next day instead." On such
occasions she would smile and say, "Ah! Beethoven is in a _raptus_
again!" an expression which the composer treasured up mentally, and was
fond of applying to himself in after life.

About this time also Beethoven gained another friend, Count Waldstein, a
young nobleman, who was passing the probationary time previously to
being admitted into the Teutonic Order, at Bonn, under the Grand-Master,
Max Franz. Beethoven afterwards expressed his obligations to him in the
dedication of the colossal sonata Op. 53.

He became a frequent visitor to the young organist's miserable room,
which he soon enlivened by the present of a grand pianoforte, and here
the friends--to outward appearance so different--doubtless passed many a
happy hour, for Waldstein was an excellent musician, and an enthusiastic
admirer of Beethoven's improvisations.

These were also one of the great pleasures in the Breuning circle, where
Wegeler relates that Beethoven would often yield to the general request,
and depict on the pianoforte the character of some well-known
personage. On one occasion Franz Ries, who was present, was asked to
join, which he did--probably the only instance on record of two artists
improvising on different instruments at one and the same time.

We have long lost sight of Johann v. Beethoven, however, and must
retrace our steps to see what has become of him. By the year 1789 he had
grown so hopelessly incapable that it was proposed to send him out of
Bonn on a pension of one hundred thalers, while the remaining hundred of
his former salary should be spent on his children. This plan was not
fully carried out, but the father's salary was by the Elector's orders
paid into Ludwig's hands, and entrusted to his management; so that the
young man of nineteen was the real head of the family.

The Elector Max Franz now followed the example of his predecessor, and
established a national theatre. Beethoven was not this time _cembalist_
to the company; he played the viol in the orchestra, whither he was
often accompanied by his friend Stephan Breuning, who handled the bow
creditably enough. For four years Beethoven occupied this post, and the
solid advantage it was to him is shown in his subsequent orchestration.

In the autumn of the year 1791 an incident occurred which broke the
monotony of the court life, and gives us an interesting side-glimpse of
our young musician. The Teutonic Order, referred to before, held a grand
conclave at Mergentheim, at which the Elector as Grand-Master was
obliged to be present. He had passed some months there two years
before, and had probably found time hang somewhat heavy on his hands; at
any rate, he resolved that his private musical and theatrical staff
should attend him on this occasion.

The announcement of this determination was received with great
approbation by all concerned, and Lux, the first comedian of the day,
was unanimously chosen king of the expedition. His Majesty then
proceeded to appoint the various officers of the household, among whom
Beethoven and Bernhard Romberg (afterwards the greatest violoncellist of
his time) figure as Scullions. Two ships were chartered for the
occasion, and King Lux and his court floated lazily down the Rhine and
the Main, between the sunny vine-clad hills where the peasants were hard
at work getting in the best harvest of the year. It was a merry time,
and, as Beethoven afterwards said, "a fruitful source of the most
beautiful images."

We can imagine the boat gliding peacefully along under the calm moonlit
sky--Beethoven sitting by himself, enjoying the unusual _dolce far
niente_; his companions a little apart are chanting a favourite
boat-song; the harmonious sounds rise and fall, alternating with the
gentle ripple on the water--and the young maestro, pondering on his
future life, tries to read his destiny in the "golden writing" of the
stars. Is not some such scene the background to the Adagio in the
"Sonata quasi Fantasia," dedicated to the Countess Giulietta?

At Aschaffenburg, Simrock, a leading member of the company (afterwards
the celebrated music-publisher), deemed it necessary that a deputation
(which included Beethoven) should pay a visit of respect to the Abbé
Sterkel, one of the greatest living pianists.

They were very graciously received, and the Abbé, in compliance with the
pressing request of his visitors, sat down to the pianoforte, and played
for some time. Beethoven, who had never before heard the instrument
touched with the same elegance, listened with the deepest attention, but
refused to play when requested to do so in his turn. It has been
mentioned that his style was somewhat hard and rough, and he naturally
feared the contrast with Sterkel's flowing ease. In vain his companions,
who, with true _esprit de corps_, were proud of their young colleague,
urged him to the pianoforte, till the Abbé turning the conversation on a
work of Beethoven's, lately published, hinted, with disdain either real
or assumed, that he did not believe the composer could master the
difficulties of it himself. (The work alluded to was a series of
twenty-four variations on Righini's Theme "Vieni Amore.") This touched
Beethoven's honour; he yielded without further hesitation, and not only
played the published variations, but invented others infinitely more
complicated as he went along, assuming the gliding, graceful style of
Sterkel in such a manner as utterly to bewilder the bystanders, who
overwhelmed him with applause.

It was perhaps after this display that he was promoted to a higher post
in King Lux's service by the royal letters patent, and to this weighty
document a great seal--stamped in pitch on the lid of a little box--was
attached by threads made of unravelled rope, which gave it quite an
imposing aspect. Seven years afterwards Wegeler discovered this
_plaisanterie_ carefully treasured among Beethoven's possessions, a
proof of the enjoyment afforded him by this excursion.

At Mergentheim the sensation created by the Elector's musicians was
immense. In an old newspaper exhumed by the indefatigable Thayer, the
following notice of Beethoven occurs.

The writer is Carl Ludwig Junker, chaplain to Prince Hohenlohe, and
himself a composer and critic of no mean reputation. After giving a
general account of the whole orchestra, he goes on:--

"I have heard one of the greatest players on the pianoforte, the
dear, worthy Beethoven.... I believe we may safely estimate the
artistic greatness of this amiable man by the almost inexhaustible
wealth of his ideas, the expression--peculiar to himself--with which
he plays, and his great technical skill. I should be at a loss to
say what quality of the great artist is still wanting to him. I have
heard Vogler[4] play on the pianoforte often, very often, and for
hours at a time, and have always admired his great execution; but
Beethoven, in addition to his finished style, is more speaking, more
significant, more full of expression,--in short, more for the heart;
consequently as good an Adagio as an Allegro player. Even the
first-rate artists of this orchestra are his admirers, and all ear
when he plays. He is excessively modest, without any pretensions
whatever.... His playing differs so materially from the ordinary
mode of touching the piano, that it appears as though he had
intended to lay out a path for himself, in order to arrive at the
perfection which he has now attained."

But even the pleasantest things must come to an end, and the expedition
to Mergentheim was no exception to the rule. In a few weeks, Archbishop,
musicians, and actors were once more at Bonn, busily engaged in
preparing for Christmas.

About this time Beethoven was nominated Court pianist, an appointment
due partly to his friend, Count Waldstein, partly also to the following
circumstance, which gave the Elector a striking proof of his young
_protégé's_ abilities. A new Trio by Pleyel had been sent to Max Franz,
and so great was his impatience to hear it that nothing would content
him but its immediate performance, without previous rehearsal, by
Beethoven, Ries, and Romberg.

To hear was to obey, and the Trio was played at sight very fairly, the
performers keeping well together. It was then discovered that two bars
in the pianoforte part had been omitted, and supplied by Beethoven so
ingeniously that not the slightest break was perceptible!

In the same year, 1791, Beethoven wrote the music for a splendid _bal
masqué_, organized by his friend Waldstein, and attended by all the
nobility for miles around. It was believed for long that Waldstein was
the author of the music.

Beethoven, meanwhile, continued his intimacy with the Breuning family,
where from time to time another attraction offered itself in the person
of Fräulein Jeannette d'Honrath, a young lady of Cologne, who
occasionally paid a visit of a few weeks to her friend Eleanore.

It has been asserted by some writers that Beethoven was insensible to
the charms of woman, and that love was to him a sealed book! For the
refutation of this statement it is only necessary to turn to his works,
which breathe a very different story to such as have ears to hear. For
those who have not, let the testimony of his friend Wegeler suffice:
"Beethoven was _never_ without a love, and generally in the highest
degree enamoured." The reason why his love was fated never to expand and
ripen will be explained in its own place. Here it is sufficient to say
that Beethoven, while glowing with fire and tenderness, eminently
calculated to love and be loved, was throughout his whole life, and in
every relation, delicacy itself; his nature shrunk instinctively from
anything like impurity.

To return: Mademoiselle Jeannette, a fascinating little blonde, divided
her attentions so equally between Beethoven and his friend Stephan, and
sang so charmingly about her heart being _desolé_ when the time for
parting came, that each believed himself the favoured one, until it
transpired that the "Herzchen had long since been bestowed" in its
entirety on a gallant Austrian officer, whom the young lady
subsequently married, and who afterwards rose to the rank of general.

There does not seem to have been any attachment between Beethoven and
Leonore; she was his pupil, his sister,[5] but nothing more; her
affections were already given to young Wegeler, whose wife she
afterwards became.

So our Beethoven was left to gnaw his fingers for the loss of his pretty
Jeannette, and to flutter on the outside of the crowd which hovered
round fair Barbara Koch, the beauty of Bonn, daughter of a widow,
proprietress of a coffee-house or tavern.

What! exclaims the reader, is this an instance of the so-called
"aristocratic leanings" of Beethoven?

We must beg him in reply not to look at things through exclusively
British and nineteenth century spectacles. The position of worthy Frau
Koch was, if not distinguished, certainly respectable.

Lewes, in his Life of Goethe, was obliged to combat with the same
prejudice in his account of the poet's student days at Leipzig, and we
cannot do better than quote his words with regard to the society to be
found in a German Wirthshaus of the period:--

"The _table d'hôte_ is composed of a circle of habitués, varied by
occasional visitors, who in time become, perhaps, members of the circle.
Even with strangers conversation is freely interchanged, and in a little
while friendships are formed, as natural tastes and likings assimilate,
which are carried out into the current of life."

The habitués of Frau Koch's house were the professors and students at
the university, and such members of the Electoral household as were
engaged in artistic pursuits. It was a rendezvous for them all, where
science, literature, art, and politics were discussed by able men; and
here, doubtless, Beethoven, with his friends Stephan Breuning and young
Reicha (nephew of the director), spent many a pleasant evening. The fair
Babette was, as we have hinted, no small attraction. She was a
cultivated woman, and the great friend of Eleanore v. Breuning. She
afterwards became governess to the children of Count Anton von
Belderbusch, whom she finally married.

We now come to an event which completely changed the current of
Beethoven's life--the return of Joseph Haydn from his second visit to
London. As he passed through Bonn the musicians gave him a public
breakfast at Godesberg, on which occasion Beethoven laid before him a
cantata of his composition--probably that on the death of Leopold II. It
met with the warmest praise from Haydn, but the author apparently did
not think highly of it himself, as it was never printed.

Whether the arrangements were made at this time for Haydn's reception of
Beethoven as his pupil, or negotiated afterwards through Waldstein, is
not known. Certain it is that in the October of 1792 we find his
long-delayed hopes on the point of realization, a pension from the
Elector having removed all difficulties.

Beethoven had often bemoaned in secret, and specially to his friend
Waldstein, the irregular, broken instruction he had received,
attributing Mozart's early success to the systematic course of study he
had pursued under the guidance of his father. It is a question, however,
whether Beethoven--even had he enjoyed the advantages of Mozart--would
ever have composed with the facility of the latter. Thayer thinks not;
there is evidence enough in the symphonies, &c., of our great master to
prove that he "earned his bread by the sweat of his brow."

The following note from Waldstein evinces the deep interest he took in
Beethoven, and his faith in the young composer's genius:--

    "DEAR BEETHOVEN,--"You are now going to Vienna for the realization
    of your wishes, so long frustrated. The Genius of Mozart still
    mourns and laments the death of his disciple. He found refuge with
    the inexhaustible Haydn, but no scope for action, and through him he
    now wishes once more to be united to some one. Receive, through
    unbroken industry, the spirit of Mozart from the hands of Haydn.

    "Your true friend,
    "WALDSTEIN.
    "Bonn, _29th October, 1792_."

In the beginning of November, then, 1792, Beethoven finally took leave
of his boyhood's friends--father and brothers, Wegeler, Franz Ries,
Neefe, Reicha, Waldstein, pretty Barbara Koch, and, hardest of all, the
Breunings.

Some of these he saw for the last time.

He was destined never again to tread the old familiar streets of Bonn.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 4: One of the greatest pianists of the time.]

[Footnote 5: The following birthday greeting, surrounded by a wreath of
flowers and accompanied by a silhouette of Eleanore, was found among
Beethoven's papers:--

    "Glück und langes Leben
      Wünsch' ich heute Dir,
    Aber auch daneben
      Wünsch' ich etwas mir!
    Mir in Rücksicht Deiner
      Wünsch' ich Deine Huld,
    Dir in Rücksicht meiner
      Nachsicht und Geduld!

    "Von Ihrer Freundin und Schülerin,

    "LORCHEN V. BREUNING.

"1790."]

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER IV.

LEHRJAHRE.

    Arrival in Vienna--Studies with Haydn--Timely Assistance of
    Schenk--Albrechtsberger--Beethoven as a Student--His Studies in
    Counterpoint--Letters to Eleanore v. Breuning.


Behold, then, our young musician at the long-desired goal--free from all
depressing, pecuniary cares, with his pension secure from the Elector,
and a little fund of his own to boot. He reached the capital about the
middle of November, alone and friendless; nor is there any proof that
the advent of the insignificant, clumsily built provincial youth made
the slightest sensation, or roused the interest of one individual among
the many thousands who thronged the busy streets.

His first care, as shown from a little pocket-book still preserved, was
to seek out a lodging suitable to his slender purse; his next, to
procure a pianoforte. The first requirement he at length met with in a
small room on "a sunk floor," which commended itself by the low rent
asked for it. Here Beethoven contentedly located himself until
fortune's smiles had begun to beam so brightly on him that he felt
entitled to remove to more airy lodgings.

We may be sure that he lost no time in setting about the purpose which
he had most at heart, and enrolling himself among Haydn's pupils, for he
could not have been more than eight weeks in Vienna when the master
wrote to Bonn, "I must now give up all great works to him [Beethoven],
and soon cease composing."

The harmony, however, which at first existed between Haydn and his pupil
was soon disturbed. The former seems to have been always pleased with
the work executed by Beethoven, who, on the contrary, was very much
dissatisfied with the instruction given by the master. He was obliged,
in this instance, to make the same experience that he had formerly
confided to Junker, at Mergentheim, regarding pianoforte players, viz.,
that he had seldom found what he believed himself entitled to expect.
Distance lends enchantment to the view; and the keen, striving worker
soon discovered that Haydn was not the profound, earnest thinker that
his longing fancy had painted in Bonn.

But an unexpected help was at hand. One day as he was returning from his
lesson at Haydn's house, his portfolio under his arm, he met a friend
whose acquaintance he had only recently made, but with whom he was
already on intimate terms--Johann Schenk, a thorough and scholarly
musician, afterwards well known as the composer of the "Dorfbarbier,"
and one of the most amiable of men. To him Beethoven confided his
troubles, bitterly lamenting the slow progress his knowledge of
counterpoint made under Haydn's guidance. Somewhat astounded, Schenk
examined the compositions in Beethoven's portfolio, and discovered many
faults which had been passed over without correction.

Haydn's conduct in this instance has never been explained. Generally
conscientious in the discharge of his duties as an instructor, this
carelessness must have arisen either from a pressure of work, or from
some undefined feeling with regard to Beethoven, which prompted him to
give him as little assistance as possible. The latter supposition is
hardly compatible with the terms in which he wrote of his pupil to Bonn,
but Beethoven could never shake off the idea that Haydn did not mean
well by him--a suspicion which was strengthened by what afterwards
occurred.

Excessively irritated by Schenk's discovery, Beethoven would have gone
on the impulse of the moment to reproach Haydn and break off all
connection with him. Schenk, however, who had early perceived
Beethoven's worth, succeeded in calming him, promising him all the
assistance in his power, and pointing out the folly of a course which
would inevitably have led to the withdrawal of the pension from Max
Franz, who would naturally have disbelieved any complaint against the
greatest master of the day, and have attributed Beethoven's conduct to
wrong motives. The young man had the sense to perceive the justice of
these remarks, and continued to bring his work to Haydn (Schenk always
giving it a strict revisal) until the latter's journey to England in
1794 afforded a feasible opportunity of providing himself with a better
teacher.

Thus, although neither cordially liked the other, a tolerable appearance
of friendship was maintained. It was, perhaps, impossible that, between
two such totally different natures the connection could have been
otherwise. Haydn was genial and affable; from his long contest with
poverty, rather obsequious; not apt to take offence or to imagine
slights; ready to render unto Cæsar his due; in short, a courtier.

What greater contrast to all this can be imagined than our proud,
reserved, brusque Beethoven? _He_ pay court to princes, or wait with
"bated breath" upon their whims! He, the stormy republican, who regarded
all men as on the same level, and would bow to nothing less than the
Divine in man!

Haydn, who had laughingly bestowed on him the title of the "Great
Mogul," probably felt that there was no real sympathy, or possibility of
such a feeling, between them. Nevertheless, as we have said, they
continued to outward seeming friends, though Beethoven's suspicions
would not allow him to accept Haydn's offer of taking him to London. He
accompanied him, however, in the summer to Eisenstadt, the residence of
Prince Esterhazy, Haydn's patron, and on this occasion left the
following note for Schenk, which shows the friendly feeling existing
between them:--

    "DEAR SCHENK,--I did not know that I should set off to-day for
    Eisenstadt. I should like much to have spoken once more to you.
    Meanwhile, depend upon my gratitude for the kindnesses you have
    shown me. I shall endeavour, so far as is in my power, to requite
    you.

    "I hope to see you soon again, and to enjoy the pleasure of your
    society. Farewell, and don't quite forget

    "Your BEETHOVEN."

One of Beethoven's peculiarities may as well be referred to here in
passing. Although living in the same town with many of his friends--nay,
within a few minutes walk of them,--years would elapse without their
coming in contact, unless they continually presented themselves to his
notice, and so _would_ not let themselves be forgotten. Absorbed in his
creations, the master lived in a world of his own; consequently, many
little circumstances in his career, in reality proceeding from this
abstraction, were at the time attributed to very different motives.

His connection with Schenk is an instance of this. Though both inhabited
Vienna, they had not met for many years, when in 1824 Beethoven and his
friend Schindler encountered Schenk--then almost seventy years of
age--in the street. If his old teacher had spent the intervening years
in another world, and suddenly alighted from the clouds, Beethoven could
not have been more surprised and delighted. To drag him into the
quietest corner of the "Jägerhorn" (a tavern close at hand) was the
work of a moment, and there for hours the old friends mutually compared
notes, and reviewed the ups and downs of fortune that had befallen them
since the days when the Great Mogul used to storm Schenk's lodgings and
abuse his master. When they parted it was in tears, never to meet again.

The opportune departure of Haydn allowed Beethoven to place himself
under the instruction of Albrechtsberger, the cathedral organist. This
man, who counted among his pupils not only Beethoven, but Hummel and
Seyfried, was a walking treatise on counterpoint; but far from investing
the science with any life or brightness, it was his delight to render
it, if possible, more austere and stringent than he had found it, and to
lay down rules which to a fiery, impulsive nature were positively
unbearable. Nevertheless, Pegasus can go in harness if need be.
Beethoven, who, like every true genius, was essentially modest in his
estimate of himself, and had already felt the want of a thoroughly
grounded knowledge, submitted to Albrechtsberger's routine for a period
of about fifteen months--beginning almost at the elements of the
science, and working out the dry-as-dust themes in his master's Gradus
ad Parnassum, until he had gained for himself an insight into the
mysteries of fugue and canon.

This is not the commonly received notion of Beethoven's student-days.
Ries in his "Notices" has the following:--

"I knew them all well [_i.e._, Haydn, Albrechtsberger, and Salieri, who
gave Beethoven instruction in writing for the voice]; all three
appreciated Beethoven highly, but were all of _one_ opinion regarding
his studies. Each said Beethoven was always so obstinate and self-willed
that he had afterwards much to learn through his own hard experience,
which he would not accept in earlier days as the subject of instruction.
Albrechtsberger and Salieri especially were of this opinion."

But this testimony ought not to be accepted for more than it is worth.
Haydn, absorbed in his own pursuits, and utterly unable to fathom
Beethoven's nature--the very reverse of his own; Albrechtsberger, the
formal contrapuntist, far more concerned about the outside of the cup,
the form of a composition, than about its contents; Salieri, the
superficial composer of a few trashy operas long since forgotten,--how
were these men competent to pass judgment on a _Feuerkopf_ like
Beethoven?

A little further examination of the question in the light of recent
researches will enable the reader to judge for himself whether the
master was an earnest, willing student, or not.

Until very lately, the main source whence biographers drew their
accounts of the _Lehrjahre_ was the work published by the Chevalier von
Seyfried, which purported to be a correct transcription of Beethoven's
"Studies in Thorough-bass." This volume, as given to the world, was
garnished with a number of sarcastic annotations, professedly emanating
from Beethoven himself, wherein the theoretical rule under
consideration at the moment is held up to ridicule. It is this
circumstance, coupled with the assertion of Ries above alluded to, which
has chiefly produced the prevalent impression regarding Beethoven as a
student. We suppose that nine readers out of ten will have pictured to
themselves the master receiving instruction in much the same spirit as
that in which he was wont to give it in Bonn, namely, like the
rebellious colt described by Wegeler!--Now what are the real facts of
the case?--Thanks to the unwearied exertions of Gustav Nottebohm, we are
in a position to answer the question. In his admirable book,
"Beethoven's Studien," the _actual_ work done by Beethoven under Haydn
and Albrechtsberger is at length laid before the public, and the falsity
of Seyfried's compilation fully proved.[6] Nottebohm has no hesitation
in affirming that Beethoven was a willing rather than a mutinous
scholar, and that he was always intent on his subject, and strove hard
to obtain a clear conception of it.

As for the "sarcastic" marginal remarks which for nearly half a century
have been treasured up and smiled over by every admirer of the master as
eminently "characteristic" of him, will the reader believe that they
turn out to be characteristic of--nothing but the unblushing impudence
of Kapellmeister Ritter von Seyfried? They have no existence except in
his imagination. The running commentary which accompanies the exercises
is of a very different description from that supplied by him; it
contains one instance, and one only, of an ironical tendency, and this
is amusing enough in its simplicity to have extorted a smile from
Albrechtsberger himself. One of the text-books employed appears to have
been that of Türk, who makes use of the term "_galant_" to designate the
_free_ as opposed to the _strict_ style of composition. Now what
Beethoven saw lurking beneath the title _galant_, or what stumblingblock
it presented to him, is hard to discover; but we find the expression, as
often as it occurs, invariably altered to one that suits his notions
better; and once he breaks out with, "Laugh, friends, at this
_galanterie_!" Perhaps we may arrive at an appreciation of his distaste
to the phrase, if we translate it by the word _genteel_,--imagine
Beethoven writing in a _genteel_ style!!

But in addition to thus clearing away the haze of misapprehension that
had settled round our master's character as a learner, the efforts of
Thayer and Nottebohm have also thrown much light on two questions which
have proved more or less perplexing to all students, and to the brief
consideration of which we would now ask the reader's attention.

First, then, how is it that Beethoven's genius as a composer was so
late, comparatively speaking, in developing? At the time of his arrival
in Vienna he was in his twenty-second year, and before that age Mozart,
as we know, had produced no less than 293 works. Yet our master passed
his boyhood in an atmosphere where every influence tended to quicken the
musical life, and to hasten, rather than retard, its growth. Are we to
take the handful of works--the little sonatas, the crude preludes, and
other trifles generally recognised as composed in Bonn, to be the sole
outcome of that period? Impossible! Alexander Thayer may fairly be said
to have solved the problem by a single reference to chronology. He finds
that between the years 1795-1802 (that is, a period _commencing
immediately after the conclusion of his studies_) Beethoven published no
fewer than ninety-two works, many of them of the first magnitude,
including two symphonies, an oratorio, three concertos, nine trios,
thirty-two sonatas, with and without accompaniment--and this during a
time when his leisure for composition must have been scant indeed. We
find him in these years incessantly occupied in more mechanical work,
teaching, perfecting his style as a pianoforte virtuoso, travelling,
continuing his studies with Salieri, and, in addition, enjoying life as
he went along, not burying himself hermit-wise in his works, as was the
case at a later date. Moreover, in Thayer's words: "Precisely at the
time when he began to devote himself _exclusively_ to composition, this
wondrous fertility suddenly ceased. The solution lies on the surface"
viz., that many, if not most, of these works were actually composed in
Bonn, and deliberately kept back by the author for a certain time.
"Why?" we ask; "on what account?" "Until he had attained, by study and
observation, to the _certainty_ that he stood on the firm basis of a
thoroughly-grounded knowledge," replies Thayer, Beethoven would give
nothing to the world. That goal reached, the creations of his youthful
fancy are taken in hand again one by one; the critical file, guided by
the "dictates of an enlightened judgment," is faithfully applied, and
the composition, bearing the final _imprimatur_ of its author's
satisfaction, launched to meet its fate. Well might Beethoven laugh
securely at his critics!--he had been beforehand with them--he had sat
in judgment on himself.

This view receives ample confirmation in the newly published version of
the "Studies." The reader may reasonably take objection to the
foregoing, and may inquire: "Was not Beethoven, then, master of the mere
technicalities of composition by the time he reached Vienna? He had
been engaged in studying the theory as well as the practice of music for
over ten years, under a master, himself well known as a composer."--Let
us hear Nottebohm on the point. The instruction imparted by Neefe,
although calculated to be eminently helpful as regards "the formation of
taste and the development of musical feeling," was yet "from a technical
standpoint unsatisfactory," being based, not on the strict contrapuntal
system of the early ecclesiastical writers (the system which alone
offers the necessary _discipline_ for the composer), but rather on the
lighter and more superficial method of the _new_ Leipzig school, of
which Johann Adam Hiller, Neefe's master and model, was one of the
leading exponents.

Beethoven seems to have divined intuitively where his weakness lay. For
the radical defect which he recognised in his training there was but one
remedy, viz., to lay aside preconceived opinion; to go back in all
humility to the very _Urquelle_, the Fountain-head, of Harmony, and
trace out thence for himself, slowly and painfully, the eternal channel
of LAW, _within_ which the mighty sound-flood may roll and toss at will,
but _beyond_ whose bounds, immutable and fixed, no mortal power may send
it with impunity.

Turning to the "Studies," we find no trace of a disposition to claim
exemption from toil on the score of genius. On the contrary!--commencing
at the very foundation (the names of the different intervals), every
branch of composition is taken up in its turn--simple, double, and
triple counterpoint in all detail--and worked at with a will (several of
the exercises, being written and rewritten two or three times), until we
arrive at Fugue, where, for a reason shortly to be noted, there is a
halt.

What shall we say to the picture thus presented to us?--A young man
self-willed and impatient by nature, at an age when submission to direct
instruction is, to say the least, unpalatable, voluntarily placing
himself under the yoke--a poet, within whose soul divine melodies plead
for freedom, and thoughts of fire press hard for utterance, resolutely
keeping inspiration under, until he shall have penetrated into the
structure of language--a painter, in whose desk lie sketches, marvellous
in freshness, vigour, and originality, occupying himself for weary
months in the study of anatomy! Truly our Beethoven at this period, as
at a later, comes well within the practical definition of Genius; his
"capacity for painstaking" was "infinite." Not so, however, his
patience, as we shall presently see.

Now for the second difficulty to which Nottebohm has found a clue: how
is it that in Beethoven's earlier works we have so few instances of
fugue-writing--at the time one of the most favoured styles of
composition; and that these, when they do occur, should from the
irregularity of their construction invariably be disappointing? Here
again the scholarship of our critic has done good service. His minute
examination of the exercises done under Albrechtsberger has led him to
the conclusion, that to the faulty teaching of the master is due the
faulty workmanship of the pupil--a somewhat astounding discovery when we
remember the high estimation in which the contrapuntist was held by his
contemporaries. The fact remains, however, that the instruction given by
Albrechtsberger, "in several important details of fugue building, was
deficient and not grounded;" hence, in all probability, the rarity of
fugue during the first ten years of Beethoven's creative activity. He
had not entire mastery over its resources, and therefore hesitated to
introduce it, save in a subordinate and fitful way. We may be surprised
that the indoctrination in the works of J.S. Bach, which we noted in the
Bonn days, should not of itself have been powerful enough imperceptibly
to mould his style. There is, however, no trace of this at the period we
are considering. That the influence of the _Urvater_[7] of harmony (a
title applied by Beethoven himself to John Sebastian) worked deeply into
his inner life, there can be no doubt; but its effects were not
_apparent_ till a very much later date--a phenomenon, to our thinking,
only to be explained on psychological grounds.

To return. Beethoven's patience, which had held out over two years,
comes to a sudden halt on this very question. Clear-sighted and tolerant
of no incompetence, our young "Thorough!" seems to have detected
Albrechtsberger's weak point, and there and then to have cast off
allegiance to him. The exercises up to fugue are, generally speaking,
most carefully executed. No sooner, however, does the scholar perceive
that the master is almost as much "at sea" as himself, and steering
vaguely without a chart, than docility is at an end; he conceives an
intense disgust for the theoretical tread-mill; growls to a friend that
he has "had enough of making musical skeletons!" and absolves himself,
without permission, from the remainder of Albrechtsberger's course.

We hear the old Theoretiker long after this grimly warning one of his
pupils against his _ci-devant_ scholar: "Have nothing to do with him.
_He_ never learned anything!" "Nay," Beethoven might have replied, had
he thought it worth his while, "I learned _all_ that _you_ had to teach.
Would you have had me walk with my eyes shut?" As Nottebohm remarks "the
one _could_ not" teach, "the other _would_ not" learn, and so the
instruction came to a close, and Beethoven fell back upon his own
resources.

He had, however, by this time achieved his purpose in the main. He had
probed and examined the received theoretical axioms, and was in a
position to decide for himself as to their actual importance. Henceforth
none were accepted by him as imperative, simply out of deference to
current ideas, and thus we find instances again and again of an
inflexible determination to shake off all restraints, the utility of
which was not recognised by his inner consciousness. He was wont in
after years, when told of any perplexity of the critics, to rub his
hands together in glee, saying; "Yes, yes! they are all astonished, and
put their heads together, because--they don't find it in any
thorough-bass book!"

That independence may easily be merged in self-will, however, he
sometimes proved to demonstration, to the delight of those who were on
the watch for flaws. Ries tells us, for instance, that on one occasion
he discovered and pointed out (in the C minor quartet, Op. 18) two
perfect fifths in succession. "Well?" asks the master, testily, "and who
has forbidden them?" Somewhat taken aback, the scholar keeps silence.
Again the question is repeated. "But it is a first principle!" hesitates
Ries in astonishment. "WHO HAS FORBIDDEN THEM?" thunders out the master
again. "Marpurg, Kirnberger. Fux,--all the theorists." "AND I ALLOW
THEM!" is the conclusion. But the obstinacy displayed in this and
similar anecdotes is more an expression of petulance, than of
preconsidered judgment. Beethoven, as we know, enjoyed nothing better
than an opportunity of mystifying certain individuals as to his real
thoughts and intentions. Occasionally we hear his true voice in the
matter. A friend had remarked, regarding the second and third "Leonora"
overtures, "The artist must create in freedom, only giving in to the
spirit of his age, and be monarch over his own materials; under such
conditions alone will true art-works come to light." "Granted," replied
Beethoven; "but he must _not_ give in to the spirit of his age,
otherwise it is all over with originality.... Had I written them [the
two overtures] in the spirit that prevailed at the time, they would
certainly have been understood at once, as, for example, the 'Storm of
Kotzeluch.' But I cannot cut and carve out my works according to the
fashion, as they would fain have me do. Freshness and originality create
themselves, without thinking about it."

After all, let us remember that it is vain to measure the strides of a
giant with the footsteps of ordinary men. Epoch-Makers are necessarily
Law-Breakers to the eyes of their contemporaries. Years must pass before
the import of their work is fully discerned. Reverting to our former
simile, _we_ can see that while Beethoven's critics believed him to be
rebelliously diverting the current of Harmony from the pure course
directed by a Palestrina, a Bach, a Handel, a Haydn, a Mozart, he was in
reality simply engaged in deepening and widening its channel, that the
Stream might flow on in grander and nobler proportions to meet the
ever-growing necessities of Humanity.

Beethoven continued a diligent student through life; from those who had
devoted special attention to any particular subject he was always eager
to learn, although, as we have seen, without pledging himself to follow
their views. Thus we find him in 1799 studying the art of
quartet-writing more closely with Förster, who excelled in that branch
of composition; and as late as 1809 he styles himself the "pupil" of
Salieri, from whom, as the friend of Metastasio, and versed in the
requirements of the Italian school, he often sought advice in his vocal
compositions.

But in addition to more purely theoretic studies, Beethoven was
indefatigable in his practical investigations into the nature and
capabilities of the instruments for which he wrote, and which his
creative genius roused to unheard-of achievements. From Herren Kraft and
Linke he learned the mechanism of the violoncello; Punto taught him that
of the horn, and Friedlowsky that of the clarionet. He often consulted
these artists in after life regarding the suitability of certain
passages for their respective instruments, and allowed himself to be
guided by their suggestions.

Far otherwise was it, however, with singers; for them Beethoven composed
as he liked, without humouring any little predilection of the most
fascinating prima donna, or introducing a single piece for display (one
reason why Rossini was able for so long to play the part of the
successful rival). On the other hand, the singers had their revenge, and
sang his music precisely as they listed, interpolating embellishments
and cadenze _a piacere_ without the slightest regard to his wishes.

The following letters to Eleanore van Breuning belong to this epoch:--

    "_Vienna, Nov. 2nd, '93._

    "MOST ESTEEMED ELEANORE! MY DEAREST FRIEND!--A whole year of my
    residence in the capital has nearly elapsed without your having
    received a letter from me, notwithstanding you have been continually
    with me in the liveliest remembrance. I have often entertained
    myself with the thought of you and your dear family, but oftener
    still I have not enjoyed the peace in doing so which I could have
    wished.[8]

    "At such times that fatal dispute hovered before me, and my conduct
    in the matter appeared to me detestable. But it was past and gone.
    How much would I give to be able to obliterate entirely from my life
    the way in which I then acted! so dishonouring to me, so opposed to
    my general character. At the same time there were many circumstances
    which tended to keep us apart, and I suspect that what specially
    hindered a reconciliation was the manner in which the remarks of
    each were repeated to the other. We both believed that what we said
    was the result of honest conviction, when in reality it proceeded
    from anger inflamed by others, and so we were both deceived. Your
    good and noble character, my dear friend, warrants me in believing
    that you have long since forgiven me; but they say that the truest
    repentance is that in which we confess our own faults, and this is
    what I desire to do. And let us now draw the curtain over the whole
    affair, only extracting the lesson from it that when a dispute
    happens between friends, it is always better that no mediator should
    be employed, but that friend should address himself direct to
    friend.

    "You will receive along with this a dedication,[9] and I can only
    wish that it were greater and more worthy of you. They teased me
    here into publishing this little work, and I avail myself of the
    opportunity to give you, my esteemed Eleanore, a proof of my regard
    and friendship for yourself, and a token of my lasting remembrance
    of your house. Accept this trifle, and think of it as coming from a
    devoted friend. Oh! if it only gives you pleasure, my wishes will be
    quite satisfied. May it be a little reawakening of the time when I
    passed so many happy hours in your house! perhaps it may keep you in
    remembrance of me until I return again, which certainly will not
    happen soon. Oh! my dear friend, how we shall rejoice then! You will
    find your friend a more cheerful man, with all the former furrows of
    adversity chased away through time and a happier lot.

    "If you should see B. Koch, I beg you to tell her that it is unkind
    of her not to have written me even once. I have written to her
    twice, and to Malchus[10] three times--but no answer. Tell her that
    if she will not write herself, she might, at least, urge Malchus to
    do so.

    "In concluding my letter, I venture one more request, namely, that
    it would make me very happy to possess an Angola vest knitted by
    your hands, my dear friend. Forgive this not very modest demand! It
    arises out of my great predilection for everything made by you; but
    I must tell you confidentially that there is also a little vanity
    connected with it. I want to be able to say that I possess something
    of one of the best and most admired girls in Bonn. I have, it is
    true, still the first which you kindly gave me in Bonn, but it has
    become so old-fashioned that I can only treasure it up in my
    wardrobe as something of yours, very dear to me. You would delight
    me much by favouring me soon with one of your kind letters. Should
    mine give you any pleasure, I promise you certainly, so far as lies
    in my power, to continue them; since everything is welcome to me
    whereby I may prove to you how much I am,

    "With all esteem,

    Your true Friend,

    L. V. BEETHOVEN.

    "P.S.--You will find the v. [variations] somewhat difficult to play,
    especially the shake in the coda; but don't let this alarm you,
    since it is so arranged that you have nothing to do but the shake;
    the other notes you may leave out, as they occur in the violin part.
    I would never have written in this manner had I not had occasion to
    remark that there are several people here in V., who, after I have
    extemporized of an evening, write down many of my peculiarities next
    day, and pass them off as their own.[11] As I foresaw that such
    things would soon be published, it occurred to me to anticipate
    their movements. Another reason was also--to perplex the pianoforte
    teachers here. Many of them are my mortal enemies, and I wished to
    revenge myself on them in this way; knowing that they would
    occasionally be asked to play the variations, when these gentlemen
    would come out in rather an unfavourable light."

The following fragment is without date:--

    "The beautiful cravat, worked by your own hands, has caused me the
    greatest possible surprise. Although in itself so pleasing, it
    awakened within me feelings of melancholy. Its effect was to recall
    the past, and to shame me by your generous behaviour. In truth, I
    did not think that you still considered me worthy of remembrance.

    "Oh! could you have been a witness of my emotions yesterday when it
    arrived, you would not think I exaggerate in saying that the
    recollection of you brings the tears to my eyes, and makes me very
    sad. However little I may deserve credit in your eyes, I beg you to
    believe, _my friend_ (allow me still to call you so), that I have
    suffered and still suffer through the loss of your friendship. You
    and your dear mother I shall never forget. Your goodness to me was
    such that the loss of you neither can nor will be easily replaced. I
    know what I lost and what you were to me, but----if I attempt to
    fill up this blank, I must refer to scenes which are as unpleasant
    for you to hear as for me to describe.

    "As a slight return for your kind remembrance of me, I take the
    liberty of sending you some variations, and the rondo with violin
    accompaniment. I have a great deal to do, or I would have copied the
    long-promised sonata for you. In my manuscript it is little better
    than a sketch, and it would be very difficult for Paraquin
    himself,[12] clever as he is, to transcribe it. You can have the
    rondo copied, and then return the score to me. It is the only one of
    all my compositions suitable for you, and as you are shortly going
    to Kerpen,[13] I thought it might afford you some pleasure.

    "Farewell, my friend. It is impossible for me to call you by any
    other name, however indifferent I may be to you. Pray believe that I
    reverence you and your mother as highly as formerly.

    "If it is in my power to contribute anything to your happiness, pray
    do not fail to let me know, since it is the only means left to me of
    proving my gratitude for past friendship.

    "May you have a pleasant journey, and bring your dear mother back in
    perfect health!

    "Think sometimes of

    "Your admiring Friend,

    "BEETHOVEN."


FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 6: The origin of this work may not be uninteresting to the
reader. It is briefly as follows. Among the effects of Beethoven offered
for sale at the public auction of 1827 were five packets of MSS.,
labelled "Exercises in Composition." These were bought by the publisher,
T. Haslinger, in the not unreasonable belief that they would be found to
present a complete view of the preparation made by the master for his
life's work. He determined to give the collection to the world, and
entrusted the editing of it to the Chevalier von Seyfried, as a friend
of Beethoven and himself a scholarly musician. In process of time the
volume appeared, and was received with very opposite sentiments by
different sections of the public: by some it was accepted as genuine; by
others rejected as a fabrication. Nottebohm's investigation has proved
the truth to lie between the two extremes. "Seyfried's book," he says,
"is neither authentic nor forged; it is a _falsified_ work." Seyfried,
in fact, seems to have gone to work with incredible recklessness; his
"Beethoven's Studies" is an _Olla Podrida_, composed of not only
Beethoven's own exercises (put together without regard to natural
sequence or chronology), but of another theoretical course, probably
that prepared by Beethoven years after for the instruction of the
Archduke Rudolph; while a third element is actually introduced in the
shape of Studies from a MS. written in a strange hand, and possibly the
work of another pupil of Albrechtsberger!]

[Footnote 7: Original father--creator.]

[Footnote 8: The following remarks are eminently characteristic of
Beethoven. When his fiery nature had led him into saying or doing
anything which subsequent reflection showed him to be contrary to true
friendship, his remorse knew no bounds. Wegeler declares that his
contrition was often entirely disproportionate to the fault committed,
as in the present instance.]

[Footnote 9: Variations on Figaro's air, "Se vuol ballare."]

[Footnote 10: Afterwards Count Marienrode, and Minister of Finance in
the kingdom of Westphalia. At a later period he filled the same office
in Wirtemberg.]

[Footnote 11: Wegeler says, "Beethoven often complained to me also of
this sort of _espionage_. He particularized the Abbé Gelinek, a very
fruitful composer of variations, in Vienna, who always settled himself
in his neighbourhood. This may have been one of the reasons why
Beethoven always looked out for a lodging in as open a place as
possible."]

[Footnote 12: _Paraquin_, contro-basso in the electoral orchestra; a
thorough musician, and universally esteemed as such.]

[Footnote 13: _Kerpen_, the residence of an uncle of Fräulein v.
Breuning, where the family usually spent some weeks in summer.]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER V.

THE VIRTUOSO.

    Family Occurrences--Music in Vienna--Van Swieten--Prince
    Lichnowski--Beethoven's Independence, Personal Appearance,
    Manners--Rasoumowski Quartet--Occurrences in Lichnowski's
    Palace--First Three Trios--Artistic Tour to
    Berlin--Woelfl--Beethoven as an Improvisatore--Steibelt.


Beethoven's period of study embraced over two years, during which many
events took place that produced a revolution in his circumstances, and
left him at their close in a very different position from that in which
they had found him.

The first of these was the death of his father, which happened about a
month after his arrival in Vienna, obliged the young man to take upon
himself once more the duties of guardian to his two brothers, and
necessitated the following petition to the Elector:--

    "MOST REVEREND AND GRACIOUS PRINCE,--Some years ago your Highness
    was pleased to grant a pension to my father, the court tenor Van
    Beethoven, and graciously to decree that one hundred thalers of his
    salary should be placed in my hands, that I might provide for the
    clothing, maintenance, and education of my two younger brothers, and
    also discharge the debts contracted by our father. I wished at once
    to present this order to your Highness's treasurer; but my father
    earnestly implored me not to do so, that it might not be imagined he
    was incapable of superintending his own family; and he further added
    that he would himself pay me quarterly the twenty-five R. thalers,
    which up to the present time was faithfully performed.

    "After his death, however (in December last), when I wished to avail
    myself of your Highness's kindness and present the above-mentioned
    order, I was alarmed by the discovery that my father had made away
    with it.

    "With all dutiful respect I therefore beg your Serene Highness
    kindly to renew this order, and to instruct your treasurer to let me
    have the last quarter of this gracious addition to my salary (due
    the beginning of February).

    "Your Serene Highness's

    "Most obedient and faithful Servant,

    "LUD. V. BEETHOVEN, _Court Organist_."

This request was granted, and Franz Ries undertook the management of the
money; but after June, 1793, not only this but the pension granted to
Beethoven himself was suddenly stopped. The fruits of the French
Revolution had made themselves apparent, and the Elector was forced to
fly from Bonn and take refuge in Mergentheim. Henceforth, Beethoven
must depend upon himself.

Luckily the emergency found him prepared; he was already esteemed as one
of the best pianoforte players of the day--nay, there were not wanting
those who assigned to him the very first place. The recommendation of
Count Waldstein, who was nearly related to more than half a dozen of the
best families in Austria, coupled with that of the elector (uncle to the
reigning emperor), together with the fact that he was Haydn's most
promising pupil, gained for the young man admission to the highest
circles in the capital, where his extraordinary abilities speedily met
with recognition, and placed him above all fear of want.

In accounting for the peculiar facility with which Beethoven obtained a
hearing in Vienna, the state of society and position of art at the
period must not be forgotten.

In a wide sense, and as we should understand it now, music was not
universally cultivated or appreciated. The opera houses were two in
number, one entirely given up to Italian performances; the other plain
and unattractive, struggling under great disadvantages to bring forward
native composers.

Church music was at a low ebb; the influence of Albrechtsberger at the
cathedral not tending to much life or novelty in that branch of
composition.

Public concerts, such as are now of daily occurrence, happened perhaps
once a year, when funds were required for some charity.

Thus, music was not then the universal pursuit of all classes. The
enjoyment of it was almost entirely limited to the privileged few--the
aristocracy--who, following the example set by the reigning family,
professed an adoration of the art, a devotion to it, which (though, of
course, in many instances genuine) was so general, so common, as to cast
a doubt upon its reality. Music was, in short, the fashionable rage; to
be non-musical was to shut oneself out of the pale of society--an
alternative not to be thought of without shuddering by the gay,
pleasure-loving Viennese.

Accordingly the musical enthusiasm was wonderful. We find no less than
ten private theatres, each with its full corps of actors and actresses,
at most of which operettas were performed; and an orchestral society,
composed exclusively of members of noble houses, who gave public
concerts, open only to their equals in society, at the unwonted hour of
six in the morning.

In addition to these, every nobleman had his private orchestra, or his
_Quartettistes_, or, if his means would not admit of this, at least one
eminent instrumental player, attached to his household. As all the great
families of Austria vied with each other in the splendour and
_recherché_ style of their musical entertainments, it may easily be
imagined how, in such a state of society, Beethoven was lionized,
petted, and fêted.

Thayer gives a list of no fewer than thirty-one great houses (nine of
them belonging to princes) which must have been open to him, as the
owners were all recognised, worthy dilettanti in the highest sense--not
mere followers of the fickle goddess, Fashion. Add to these the crowd
that is ever ready to patronize him whom the leaders of _ton_ have taken
by the hand, and we see that Beethoven could not have wanted either for
pupils or for opportunities of playing at private concerts.

It was, doubtless, the bustle and pressure of this episode in his life,
the contact with vulgarity in high places, that gave him the dislike he
afterwards manifested to playing in public. At an earlier period in
Bonn, as we have seen, it was his delight to communicate his ideas to
others, and to pour forth the inmost feelings of his soul in the
presence of a little circle of sympathising, cultivated listeners. But
here, in Vienna, to play at the command of some birth-proud aristocrat,
who regarded art and artists as mere ministers to his pleasure--from
such a task Beethoven's mind revolted. Wegeler relates the effect which
such an occurrence would have upon him:--

"An invitation to play in society robbed him of all gaiety. He would
come to me gloomy and down-cast, complaining that he was forced to play
till the blood tingled to his very finger tips. By degrees we would
begin to talk together in a friendly way, when I sought to distract his
thoughts and to soothe him. When this end was achieved, I let the
conversation drop. I placed myself at my desk, and if Beethoven wished
to speak to me again, he was obliged to seat himself on a chair before
the pianoforte. Soon, and often without turning, he would strike a few
undecided chords, out of which the most beautiful melodies were
gradually developed. I dared not hazard a remark about his playing, or
only allude to it _en passant_. Beethoven would go away quite cheerful,
and always return willingly to me. The dislike, however, remained, and
was often the occasion of a rupture between him and his best friends."

But the halcyon days had not yet arrived when the great tone-poet could
devote himself entirely to his life-mission. His own wants and those of
his brothers had to be provided for, and accordingly the round of
pianoforte-playing was gone through, as that of teaching had been
before, and with the same result, it paved the way to life-friendships.

Amongst the distinct leaders of the musical taste of the capital was
Gottfried, Baron van Swieten, the son of Maria Theresa's Dutch
physician, and the composer of twelve symphonies (on which Haydn's
verdict was--"as stiff as himself.") He had formerly passed some time in
Berlin, where he had become acquainted with Friedemann and Emanuel Bach,
and had heard the "Messiah," "Judas Maccabæus," and "Alexander's Feast."
After his return to Vienna, he acted as secretary to a musical society
which met at his house, where the great works of Bach, Handel, and the
old Italian writers (including Palestrina), were devotedly studied.
Mozart's co-operation in this undertaking had been invaluable; but
Mozart was gone, and Van Swieten was inconsolable for his loss until he
discovered Beethoven. He was a quaint type of a race long extinct--the
genuine old _kenner_ or connoisseur. One can almost see him, when at a
concert an incautious whisper was heard in the background, rising
majestically from his place, and conspicuous from his great height,
taking an awful survey of the room to discover the offender and wither
him by a glance! In his efforts after the _true_ in art, however, no
very marked line was discernible to him between the sublime and the
ridiculous; hence the earnestness with which he persuaded Haydn (and for
which the latter never forgave him) to insert the croaking of the frogs
in the Seasons. But take him for all in all, he was a valuable friend to
Beethoven, and as such the latter regarded him. A carefully preserved
note of his is still extant: "If nothing comes in the way, I should like
to see you here next Wednesday, at half-past eight o'clock, with your
nightcap in your pocket."

The latter precaution was not unnecessary, for the insatiable host
(after the evening's entertainment was over and the guests gone home)
would not consent to release his young _protégé_ under at least
half-a-dozen of Bach's fugues for a "good-night," or "_evening
blessing_," as he was wont to call it.

Most valuable were the evenings spent in Van Swieten's house to
Beethoven, for here he was first made fully acquainted with the majesty
of Handel, "that unequalled master of all masters," in Beethoven's
estimation, of whom he once said: "Go, and learn of him how to produce,
with small means, such great effects!"

Another patron of the young musician, and one able to benefit him more
substantially, was the Prince Karl Lichnowski, the accomplished pupil of
Mozart, who, with his amiable wife Christiane, devoted every leisure
hour to artistic pursuits. This couple, worthy in all respects of their
exalted rank, at first attracted by the wonderful improvisation of
Haydn's pupil, soon discovered, on a more intimate acquaintance, the
true nobility of soul and dazzling genius which lay beneath the rough
exterior.

They were childless; with the utmost delicacy it was proposed to
Beethoven in 1794 that he should come to them; he accepted the offer in
the spirit in which it was made, and for several years was an inmate of
the Lichnowski Palace, treated with more than parental tenderness by the
Prince and Princess. The latter took the place of Madame von Breuning,
and Beethoven used afterwards to say laughingly, "They wanted to train
me there with _grandmotherly_ love; and the Princess Christiane would
have liked to put a glass case over me, so that no evil might come nigh
me."

Not that there was never any misunderstanding between Beethoven and his
patron; on the contrary, the Princess had very often to mediate between
them. How could it be otherwise? it was not easy for the powerful,
impulsive mind of Beethoven, with his previous training, to accommodate
itself to the smooth, etiquette-trammelled life of a palace. To abide by
a settled routine was to him impossible; and after a few ineffectual
struggles the attempt to make him do so was abandoned, and the artist
left free to develop himself in his own way.

Wegeler relates that when he came to Vienna he found Beethoven installed
in the Lichnowski Palace, but by no means so content with his position
as one would imagine. Amongst other things he complained to him that the
Prince's dinner-hour was fixed at four o'clock. "Now," said he, "I ought
to be at home by half-past three to dress and trim my beard, &c. I could
not stand that!" So some restaurant was more frequently honoured by his
presence than the Lichnowski dinner-table.

It must not be thought that Beethoven forfeited any of his independence
by thus becoming an inmate of the palace. On the contrary, he knew well,
and the Prince did also, that the advantage was mutual. If he had a
zealous and wealthy patron, the Prince had in return the benefit of the
constant presence of the first pianist and improvisatore of the day at
all his _Musikabende_, besides the _éclat_ attached to the fact that so
many of the composer's productions were first performed at his house.
Not that either of them ever coolly balanced the one set of advantages
over against the other. This was in point of fact the relation between
them; in reality it was more like that of father and son.

The critical judgment of the Prince was highly esteemed by Beethoven,
who often allowed himself to be persuaded by him into making alterations
which no other influence had power to effect; and his proficiency as a
pianoforte-player, which enabled him to master with comparative ease
the difficulties in the new style inaugurated by his _protégé_,
confirmed Beethoven in his own views, and gave him fresh strength to
resist those who would have had him adopt a more simple manner of
writing.

Beethoven's independence of thought and action was of vital importance
in his development. "Help thyself!" was his motto. But we are sometimes
inclined to smile at the lengths to which he carried his favourite
doctrine. For instance, having overheard the prince (who had a
peculiarly loud voice) direct his Jäger, that whenever Beethoven and he
rang at the same time, the latter should be waited on first; he took
care that very day to procure a servant for himself. Another time, when
he had a great desire to learn riding, and the Prince's stud had been
placed at his disposal, he would not accept the offer, but bought an
animal for his own special use. Any one who has ever been so unlucky as
to borrow a friend's favourite horse, will not find Beethoven's conduct
in this instance so very peculiar.

We can now imagine our master settled for a time, in the possession of
much that could make life enjoyable. His days were entirely at his own
disposal, and generally occupied by study; his evenings were passed
either in his patron's _salon_, at Van Swieten's, or at the house of
some connoisseur. Wherever he went, he was welcomed, in spite of his
unpolished manner and appearance.

We have seen how, rather than submit to the necessity of an elaborate
toilette, he would content himself with the plainest fare; but there
was that in Beethoven's _physique_ which the utmost pains could never
have smoothed down to the conventional standard. Rather short, with a
figure more indicative of strength than elegance, hair that baffled
Figaro's efforts to reduce it to order, and a broad face, whose one
redeeming point was the lofty, expansive forehead--a true throne of
genius--Beethoven presented a _tout-ensemble_ which at once marked him
out from all others, and was an index to the independent, original
spirit within.

His demeanour was such as might be expected in one who had made his own
life-path, and had constantly encountered hostility and
misunderstanding; brusque, angular, and a little defiant; but--where he
was sure of his ground--gentle and loveable as a woman, innocent and
guileless as a child.

Beethoven had no time for the _petits-soins_ of life, his thoughts were
too deeply engrossed with higher matters, but that he was the bear so
often represented, we emphatically deny. Such accusations were brought
against him by those who were incapable of appreciating either him or
his works, who would have had the great poet descend to the common level
of every-day life, fritter away precious time and thought, and force his
powerful mind to the punctilious observance of every little social
etiquette.

One condition alone was necessary for Beethoven to come out in a
favourable light in society, viz, _he must be understood_. Not
flattered, not admired, not caressed,--simply understood in his true
character as a poet, an artist, a revealer of beauty undreamt of by
others. The following anecdote is an illustration of this:--

"When we were both still young (writes Herr von Griesinger, Ambassador
from the Court of Saxony to Vienna), I only an _attaché_, and Beethoven
only a celebrated pianoforte player, but as yet little known as a
composer, we happened to be both together at the house of Prince
Lobkowitz. A gentleman, who thought himself a great connoisseur, entered
into a conversation with Beethoven upon a poet's life and inclinations.
'I wish,' said Beethoven, with his native candour, 'that I was relieved
from all the bargain and sale of publication, and could meet with some
one who could pay me a certain income for life, for which he should
possess the right to publish exclusively all that I wrote; and I would
not be idle in composition. I believe Goethe does this with Cotta, and,
if I mistake not, Handel's London publisher held similar terms with
him.'

"'My dear young man,' said this grave wiseacre, 'you must not complain,
for you are neither a Goethe nor a Handel, and it is not to be expected
that you ever will be, for such masters will not be born again.'

"Beethoven bit his lips, gave a most contemptuous glance at the speaker,
and said not another word to him. Afterwards, however, he expressed
himself pretty warmly on the subject of this flippant individual.

"Prince Lobkowitz endeavoured to draw Beethoven into more temperate
habits of thought, and said in a friendly manner, when the conversation
once turned upon this person, 'My dear Beethoven, the gentleman did not
intend to wound you; it is an established maxim, which most men adhere
to, that the present generation cannot possibly produce such mighty
spirits as the dead, who have already earned their fame.'

"'So much the worse, your Highness,' replied Beethoven; 'but with men
who will not believe and trust in me because I am as yet unknown to
universal fame, I cannot hold intercourse.'

"Many then shook their heads, and called the young composer arrogant and
overbearing. Had these gentry been able to look into the future, they
would have been a little ashamed of themselves."

With Beethoven's residence in the Lichnowski Palace, many characteristic
anecdotes are connected, amongst others that already referred to of his
reading the complicated Bach MS. _a prima vista_.

But one of the most important features of his life here was his
connection with the Schuppanzigh Quartette, afterwards known as the
Razoumowski, which, under his auspices, took so notable a place in
musical annals. The players were all very young (Schuppanzigh, first
violin, a boy of sixteen; Sina, second violin, still a very young man;
Weiss, viola, fifteen; and Kraft, violoncello, only fourteen years of
age), and this was probably a recommendation in the eyes of the Prince,
who was passionately fond of the quartets of Haydn and Mozart, and
doubtless found that he could more easily inoculate young and unformed
minds with his peculiar views regarding the performance of them, than he
could persuade more mature artists into adopting his views. Beethoven
was his able coadjutor in this attempt, and the boy-quartet, directed by
one not much older than themselves, did honour to the discernment of
their patron. For many years they worked harmoniously together, meeting
for practice every Friday morning, and probably no quartet-players,
either before or since, enjoyed advantages so great. For them Beethoven
composed his immortal productions, and his genius fired and animated
theirs, so that one mind and one will alone seemed at work. The
following note, preserved by Schindler, relative to the production of
the difficult E flat major Quartet in March, 1825, shows how his desire
that his old companions should prove equal to their reputation continued
unabated to the last:--

    "MY GOOD FRIENDS,--Herewith each will receive his part, and must
    with it promise allegiance, and pledge himself in all honour to do
    his very best to distinguish himself, and to vie with the others in
    zeal.

    "Every one who wishes to take part in the affair must sign this
    paper."

    (Here follow the four signatures.)

On one occasion a new pianoforte quartet by Förster, a well-known
composer of the day, was in progress of rehearsal. The violoncellist was
suddenly called out, when Beethoven, who was at the pianoforte,
instantly began to sing the missing part in addition to going on with
his own, which he read for the first time.

The Prince, astonished, asked him how he could sing music with which he
was not acquainted. Beethoven smiled and replied, "The bass _must_ have
been so, otherwise the author could have known nothing whatever of
composition." On the Prince remarking further, that Beethoven had taken
the _Presto_ so quickly that it was impossible for him to have seen the
notes, he answered, "That is not at all necessary. A multitude of faults
in the printing do not signify. If you only know the language, you don't
see them or pay any heed to them."

To show the good understanding between Beethoven and the Princess
Christiane, we give the following anecdote here, although it properly
belongs to a later period.

One evening, Ries, while still Beethoven's pupil, in performing a sonata
before a large company, played a wrong note, on which the master tapped
him on the head with one finger by way of reminder. Beethoven next took
his seat at the pianoforte, and the Princess (who always felt for the
weak, and had observed that Ries was rather vexed by the occurrence)
stationed herself behind the composer. Beethoven played the beginning of
one of his own compositions rather carelessly, as he was often wont to
do in commencing, when the Princess seized her opportunity, and giving
him several well-directed blows, said: "When a pupil is punished with
one finger for having failed in a single note, the master deserves to be
punished with the whole hand for graver faults!" "Everybody began to
laugh," adds Ries, "and Beethoven the first. He recommenced, and played
admirably."

In the year 1793, the first of that unparalleled series of works which
ended only in 1827 with Beethoven's death--the three Trios for
pianoforte, violin, and 'cello, Op. I.,--was publicly performed; that is
to say, before a large and brilliant assembly in the Lichnowski Palace.
The result was most gratifying, alike to the composer and to his
friends--Beethoven was at once recognised as the successor of Mozart.
One incident alone detracted from the happiness of the young author.
Haydn, who was present, while warmly praising the two first trios,
strongly recommended that the last, in C minor, should not be published.

Beethoven's suspicion, already on the alert, was fairly roused by this
apparently well-meaning advice. Why should that particular trio be kept
back? He himself thought it the best and most original of the three, and
as such it is now generally regarded.

It offered, however, such a contrast to his own simple style of
trio-writing, that Haydn was, perhaps, honest in stating as his reason
for advocating its non-publication that he did not believe the public
would understand it. Beethoven, however, was strengthened by this
occurrence in his conviction that Haydn "did not mean well by him;" and,
though he deferred to the criticism at the time (probably more out of
regard to Lichnowski's representations) a bitter feeling towards his
former master rankled in his heart. This did not prevent his dedicating
the three Pianoforte Sonatas, Op. II., to Haydn. The dedication,
however, was a mere mark of appreciation, not of the man, but of his
works, a compliment from one artist to the other--not a grateful
recognition of the master by the pupil. In fact, when Haydn wished him
to inscribe on the title-page, "Pupil of Haydn," he flatly refused,
saying that he "had never learned anything from him!"

We have said that he deferred to Haydn's criticism, but he went beyond
it. If the C minor trio was not to be published, neither should the
other two. So the unlucky works were thrust back into his portfolio,
where they lay for two years, during which the irate composer paved the
way for their proper reception by publishing an immense number of
bagatelles, especially variations on different themes, which have no
great value beyond that attached to them as studies in the development
of Beethoven's genius.

Although evincing more ingenuity and variety than the themes treated by
Mozart in the same way, they are often found unequal to the latter in
clearness.[14] Beethoven seems to have had a lingering partiality for
this style of writing. After having abandoned it, we find it adopted
again in the Thirty-two Variations Sérieuses on an original theme, which
were written after he had more than established his success in the
Sonata form; and, so anxious was he to have them well understood and
rendered, that he made Ries, when studying them with him, repeat the
last no fewer than seventeen times before he was satisfied with the
effect; "though," adds Ries rather naïvely, "I thought I played it as
well as Beethoven himself!"

The growth of the Thirty-three Variations, Op. 120, we must leave to
Schindler to relate:--

"In the villa of Hetzendorf, Beethoven wrote the Thirty-three Variations
on a Waltz by Diabelli, a work which delighted him uncommonly. At first
there were only to be six or seven variations, for which modest number
Diabelli had offered him eighty ducats (the price he received for almost
each of his later Sonatas). But when he set to work, there sprang into
life first ten, then twenty, then twenty-five--and still he could not
stop. When Diabelli heard of the twenty-five variations, he was greatly
concerned lest the work should be too large, but was at last obliged to
accept for his eighty ducats, not _seven_, but _three and thirty
variations_." The following story is a proof of the ease with which he
invented variations. Being one evening in a box with a lady during a
performance of "La Molinare," she lamented to him that she had once
possessed a number of variations on the air "Nel cor non più mi sento,"
which she had lost. Next morning she received "Sei variazioni perdute
per la--ritrovate per Luigi v. Beethoven."

The year 1795 brought with it two events: one the arrival of his
brothers in Vienna; the other his first appearance in public as a
virtuoso. Hitherto his performances had been confined to the Lichnowski
Palace, and other private houses, and public curiosity had long been
whetted by the various rumours which flew about concerning him. At
length it was to be gratified, on the occasion of the Annual Concert for
the Widows and Orphans of Musicians. The direction of this was usually
entrusted to Salieri, who held the _bâton_ at the Italian Opera-house,
and his programme for the year 1795 consisted of an operetta, composed
by one of his pupils, and a Pianoforte Concerto in C major by another,
Herr Louis van Beethoven.

Wegeler relates that two days before the date fixed for the event the
Concerto was not yet finished, and there did not seem much probability
of its being ready in time, as Beethoven was suffering much from attacks
of colic, to which he was often subject. Wegeler, from his medical
knowledge, was able to render a little assistance, and so the work
progressed, Beethoven writing as fast as he could, and handing over each
sheet as it was finished to four copyists who were in attendance in the
antechamber. Next day, at the rehearsal, the pianoforte was found to
have been tuned half a tone lower than the other instruments; when
Beethoven, to save time, played the whole Concerto through in the key of
C sharp!

Seyfried tells us that when Beethoven asked him to turn over the leaves
of several of his concertos for him while playing in public, he found
nothing but a sheet of paper with here and there a bar filled in, or a
mass of notes unintelligible to any one but the composer. Jahn describes
Mozart as doing the same, but what a difference is there between his
concertos and--say, _the Emperor_!

The year 1796 was marked by a slight variation; Beethoven made a short
journey to Prague and Berlin, the only occasion, with the exception of
his visit to the Baths, on which he ever left Vienna or its
neighbourhood. In both cities he met with a flattering reception. In
Berlin he played his two sonatas for pianoforte and 'cello, Op. 5,
before Frederick William II., who presented him with a snuff-box filled
with Friedrichs-d'or; "not an ordinary snuff-box," as Beethoven was wont
to remark with grim satisfaction, "but one similar to those given to
ambassadors!"

Here, also, he unwittingly incurred the enmity of the pianist Himmel.
The latter had begged Beethoven for an improvisation, with which request
our musician complied, and then asked Himmel to favour him in return.
Nothing loath, Himmel seated himself at the pianoforte and began a
succession of smooth running passages and arpeggios, skilfully linked
together. Beethoven listened for a while in silence, imagining this to
be the prelude, but as it seemed to "go on for ever," he said with some
impatience, "Pray do begin now!" Himmel, however had already exhausted
his imagination and finished his (_quasi_) improvisation.

No better fate awaited others who opposed themselves to Beethoven as
improvisatori, not excepting the celebrated pianists Woelfl and
Steibelt. That the former could ever have been seriously regarded as
the rival of Beethoven is scarcely credible to us. Such was the case,
however, and as with Gluck and Picini in Paris, and Handel and
Buononcini in London (connected with which Swift's well-known
_jeu-d'esprit_ will occur to every amateur), so it was with Beethoven
and Woelfl in Vienna. Each had his allies, and party spirit ran so high
that Beethoven, although devoid of any feeling of rivalry, accepted a
challenge to improvise. The meeting took place at the villa of Baron von
Wetzlar, Woelfl's patron; the pianofortes were placed side by side, and
the two artists played and improvised by turns.

Inspired by the ardour of contest, each seemed to surpass himself; never
had Woelfl's technical skill seemed greater; never had the wealth of
Beethoven's ideas shone out more resplendently. Some of Woelfl's
stoutest adherents contended that he had gained the day in a technical
point of view, and this may, perhaps, have been the case, since his
immense hand, which enabled him to grasp tenths with the same ease as
octaves, undoubtedly gave him an advantage. His sonata, "Non plus
ultra," gives us an idea of his execution.

Beethoven, on the other hand, never cared to make a display of mere dash
and brilliancy; technicalities were always subordinated by him to idea
and feeling.

The gift of improvisation must have been his to an extent unparalleled
either before or since. His wealth of idea, certainty of form, and
poetry of expression, combined to produce an effect very different from
that achieved by ordinary extempore players, who in general, as we have
seen in the case of Himmel, mistook the art of preluding for that of
improvising. Only one conversant with that language of music to which
Beethoven often alluded, could venture, without preparation, to speak to
any purpose in it.

A circumstance that contributed to his success was his _power of
abstraction_, which, in common with all deep thinkers, he possessed in a
remarkable degree. With the first few bars of the given Thema, the scene
before his eyes, the daylight, the bystanders, all vanished; and
Beethoven was as fully immersed in the solitude of his own thoughts as
though he had been suddenly transported to some desert island, with
penguins and sea-gulls for listeners.

Ries gives a curious instance of this utter disregard of all outward
things, in the story of the great master's commencing one day, while
giving him a lesson, to play with the left hand the first fugue from
Graun's "Tod Jesu." Gradually the right hand was added, and regardless
of his awkward position, the fugue developed in all conceivable manners
for the space of half an hour, when he suddenly awoke to discover that
his pupil was still in his place before the pianoforte.

In 1800 a more formidable rival appeared at Vienna in the person of
Steibelt. Having conceived a great idea of his own powers from the
flattery of his Parisian admirers, Steibelt came to the capital sure of
conquest, and did not even consider it necessary to visit the opponent
so far beneath him. They met accidentally at the house of Count Fries,
"where," says Ferdinand Ries, "Beethoven played for the first time[15]
his Trio in B flat major for piano; clarionet, and 'cello, Op. 11, in
which there is not much room for display. Steibelt heard it with a kind
of condescension, paid Beethoven several compliments, and believed
himself sure of victory. He played a quintet of his own composition, and
then improvised, and produced a great sensation by his free use of
_tremolo_, which was at that time something quite new. To ask Beethoven
to play again was not to be thought of. Eight days after there was again
a concert at Count Fries'. Steibelt played another quintet with great
success; he had besides, as might be easily perceived, _studied_ a
brilliant improvisation, and chosen for a subject the theme on which the
finale of Beethoven's trio was built. This disgusted the admirers of
Beethoven, and displeased the latter also. It was his turn to seat
himself at the pianoforte and to improvises. He placed himself at the
instrument with his ordinary air--I might say, rather ill-humouredly,
and as if pushed there. In passing, he seized the violoncello part of
Steibelt's quintet, placed it upside down on the desk (was this
designedly?), and drummed out with one finger the theme of the first few
bars.

"Then, impelled by his insulted and excited feelings, he improvised in
such a manner that Steibelt quitted the room before Beethoven had
ceased. He would never meet him again, and, when invited anywhere,
always stipulated that Beethoven should not be present."

But enough of such anecdotes! Triumphs which would have been glory to
others were nothing to him. Let us pass on and see the master in the
great struggle which prefaced the real commencement of life's work, and
was continued without intermission until the victory was won.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 14: Marx, vol. i., p. 66.]

[Footnote 15: This is evidently an error. The Trio had been published in
1798.--Thayer, Vol. II., p. 101.]

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER VI.

CONFLICT.

    Deafness and its Consequences--His Brothers' Influence--Letters to
    Wegeler--"Mount of Olives"--Beethoven's Will--Beethoven as an
    Instructor--a Conductor--Sinfonia Eroica--"Leonora"
    ("Fidelio")--"Adelaïde."


Suffering and genius! apparently so far apart, in reality so near!

The bitter cry of Milton,--

    "Dark, dark, dark, amidst the blaze of noon!"

has gone up from many a thousand hearts to the eternal throne; but who
may presume to fathom the dispensations of a mysterious providence? or
to question that wisdom which gives to every earthborn soul the
necessary discipline for immortality? Let us rather wonder and adore,
and--

    "Know how sublime a thing it is
    To suffer and _be strong_."

We left our young musician in the full flush of success, in apparently
vigorous health, caressed and flattered by princes, without a rival as
a virtuoso, and fast leaving all competitors behind him as a composer,
when suddenly a cloud appears, the brightness is overcast, and darkness
comes on apace. _Beethoven became deaf._

For three years he had had premonitory fears, which were too sadly
realized in the year 1801.

The loss of hearing is deprivation enough in ordinary cases; but to a
young man of excitable artist temperament, and a musician! it seemed for
a while worse than the loss of life itself. Our Beethoven writes thus to
Wegeler:--

"If I had not read somewhere that man must not of his own free will
depart this life, I should long ere this have been no more, and that
through my own act."

From this despair he was mercifully rescued. The strong, secret voice
within, impelling Beethoven onwards and upwards to that aim which he
"felt, but could not describe," spoke now in more stirring accents and
with more thrilling emphasis amid the profound silence and desolation of
his nature.

He "was not disobedient" to the heavenly call; the triumph of mind was
achieved; and from the dark prison-house the noblest strains the world
has ever heard escaped to wake responsive echoes in the hearts of all
who have felt and suffered.

But this victory was not gained without leaving behind it evident tokens
of the struggle; distrust, suspicion, irritability, those constant
attendants on deafness, haunted Beethoven day and night, poisoning his
happiness, and casting their shadow over his childlike, benevolent
disposition. Stephan Breuning writes thus of the alteration in his
friend in a letter dated the 13th of November, 1806:--"You cannot
realize the indescribable impression made upon Beethoven by the loss of
his hearing. Imagine, with his excitable temperament, the feeling of
unhappiness, added to reserve, distrust of his best friends, and
indecision in many things. In general, intercourse with him is a
positive exertion, in which it is impossible to feel entirely at one's
ease; the occasions on which his old true nature shows itself are few
indeed."

Schindler, also his friend and biographer, describes him as being "like
a child, devoid of all experience, suddenly cast upon this earth from
some ideal world; like a ball, tossed from one hand to another;
consequently, at the mercy of other people. And," he adds, "_so
Beethoven remained throughout his whole life_."

These evils were increased by the presence of his brothers, Carl and
Johann (the "evil principles" of his life, as Schindler calls them), who
now began to exercise an almost unlimited influence over him. These men
seem to have been totally incapable of appreciating the true character
or work of Ludwig; they only saw that he was making money rapidly (and,
as they thought, easily), and determined to take advantage of it. To
this end they resolved to obtain entire possession of him, and began by
endeavouring to alienate as far as possible Beethoven's friends,
misrepresenting to him all that occurred, and fanning every little spark
of anger into a flame.

Their efforts partially succeeded; our unhappy composer, absorbed in his
own creations, overwhelmed by his misfortune, and intensely irritable,
was but too ready to believe all the world in league against him, and
would have shut the door against his best friends. Prince Lichnowski
alone had still some weight with him, and when once persuaded that he
had acted unjustly, nothing could exceed Beethoven's contrition and
desire to make amends to those he had wounded.

But he would never lay any blame upon his brothers, and even when their
duplicity and falseness had been clearly pointed out to him, he would
still continue to defend them strenuously, refusing to look upon their
conduct in any but the most favourable light, and adding, "After all,
they are my brothers."

It may easily be believed how, with dispositions such as those of Carl
and Johann, this mistaken lenity and brotherly feeling confirmed them in
their course. It was they who generally made all arrangements with the
music publishers, and through their instrumentality many minor pieces
were given to the world which the composer had produced in Bonn, and
kept back from publication as unworthy of his name.

Such a consideration, however, had no weight with the two; money they
wanted, and were resolved to get at all hazards. Once only did Beethoven
come into collision with them regarding this, when he discovered that
Carl had, without his knowledge, sold a copyright which had been
promised to another person.

Carl held a situation in the National Bank of Austria, and Johann had
been established by Beethoven as an apothecary. In a very short time,
however, the latter became so wealthy (how?) as to be able to exchange
the pestle and mortar for the state of a country gentleman. Of this he
was so immoderately proud, that one New Year's day he sent in to his
brother a card, on which was written,--

    "Johann van Beethoven, Land Proprietor."

The composer, who was at table when it was brought to him, laughed
heartily, and writing on the other side,--

    "Ludwig van Beethoven, Brain Proprietor,"

sent it back to him.

The following letters to Wegeler display, more fully than we can
describe, Beethoven's condition during the first few years of his
calamity:--

    "_Vienna, 29th June_, (1801.)

    "MY DEAR GOOD WEGELER,--How much I thank you for your remembrance of
    me! I have deserved it, and sought to deserve it, so little; and yet
    you are so good, and will not allow yourself to be discouraged even
    by my unpardonable neglect--you are always the same true, good,
    worthy friend. That I could ever forget you or yours, who were once
    so dear and precious to me, do not believe; there are moments in
    which I long for you, and wish that it were in my power to spend
    some time with you. My fatherland, the lovely spot in which I first
    saw the light, is as distinct and beautiful before my eyes now as
    when I first left you. In short, I shall consider it one of the
    happiest events of my life when I am able to see you, and to greet
    our Father Rhine again. When this will be I cannot positively say.
    So much I will tell you--you shall not see me again until I have
    become really great--not as an artist only, but a better and more
    perfect man: and if the prosperity of my country be once more
    re-established, my art shall be devoted solely to the relief of the
    poor. Oh blissful moment! how happy do I consider myself in being
    able to procure thee--to create thee!

    "You want to know something about my position? Well, after all it is
    not so bad. Lichnowski is still, and always has been, my warmest
    friend, however incredible it may appear to you. (Of course there
    were little misunderstandings between us; but did they not serve
    rather to cement our friendship?) Since last year he has settled on
    me a pension of six hundred guldens, which I am to draw until I find
    an appointment suited to me. I make a great deal by my compositions;
    indeed, I may say that there are more demands upon me than I can
    execute. For every one of my works I have at least six or seven
    publishers, and could have more if I wished. They do not drive
    bargains with me now: I demand, and they pay. You see this is a
    very good thing. If, for instance, I see a friend in difficulty, and
    am not in funds to help him immediately, I have only to sit down and
    write, and in a short time he is relieved. I am also more economical
    than I used to be. If I remain here permanently, I shall certainly
    contrive to reserve one day in every year for a grand concert, of
    which I have already given several. That malicious demon, bad
    health, has cast a stumblingblock in my path--for the last three
    years my hearing has gradually become weaker. The original cause of
    this defect is the state of my digestive organs, which, as you know,
    was formerly bad enough, but has now become much worse, for I have
    been constantly troubled with diarrhoea, which has induced extreme
    weakness. Frank tried to restore the tone to my constitution by
    strengthening medicines, and to my hearing by oil of almonds, but
    _prosit!_ with no good effect; my hearing grew worse, and my
    digestion remained in the same state. This lasted till the autumn of
    last year, and I was often in despair. Then one medical _asinus_
    recommended cold bathing for my complaint; another, a little more
    sensible, the ordinary tepid Danube bath. This worked wonders; my
    digestion became better, but my deafness continued as bad as ever,
    or grew worse. Last winter I was truly miserable, suffering so
    dreadfully from colic that I fell completely back again into my
    former state, in which I continued till about four weeks ago, when I
    went to consult Vering;[16] partly because I think my complaint
    requires surgical treatment, and partly also because I have always
    had confidence in him. He succeeded in almost entirely arresting the
    violent diarrhoea. He ordered me the tepid Danube bath, into which
    I pour every time a phial of some strengthening mixture; but he gave
    me no medicine at all, except four days ago some digestive pills and
    a lotion for the ears. I must say I find myself much stronger and
    better for this treatment, but the buzzing and ringing in my ears
    continues day and night.

    "I may say that I pass my life wretchedly; for nearly two years I
    have avoided all society, because I cannot possibly say to people,
    '_I am deaf!_' If I were in any other profession it would not so
    much signify, but for a musician it is a really frightful condition.
    Besides, what would my enemies say to it?--and they are not few!

    "To give you an idea of this extraordinary deafness, I must tell you
    that in the theatre I am obliged to lean forward quite close to the
    orchestra in order to understand the actors. The high tones of the
    instruments and voices I do not hear if I am a little way off. In
    conversation it is surprising that there are some people who do not
    observe it--they attribute it to the absent fits which I often have.
    Many a time I can with difficulty distinguish the tones, but not the
    words, of any person who speaks in a low voice; and yet, directly
    any one begins to shout, it is unendurable to me. What is to be the
    result of all this, the good God alone knows. Vering says that my
    condition will certainly improve, though I may not be perfectly
    restored. I have often already--cursed my existence. Plutarch has
    led me to resignation. I am resolved, if possible, to defy my fate,
    although there should be moments in my life when I shall be the most
    unhappy of all God's creatures.

    "I beg of you not to mention my state to any one, not even to
    Lorchen;[17] I only confide it as a secret to you. I should like
    much if you would correspond some day with Vering about it. Should
    my affliction continue, I shall come next spring to you. You shall
    hire a house for me in some lovely spot in the country, and there I
    shall become a peasant for six months. Perhaps that might bring
    about a change. Resignation! what a miserable refuge! and yet the
    only one left to me!

    "You must forgive me for adding the burden of these friendly cares
    to your troubles, already gloomy enough. Steffen Breuning[18] is now
    here, and we are almost every day together; it does me so much good
    to call up the old feelings. He has become really a capital fellow,
    who knows something, and has his heart pretty much in the right
    place, like us all.

    "I have very pleasant rooms now close to the Ramparts,[19] which is
    doubly advantageous for my health. I think I shall be able to manage
    so that Breuning may come to me.

    "Your Antiochus[20] you shall have, together with plenty of music
    from me,--that is, if you do not fear its costing you too much.
    Honestly, your love of art rejoices me greatly. Only let me know how
    to set about it, and I shall send you all my works, which now amount
    to a pretty number, and are daily added to.

    "Instead of the portrait of my grandfather (which I beg you to send
    me as soon as possible with the mail), I send you that of his
    grandson, your ever loving and affectionate Beethoven. It has been
    brought out here by Artaria, who, as well as other publishers, has
    often begged me for it. I shall write next to Stoffeln[21], and read
    him a lecture about his peevish temper. I shall sound our old
    friendship well in his ears, and get him to promise sacredly not to
    annoy you again in your present sad position.

    "Never have I forgotten one of you, my dear, good friends, although
    I may not have written often to you; but writing, as you know, was
    never my _forté_; even my best friends have not heard from me for
    years. I live only in my music; and, no sooner is one thing
    completed, than another is begun. In fact, as at present, I am often
    engaged on three or four compositions at one time.

    "Write me now frequently; I shall make a point of finding time to
    write you occasionally. Give my kind regards to all, especially to
    the good Frau Hofräthin[22], and tell her that even now I sometimes
    have a 'raptus.'

    "With regard to K----, I am not at all surprised at the change.
    Fortune rolls on like a ball; and naturally, therefore, does not
    always stop at what is noblest and best. One word for Ries,[23] to
    whom remember me cordially. With regard to his son,[24] I shall
    write you more particularly, but I believe that Paris offers a
    better field for his exertions than Vienna, which is so overstocked
    that even people of the greatest merit find it a hard matter to
    maintain themselves. By autumn or winter I shall see what I can do
    for him, for then everybody will have returned to town.

    "Farewell, my good, faithful Wegeler. Rest assured of the love and
    friendship of your

    "BEETHOVEN."


    _Vienna, November, 16th, 1801._

    "MY DEAR WEGELER,--For this fresh proof of your solicitude about me,
    I must thank you the more, that I deserve it so little. You want to
    know how I am progressing, and what remedies I use; however
    unwilling I am in general to refer to this subject, I do so with the
    least reluctance to you.

    "For several months past, Vering has ordered me to apply blisters
    constantly to both arms, made of a certain kind of bark, which you
    doubtless know. This is a most disagreeable remedy, inasmuch as
    (without taking the pain into consideration) I am deprived of the
    free use of my arms for a few days, until the blisters have drawn
    sufficiently. It is true, and I cannot deny it, that the buzzing and
    ringing are somewhat less than formerly, especially in the left ear,
    that in which my malady first commenced--but my hearing is certainly
    not a whit better. I dare not say positively that it has not rather
    grown worse.

    "My digestion is better, especially after using the tepid baths,
    when I feel tolerably well for eight or ten days. Tonics I very
    seldom take, but follow your advice now with regard to the
    herb-plasters. Plunge baths Vering will not hear of. On the whole, I
    am not at all pleased with him; he has far too little solicitude or
    indulgence for a malady such as mine; if I did not go to him, and
    this I cannot do without great difficulty, I should never see him.
    What do you think of Schmidt?[25] I am unwilling to make a change,
    but it seems to me that Vering is too much of a practitioner to gain
    fresh ideas by reading. With regard to this, Schmidt appears a very
    different sort of man, and might also, perhaps, not be quite so
    negligent of my case.

    "I hear wonders of galvanism--what say you to it? A medical man told
    me that he had known a deaf and dumb child whose hearing was fully
    restored by it (in Berlin), and also a man who, after having been
    deaf for seven years, recovered his hearing. They tell me that your
    friend Schmidt is making experiments on the subject.

    "I lead a somewhat more agreeable life now that I mingle more with
    other people. You can hardly realize what a miserable, desolate life
    mine has been for the last two years. Like a ghost did my deafness
    haunt me everywhere, till I fled society, and must have appeared a
    misanthrope--yet this is so little my character.

    "This change has been brought about by a lovely and fascinating
    girl,[26] who loves me, and whom I love. After the lapse of two
    years I have again enjoyed some blissful moments, and now for the
    first time I feel that marriage can bestow happiness; but, alas! she
    is not in the same rank of life as myself; and at present, certainly
    I could not marry: I must first bestir myself actively. Were it not
    for my deafness, I would long ago have travelled half round the
    world, and I must do it yet. For me there is no greater pleasure
    than to follow and promote my art. Do not believe that I could be
    happy with you. What would there be, indeed, to make me happier?
    Even your solicitude would pain me; every moment I should read
    sympathy on your faces, and should find myself only the more
    wretched.

    "Those lovely scenes of my Fatherland, what part had I in them?
    Nothing but the hope of a better future, which would have been mine,
    were it not for this affliction! Oh! once free from this, I would
    span the world! My youth, I feel it, is only beginning; have I not
    always been a sickly creature? For some time past my bodily strength
    has been increasing more than ever, and my mental power as well.
    Every day I approach nearer the goal which I feel, but cannot
    describe. Only in this can your Beethoven live. No rest for me! I
    know of none other than Sleep, and sorry enough I am to be obliged
    to give up more time to it than formerly. Let me be only half
    delivered from this malady, and then--a more perfect, mature man--I
    shall come to you, and renew the old feelings of friendship.

    "You shall see me as happy as I am destined to be here below,--not
    unhappy. No, that I could not bear. I will grasp Fate by the throat,
    it shall not utterly crush me. Oh! it is so glorious to live one's
    life a thousand times! For a quiet life, I feel it, I am no longer
    made.

    "Pray do write me as soon as possible. Persuade Steffen to decide
    upon seeking an appointment somewhere from the Teutonic Order.[27]
    His position here is too fatiguing for his health, and besides, he
    leads such an isolated life, that I do not see how he is ever to get
    on. You know how things are here. I will not positively say that
    society would lessen his depression, but we cannot persuade him to
    join in it at all. A short time ago I had some music in my house,
    but our friend Steffen stayed away. Advise him to be more calm and
    composed. I have already tried all my powers on him,--without this
    he can never be either happy or in good health. Tell me in your next
    letter if there is any objection to my sending you my music, even
    though there should be a quantity of it. What you don't require, you
    can sell, and thus get back what you paid for carriage,--and my
    portrait into the bargain.

    "Say all that is kind and obliging to Lorchen, as well as to her
    mamma and Christoph. Have you still a little love for me? Be
    convinced of the love as well as of the friendship of

    "Your
    BEETHOVEN."

The year 1800 found Beethoven already busy with his "Mount of Olives,"
which, however, was not produced till 1803. This, the master's first and
last attempt at oratorio writing, "is a striking instance of the
insufficiency of even the highest powers to accomplish that to which the
special call has not been given. It was impossible for Beethoven to feel
himself so inspired by his task as the composer of a time when the mind
of the people was almost exclusively occupied by religious convictions;
the man of the revolutionary period could not see or think out a Christ
like that of Bach and Handel before him. Even the pure spring, out of
which we Protestants of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries draw
our ideas of Christ--the Bible--flowed not for him; his Christ must
first be poetically made for him. And how? The poet had no other aim but
that of making verses for a composer; the latter no other motive than
the ordinary creative impulse prompting him to try his powers in a
different and important sphere. The result on both sides could not,
therefore, be other than _Phrases_, although the better of the two
proceeded from the composer, and that composer was Beethoven. To conceal
or palliate this would be derogatory to the reverence which we all owe
to Beethoven,--he stands too high to be in need of extenuation."

So far Marx; but in addition to the miserable libretto (which imparted
unreality, artificiality, to the whole work, and especially gave to the
part of the Saviour a theatrical air which Beethoven afterwards
deplored) many peculiarities of the oratorio--with all deference to the
able critic just quoted--may be traced to the period in which it was
composed. The very choice of subject reveals the convulsion that was
taking place in Beethoven's _volcanic_ nature. It is a question whether
Beethoven would ever have asserted his sovereignty in this branch of
composition; it may be, as Marx hints, that the peculiar tone of thought
and feeling necessary to the successful treatment of sacred subjects was
wanting in him; but there can be no doubt that had the master's
attention been devoted to the subject in happier days, when his
tempest-tossed natures had attained to some degree of peace and
serenity, the result would have been very different. Let him who would
see Beethoven as a _devotional_ writer, turn to his Gellert songs, which
breathe the very depths of true religious feeling.

The greater part of the oratorio, and also of "Fidelio," was composed at
Hetzendorf, a pretty little village near the imperial summer palace of
Schönbrunn. Here Beethoven passed several summers in the greatest
retirement--wandering all day long, from early dawn to nightfall, amid
the leafy glades of the park. His favourite seat was between two immense
boughs of an old oak, which branched out from the parent stem about two
feet from the ground. This memorable tree, endeared to Beethoven as the
birthplace of many a thought, was afterwards visited by him, in
Schindler's company, in 1823.

In 1802 a gleam of hope dawned upon the sufferer; his deafness was for a
time cured by the skilful treatment of Dr. Schmidt (to whom, out of
gratitude, he dedicated his Septet arranged as a Trio), by whose advice
he went for the summer to the village of Heiligenstadt, in the hope that
the calm, sweet influence of nature, to which he was at all times most
sensitive, might act beneficially upon his troubled mind.

This spot--this _consecrated town_--must always be an object of
veneration to those who cherish the name of Beethoven, for here it was
that he wrote his remarkable will, or promemoria, a document which
excites our warmest sympathy, revealing, as it does, the depths of that
great heart.

    "TO MY BROTHERS, CARL AND ---- BEETHOVEN.[28]--O ye who consider or
    represent me as unfriendly, morose, and misanthropical, how unjust are
    you to me! you know not the secret cause of what appears thus to you.

    "My heart and mind have been from childhood given up to the tender
    feeling of benevolence, and I have ever been disposed to accomplish
    something great. But only consider that for six years I have been
    afflicted by a wretched calamity, which was aggravated by unskilful
    physicians--deceived from year to year by the hope of amendment--now
    forced, at length, to the contemplation of a _lingering disease_ (the
    cure of which will, perhaps, last for years, if indeed it be not an
    impossibility).

    "Born with a passionate, lively temperament, keenly susceptible to the
    pleasures of society, I was obliged at an early age to isolate myself,
    and to pass my life in loneliness.

    "When I at times endeavoured to surmount all this, oh, how rudely
    was I thrust back again by the experience--the doubly painful
    experience--of my defective hearing! and yet it was impossible for me
    to say to people, Speak louder, shout; for I am deaf! Alas! how could
    I proclaim the weakness of a sense which ought to have been with me in
    a higher degree than with others--a sense which I once possessed in
    the greatest perfection--and to an extent which few of my profession
    enjoy, or ever have enjoyed! Oh, this I cannot do! Forgive me,
    therefore, when you see me turn away where I would gladly mingle with
    you. My misfortune is doubly painful to me, inasmuch as it causes me
    to be misunderstood. For me there can be no relaxation in human
    society, no refined conversations, no mutual outpourings of thought.
    Like an exile must I live. Whenever I come near strangers, I am seized
    with a feverish anxiety from my dread of being exposed to the risk of
    betraying my condition.

    "Thus it has been with me during these last six months which I have
    spent in the country. The orders of my sensible physician, to spare my
    hearing as much as possible, were quite in accordance with my present
    disposition; although often, overcome by my longing for society, I
    have been tempted into it. But what humiliation, when any one by my
    side heard from afar a flute, and I heard _nothing_, or when any one
    heard _the shepherd singing_, and I again heard _nothing_!

    "Such occurrences brought me nigh to despair; but little was
    wanting, and I should myself have put an end to my existence.
    _Art_--art alone--held me back! Ah! it seemed impossible for me to
    quit the world before I had done all that I felt myself destined to
    accomplish. And so I prolonged this miserable life; a life so truly
    wretched that a sudden change is sufficient to throw me from the
    happiest condition into the worst.

    "_Patience!_ it would seem that I must now choose her for my guide! I
    have done so. I trust that my resolve to persevere will remain firm,
    until it shall please the inexorable Fates to cut the thread of life.
    Perhaps I may get better; perhaps not. I am prepared. Compelled to be
    a philosopher in my twenty-eighth year![29] This is not easy--for the
    artist harder than for any one else. O God! Thou lookest down upon my
    heart, Thou seest that love to man and beneficent feelings have their
    abode in it!

    "O ye who may one day read this, reflect that you did me injustice,
    and let the unhappy be consoled by finding one like himself, who, in
    defiance of all natural obstacles, has done all that lay in his power
    to be received into the ranks of worthy artists and men.

    "My brothers, Carl and----, as soon as I am dead, if Professor Schmidt
    be still alive, beg him in my name to describe my disease, and then
    add these pages to the history of my malady, that at least, so far as
    possible, the world may be reconciled to me after my death.

     "I also hereby declare you both heirs of my little fortune (if so it
    may be called). Divide it honestly, bear with and help one another.
    What you did against me I have, as you know, long since forgiven. I
    thank you in particular, brother Carl, for the attachment which you
    have shown me of late. My wish is, that your life may be happier, and
    more free from care, than mine has been. Recommend _Virtue_ to your
    children; it is she alone, and not money, that can confer happiness. I
    speak from experience; for it was Virtue who raised me when in
    distress. I have to thank her, in addition to my art, that I did not
    put an end to my life through suicide. Farewell, and love one another!
    I thank all my friends, especially Prince Lichnowski and Professor
    Schmidt. I should like the instruments of Prince L. to be preserved by
    one of you; but let no dispute arise between you on this account. As
    soon as you perceive that it will be more to your advantage, you have
    only to sell them. How shall I rejoice, if even in the grave I can
    serve you!

    "Thus has it happened:--with joy I hasten to meet Death. Should he
    come before I have had opportunity to develop all my artistic powers,
    he will have come too soon, notwithstanding my hard fate, and I shall
    wish that he had tarried a little longer; but even then I shall be
    content, for he will set me free from a state of endless suffering.
    Come when thou wilt--I go courageously to meet thee!

    "Farewell, and do not quite forget me even in death. I have deserved
    this of you, since in my life I often thought of you, and wished to
    make you happy.

    "So be it!

    "LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN."

    _Heiligenstadt, 6th October, 1802._"


    "_Heiligenstadt, 10th October, 1802._

"Thus I bid farewell to thee, mournfully enough. Even the dearest hope
that I brought hither with me, the hope of being to a certain degree
restored, has utterly forsaken me. As the leaves of autumn fall and
wither, so has my hope faded. Almost as I came do I depart; even the
lofty courage which inspired me during the lovely days of summer has
vanished. Oh, Providence! vouchsafe to me one more day of pure
happiness! The responsive echo of pure joy has been so long a stranger
to my heart. When, when, O God! shall I again feel it in the temple of
nature and man? Never? Ah! that would be too hard!"

(On the outside.)

    "For my brothers Carl and----, to be read and fulfilled after my
    death."

Several writers have maintained that the consequences of Beethoven's
deafness are plainly discernible in his compositions; that he lost all
idea of harmonic relations, that his later works are mere incongruous,
erratic fancies, devoid of form and melody, and, in short, compared to
his former productions, what the second part of "Faust" is to the first.

Happily, such ideas--promulgated by theorists of the old school like
Fétis, and dilettanti of the Mozart-Italian school like
Oulibicheff--have now exploded, and the service rendered to Art by
Beethoven's latest works--especially his pianoforte sonatas--is fully
recognised. It is these which have brought the pianoforte to its
present eminence as the most intellectual and ideal of all instruments,
and which, by their depth of thought and loftiness of aim, have raised
an insuperable barrier between the dilettante who trifles with music for
amusement, and the artist who devotes his life to its cultivation as a
God-appointed means of developing the divine in man.

At the same time we come upon passages here and there which Beethoven
would, perhaps, have written otherwise, had his ear, as well as his
mind, been sensitive to their effect.

It is not posterity that has been the loser by Beethoven's deafness; we,
at least, ought to appreciate the "precious jewel" which his adversity
carried within it, and has handed down to us. His contemporaries,
however, had cause to lament, for in a few years it put a stop to all
improvising and playing in public. We read, indeed, of a plan for an
artistic tour with his pupil Ries, when the latter was to make all
arrangements for concert-giving, and to play the pianoforte Concertos
and other works, while Beethoven conducted and improvised--but the
project never came to maturity. It was, in fact, impossible. Beethoven
entirely lost the sensitiveness of touch which had once distinguished
his playing from that of all contemporaries; and, in his efforts to
extract some nourishment for his hungering ear, used to hammer the
pianoforte so unmercifully as generally to break several strings. Nor
could it be obviated by a special instrument constructed for himself,
nor by a sound-conductor invented for him by the ingenious Graff.

A curious feature of his deafness was the gradual manner in which the
auricular nerve decayed; he first lost the power of catching the higher
notes of singers or instruments, as we have seen, while deep, low sounds
were long audible to him; this may account for the prevalence of those
deep-lying tones in almost all his later works, especially the Second
Mass and the Ninth Symphony.

As a natural consequence of his affliction, he soon became unable to
conduct his own orchestral works. This, however, was no great loss, for
he had never possessed either the self-possession or the experience
necessary to wield the _bâton_ satisfactorily. Knowing thoroughly as he
did what every instrument had to say, he listened excitedly for each in
detail--without calmly attending to the effect of the whole; at each
_crescendo_ he would rise as if about to fly, gesticulating so rapidly
and energetically that the members of the orchestra (who had enough to
do to follow such new and peculiar music) were often more bewildered
than guided by his directions. At the same time be it distinctly
understood that, however low the performance might fall beneath his
"ideal," however vexatious the mistakes of individual performers might
be, he never lost his temper so far as to act in the manner related by
Ries in his Notices, of which the following is a specimen:--

"Beethoven was present at the first performance of his Fantasia for
pianoforte, orchestra, and chorus. The clarinettist, in a passage where
the beautiful subject of the finale has already entered, made by mistake
a repetition of eight bars. As very few instruments are heard at this
point, the error in the execution was torturing to the ear. Beethoven
rose furiously, turned round, and insulted the musicians in the grossest
manner, and so loudly that it was heard by the whole audience. Then,
resuming his seat, he exclaimed, "From the beginning!" The movement was
recommenced, and this time all went well, and the success was brilliant.
But when the concert was over, the artists recollected only too well the
honourable titles by which Beethoven had publicly addressed them; and,
as if the matter had but that moment occurred, became excessively angry,
and vowed never to play again when Beethoven was in the orchestra, &c.,
&c."

That the clarinettist did make a mistake is true, but that Beethoven
behaved in the outrageous way described was most positively denied by
all who were present on the occasion, including the conductor, Franz
Clement. Where Ries got the story from is difficult to imagine, since he
was himself in St. Petersburg at the time. On the contrary, the members
of the orchestra were all on excellent terms with Beethoven, who prized
their approval far more than that of the general public; and was wont,
when particularly pleased with a performance, to turn round, his face
beaming with delight, and exclaim, "Bravi, tutti!" But woe betide those
who dared to question the effect of the new and somewhat startling
combinations which he introduced! Ries found this out to his cost. At
the unexpected entrance of the horn in the Allegro of the Eroica, he--as
usual, beside his master in the orchestra--exclaimed, "How abominably
wrong!" for which outburst he was nearly rewarded by a box on the ear.

Pianoforte playing, improvisation, and orchestral conducting were given
up one after the other--not suddenly, for Beethoven was resolved to defy
his fate as long as possible,--but henceforth it is with Beethoven the
composer alone that we have to do.

The autumn of 1802 saw him so far restored as to be able to commence his
great work on Napoleon, which, however, on account of many
interruptions, was not finished until the year 1804.

In 1802 he writes thus to his publisher, Hofmeister, who had requested
him to compose a sonata of a revolutionary tendency:--"Are you riding to
the devil in a body, gentlemen, that you propose to me to write _such a
sonata_? At the time of the revolutionary fever it might have done, but
now, when everything is once more in the beaten track, when Bonaparte
has signed the Concordat with the Pope--now such a sonata! If it had
been a _missa pro Sancta Maria a tre voci_, or a _Vesper_, I would
immediately have taken pen in hand and written in ponderous notes a
_Credo in unum_,--but, good heavens! such a sonata in these fresh,
dawning Christian times! Ho! ho! I'll have nothing to do with it!" and
yet at this very time he must have been busy with a work destined to the
honour of the great Disturber of the Peace of Europe. The idea for this
emanated originally from General Bernadotte, the French Ambassador at
Vienna--a great admirer of the composer,--and was in reality warmly
entered into by Beethoven, who, with his red-hot Republicanism and love
for Plato, was an enthusiastic supporter of the First Consul, and
imagined nothing less than that it was Napoleon's intention to remodel
France according to the Platonic method, and inaugurate a golden age of
universal happiness. With the news of the empire came the destruction of
this elysian prospect,--Beethoven in a fury tore to pieces the
title-page of his symphony on which was written simply,--

    "BONAPARTE.

    "LUIGI V. BEETHOVEN;"

and stamping it under foot, showered a volley of imprecations on the
head of the tyrant who had played so false a game.

No persuasion could induce him at first to publish the work, but after
the lapse of some years this masterpiece of ideal writing was given to
the world under the title of "Sinfonia Eroica per festegiare il
sovvenire d'un grand' uomo." Great man as Napoleon had been in
Beethoven's estimation, he never could think of him otherwise than with
detestation, till the sudden collapse of the Napoleonic idea in 1815,
and the death of its promoter in 1821, changed his wrath into a kind of
grim commiseration, which he showed by remarking that he had "seventeen
years before composed the music suited to this catastrophe!" meaning
the Funeral March in the Eroica.

This, the first great manifesto of the Sovereign of the World of Sound,
was a wonderful advance on the first two symphonies, produced somewhere
about the years 1800-1802. In these he took up the art where Haydn and
Mozart had left it; but, "though he could dally and tarry awhile with
them, he would not remain with them;" his greater earnestness impelled
him on to realms unknown to them, to conquest compared with which theirs
faded into comparative insignificance.

In 1805 Ferdinand Ries left Vienna, after having enjoyed Beethoven's
instruction for five years. He was, in fact, the only one whom Beethoven
recognised as his pupil (with the exception of the Archduke Rudolph),
and to him he entrusted the playing of his concertos, &c., for the first
time, when no longer able to do so himself. The impressions which Ries
has left in his Notices, of Beethoven as an instructor, are like his
other statements, somewhat contradictory. In one place he declares that
during the lessons the master was engaged in composition or some similar
work at one end of the room, while he was playing at the other, and that
he seldom sat down by him for half an hour at a time. Again, he says
that Beethoven took extraordinary pains with him--sometimes extending
the lesson over two hours, and making him repeat ten times--nay,
oftener--any passage with which he was not quite satisfied. Probably the
truth lies between these two extremes. Beethoven, who had no settled
order in his life, could not be expected to be systematic in tuition;
hence the impression of desultoriness left upon the mind of the pupil. A
characteristic anecdote of this period is worth quoting.

"Beethoven," says Ries, "had given me the manuscript of his third
concerto, that I might appear in public with it for the first time as
his pupil; Beethoven conducted and turned over the pages for me. I had
begged him to compose a cadenza for me, but he directed me to write one
myself. He was satisfied with my composition, and altered little; but
one brilliant and very difficult passage, which seemed to him too
hazardous, I was to change. The easier one did not please me, and I
could not make up my mind to play it in public. The critical moment
arrived--Beethoven had seated himself quietly--but when I boldly
attacked the difficult cadence, he gave his chair a violent push. The
cadenza, however, succeeded, and Beethoven was so delighted that he
exclaimed, 'Bravo!' which electrified the audience."

In 1805 Beethoven produced his solitary opera, "Leonora" (afterwards
known as "Fidelio"), amid a series of annoyances and vexations such as
probably no operatic writer, either before or since, has ever had to
contend against. What between troubles arising out of the libretto, the
overture, the singers, the critics, and the theatrical cabals, our poor
Beethoven was well-nigh driven distracted.

The story on which the opera is founded (originally taken from the
French, and so well known as to require no repetition here) is almost
too slight for dramatic purposes, inasmuch as there is but one really
powerful situation--that of the grave scene--in the entire piece, and
the whole interest, therefore, is concentrated on the one figure,
Leonora. What Beethoven has made out of these slender materials; how he
has depicted, in all its intensity and tenderness, that love which he
was doomed never to experience, needs no description from us.

What was Beethoven's object in choosing this theme for his labours? Was
it a foreshadowing of bliss that might be his? or was it the delineation
of a character which, in its earnestness and purity, should be the
reverse of that "Don Juan" of Mozart, of which he once said, "The divine
art ought never to be lowered to the folly of such a scandalous
subject"?

The little byplay and domestic "asides" cost our soaring Beethoven
infinitely more trouble than the most impassioned scenas, and he was
obliged to write the little air of Marcelline, "O, wär' ich schon mit
Dir vereint," no less than thrice before he could attain the requisite
lightness.

The composition of the four "Leonora" overtures is without a parallel in
musical annals. When Beethoven had finished No. 1, in C major, he
consented to its being first tried over by a small orchestra at Prince
Lichnowski's, in the presence of a select number of critics and
connoisseurs, by whom it was condemned as being light and almost flimsy
in structure, and as affording no clue to the contents of the opera. It
was therefore withdrawn, and not published till after the composer's
death.

But may not the light-heartedness which distinguishes this overture have
been intentional on the part of Beethoven? may he not have wished to
represent his heroine before the shadow of grief had fallen upon her, in
the enjoyment of the highest wedded bliss?

Marx takes this view of "Leonora" No. 1, adducing in support of it the
following extract from one of the manuscript books in which Beethoven
was accustomed to hold intercourse with his friends:--

"Aristotle, when he speaks of tragedy, says that the hero ought first to
be represented as living in the greatest happiness and splendour. Thus
we see him in 'Egmont.' When he is in the enjoyment of felicity, Fate
comes and throws a noose over his head from which he is not able to
extricate himself. Courage and Defiance appear upon the scene, and
boldly look Destiny--aye, and death--in the face. Clärchen's fate
interests us, like that of Gretchen in 'Faust,' because she was once so
happy. A tragedy which begins as well as continues gloomily, is
tedious."

"Leonora" No. 2 was condemned on account of the predominance of the wind
instruments, and No. 3 ultimately, because the stringed instruments had
so much to do that precision was out of the question.

When, at length, the composer was satisfied with his creation; when the
singers (pacified by the friendly intervention of Seyfried) had agreed
to give the music as it was written; when all difficulties were
apparently overcome, the unlucky composer's annoyances reached a climax
in the reception accorded to his work by the public.

With great want of judgment (purposely to annoy him, as Beethoven
thought) the opera was produced a few days after the French troops had
entered Vienna; when all his friends and patrons, including Lichnowski,
had sought refuge at their country seats till the storm had blown over;
and the theatre was filled with French officers and soldiers, an
audience utterly incapable of appreciating the master. As might have
been anticipated, the work was coldly received, and, after three
representations, withdrawn. In 1806 it met with the same fate, and not
till 1814 did this, the grandest work of the German school--a work which
has fought its way to every stage in Europe, and has been brought home
to every heart by a Malibran, a Schröder-Devrient, or a
Tietjens,--obtain a favourable hearing.

During the time the opera was in progress, Beethoven (like Mozart in
producing his "Seraglio") suffered keenly from the jealousy of some of
his opponents, and his brothers took care that every barb should find
its way home to his sensitive mind. Even his friend Stephan Breuning, in
his great desire to help the composer, aggravated the evil by the very
warmth of his partisanship,--and thus, by constant dwelling upon them,
many little slights assumed a disproportionate magnitude, and annoyed
our poor Beethoven intensely.

But enough of darkness and despondency; life now begins, by one of
those sudden and apparently inexplicable changes, to wear a rosier hue
for the composer. Reserving our inquiry into the cause of this, we close
this chapter with the beautiful letter to the poet Matthison, whose
"Adelaïde" he had set to music some time previously.

    "MOST ESTEEMED FRIEND,--You will receive, together with this, a
    composition of mine which has already been printed for several
    years, but of which, to my shame, you perhaps know nothing yet.

    "I may, perhaps, be able to excuse myself, and to explain why I
    dedicated anything to you, which came so warmly from my heart, and
    yet did not make you acquainted with it,--by the plea that, at
    first, I did not know where you resided, and then my diffidence led
    me to think that I had been somewhat hasty in dedicating anything to
    you without knowing if it had your approval. And, indeed, even now I
    send you the 'Adelaïde' with some timidity. You yourself know what
    changes a few years produce in an artist who is constantly
    progressing; the more one accomplishes in art, the less is one
    satisfied with former works.

    "My most fervent wish will be realized if you are not altogether
    dissatisfied with the music to your heavenly 'Adelaïde,' and if you
    are incited by it to compose a similar poem soon, and (should my
    request not seem too bold) to send it to me forthwith, when I shall
    put forth all my strength to approach your lovely poetry in merit.

    "Consider the dedication as a mark of my esteem and gratitude for
    the exquisite pleasure which your poetry has always afforded, and
    will still afford me.

    "When playing the 'Adelaïde,' remember sometimes

    "Your sincere admirer,

    "BEETHOVEN."

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 16: Surgeon-in-Chief to the army.]

[Footnote 17: Eleanore von Breuning.]

[Footnote 18: Stephan von Breuning.]

[Footnote 19: Probably in the house of Baron Pasqualati.]

[Footnote 20: A painting by Füger, Director of the Vienna Academy.]

[Footnote 21: Christoph Breuning.]

[Footnote 22: Madame von Breuning.]

[Footnote 23: Franz Ries, the violinist.]

[Footnote 24: Ferdinand, afterwards Beethoven's pupil.]

[Footnote 25: Professor of Medicine at the Académie Joséphine, and
author of several works.]

[Footnote 26: Undoubtedly the Countess Julia Guicciardi.]

[Footnote 27: The Breuning family had long been in possession of one of
the most honourable posts in the Teutonic Order, four members had
successively filled the office of Chancellor, and Stephan himself was
afterwards appointed to the government of Mergentheim. He was generally
esteemed, and died a short time after Beethoven.]

[Footnote 28: The omission of the name of Johann van Beethoven from this
document is somewhat unaccountable. It may have been caused through
Beethoven's irritation at his conduct. The original of the Promemoria is
now in the possession of Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt.]

[Footnote 29: Beethoven was at the time in his thirty-second year; but
he never knew precisely his age.]

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER VII.

LOVE.

    The Fourth Symphony--Julia Guicciardi--Letters to her--To Bettina
    Brentano--Beethoven's Attachments--Domestic Troubles--Frau Nanette
    Streicher--Daily Life--Composing _im Freien_.

    "In love with an Ideal,
    A creature of his own imagination,
    A child of air, and echo of his heart;
    And like a lily on a river floating,
    She floats upon the river of his thoughts."


Whence comes it that after a storm of darkness and gloom--after the
disappointment of his "Leonora"--the next offspring of the poet's fancy
should be a symphony (No. 4), the most delicately finished and bright in
colouring which we possess?

The mystery is not easily solved. Former biographers have at once come
to the conclusion that this was the period in which Beethoven's love for
Julia Guicciardi, alluded to in a letter to Wegeler, had reached its
climax. This hypothesis has, however, been put to flight by the
discovery of Alexander Thayer that the lady was married to Count
Gallenberg (afterwards the Keeper of the Archives of the Imperial Opera)
in 1803--that is, three years before the composition of the work.

Is the B flat major Symphony, after all, as much the exponent of the
master passion as is, in another way, the C sharp minor Sonata? Or is
it, with its troubled, gloomy opening, expanding into glorious warmth
and sunshine, another evidence of Beethoven's resolution to set fate at
defiance, and to keep at bay the monster Grief which threatened to
annihilate him? Who can tell? When the traveller, suddenly emerging from
some mist-hung mountain gorge, steps out upon the rocky platform, he
beholds in the distance, beneath his delighted gaze, a landscape bathed
in sunshine; so to the poet's excited fancy there must have been present
some bright vision, one of those "loftier spirits, who sported with him
and allotted to him nobler tasks," drawing a veil over the troubled
Past, and pointing him onwards to a glorious Future.

Let the Reader take which interpretation he will.

We propose briefly to present to him the two sets of letters which show
us Beethoven in two different aspects as a lover--the first _pur et
simple_, the second Platonic.

Nothing is known with certainty of Beethoven's "immortal beloved," whose
name vibrates throughout the Adagio of the Moonlight Sonata. The letters
to her (of date unknown, written from some baths in Hungary, whither he
had been ordered for his health) breathe the very intensity of
passion--a passion at times too deep for words.[30]

    "_Morning, 6th July._

    "My Angel! my All! my Second Self!

    "Only a few words to-day, written with a pencil (with thine). My
    residence will not be definitely fixed before to-morrow. What a
    ruinous waste of time!--Why this deep sorrow where Necessity speaks?
    can our love exist otherwise than by sacrifices, than by our not
    expecting everything? Canst thou alter the fact that thou art not
    wholly mine, that I am not wholly thine?--Alas! look into the
    beauties of Nature, and calm thy mind for what must be endured. Love
    demands all, and with perfect right, and thus _I feel towards thee_
    and _thou towards me_, only thou forgettest so easily that I have to
    live _for myself_ and _for thee_,--were we perfectly united, thou
    wouldst feel this trial as little as I do.

    "My journey was terrible. I only arrived yesterday at four o'clock
    in the morning, owing to the want of horses. The driver chose
    another route, but what a fearful one! At the last station they
    warned me not to travel by night, and tried to terrify me by a
    forest, but this only stimulated me, though I was wrong. The
    carriage broke down on that dreadful road, a mere rough, unmade
    country lane, and had not my postillions been what they were, I
    should have been obliged to remain there by the wayside.

    "Esterhazy, on the usual route, had the same fate with eight horses
    that I had with four, and yet I felt a certain degree of pleasure,
    as I always do when I overcome anything happily.--Now, in haste,
    from the outer to the inner man! We shall probably soon see each
    other again. I cannot communicate to thee to-day the reflections I
    have been making, during the last few days, on my life--were our
    hearts ever near to one another, I should make none such. My heart
    is full of much that I have to say to thee. Ah! there are moments in
    which I feel that language is absolutely nothing. Take courage!
    continue to be my true, my only treasure, my All, as I am thine. The
    gods must send the rest--that which is ordained to be, and shall be
    for us.

    "Thy faithful

    "LUDWIG."


    "_Monday evening, 6th July._

    "Thou grievest--thou--the dearest of all beings!--I have just
    learned that the letters must be sent off very early. Mondays and
    Thursdays are the only days on which the post goes to K---.--Thou
    grievest! Ah! where I am, there thou art with me--with our united
    efforts I shall attain my object--I shall pass my life with
    thee--what a life!!! whereas now!!! without thee--persecuted at
    times by the kindness of others, a kindness which I neither deserve
    nor wish to deserve. Servility from man to his fellow-creature pains
    me; and, when I consider myself in relation to the universe, what am
    I? what is he who is called the greatest? and yet even here is
    displayed the Divine in man!--I weep when I think that thou wilt
    probably receive no tidings of me before Saturday. However much thou
    mayest love me, I love thee more fervently still--never hide thy
    feelings from me.--Good night! as a patient here I must now go to
    rest. Ah, God! so near!--so far apart! is not our love a true
    celestial mansion, enduring as the vault of heaven itself!"


    "_7th July._

    "Good morning!

    "Even before I rise my thoughts throng to thee, my immortal beloved,
    at times with joy, then again mournfully, waiting to hear if fate be
    favourable to us. I can only live entirely with thee, or not at all.
    Yes! I am resolved to wander apart from thee until the moment shall
    arrive when I may fly into thine arms, may feel my home in thee, and
    send my soul encompassed by thine into the world of spirits. Yes,
    alas! it must be so! Thou wilt be prepared, for thou knowest my
    faithfulness. Never can another possess my heart; never, never. Oh
    God! why must I fly from what is so dear to me?--and yet my life in
    V---- is, as at present, a sorrowful one. Thy love made me at once
    the happiest and the most miserable of men. At my age I require a
    uniformity, an evenness of life; and can this be possible in our
    relations?--Angel! I have just heard that the post goes out every
    day; and must stop that thou mayest receive this letter soon.--Be
    calm; only by calmly viewing our existence can we attain our aim of
    passing our lives together. Be calm; love
    me--to-day--yesterday--what longing, what tears for thee--for
    thee--for thee--my Life! my All! Farewell! Oh! continue to love
    me--never misjudge the faithful heart of thy lover.

    L.

    "Ever thine,

    "Ever mine,

    "Ever each other's."


It was indeed the case that no other love ever did "possess his heart"
in the same way. This was, if not his first, at least his only _real_
love. Such letters as these Beethoven wrote to no one else; the contrast
between them and the three following (addressed to Bettina Brentano,
afterwards Madame von Arnim) will be at once apparent:--

    "_Vienna, August 11, 1810._

    "DEAREST FRIEND,--Never has there been a more beautiful spring than
    this year; I say so, and feel it too, because in it I first made
    your acquaintance. You have yourself seen that in society I am like
    a fish on the sand, which writhes, and writhes, and cannot get off
    until some benevolent Galatea throws it back into the mighty ocean.
    I was, indeed, quite out of my element, dearest friend, and was
    surprised by you at a time when discouragement had completely
    mastered me--but how quickly it vanished at your glance! I knew at
    once that you must be from some other sphere than this absurd world,
    in which, with the best will, one cannot open one's ears. I am a
    miserable being, and yet I complain of others!!--But you will
    forgive me for this with that good heart which looks out of your
    eyes, and that intelligence which is hidden in your ears,--at least
    they know how to flatter by the way in which they listen.

    "My ears are, alas! a partition wall through which I cannot easily
    have any friendly intercourse with men. Otherwise!--perhaps!--I
    should have felt more assured with you; but I could only understand
    the full, intelligent glance of your eyes, which has so taken hold
    of me, that I shall never forget it. Dear friend, dearest
    girl!--Art! who understands her? with whom can I discuss this great
    goddess?... How dear to me are the few days in which we chatted
    together, or, I should say, rather corresponded! I have preserved
    all the little notes with your witty, charming, most charming
    answers, and so I have to thank my defective hearing that the best
    part of those hasty conversations is written down. Since you left I
    have had vexatious hours--hours of shadow in which I can do nothing.
    I wandered in the Schönbrunn Allée for about three hours after you
    left, but no angel met me who could have taken possession of me as
    you did, _my Angel_.

    "Pardon, dearest friend, this deviation from the original key, but
    such intervals I must have as a relief to my heart. So you have
    written about me to Goethe, have you not? I could bury my head in a
    sack, so that I might not hear or see anything of all that is going
    on in the world, because I shall not meet you again, dearest angel,
    but I shall receive a letter from you soon. Hope sustains me, as she
    does half the world; through all my life she has been my companion.
    What would otherwise have become of me?--I send you 'Kennst du das
    Land,' written with my own hand, as a remembrance of the hour in
    which I first knew you. I send you also another, which I have
    composed since I took leave of you; my dearest _Herz_!"

    Herz, mein Herz, was soll das geben,
      Was bedränget dich so sehr;
    Welch ein neues, fremdes Leben,
      Ich erkenne dich nicht mehr.

    "Answer me at once, dearest friend; write and tell me what is to
    become of me since my heart has turned such a rebel. Write to your
    most faithful friend,

    "BEETHOVEN."


    "_Vienna, 10th February, 1811._

    "DEAR, BELOVED FRIEND,--I have already had two letters from you, and
    see from those to Tonie that you still remember me, and even too
    kindly. Your first letter I carried about with me the whole summer,
    and it has often made me very happy. Although I do not write to you
    frequently, and you see nothing at all of me, yet in thought I write
    you a thousand times a thousand letters. How you must feel in Berlin
    amongst all the frivolous, worldly rabble, I could imagine, even
    though you had not written it to me yourself,--mere prating about
    Art without any results!! The best description of this is to be
    found in Schiller's poem, 'The River,' in which the Spree
    speaks.--You are about to be married, dear friend, or are so
    already, and I have not been able to see you even once previously.
    May all the felicity with which marriage blesses those who enter
    into her bonds be poured upon you and your husband! What shall I say
    to you about myself? I can only exclaim with Johanna, 'Compassionate
    my fate!' If I am but spared for a few years longer, I will thank
    Him who embraces all within Himself--the Most High--for this as well
    as for all other weal and woe.--If you should mention me when
    writing to Goethe, strive to find all those words which can express
    to him my deepest reverence and admiration. I am just about to write
    to him myself regarding 'Egmont,' to which I have composed the
    music, solely out of love for his poetry, which always makes me
    happy;--but who can sufficiently thank a Poet, the most precious
    jewel of a Nation! Now no more, my dear, good friend. I only
    returned this morning from a _Bacchanale_ where I laughed too
    heartily, only to weep nearly as much to-day; boisterous joy often
    drives me violently back upon myself. As to Clemens, many thanks for
    his courtesy; with regard to the Cantata, the subject is not
    important enough for us, it is very different in Berlin. As for my
    affection, the sister has so large a share of it that not much is
    left for the brother--will he be content with this? Now farewell,
    dear, dear friend. I imprint a sorrowful kiss upon your forehead,
    thus impressing, as with a seal, all my thoughts upon it. Write
    soon, soon, often, to your Brother,

    "BEETHOVEN."


    "_Toeplitz, 15th August, 1812._

    "MY MOST DEAR, KIND FRIEND,--Kings and princes may indeed be able to
    create professors and privy councillors, and to bestow titles and
    decorations, but great men they cannot make. Spirits that tower
    above the common herd, these they cannot pretend to make, and
    therefore they are forced to respect them. When two men like Goethe
    and myself come together, these grandees must perceive what is
    accounted great by such as we.

    "On our way home yesterday we met the whole imperial family; we saw
    them coming in the distance, when Goethe immediately dropped my arm
    to place himself on one side; and say what I would, I could not get
    him to advance another step. I pressed my hat down upon my head,
    buttoned up my great-coat, and made my way with folded arms through
    the thickest of the throng. Princes and courtiers formed a line,
    Duke Rudolph took off his hat, the Empress made the first
    salutation. The great ones of the earth _know me_! To my infinite
    amusement, I saw the procession file past Goethe, who stood by the
    side, hat in hand, bending low. I took him to task for it pretty
    smartly, gave him no quarter, and reproached him with all his sins,
    especially those against you, dearest friend, for we had just been
    speaking about you. Heavens! had I been granted a time with you such
    as _he_ had, I should have produced many more great works! A
    musician is also a poet, and can feel himself transported by a pair
    of eyes into a more beautiful world, where nobler spirits sport with
    him, and impose great tasks upon him. What ideas rushed into my mind
    when I first saw you in the little observatory during that glorious
    May shower, which proved so fertilizing to me also! The loveliest
    themes stole from your glances into my heart,--themes which shall
    enchant the world when Beethoven can no longer direct. If God grant
    me a few years more, I must see you again, my dearest friend; the
    voice which ever upholds the right within me demands it. Spirits can
    also love one another; I shall ever woo yours; your applause is
    dearer to me than aught else in the world. I told Goethe my opinion
    of the effect of applause upon men like us--we must be heard with
    intelligence by our peers; emotion is very well for women (pardon
    me), but music ought to strike fire from the souls of men. Ah!
    dearest child, how long is it since we were both so perfectly agreed
    upon all points! There is no real good but the possession of a pure,
    good soul, which we perceive in everything, and before which we have
    no need to dissemble. _We must be something if we would appear
    something._ The world must recognise us, it is not always unjust;
    but this is a light matter to me, for I have a loftier aim.

    "In Vienna I hope for a letter from you; write soon, soon and fully;
    in eight days I shall be there. The court goes to-morrow; to-day
    they are to play once more. Goethe has taught the Empress her
    _rôle_. His duke and he wished me to play some of my own music, but
    I refused them both, for they are both in love with Chinese
    porcelain. A little indulgence is necessary, for understanding
    seems to have lost the upper hand; but I will not play for such
    perverse tastes, neither do I choose to be a party to the follies of
    princes who are for ever committing some such absurdity. Adieu,
    adieu, dear love; your last letter lay for a whole night next to my
    heart, and cheered me there. Musicians allow themselves everything.
    Heavens! how I love you!

    "Your most faithful friend and deaf brother,

    "BEETHOVEN."


These letters were first published in Bettina's book, "Ilius Pamphilius
und die Ambrosia," but the style is so unlike Beethoven's simple mode of
expression, that it is difficult to discover what the composer really
wrote to Bettina, and what has been supplied by the latter's rather too
vivid imagination. The reiterated _dear_, _dearest_, and the _write
soon_, _soon_, _often_, are very feminine and very _un-Beethovenish_.
This strange, inexplicable little being, who fascinated not only
Beethoven, but every one else with whom she came in contact, has also
published an account of her interviews with Beethoven. This is so highly
coloured that we may be excused for doubting the perfect truth of the
recital, especially as we know what a gloss--nay, what falseness--she
contrived to give to all that related to her intercourse with Goethe.
She herself tells us, naïvely enough, that when she showed Beethoven one
morning her account of what he had said the previous day, he was quite
surprised, and exclaimed, "Did I really say that? I must have had a
_raptus_!"

Bettina was, however, of some service to him, as it was doubtless she
who paved the way to his acquaintance with Goethe, and their meeting in
1812 at Toeplitz; and her family remained true, warm friends of the
composer long after the great minister had forgotten his very existence.

Beethoven was most unfortunate in his attachments, the objects of which
were always of much higher social standing than himself. Constantly
associating with people of rank and culture, it was natural that to the
sensitive nature of our poet, the young girl nobly born, with all the
intuitive, nameless fascinations of the high-bred aristocrat, should
present a great contrast to the plebeian, every-day graces of the
_bourgeoise_. Beethoven used to say that he had found more real
appreciation of his works amongst the nobility than in any other circle,
and we can hardly wonder at the infatuation with which he stakes all his
chances of happiness on a love which he knows can never be gratified.

The following little scrap in his handwriting has been preserved:--"Only
love--yes, only that--has power to give me a happier life. Oh, God! let
me at length find her--her who destined to be mine, who shall strengthen
me in virtue!" Schindler imagines that these words have reference to a
well-known dilettante of great talent, Fräulein Marie Pachler, whom
Beethoven admired exceedingly. He never summoned up courage enough to
propose to her however, and she afterwards married an advocate in Gratz.
This lady may also be the subject of the allusion in a letter to Ries,
1816:--"Say all that is kind from me to your wife; I, alas! have none. I
found only one with whom I could have been happy, and she will probably
never be mine. But I am not on this account a woman-hater!"

Another love of Beethoven's was the Countess Marie Erdödy, to whom he
dedicated the two splendid Trios, Op. 70, but this seems to have been
entirely a Platonic affection.

Who can exaggerate the immense benefit that a loving, tender wife would
have been to Beethoven--a wife like Mozart's Constance? The
consciousness of one ever by his side to whom he might safely confide
all that wounded or annoyed him, would have more than neutralized the
chilling, exasperating effects of the calamity that had overtaken him,
would have been a fresh impetus to great achievements. But fate had
willed it otherwise.

In nothing was the want of a wife so apparent as in Beethoven's domestic
_ménage_, which certainly was the _non plus ultra_ of discomfort. One
great cause of this was his habit of frequently changing his abode. He
had long since left the Lichnowski Palace, his infirmity rendering it
desirable that he should have a home of his own, but he was extremely
difficult to please in the choice of a residence. One house he would
leave because the sun did not shine into his apartment; another because
the supply of water was deficient (a serious drawback to him, as he was
accustomed to lave his head and face profusely while composing), and for
even less cogent reasons he would pack up and leave at an hour's notice,
so that it soon became a difficult matter to find a suitable abode for
him. It may easily be imagined that this constant removal was not
effected without considerable outlay, and so badly did he manage that at
one time he had no less than four houses on his hands. When all other
resources failed, he would take refuge in the fourth story of his friend
Baron Pasqualati's house, which was constantly reserved for him. The
summer he always spent in the country, generally in a hired lodging. On
one occasion a suite of apartments in the villa of Baron Pronay had been
placed at his disposal, and as the house stood in the midst of a superb
park, it was thought that Beethoven would be fully satisfied. In a few
days, however, the bird had flown, alleging as his reason that he could
not endure to listen to the ceremonious salutation with which his host
accosted him every morning in his ramble--much less to return it!

Oulibischeff's amusing description of our composer's surroundings is
worth repeating:--

"In his room reigned a confusion, an organized chaos, such as can hardly
be imagined. Books and music lay on every article of furniture, or were
heaped up like pyramids in the four corners. A multitude of letters
which he had received during the week or the month covered the floor
like a white carpet with red spots. On the window-sill were displayed
the remains of a succulent breakfast, by the side or on the top of
proof sheets awaiting correction. There a row of bottles, partly sealed,
partly empty; further on an _escritoire_, and on it the sketch of a
quartet; on the pianoforte a flying sheet of note-paper with the embryo
of a symphony; while to bring so many directly opposite things into
harmony, everything was united by a thick layer of dust.

"It may easily be imagined that amidst such a _well-arranged whole_, the
artist had often no small trouble to find what he required. He used to
complain bitterly about this, and always put the blame on other people's
shoulders, for he fancied that he was extremely systematic in the way in
which he kept his things, and used to declare that in the darkest night
he could find even a pin belonging to him, if people 'would but put
things back in their proper places'!

"On one occasion an important paper was missing--neither a sketch nor a
loose sheet, but a thick, clearly copied score from the Mass in D. At
last it was found; but where, think you? In the kitchen, where it had
been used to wrap up eatables! More than one _Donnerwetter_! and more
than one bad egg must have flown at the head of the devoted cook, when
this was discovered; for Beethoven liked fresh eggs too well to use them
as missiles.... Once, when he had dismissed his housekeeper, a very good
orderly person (and soon received into favour again), he resolved to
make himself independent, and to keep no more servants, since they only
'worked mischief in the house.' And why should he not wait upon
himself, and look after the kitchen himself? Could it be more difficult
to prepare a dinner than to compose a C minor symphony? Charmed with
this glorious idea, Beethoven hastens to put it into execution. He
invites some friends to dinner, buys the necessary provisions in the
market, and carries them home himself; ties on the business-like white
apron; adjusts the indispensable nightcap on his head; grasps the cook's
knife, and sets to work. The guests arrive, and find him before the
fire, whose scorching flame seems to act like the fire of inspiration
upon him. The patience of the Viennese appetites was put to an unwonted
trial. At length the dishes were placed on the table, and the host
proved that it was worth while waiting for him. The soup might have
challenged the _soupe maigre_ given in charity; the boiled meat,
scarcely cooked, presupposed in individuals of the human race the
digestion of an ostrich; the vegetables swam in a sea of fat and water;
the roast meat, splendidly burned to a cinder, looked as though it had
found its way down the chimney; in short, nothing was fit to eat. And
nobody did eat anything except the host, who by word and example
encouraged his guests to fall to. In vain; Beethoven's
_chefs-d'oeuvre_ of cookery were not appreciated, and the guests made
their dinner on bread, fruit, and sweetmeats, adding plenty of wine to
prevent any bad effects from their enforced abstinence. This remarkable
feast convinced even the great Maestro that composing and cooking are
two very different things, and the unjustly deposed cook was speedily
re-established in her rights."

It was very fortunate for Beethoven that after some years passed in this
erratic way, a sensible lady-friend at length came to the rescue, and by
her feminine tact and adroitness, succeeded in persuading him to abandon
his nomadic habits to some extent, and to mingle a little more in
society. This was Frau Nanette Streicher, the amiable wife of the
celebrated instrument maker, and early friend of Schiller. She began by
putting the wardrobe of the composer to rights (as might be imagined, it
was in a deplorable plight), and afterwards, in conjunction with her
husband, hired a respectable house for Beethoven, furnished it suitably,
and engaged a man (a tailor by trade) and his wife to wait upon him. In
this quiet haven our tempest-tossed Beethoven came to anchor for a
while, and might have been seen busy over his pianoforte, or among his
papers, while his cross-legged knight of the Goose stitched away
comfortably in the adjoining anteroom.

When fairly domiciled, Beethoven's mode of life was very regular. His
habit was to rise every morning, winter and summer, at daybreak, when he
at once proceeded to his desk, where he wrote till about two o'clock
without any interruption, except the necessary interval for breakfast,
and--if his ideas did not flow rapidly enough--an occasional run of half
an hour or longer into the open air. Between two and three he dined,
after which it was his invariable custom to make the circuit of the
town twice or three times; and no weather could keep him within
doors--summer heat or winter frost, thunder, hail, rain, sleet,--nothing
prevented this afternoon ramble. It was, in fact, his time for
composition; he never ventured out without his note-book to preserve any
fugitive thoughts that might flit across his mind, and used laughingly
to apply to himself Johanna's words, "I dare not come without my
banner!" Necessarily, therefore, he was a very silent companion, but in
_one_ sense only, as the whole way he continued humming (or rather
growling) in a manner peculiar to himself any thema on which he was
mentally at work. Ries relates that on one occasion when they were
walking together, Beethoven suddenly exclaimed, "A theme has occurred to
me!" They hurried onwards in silence, and on arriving at home the master
went at once to the pianoforte (without even removing his hat), where he
thundered like an inspired giant for more than an hour, during which the
beautiful finale to the Sonata Op. 54 (in F major) struggled into
existence.

Beethoven generally returned from his promenade only when warned by the
shadows that evening was coming on; then alone in the darkening twilight
he loved to breathe to his best, his only friend, his _Clavier_,[31] the
thoughts which met with no response in human sympathy. During the
evening he very seldom worked, but would smoke his pipe, and play
occasionally on his viola or violin, both of which must always be
placed ready for him on the pianoforte.

Our poor deaf Beethoven had, too, his little coterie of sincere and
attached friends, among whom his real nature could show itself without
restraint or distrust, and who clung to him through life in spite of the
unceasing efforts of the two brothers to dislodge them. These
were--naturally Prince Lichnowski and his brother Count Moritz, who
cherished a love and admiration for Beethoven which the latter warmly
reciprocated, dedicating to the Count his Variations, Op. 35, and the
beautiful Idyl, Op. 90. To these must be added the worthy Baron von
Zmeskall, a Hungarian State Secretary, to whom the composer addressed
many a humorous epistle; his old friend Stephan Breuning; the Baron von
Gleichenstein; his secretary Schindler; and last, but not least, Franz,
Count von Brunswick, to whom he dedicated the Sonata Appassionata, and
who had more influence over him than anybody else.

One proceeding Beethoven never omitted, viz., the reading of the evening
paper. In these stirring times the newspaper was an absolute necessity,
and our musician would never retire to rest without previously
ascertaining the state of the political horizon. He used to frequent a
coffee-house which boasted another means of exit besides the general
one, and taking up his position in the background, he would steadily
peruse the _Gazette_ (not a very long task in those days, when "our own"
correspondents were as yet undreamt of), and as soon as the last word
of the last page had been scanned, beat a hasty retreat through the
private door, and wend his solitary way homewards. Ten o'clock rarely
found him out of bed. Such was his simple, innocent day! It was no mere
phrase, that declaration of his, "_I live only in my art_,"--it was
indeed the one connecting link between him and others.

What he produced in suffering and loneliness stirred, like a mighty wind
among the forest branches, the noblest feelings of a thousand hearts,
bidding them grapple with Destiny as he had done, and prove themselves
_men_ and heroes!

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 30: In translating these letters we have thought it best to
keep to the original pronoun,--the simple _thou_ being more suited to
Beethoven's ideal love than the coarser _you_.]

[Footnote 31: Beethoven could not endure the foreign word _pianoforte_.]

[Illustration]



[Illustration]



CHAPTER VIII.

VICTORY AND SHADOW.

    Period of Greatest Intellectual Activity--Hummel--The Battle of
    Vittoria--Congress of Vienna--Maelzel--Pecuniary
    Difficulties--Adoption of Nephew--The Philharmonic Society--The
    Classical and Romantic Schools--The Ninth Symphony--His Nephew's
    Conduct--Last Illness.


The period between the years 1805 and 1814 may be considered that of
Beethoven's greatest creative energy. It is almost impossible to keep
pace with the stream of colossal works which flowed without intermission
from his pen. To this period belong the G major and E flat pianoforte
concertos, without exception the most poetical and the noblest
compositions of the kind which we possess; the fantasia for pianoforte,
orchestra, and chorus; the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth
symphonies; the "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage" on Goethe's short but
suggestive poem, "_Tiefe Stille herrscht im Wasser_; _ohne Regung ruht
das Meer_;" the First Mass; the music to "Egmont;" the overtures to
Collin's tragedy of "Coriolanus," and to "King Stephen," and the "Ruins
of Athens,"--each of which, from its intellectual grasp of subject,
wonderful ideality, and highly finished detail, would merit a volume to
itself. Nor do these Titanic orchestral productions occupy the whole of
his attention. They are accompanied by a mass of works for the
pianoforte, which, if in one sense slighter than those we have named,
yet, in another, stand equally high; the soliloquies and dialogues (if
we may be allowed the expression) contained in the pianoforte sonatas
breathe thoughts as noble and as deep as those expressed by the more
varied _dramatis personæ_ of the orchestra or the quartets. Truly, a
perfect acquaintance with Beethoven would claim the devotion of the
highest powers, and the study of a lifetime. Any attempt, however, to
depict these great works briefly in words would be futile, and we
therefore pass on to the consideration of the poet's outer life. This
was almost monotonous--certainly not varied. Beethoven, as we have seen,
lived wholly in his art, and the changes which occurred, most momentous
to him, were not those of outward circumstance, but of inner,
intellectual development.

In the year 1809 he was offered the post of Kapellmeister to the King of
Westphalia, with a salary of six hundred ducats; and this, his great
desire of possessing a fixed income made him ready to accept; although
he would certainly have been miserable in such a position, as Jerome was
not the man to understand either him or his works. Happily, this ordeal
was spared him. It was thought derogatory to the dignity of Austria that
her greatest composer, the one of whom she had most reason to be proud,
should be allowed through pecuniary considerations to quit her bounds;
and as the Emperor would do nothing for Beethoven (his abhorrence of
etiquette and well-known republican sentiments having prevented his ever
getting into favour at Court), an agreement was ultimately entered into
by the Archduke Rudolph (Beethoven's pupil, afterwards Archbishop of
Olmütz) and the Princes Lobkowitz and Kinsky, to pay the composer
annually the sum of four thousand guldens, on condition of his
continuing to reside in Vienna. In two years' time this was reduced
one-fifth, owing to changes in the Austrian Finance, and subsequently it
dwindled down to a mere nothing, from the death and bankruptcy of two of
the contracting parties--but Beethoven could get no redress, although he
religiously fulfilled his part of the compact.

In drawing the money from the executors of Prince Kinsky he was obliged
always to send in a proof that he was still in existence. This annoyed
him excessively, and he generally had the affair transacted for him by a
friend, which on one occasion produced the following laconic voucher to
Schindler:--

"CERTIFICATE OF LIFE.--The Fish lives! _vidi_ Pastor Romualdus,"--an
allusion to his eccentric use of water when composing.

In this year also occurred the bombardment of Vienna, out of which Ries
has contrived to bring forward an implied accusation of cowardice
against the composer, in his statement that Beethoven hid himself in a
cellar, burying his head among cushions that he might not hear the
firing.

The explanation of this lies on the surface; if he did take refuge
underground it was only what every other inhabitant of the city, whose
duty did not call him elsewhere, was doing; and as for the cushions--the
vibration of the cannonade heard in that vault must have been agony to
his diseased nerve. Had Beethoven really been alarmed he might easily
have quitted Vienna. Cowardice in any form is the last vice that could
be attributed to him; resolute and firm, he feared no danger.

In 1810 the Mass in C was performed for the first time at Eisenstadt,
the residence of Prince Esterhazy, the grandson of Haydn's patron, in
whose service Hummel was at the time as Kapellmeister. Esterhazy,
accustomed only to the simple services and masses of the Haydn-Mozart
school, did not know what to make of a production so totally different.
Accordingly, at the _déjeuner_ afterwards given in the palace to the
artists and dilettanti who had assembled for the occasion, he said, with
a smile, to our composer, "Now, dear Beethoven, what is this that you
have been about again?" The susceptible musician, not a little irritated
at hearing his work so lightly spoken of, glanced towards Hummel, who
happened to be standing by the Prince's side, wearing a peculiar smile,
which seemed to Beethoven full of malicious pleasure. This was too
much--the opinion of a fashionable worldling like Esterhazy was nothing
to Beethoven, but that a brother in art should so misunderstand
him--should rejoice at an apparent failure!--he rose abruptly, and
quitted the palace.

Such is the correct account of the rupture between Beethoven and Hummel,
which lasted until a few days before the death of the former, when
Hummel, hearing of his precarious state, hastened to Vienna to effect a
reconciliation before it was too late.[32] Another version of the story
is that the two composers were rivals for the hand of the same lady, and
that Hummel, owing to Beethoven's deafness and his own better position
as Kapellmeister, was the favoured suitor! The practice of tracing every
event in our composer's life to a love affair is just as ridiculous as
the opposite extreme of denying his capability for the tender passion.

A more interesting incident in connection with the First Mass is that
related by Schindler of the effect produced upon Beethoven by the
reading of the German text composed for it by some poet, who, though
unknown to fame, seems to have translated the master's thoughts from the
language of Tones into that of Words, with power and truth. When
Beethoven came to the "_Qui tollis_" his eyes overflowed with tears (the
first and last time that he was ever seen so affected) as he exclaimed,
"Thus I felt while composing this!"

The tide of Beethoven's earthly renown and glory, which had been slowly
rising for years, reached its height in 1813-14.

In the former year took place the two celebrated concerts on behalf of
the Austrian and Bavarian soldiers wounded in the battle of Hanau, when
the Seventh Symphony, and "Wellington's Victory, or the Battle of
Vittoria," were performed for the first time. We can easily imagine,
from the sensation excited even now by the latter work, how intense must
have been the enthusiasm which greeted its performance at a time when
popular feeling was strung up to the highest pitch. Beethoven himself
directed, regulating the movements of his bâton by those of
Schuppanzigh's bow. In a notice of the concert written by himself he
says: "It was an unprecedented assembly of distinguished artists, every
one of whom was inspired by the desire of accomplishing something by his
art for the benefit of the Fatherland; and all worked together
unanimously, accepting of subordinate places without regard to
precedence, that a splendid _ensemble_ might be attained.... My part was
the direction of the whole, but only because the music happened to be of
my composition. Had it been otherwise, I would have stationed myself as
readily at the great drum, like Herr Hummel; for our only motives were
Love to the Fatherland, and the joyful devotion of our powers to serve
those who had sacrificed so much for us."

In 1814 occurred the great Congress, when Vienna was for a season the
abode of kings, princes, and delegates from every Court in Europe, and
the glittering capital was well-nigh intoxicated by its own
magnificence. The magistrates of the city invited Beethoven to compose a
Cantata for the occasion, which produced the "Glorreiche Augenblick,"
perhaps the composer's most neglected work, and deservedly so, as it is
not worthy of him. It won for him, however, the presentation of the
freedom of the city, the only distinction which Beethoven valued. Nor
was this his only triumph. His genius began to be universally
recognised; he was created an honorary member of Academies and Societies
in London, Paris, Stockholm, and Amsterdam; and the Philharmonic Society
in London presented him with a superb grand pianoforte of Broadwood's
manufacture. In short, from every nation in Europe, and even from
America, he received striking proofs of the love and admiration in which
he was held. Stimulated by these manifestations, excited by the
splendour around him, and the stirring, momentous events which were
taking place, Beethoven was induced to depart for the time from his
usual solitary habits, and to mingle for a few weeks in society. In the
apartments of Prince Rasoumowski, the well-known Russian dilettante, he
was introduced to many of the illustrious visitors, and long retained a
lively recollection, half comical, half gratified, of the manner in
which he had been idolized;--how the grand seigneurs had paid court to
him, and how admirably he had played his part in receiving their homage!
He was most deeply affected by his interview with the gentle Empress
Elizabeth of Russia, with whom he conversed in his customary frank, open
way, completely setting aside all etiquette; while she, on her part,
expressed the highest veneration for the composer, and at her departure
left him a gift of two hundred ducats, which he acknowledged after his
own fashion by dedicating to her his brilliant Polonaise, Op. 89. This
was the only substantial result to our poverty-stricken Beethoven of the
attachment professed by the whole of the gay throng!

The bright episode of the Congress, with its fêtes and triumphs, soon
flitted past, bringing out in sterner and darker contrast the days which
followed.

Beethoven had dedicated his "Battle of Vittoria" to the Prince Regent of
England (George IV.), but to his great chagrin, no notice was taken of
it. He alludes to this in a letter to Ries, and referring to the
Prince's well-known character of _gourmand_, says, "He might at least
have sent me a butcher's knife or a turtle!"

Another vexation in connection with the symphony, causing him infinite
annoyance, arose out of the despicable conduct of Maelzel, afterwards
the inventor of the metronome. In the year 1812 he had made the
acquaintance of the latter, who had promised to construct for him a
sound-conductor, in return for which Beethoven composed a kind of
warlike piece for the mechanician's new instrument, the panharmonica,
which he was on the point of taking to England for exhibition. The
effect of Beethoven's work was so marvellous, that Maelzel urged him to
arrange it for the orchestra, and the result was--the "Battle of
Vittoria." Maelzel meanwhile went on constructing four machines, only
one of which was found available, and Beethoven, without the slightest
suspicion of any underhand dealing, allowed him to take the entire
management of the concerts for the relief of the wounded. In his hermit
life he did not hear much of what was going on around him, and his
consternation may therefore be imagined when informed that his false
friend was announcing the symphony everywhere as his own property,
stating that it had been given to him by Beethoven in return for his
machine, and the sum of four hundred guldens which he professed to have
lent him! He had actually contrived to have many of the orchestral parts
copied out, and those that were wanting supplied by some low musician,
and with this mutilated work he was on his way to England. The matter
was at once placed in the hands of the law; but it was long before
Beethoven recovered from the effects of this fraud; it made him, in
fact, suspicious ever after towards copyists. The loan of four hundred
guldens proved to have been _fifty_, which Beethoven accepted from him
at a time when, as he states in his instructions to his lawyers, he was
"in dire necessity; _deserted by every one in Vienna_."

This Maelzel had the impudence subsequently to write to Beethoven,
requesting his patronage for the metronome, and pretending that he was
busily engaged in preparing a sound-conductor which would enable the
master to direct in the orchestra. The latter never made its appearance,
but Beethoven, who at first approved of the metronome, did all in his
power to have it introduced. Afterwards, when he saw the confusion of
_tempo_ which it had occasioned, he used to say, "Don't let us have any
metronome! He that has true feeling will not require it, and for him who
has none, it will not be of any use."

This affair with Maelzel gives us a glimpse into the pecuniary
difficulties which harassed Beethoven throughout his life, assuming
greater prominence towards the end. He was always in want of money, and
yet (according to the notions of the times) he was handsomely paid for
his compositions. What, then, was the cause of it? Were his means
swallowed up by his frequent removals? Did the perplexity arise simply
from his unbusiness-like habits? To these questions we must add a third,
which may, perhaps, afford a clue to the mystery,--What became of the
valuable presents, the watches, rings, breast-pins, snuff-boxes, &c.,
&c., of which Beethoven had received so many? When asked where such a
gift was, he would look bewildered, and say after a moment's reflection,
"I really don't know!" The matter would then pass entirely from his
thoughts; but there were those about him who were not equally
indifferent!

In 1815 the cloud which for two years had been threatening, burst upon
him in those troubles and sorrows which encompassed him until the end.
He lost his old friend and staunch supporter, Prince Lichnowski, and, a
few months after, his brother Carl, who in dying bequeathed to him as a
legacy the care of his only child. It seemed as if the annoyance which
this man had caused our Beethoven in his life were to be perpetuated and
continually renewed in the person of his son. Not so, however, did the
master regard the fresh call upon him. After having done all that
kindness could suggest, or money procure, to relieve his brother's
sufferings and cheer his last days, he took home the orphan child to his
heart with a love and tenderness that could not have been greater had
the boy been his own.

His first step was to remove him from the care of his mother, a woman of
lax morals and low habits. In this Beethoven was actuated by the purest
and best motives; but, unfortunately, his zeal went too far. He forgot
that the fact of his sister-in-law's having been a bad wife did not
necessarily imply that she had lost a mother's heart; and in insisting
upon the total separation between the two, he roused all the bitterest
feelings of a woman's nature, and prepared much sorrow for himself. The
"Queen of Night," as he nicknamed her, sought redress through the law,
and for four years a suit for the possession of the lad was pending. In
his appeal Beethoven thus nobly expresses the sentiments which dictated
his conduct:--"My wishes and efforts have no other aim than that of
giving the best possible education to the boy, his talents justifying
the greatest expectations; and of fulfilling the trust reposed in my
brotherly love by his father. The stem is now pliable; but if it be for
a time neglected, it will become crooked, and outgrow the gardener's
training hand; and upright bearing, knowledge, and character will be
irretrievably lost. I know of no duty more sacred than that of the
training and education of a child. The duty of a guardian can only
consist in the appreciation of what is good, and the adoption of a right
course; and only then does he consult the welfare of his ward; whereas
in obstructing the good he neglects his duty."

Misled by the prefix _van_, his advocate unfortunately carried the case
to the Aristocratic Court; and, as it went on, Beethoven was called upon
to show his right to this proceeding. Pointing with eloquent emphasis to
his head and heart, the composer declared that in these lay his
nobility; but, however true in the abstract, the law could not admit
this plea, and after a decision had been given in his favour, the case
had to be re-tried before the ordinary Civil Court. This occurrence
wounded Beethoven more than can be described; he felt his honour
tarnished as a man and as an artist, and for several months no
persuasion could induce him to show himself in public. In addition to
this, the evidence necessarily brought forward to strengthen his plea
revealed only too plainly the loose life of his sister-in-law, and such
an _exposé_ of one so nearly related to himself was, for his pure and
reserved nature, the height of misery.

The Civil Court reversed the decision of the Aristocratic, and the boy
was given over to his mother; while Beethoven, determined to gain his
end, brought the case before the High Court of Appeal, where he was
finally successful. Let the reader imagine the effect of all this
painful publicity, following upon the annoyances with Maelzel, to a mind
constituted like Beethoven's. No Stylites on his pillar could have
suffered more than did our composer in his loneliness until the cause
was gained. And what return did he meet with from the object of his
solicitude?--The basest ingratitude.

About this time he began seriously to think of visiting London; the
Philharmonic Society made him the most handsome offers; and his own
inclinations prompted him to quit Vienna. He had at all times cherished
the greatest love and admiration for England and the English nation, our
free institutions harmonizing with his political views; and a commission
coming from this quarter was always welcome to him, not only on account
of the unwonted _honoraire_ which usually accompanied it, but also
because of the high esteem in which he held the English as artists and
appreciators of art. During the latter years of his life, therefore,
this visit to London was his favourite scheme, and he intended _en
route_ to pass through the Rhine provinces, that he might once more see
the home and the friends of his boyhood;--but it was destined never to
take place.

The four years of the lawsuit were almost barren of creative result, but
in the winter of 1819-20 he began his Mass in D. This colossal work,
written more for future generations than for us, was originally
intended for the installation of the Archduke Rudolph as Archbishop of
Olmütz; but as the work went on, our composer grew more and more in love
with his task, which gradually assumed such proportions that it was not
completed till 1823--two years after the event it was meant to
celebrate! A copy of the Mass, which Beethoven regarded as his most
successful effort, was offered to every court in Europe for the sum of
fifty ducats. It was, however, accepted only by France, Prussia, Saxony,
Russia, and by Prince Radziwill, Governor of Posen, and a musical
society in Frankfort. The King of Prussia sent to inquire, through his
Ambassador, if the master would not prefer a decoration to the fifty
ducats. Beethoven's answer was prompt--"Fifty ducats!" If his work were
worthy of a decoration, why not have given it in addition to the paltry
sum asked for it? Louis XVIII. acted differently; he sent the composer a
valuable gold medal, on one side of which was his bust, and on the
reverse the inscription, "_Donné, par le roi, à M. Beethoven_." An
application of Beethoven's to Goethe requesting him to draw the
attention of Karl August to the Mass met with no answer, although Goethe
might have been able, at very trifling inconvenience to himself, to
render material assistance to the master. His self-love had probably not
recovered from the shock it had received during a walk with Beethoven on
the Bastei at Vienna, when, struck by the profound respect and deference
manifested by every one whom they encountered, Goethe exclaimed, "I
really had no idea that I was so well known here!" "Oh!" replies our
brusque composer, "the people are bowing to me, not to you!" This was in
reality the case, for the circumstance occurred in Beethoven's palmy
days, when he was, as Marx observes, a "universally beloved and popular
character, a part of Vienna itself."

The circumstance which more than any other casts a gloom over the
master's last days is, that he was doomed (apparently) to outlive his
fame, and to have the inexpressible mortification of witnessing that
rupture in the musical world which has lasted down to our days, and will
probably never be healed, viz., the separation of the classical from the
so-called romantic school. Hitherto, the followers of Art had been
united; naturally, individual tastes and predilections had occasionally
predominated--some admiring one master and some another,--but on the
whole, the lovers of music had been unanimous in their adherence to the
pure and good. With the appearance of Rossini (that clever
scene-painter, as Beethoven called him), this state of affairs underwent
a complete revolution. His gay, light-hearted melodies, extravagant
roulades, and inexhaustible vivacity took the public by storm--Beethoven
and his immortal masterpieces were forgotten. And yet, perhaps, this is
only what might have been expected,--the divine in Art is not for all,
nor are all for the divine. Beethoven might have known, like Goethe,
that he was too profound ever to be popular in a wide sense. The mass of
mankind look upon Art simply as a means of relaxation. So, indeed, it
ought to be to all; but never should it stop there. Art, in its highest
and best forms, has power not only to provide the weary and careworn
with temporary self-forgetfulness, and to dissipate grief, but--and
herein lies its true, its God-given strength--to renew the energies and
brace the mind for higher and nobler efforts in the future. Whenever it
stops short of this, satisfied with fulfilling its first and lower
function, there is developed a tendency to abdicate its real position,
and to degenerate into the mere panderer to man's follies, to his vices.
Who could have felt this more keenly than Beethoven? Not the mere loss
of his own popularity was it that made him turn away so deeply wounded
from grand displays in which snatches of his own works were performed,
along with meaningless arias, and shallow, noisy overtures of the new
Italian school. So deeply did he take the change to heart, that he
resolved to have his Mass in D and the Ninth Symphony performed for the
first time in Berlin. The announcement of this intention produced a warm
remonstrance (in the form of an Address) from his attached little circle
of friends; and the master, touched by the feeling which called out this
manifestation, was induced to forego his determination, and to consent
to the two works being brought out in Vienna, provided a hall suitable
for the purpose could be obtained.

This was no easy matter, and the difficulties in connection with it gave
rise to a half-comical little incident. His enemies were in power, and
demanded an absurd sum for the use of the building, to which Beethoven
could not be induced to agree. As neither party would yield, the project
seemed on the point of shipwreck, when the faithful Schindler, alarmed
for the success of the enterprise on which he had set his heart,
persuaded Count Moritz Lichnowski and the violinist Schuppanzigh to meet
him as if by accident at Beethoven's house, and press the latter to
yield to what was inevitable. The plan succeeded, and the necessary
papers were signed; but the composer's suspicions were roused, and the
three devoted friends received for their pains the following autocratic
mandates:--

    "TO COUNT MORITZ LICHNOWSKI,--

    "Duplicity I despise. Visit me no more. There will be no concert.

    "BEETHOVEN."


    "TO HERR SCHUPPANZIGH,--

    "Come no more to see me. I shall give no concert.

    "BEETHOVEN."


    "TO HERR SCHINDLER,--

    "Do not come to me until I send for you. No concert.

    "BEETHOVEN."

This did not in the least deter them, however, from doing what they
believed necessary for his benefit: the concert took place, and was the
scene of a triumph such as few have experienced. The glorious Jupiter
Symphony seemed to act upon the immense mass of human beings that
thronged the building in every part, like ambrosial nectar; they became
intoxicated with delight, and when the refrain was caught up by the
choir, "_Seid umschlungen Millionen!_" a shout of exuberant joy rent the
air, completely drowning the singers and instruments. But there stood
the master in the midst, his face turned towards the orchestra, absorbed
and sunk within himself as usual,--he heard nothing, saw nothing.
Fräulein Unger, the soprano, turned him gently round, and then what a
sight met his astonished gaze,--a multitude transported with joy! Almost
all were standing, and the greater number melted to tears, now for the
first time realizing fully the extent of Beethoven's calamity.--Probably
in all that great assembly the master himself was the most unmoved.
Simply bowing in response to the ovation, he left the theatre gloomy and
despondent, and took his homeward way in silence.

Verily, he, like a Greater, knew what was in man. In eight days from
this eventful epoch he was completely forgotten; a second concert proved
an utter failure, and Rossini's star was again in the ascendant. Nor did
the flighty Viennese public cast another thought upon our Beethoven
until the news of his death came upon them like the shock of an
earthquake, and they hastened, when it was too late, to repair the past.

But if it was painful to meet with ingratitude from the public, how much
harder must it have been for the master to endure the same from one
nearly related to him! We have said that he adopted his brother's
orphan child. This nephew, also a Carl Beethoven, was at his father's
death about eight years of age, and a boy of great talent and promise.
The four succeeding years, during which the lawsuit dragged its weary
length, were extremely detrimental to him, as he seems to have been
tossed about from one person to another--now with his mother, and again
with his uncle--in a manner very prejudicial to any good moral
development. Events showed him only too plainly the character of his
mother, but nature--stronger still--urged him to take her part in the
contest so far as he dared; and, incited by her evil counsels, he soon
began secretly to despise his uncle's authority, and openly to follow a
path he had laid down for himself,--the path of self-will and sensual
indulgence. Expelled from the University where he was attending the
Philosophical Course, his more than father received the repentant
prodigal with open arms, and placed him in the Polytechnic School to
study for a mercantile career, that he might be under the supervision of
Herr Reisser, Vice-President of the Institute, and co-guardian with
himself over Carl. In the summer of 1825 the composer wrote no fewer
than twenty-nine letters to his erring nephew, every one of which
exhibits his character in the most beautiful light. They breathe the cry
of a David, "Oh! Absalom! my son! my son!"--but it is a living Absalom
who has to be lamented, and the most energetic appeals, the most loving
remonstrances are invoked to move that stony heart. In vain,--Carl went
from bad to worse, and in 1826 the master was compelled to give up the
habit which had been his only solace for years--that of spending the
summer in the country--and to remain in Vienna to watch over the young
man. Matters soon came to a crisis,--Carl, urged to pass an examination
which he had long neglected, attempted, in a fit of despair, to put an
end to his own life. Here the law stepped in, and after he had been
treated in an asylum where his spiritual as well as his bodily condition
was cared for, the miserable youth was restored to his no less wretched
uncle, with orders to quit Vienna within four-and-twenty hours.
Beethoven's old friend, Stephan Breuning, exerted himself to procure a
cadetship for the lad, and he was at length permitted to join the
regiment of the Baron von Stutterheim, to whom the composer gratefully
dedicated one of his last quartets. Pending this arrangement the unhappy
uncle and nephew took refuge at Gneixendorf, the estate of Johann v.
Beethoven, who had offered them a temporary asylum. A few days here,
however, were enough for the composer; irritated by the unjust
reproaches and low taunts of his brother, he determined at once to
return to Vienna, taking his nephew with him. It was a raw, cold,
miserable day in December; Johann refused to lend his close carriage to
him to whom he owed all his prosperity, and Beethoven was obliged to
perform a long journey in an open conveyance, with no shelter from the
keen wind and pitiless rain. His health, which had long been failing,
sank under this exposure, and he arrived in Vienna with a severe attack
of inflammation of the lungs, which ultimately caused his death.

As soon as they arrived at home, Carl was charged instantly to procure a
physician for his uncle, one Dr. Wawruch; but this loving nephew's whole
thoughts were for his old companions and his old haunts. He went to play
billiards, entrusting his commission to the tender mercies of a servant
of the establishment, who, in his turn, let the affair pass entirely
from his memory until two days after, when he happened to be taken ill
himself, and to be carried _by chance_ to the same hospital in which the
doctor practised. At the sight of the physician his instructions flashed
upon his memory, and he besought him to go at once to the great
Beethoven. Horror-struck, Dr. Wawruch, who was an enthusiastic admirer
of the composer, hastened to his house and found him lying in the most
precarious state, completely alone and neglected. His unwearied efforts
so far succeeded that Beethoven rallied for a time, when his first care
was--to appoint his worthless nephew sole heir to all his effects! Soon
symptoms of dropsy showed themselves, he had to be tapped four times,
and it became evident that the master spirit would soon leave its
earthly tabernacle for a better and more enduring habitation. He was
always resigned and patient, remarking, with a smile, when a painful
operation was being performed, "Better water from my body than from my
pen!"

The Philharmonic Society sent him a magnificent edition of Handel, and
the greatest pleasure of his last days consisted in going through the
works of his favourite composer.

His illness, however, lasted some time; in the meanwhile he was making
nothing, and his small resources began to fail him. The money he had
recently made by his works he had added to the fund which he sacredly
kept for his nephew, and which no persuasion could induce him to touch;
he had been disappointed in a sum owing to him by the Russian
dilettante, Prince Galitzin; and in great distress the question arose,
what was he to do? to whom could he turn? He bethought him of the offer
made by the Philharmonic Society in London to give a concert for his
benefit, and after much hesitation, finally applied to them, through
Moscheles and Sir George Smart, for the fulfilment of the promise. His
countrymen have never been able to forgive Beethoven for this step,
especially as it was found after his death that he had left about
£1,200; but this, as we said before, he looked upon as his nephew's
property, and would not appropriate any of it to his own use--therefore,
what was he to do? _Forsaken by the whole world in Vienna_, was he to
starve? The society rejoiced in the opportunity of showing the gratitude
of England to him who has placed the whole human race under an eternal
obligation, and immediately despatched £100 to Vienna, with the
intimation that if this were not sufficient more would be forthcoming.

Alas! more was not required; a few days after the gift arrived the great
musician breathed his last. We leave the description of the closing
scene to Schindler:--

"When I went to him on the morning of the 24th of March, 1827, I found
him with distorted face, and so weak that only by the greatest effort
could he utter a few words. In a short time the physician entered, and,
after looking at him in silence, whispered to me that Beethoven was
advancing with rapid steps towards dissolution. As we had fortunately
provided for the signing of the will some days previously, there
remained to us but _one_ ardent wish--that of proving to the world that
he died as a true Christian. The physician, therefore, wrote a few
lines, begging him in the name of all his friends to allow the holy
sacrament to be administered to him, upon which he answered calmly and
collectedly, 'I will.' The physician then left, that I might arrange for
this; and Beethoven said to me, 'I beg you to write to Schott, and send
him the document, he will require it; write to him in my name, I am too
weak; and tell him that I beg him earnestly to send the wine he
promised. If you have time to-day, write also to England.' The pastor
came about twelve o'clock, and the holy office was performed with the
greatest solemnity.

"Beethoven himself now began to believe in his approaching end; for
hardly had the clergyman gone than he exclaimed, '_Plaudite amici,
comedia finita est_; have I not always said that it would come thus?' He
then begged me again not to forget Schott, and to thank the Philharmonic
Society once more for their gift, adding that the society had cheered
his last days, and that even on the verge of the grave he thanked them
and the whole English nation. At this moment the servant of Herr von
Breuning entered with the little case of wine sent by Schott. I placed
two bottles of Rudesheimer on the table by his side; he looked at them
and said, 'What a pity!--too late!' These were his last words. In a few
moments he fell into an agony so intense that he could no longer
articulate. Towards evening he lost consciousness, and became delirious.
This lasted till the evening of the 25th, when visible signs of death
already showed themselves. Notwithstanding, he lingered till the evening
of the 26th, when his spirit took flight, while without a violent storm
of thunder and lightning seemed to reflect his death struggle in Nature
herself--his best friend."

The last agonies of the master were soothed by but _one_ friendly touch,
that of Anselm Hüttenbrenner from Gratz, who had hurried into Vienna to
press the loved hand once more. He was borne to his last resting-place
by an immense concourse, exceeding twenty thousand; composers, poets,
authors, artists, surrounded his coffin with lighted torches, while the
choristers sang to one of his own melodies the words of Grillparzer:--

    "Du, dem nie im Leben,
    Ruhestätt ward, und Heerd und Haus,
    Ruhe nun im stillen
    Grabe, nun im Tode aus,"--

Thou, who ne'er in life hadst resting-place, nor hearth, nor home--rest
thee now in the quiet grave--in death. Amen.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 32: Of those last interviews between the two great composers,
Dr. Ferdinand Hiller, the veteran composer and probably the last link
between the "classical" period and our own, has published an interesting
account. He was at the time a pupil of Hummel, whom he accompanied to
Beethoven's residence. His description of the Master in his helplessness
is most touching.]



[Illustration]



THE PIANOFORTE SONATAS.[33]


From Domenico Scarlatti down to Frederic Chopin a succession of
cembalists, clavecinists, and pianists rich in talent, art, and genius,
have created a series of select works, the counterpart of which, in
number, variety, and lasting fame, can probably be displayed by no other
branch of musical literature. Two collections, however, take precedence
of all this wealth of tone-poetry; these are the Fugues and Preludes
(the "Wohl-temperirte Clavier") of Johann Sebastian Bach, and the
Sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven. Both works have been so much discussed,
have been analyzed in so many different ways, have had such multifarious
constructions put upon them, have been praised and extolled from so many
different standpoints, that the conviction must be impressed upon every
observer--_they are inexhaustible_. This is really the case--they are an
ever-flowing spring of study for the composer and the pianist, and of
enjoyment for the educated hearer. At present, however, we have only to
do with the Sonatas of Beethoven, and must therefore direct our
attention to them.

Most of the German composers have become great at the pianoforte. They
learned to command the technicalities of this compendium of sound,
song, harmony, and polyphony, and it became to them a voice, a second
tongue, a part of themselves. Upon it they could express every
whispering musical emotion, and lend words, we may even say, to every
passing mood which stirred their sensitive souls; the utterances which
Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven confided to their pianoforte in lonely hours
may have surpassed in beauty (if not in perfection of form) what they
committed to writing. In no other master, however, does this familiar
intercourse between the tone-poet and his instrument present itself to
our minds with such wondrous clearness as in Beethoven. In his mighty
symphonies he speaks to the crowd like an ideal world's orator, raising
them to the highest emotions of purified humanity; in his quartets he
strives to impart to each instrument an almost dramatic individuality;
but in his Pianoforte Sonatas he speaks to himself; or, if you will, to
the instrument, as to his dearest friend. He relates his most secret
joys and sorrows, his longing and his love, his hope and his despair. An
entire, full, real, inner human life is revealed to us--sound, energetic
(_kernig_), manly. Whether he gives himself up to passionate outpourings
or to melancholy laments, whether he jests, plays, dreams, laughs, or
weeps; he continues always simple and true. We find no straining after
effect, no oddity, no coquettishness, no sentimentality; the greatest
depth of thought appears unadorned and unpretentious. There are a few
great men who can express the noblest sentiments without a wish that
they should be heard, and who yet have no cause to dread listeners for
the most trifling thing that they have uttered; and such is Beethoven in
his Pianoforte Sonatas.

We frequently encounter the impression that Beethoven, in
contradistinction to the other loftiest tone-poets, is specially the
singer of melancholy and sorrow--of the most intense, passionate
soul-suffering. Nothing can be less true. Certainly he depicted the
night side of the human mind as no one had done before him. But when we
view his compositions as a whole, there speaks to us out of them
all--even the last, so deeply furrowed--a predominating vigorous
cheerfulness, a sympathetic joy, a loving meditativeness, an earnest,
resolute, fresh life. How often he sinks into blissful dreams, or gives
himself up to childlike merriment! A mature man, yet seized at times by
the extravagance of youth, while the battle of life makes him earnest,
sometimes gloomy, but never faint-hearted or misanthropic
(_weltschmerzlich_). "He was a _man_, take him for all in all;" we have
not looked upon his like.

The special application of what has been said to the separate Sonatas
would lead to nothing. Although it is indisputable that the emotions and
frames of mind portrayed in them are almost infinite in compass, yet it
would be proportionally difficult to express the same with regard to
each single piece in words, the very definiteness of which would
conclusively prove their inadequacy to the task. It is no empty phrase,
however often it may have been repeated, that Music begins where
Language ends,--of course with the proviso that the former content
herself with the sovereignty in the domain assigned to her. How many
tone-poems should we be compelled to characterize by words not only
analogous to each other, but having the very same purport, even though a
Goethe's wealth of language were at our command! and what a
dissimilarity in the tone-forms would notwithstanding be apparent even
to the most uninitiated listener!

Far more important than the invention of characteristic expressions is
it, for those who would devote themselves to the study of Beethoven's
pianoforte sonatas, to get a clear idea of them in _outline_ as well as
in _detail_. The comprehension of them is facilitated by this, with the
natural result of a higher intellectual enjoyment. Is it not elevating
to see how the most daring fancy, after having been nourished by deep
thought, becomes the willing, submissive subject of the all-regulating
mind? Beethoven never lost the reins, even in what seem the wildest
flights of his genius: his Pegasus may spring up into highest space--he
is able to direct and guide it.

No earnest, conscientious teacher should neglect to explain to those
entrusted to him the essential nature of the laws which for centuries,
by a kind of natural necessity, have developed themselves in the forms
of instrumental music. They are so simple that their principal features
may be made clear to the most childish comprehension, and every step in
advance will bring with it a deeper insight. That Beethoven, in the
closest relation to his great predecessors, submitted to these laws,
makes his appearance doubly great: he did not come to destroy, but to
fulfil the law.

O that our art, the most spiritual of all, were not bound by so many and
such rigorous ties to matter! O that Beethoven's sonatas were within the
reach of all educated minds, like the lyrics of our great poets! But not
this alone does Nature deny to our art; she withholds from the greater
number of those even who are striving as musicians and as pianists the
full enjoyment of these lofty works, at least in their totality. They
make demands upon the executants which are not easily met. Here and
there we find the necessary talent. Were it but accompanied by the
indispensable earnestness and diligence!

Beethoven's pianoforte music demands (apart from the consideration of
the extraordinarily difficult works) sound and solid execution. The
first conditions of this are also the rarest, viz., a powerful and yet
gentle touch, with the greatest possible independence of finger.
Beethoven never writes difficulties merely to win laurels for those
executants who shall overcome them, but neither is he deterred by any
technical inconvenience, if it be necessary to give firm and clear
expression to an idea. Thus we meet, in works reckoned amongst the
easiest, with passages which presuppose a pretty high degree of
technical skill; and since a pure style properly demands that there
shall be at least the _appearance_ of ease on the part of the
performer,--with compositions of the intellectual depth of Beethoven's
this is an indispensable qualification. Therefore it is not advisable to
take or place the sonatas of our master in hands which are not educated
for their reception. When that degree of progress has been attained
which will insure the mastery of the technical difficulties, the
enjoyment and advantage to be derived from their thorough study will be
doubled, and the effort to grasp them intellectually unhindered.

The most essential figures which Beethoven employs are built upon the
scale and the arpeggio. They belong, therefore, to that style which is
specially designated the Clementi-Cramer school. The studies of these
noble representatives of pure pianoforte playing will always be the best
foundation for the performance of Beethoven's works, and the practice of
them ought to accompany without intermission the study of the master.
Happily, the rich productions of Beethoven's imagination offer fruits
for every epoch of life and of--pianoforte-playing. We can reward the
diligence of the studious child by allowing him to play the two
sonatinas published after the master's death, which sound to us rather
as if they had been written _for_ than _by_ a beginner. But we should
carefully guard against giving to immature young minds pieces which,
though easy in a technical point of view (and this, after all, is
sometimes only _apparent_), require a power of conception and of
performance far beyond the demands made upon the fingers. Who, for
example, with any experience in musical life, does not remember having
heard the Sonata Pathétique played with a _naïveté_ of style which might
prove the narrowness of the boundary line between the sublime and the
ridiculous? And similar misconceptions are met with every day.

We give below a list of the sonatas in the order in which they ought to
be studied, arranged with a view to the demands made upon the heart and
mind, as well as upon the hand and finger of the performer. It is
evident, however, that this cannot be done with mathematical precision,
and that individual views and capability must, after all, decide; since
_difficulty_ and _ease_ are but relative terms, and depend in each case
upon other and pre-existing conditions. If, however, our attempt succeed
so far as to render the selection easier to the student, and prevent his
making any great mistakes, we shall not consider our trouble thrown
away.

_May Beethoven speedily find a home in every house--in every heart!_

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 33: From an edition of the Sonatas published in Breslau.]

[Illustration]



CLASSIFICATION OF BEETHOVEN'S PIANOFORTE SONATAS.


    1. Op. 49, No. 2, in G major.
    2. Op. 49, No. 1, in G minor.
    3. Op. 14, No. 2, in G major.
    4. Op. 14, No. 1, in E major.
    5. Op. 79, in G major.
    6. Op. 2, No. 1, in F minor.
    7. Op. 10, No. 1, in C minor.
    8. Op. 10, No. 2, in F major.
    9. Op. 10, No. 3, in D major.
    10. Op. 13, in C minor (_Pathétique_).
    11. Op. 22, in B flat major.
    12. Op. 28, in D major (_Pastorale_).
    13. Op. 2, No. 2, in A major.
    14. Op. 2, No. 3, in C major.
    15. Op. 78, in F sharp major.
    16. Op. 7, in E flat major.
    17. Op. 26, in A flat major.
    18. Op. 31, No. 3, in E flat major.
    19. Op. 31, No. 1, in G major.
    20. Op. 90, in E minor.
    21. Op. 54, in F major.
    22. Op. 27, No. 2, in C sharp minor (_Moonlight_).
    23. Op. 31, No. 2, in D minor.
    24. Op. 53, in C major.
    25. Op. 27, No. 1, in E flat major.
    26. Op. 81, in E flat major (_Les Adieux_).
    27. Op. 57, in F minor (_Appassionata_).
    28. Op. 110, in A flat major.
    29, Op. 109, in E major.
    30. Op. 101, in A major.
    31. Op. 111, in C minor.
    32. Op. 106, in B flat major (_The Giant_).



LIST OF BEETHOVEN'S WORKS.

_Compiled from_ MARX _and_ THAYER.


I.--COMPOSITIONS DESIGNATED AS _Opus_.

    1. _Three Trios_ for pianoforte, violin, and violoncello, in E flat, G
    major, and C minor; ded. to Prince Lichnowski; composed 1791-92.

    2. _Three Sonatas_ for piano, in F minor, A major, and C major; ded.
    to Joseph Haydn; pub. 1796.

    3. _Trio_ for violin, viola, and violoncello, in E flat; composed in
    Bonn in 1792.

    4. _Quintet_ for two violins, two violas, and violoncello, in E flat
    (from the octet for wind instruments, Op. 103); pub. 1797.

    5. _Two Sonatas_ for piano and violoncello, in F major and G minor;
    ded. to Frederic William II. of Prussia; composed in Berlin in 1796.

    6. _Sonata_ for piano, for four hands, in D major; pub. 1796-97.

    7. _Sonata_ for piano, in E flat; ded. to the Countess Babette von
    Keglevics; pub. 1797.

    8. _Serenade_ for violin, viola, and violoncello, in D major; pub.
    1797.

    9. _Three Trios_ for violin, viola, and violoncello, in G Major, D
    major, and C minor; ded. to the Count von Browne; pub. 1798.

    10. _Three Sonatas_ for piano, in C minor, F major, and D major; ded.
    to the Countess von Browne; pub. 1798.

    11. _Trio_ for piano, clarionet (or V.), and violoncello, in B flat;
    ded. to the Countess von Thun; pub. 1798.

    12. _Three Sonatas_ for piano and violin, in D major, A major, and E
    flat major; ded. to F.A. Salieri; pub. 1798-99.

    13. _Sonata Pathétique_ for piano, in C minor; ded. to Prince
    Lichnowski; pub. 1799.

    14. _Two Sonatas_ for piano, in E major and G major; ded. to the
    Baroness Braun; pub. 1799.

    15. _First Concerto_ for piano and orchestra, in C major; ded. to the
    Princess Odescalchi, _née_ Countess von Keglevics; composed 1795.

    16. _Quintet_ for piano, clarionet, oboe, bassoon, and horn, in E flat
    major; ded. to the Prince von Schwarzenberg; performed 1798.

    17. _Sonata_ for piano and horn in F major; ded. to the Baroness
    Braun; composed 1800.

    18. _Six Quartets_ for two violins, viola, and violoncello, in F
    major, G major, D major, C minor, A major, and B flat major; ded. to
    Prince Lobkowitz; pub. 1800-1801.

    19. _Second Concerto_ for piano and orchestra, in B flat major; ded.
    to M. von Nickelsberg; composed 1798.

    20. _Grand Septet_ for violin, viola, violoncello, horn, clarionet,
    bassoon, and double-bass, in E flat; performed 1800.

    21. _First Symphony_ for orchestra, in C major; ded. to the Baron van
    Swieten; performed 1800.

    22. _Grand Sonata_ for piano, in B flat; ded. to the Count von Browne;
    composed 1800.

    23. _Sonata_ for piano and violin, in A minor; ded. to Count Moritz
    von Fries; pub. 1801.

    24. _Sonata_ for piano and violin, in F major; ded. to Count Moritz
    von Fries; pub. 1801 (originally together with Op. 23).

    25. _Serenade_ for flute, violin, and viola, in D major; pub. 1802.

    26. _Sonata_ for piano, in A flat; ded. to Prince Lichnowski; composed
    1801.

    27. _Two Sonatas_, quasi Fantasia, for piano, No. 1 in E flat major;
    ded. to the Princess Liechtenstein; No. 2 in C sharp minor; ded. to
    the Countess Julia Guicciardi; composed 1801 (?).

    28. _Sonata_ for piano, in D major; ded. to M. von Sonnenfels;
    composed 1801.

    29. _Quintet_ for two violins, two violas, and violoncello, in C
    major; ded. to Count von Fries; composed 1801.

    30. _Three Sonatas_ for piano and violin, in A major, C minor, and G
    major; ded. to the Emperor Alexander I. of Russia; composed 1802.

    31. _Three Sonatas_ for piano, in G major, D minor, and E flat major;
    composed 1802 (?).

    32. "_To Hope_," words from the "_Urania_" of Tiedge; pub. 1805 (first
    setting, _see_ Op. 94).

    33. _Bagatelles_ for piano; composed 1782.

    34. _Six Variations_ for piano, in F major, on an original theme; ded.
    to the Princess Odescalchi; composed in 1802 (?).

    35. _Fifteen Variations_, with a _Fugue_; for piano, on a theme from
    "_Prometheus_," ded. to Count Moritz Lichnowski; composed 1802.

    36. _Second Symphony_ for orchestra, in D major; ded. to Prince
    Lichnowski; composed 1802.

    37. _Third Concerto_ for piano and orchestra, in C minor; ded. to
    Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia; composed 1800.

    38. _Trio_ for piano, clarionet (or V.), and violoncello (from the
    Septet, Op. 20); published 1805.

    39. _Two Preludes_ through all the major and minor keys, for piano or
    organ; composed 1789.

    40. _Romance_ for violin and orchestra, in G major; composed 1802 (?).

    41. _Serenade_ for piano and flute (or V.), in D major (from Op. 25);
    pub. 1803.

    42. _Notturno_ for piano and violoncello, in D major (from Op. 8);
    pub. 1804.

    43. _Ballet_: "_The Men of Prometheus_;" composed 1800.

    44. _Fourteen Variations_ for piano, violin, and violoncello, on an
    original theme; composed 1802 (?).

    45. _Three Marches_ for piano, for four hands, in C major, E flat
    major, and D major; ded. to the Princess Esterhazy; composed 1802 (?
    1801).

    46. _Adelaïde_: words by Matthison; composed 1796.

    47. _Sonata_ for piano and violin, in A major; ded. to the violinist
    Rudolph Kreutzer; composed 1803.

    48. _Six Spiritual Songs_, by Gellert; pub. 1803.

    49. _Two Easy Sonatas_ for piano, in G minor and G major; composed
    1802 (?).

    50. _Romance_ for violin and orchestra, in F major; composed in 1802
    (?).

    51. _Two Rondos_ for piano: No. 1 in C major; pub. 1798 (?); No. 2 in
    G major: ded. to the Countess Henriette von Lichnowski; pub. 1802.

    52. _Eight Songs_: words by Claudius, Sophie von Mereau, Bürger,
    Goethe, and Lessing; partly composed in Bonn before 1792.

    53. _Grand Sonata_ for piano, in C major; ded. to Count Waldstein;
    composed in 1803 (?).

    54. _Sonata_ for piano, in F major; composed 1803 (?).

    55. _Third Symphony_ (Eroica) for orchestra, in E flat; ded. to Prince
    Lobkowitz; composed 1803-4.

    56. _Triple Concerto_ for piano, violin, and violoncello, with
    orchestra, in C major; composed 1804-5.

    57. _Grand Sonata_ for piano, in F minor; ded. to the Count von
    Brunswick; composed 1804.

    58. _Fourth Concerto_ for piano and orchestra, in G major; ded. to the
    Archduke Rudolph; composed 1806 (?).

    59. _Three Quartets_ for two violins, viola, and violoncello, in F
    major, E minor, and C major; ded. to Prince Rasoumowski; composed
    1806.

    60. _Fourth Symphony_ for orchestra, in B flat; ded. to Count
    Oppersdorf; composed 1806.

    61. _Concerto_ for violin and orchestra, in D major; ded. to Stephan
    von Breuning; composed 1806.

    62. _Overture_: "_Coriolanus_," in C minor; ded. to the dramatist
    Heinrich von Collin; composed 1807.

    63. _Sonata_ for piano, violin, and violoncello (from the Octet, Op.
    103); pub. 1807.

    64. _Sonata_ for piano, violin, and violoncello (from the Trio, Op.
    3); pub. 1807.

    65. _Scena and Aria_: "_Ah, perfido!_" for soprano voice and
    orchestra; ded. to the Countess Clari; composed 1796.

    66. _Twelve Variations_ for piano and violoncello, in F major, on the
    theme, "_Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen_," from Mozart's "_Zauberflöte_;"
    pub. 1798.

    67. _Fifth Symphony_ for orchestra, in C minor; ded. to Prince
    Lobkowitz and Count Rasoumowski; composed 1808 (?).

    68. _Sixth Symphony_ (_Pastorale_) for orchestra, in F major; ded. to
    Prince Lobkowitz and Count Rasoumowski; composed 1808 (?).

    69. _Sonata_ for piano and violoncello, in A major; ded. to Baron von
    Gleichenstein; pub. 1809.

    70. _Two Trios_ for piano, violin, and violoncello, in D major and E
    flat major; ded. to the Countess Marie Erdödy; composed 1808.

    71. _Sextet_ for two clarionets, two flutes, and two bassoons;
    performed 1804-5.

    72. "_Fidelio_" ("_Leonora_"), opera in two acts; composed 1804-5.

    73. _Fifth Concerto_ for piano and orchestra, in E flat; ded. to the
    Archduke Rudolph; composed 1809.

    74. _Quartet_ (tenth) for two violins, viola, and violoncello, in E
    flat; ded. to Prince Lobkowitz; composed 1809.

    75. _Six Songs_: words by Goethe and Reissig; ded. to the Princess
    Kinsky; composed 1810.

    76. _Variations_ for piano, in D major, on an original (?) theme,
    afterwards employed as the "_Turkish March_" in the "_Ruins of
    Athens_;" ded. to his friend Oliva; pub. 1810.

    77. _Fantasia_ for piano, in G minor; ded. to the Count von Brunswick;
    composed 1809.

    78. _Sonata_ for piano, in F sharp major; ded. to the Countess von
    Brunswick; composed 1809.

    79. _Sonatina_ for piano, in G major; pub. 1810.

    80. _Fantasia_ for piano, orchestra, and chorus, in C minor;
    words--"_Schmeichelnd hold und lieblich klingen_"--by Kuffner; ded. to
    Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria; performed 1808.

    81_a_. _Sonata_ for piano--"_Les Adieux_,"--in E flat; ded. to the
    Archduke Rudolph; composed 1809.

    81_b_. _Sextet_ for two violins, viola, violoncello, and two horns
    (_obbligato_), in E flat; pub. 1810.

    82. _Four Ariettas_ and a _Duet_, with pianoforte accompaniment; words
    of Nos. 2, 3, and 5 by Metastasio; pub. 1811.

    83. _Three Songs_; words by Goethe; ded. to the Princess Kinsky;
    composed 1810.

    84. _Overture and incidental Music to "Egmont;"_ composed 1809-10.

    85. "_The Mount of Olives_," an oratorio; text by Franz Xaver Huber;
    composed 1800 (?).

    86. _First Mass_, for four voices and orchestra, in C major; ded. to
    Prince Esterhazy; composed 1807.

    87. _Trio_ for wind instruments, in C major; performed 1797.

    88. "_Das Glück der Freundschaft_," for voice and piano; pub. 1803.

    89. _Polonaise_ for piano, in C major; ded. to the Empress Elisabetha
    Alexiewna, of Russia; composed 1814.

    90. _Sonata_ for piano, in E minor; ded. to Count Moritz Lichnowski;
    composed 1814.

    91. "_The Battle of Vittoria_," for orchestra; ded. to the Prince
    Regent of England; composed 1813.

    92. _Seventh Symphony_ for orchestra, in A major; ded. to Count Fries;
    composed 1812.

    93. _Eighth Symphony_ for orchestra, in F major; composed 1812.

    94. "_To Hope_;" words from the "_Urania_" of Tiegde (second setting,
    _see_ Op. 32); composed 1816.

    95. _Quartet_ for two violins, viola, and violoncello, in F minor;
    ded. to Secretary Zmeskall; composed 1810.

    96. _Sonata_ for piano and violin, in G major; ded. to the Archduke
    Rudolph; composed 1810.

    97. _Trio_ for piano, violin, and violoncello, in B flat; ded. to the
    Archduke Rudolph; composed 1811.

    98. "_An die ferne Geliebte_," a _Liederkreis_; words by Jeitteles;
    ded. to Prince Lobkowitz; composed 1816.

    99. "_Der Mann von Wort_," for voice and piano; words by Kleinschmid;
    pub. 1815.

    100. "_Merkenstein_," for one or two voices and piano; words by
    Rupprecht; composed 1814.

    101. _Sonata_ for piano, in A major; ded. to the Baroness Erdmann;
    composed 1815.

    101. _Two Sonatas_ for piano and violoncello, in C major and D major;
    ded. to the Countess Erdödy; composed 1815.

    103. _Octet_ for wind instruments, in E flat major; composed in Bonn
    before 1792.

    104. _Quintet_ for two violins, two violas, and violoncello, in C
    minor (from the Trio No. 3 of Op. 1); pub. 1819.

    105. _Six Thèmes variés_ for piano, with violin _ad libitum_; composed
    for George Thomson, 1818-19.

    106. _Sonata_ for piano, in B flat; ded. to the Archduke Rudolph;
    composed 1818.

    107. _Ten Thèmes variés russes, écossais, tyroliens_, for piano, with
    violin _ad libitum_; composed for George Thomson, 1818-20.

    108. _Twenty-five Scotch Melodies_ for one or two voices and chorus
    (_obbligato_), violin, viola, and 'cello.

    109. _Sonata_ for piano, in E major; ded. to Fräulein Brentano;
    composed 1821 (?).

    110. _Sonata_ for piano, in A flat major; composed 1821.

    111. _Sonata_ for piano, in C minor; ded. to the Archduke Rudolph;
    composed 1822.

    112. "_Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt_," for four voices and
    orchestra; ded. to "the Author of the Poem, the immortal Goethe;"
    composed 1815.

    113. _Overture_: "_The Ruins of Athens_," composed 1811-12.

    114. _Marches and Choruses_ from "_The Ruins of Athens_."

    115. _Overture_: "_Namensfeier_," in C major; ded. to Prince
    Radziwill; composed 1814.

    116. _Terzetto_ for soprano, tenor, and bass, with orchestral
    accompaniment; composed 1801.

    117. _Overture and Choruses_: "_King Stephen_;" performed 1812.

    118. _Elegy in memory of the Baroness Pasqualati_: "_Sanft wie du
    lebtest hast du vollendet_;" ded. to the Baron Pasqualati; composed
    1814.

    119. _Twelve Bagatelles_ for piano; composed 1820-22.

    120. _Thirty-three Variations_ on a waltz by Diabelli; ded. to Madame
    Brentano; composed 1823.

    121_a_. _Adagio, Variations, and Rondo_, for piano, violin, and
    violoncello, in G major; theme, "_Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu_;" pub.
    1824.

    121_b_. "_Opferlied_" for solo, chorus, and orchestra; words by
    Matthison; composed 1822.

    122. "_In allen guten Stunden_," for solo and chorus, with two
    clarionets, two horns, and two bassoons, words by Goethe; composed
    1822.

    123. _Missa Solemnis_ for four voices, chorus, and orchestra, in D
    major; ded. to the Archduke Rudolph; composed 1818-1822.

    124. _Overture_: "_Weihe des Hauses_," in C major; ded. to Prince
    Galitzin; composed 1822.

    125. _Ninth Symphony_ (_Jupiter_), with final chorus on Schiller's
    "_Ode to Joy_," for orchestra, four voices, and chorus, in D minor;
    ded. to Frederick William III. of Prussia; composed 1822-3.

    126 _Six Bagatelles_ for piano; composed about 1821.

    127. _Quartet_ for two violins, viola, and violoncello, in E flat;
    ded. to Prince Galitzin; composed 1824.

    128. "_The Kiss_;" Arietta for voice and piano; composed 1822.

    129. _Rondo capriccioso_ in G major.

    130. _Quartet_ for two violins, viola, and violoncello, in B flat;
    ded. to Prince Galitzin; composed 1825.

    131. _Quartet_ fr two violins, viola, and violoncello, in C sharp
    minor; ded. to the Baron von Stutterheim; composed 1826.

    132. _Quartet_ for two violins, viola, and violoncello, in A minor;
    ded. to Prince Galitzin; composed 1825.

    133. _Grand Fugue_ for two violins, viola, and violoncello, in B flat;
    ded. to the Cardinal Archduke Rudolph; composed 1825.

    134. _Grand Fugue_ (Op. 133 arranged for piano for four hands).

    135. _Quartet_ (the sixteenth) for two violins, viola, and 'cello, in
    F major; ded. to Herrn Wolfmeier; composed 1826.

    136. "_Der Glorreiche Augenblick_," cantata for four voices and
    orchestra; text by Dr. Weissenbach; ded. to Franz I., Emperor of
    Austria, Nicholas I., Emperor of Russia, and Frederick William III.,
    King of Prussia; composed 1814.

    137. _Fugue_ for two violins, two violas, and 'cello, in D major;
    composed 1817.

    138. _Ouverture caractérisstique_; "_Leonora_" No. 1, in C major.


II. COMPOSITIONS DESIGNATED SIMPLY BY _Numbers_.

    No. 1_a_. _Twelve Variations_ for piano and violin, in F major; Theme:
    "_Se vuol ballare_," from Mozart's "_Figaro_;" ded. to Eleanore von
    Breuning; pub. 1793.

    1_b_. _Thirteen Variations_ for piano, in A major; Theme: "_Es war
    einmal ein alter Mann_;" pub. 1794.

    2. _Nine Variations_ for piano, in A major; Theme: "_Quant è più
    bello_;" pub. 1796.

    3_a_. _Six Variations_ for piano; Theme: "_Nel cor più non mi sento_;"
    composed 1795.

    3_b_. _Two Minuets_ for piano, for four hands.

    4. _Twelve Variations_ for piano, in C major; Theme: "_Menuet à la
    Vigano_;" pub. 1796.

    5_a_. _Twelve Variations_ for piano, in A major; Theme from the ballet
    of the "_Waldmädchen_;" pub. 1797.

    5_b_. _Twelve Variations_ for piano and violoncello, in G major;
    Theme: "_See, the Conquering Hero comes!_" pub. 1804.

    6. _Twelve Variations_ for piano and violoncello, in F major. (_See_
    Op. 66.)

    7. _Eight Variations_ for piano in C major; Theme from Grétry's
    "_Richard Coeur de Lion_;" pub. 1798.

    8. _Ten Variations_ for piano in B flat major; Theme: "_La stessa, la
    stessissima_;" pub. 1799.

    9. _Seven Variations_ for piano, in F major; Theme: "_Kind willst du
    ruhig schlafen_;" pub. 1799.

    10_a_. _Eight Variations_ for piano, in F major; Theme: "_Tändeln and
    Scherzen_;" composed 1799.

    10_b_. _Seven Variations_ for piano and violoncello, in E flat; Theme
    from the "_Magic Flute_;" composed 1801 (?).

    11. _Six very easy Variations_ on an original Theme; composed 1801.

    12. _Six easy Variations_ for piano or harp, in F major; Theme: "_Air
    suisse_;" pub. 1799 (?).

    13. _Twenty-four Variations_ for piano, in D major, on a Theme by
    Righini; composed about 1790.

    14-23. _Wanting._

    24. "_Der Wachtelschlag_," for voice and piano; words by Sauter; pub.
    1804.

    25. _Seven Variations_ for piano, in C major; Theme: "_God save the
    King_;" pub. 1804.

    26. _Five Variations_ (favourite) for piano, in D major; Theme:
    "_Rule, Britannia_;" pub. 1804.

    27. _Six Variations_ for piano, for four hands, in D major, on an
    original Theme; composed 1800.

    28. _Minuet_ for piano.

    29. _Prelude_ for piano, in F minor; pub. 1805.

    30, 31. _Wanting._

    32. "_To Hope_," by Tiedge (_see_ Op. 94).

    33, 34. _Wanting._

    35. _Andante_ for piano in F major (originally in the Sonata, Op. 53),
    composed 1803 (?).

    36. _Thirty-two Variations_ for piano, in C minor, on an original
    Theme; pub. 1807.

    37. _Wanting._

    38. "_Die Sehnsucht_:" four Melodies for voice and piano; text by
    Goethe; pub. 1810.


III. COMPOSITIONS DESIGNATED BY _Letters_.

A. INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC.

    _a._ _Trio_ for piano, violin, and violoncello (in one movement), in B
    flat; ded. to "my little friend, Maximiliana Brentano, for her
    encouragement in pianoforte playing;" composed 1812.

    _b._ _Rondo_ for piano and violin, in G major; pub. 1800.

    _c._ _Andante_ for piano, in G.

    _d._ _Sonata_ for piano, in C major (_incomplete_); composed 1796.

    _e._ _Two easy Sonatinas_ for piano, in G major and F major; composed
    in Bonn.

    _f._ _Three Sonatas_ for piano, in E flat major, F minor, and D major;
    ded. to the Elector Max. Friedrich; composed at the age of eleven.

    _g._ _Rondo_ for piano, in A major; pub. 1784.

    _h._ _Andante_ on the text: "_Oh Hoffnung, du stählst die Herzen_"
    (Ex. for the Archduke Rudolph).

    _i._ _Favourite March_ of the Emperor Alexander.

    _k._ _Eight Variations_ for piano in B flat; Theme: "_Ich habe ein
    kleines Hüttchen nur_."

    _l._ _Variations_ for piano, on a March by Dressler; composed at the
    age of ten.

    _m._ _Variations_ for piano, for four hands, on an original theme.

    _n._ _Variations_ for piano, for four hands, in A major.

    _o._ _Triumphal March for orchestra_, in C major; performed 1813.

    _p._ _Second and Third Overtures to "Leonora"_ ("_Fidelio_"), in C
    major.

    _q._ _Overture to "Fidelio"_ ("_Leonora_" No. 4), in E major.

    _r._ _Triumphal March_ for orchestra, in G major.

    _s._ _Three Duos_ for clarionet and bassoon, in C major, F major, and
    B flat; composed about 1800.

    _t._ _Minuet_ for piano (from the Septet, Op. 20).

    _u._ _Quintet_ (MS.), for two violins, two violas, and violoncello, in
    F major.


B. DANCE MUSIC.

    Twelve Contre danses.
    Twelve Minuets for orchestra.
    Six Minuets for piano.
    Twelve _Danses Allemandes_ for two violins and bass.
    Seven Country Dances for piano.
    Six Country Dances for piano.
    Twelve _Ecossaises_ for piano.
    Six _Allemandes_ for piano and violin.
    Twelve Waltzes with Trios for orchestra.
    Six Waltzes for two violins and bass.
    Two Minuets for piano, for four hands.
    Six Country Dances for piano.
    Two Favourite Waltzes for piano, in B flat major and E minor.


C. VOCAL MUSIC.

    _a._ _Six Songs_ from Reissig's "_Blümchen der Einsamkeit_:"--

    1. "_Sehnsucht_," in E major.
    2. "_Krieger's Abschied_," in E flat.
    3. "_Der Jüngling in der Fremde_," in B flat.
    4. "_An den fernen Geliebten_," in G major.
    5. "_Der Zufriedene_," in A major.
    6. "_Der Liebende_," in D major.

    _b._ _Three Songs:_--

    1. "_An die Geliebte_," in B flat.
    2. "_Das Geheimniss_," in G major.
    3. "_So oder so! Nord oder Süd._"

    _c._ _Italian and German Songs:_--

    1. "_La Partenza_" ("_ecco quel fiore_").
    2. "_Trinklied._"
    3. "_Liedchen von der Ruhe._"
    4. "_An die Hoffnung._"
    5. "_Ich Liebe dich, so wie du nich._"
    6. "_Molly's Abschied._"
    7. "_Ohne Liebe._"
    8. "_Wachtelgesang._"
    9. "_Marmotte._"
    10. "_Maigesang._"
    11. "_Feuerfarbe._"
    12. "_Ecco quel fiori istanti._"

    _d._ _Songs_, for one or more voices, from Shakspere, Byron, and Moore.
    _e._ "_Der Glorreiche Augenblick_," for four voices and orchestra.
    _f._ "_Lied aus der Ferne._"
    _g._ _Three Songs_ from Tiedge.
    _h._ _Three Songs._
    _i._ _Three Songs._
    _k._ "_Oh! dass ich dir vom stillen Auge._"
    _l._ "_Sehnsucht nach dem Rhein._"
    _m._ "_Die Klage._"
    _n._ _Three Andantes._
    _o._ "_Ruf vom Berge._"
    _p._ "_Der Bardengeist_."
    _q._ "_Als die Geliebte sich trennen wollte._"
    _r._ _Elegy_ on the death of a Poodle.
    _s._ _Arietta_ in A flat major.
    _t._ _Canon_ in E flat major.
    _u._ "_Zärtliche Liebe._"
    _v._ "_Resignation_," "_Lisch' aus_," in E major.
    _w._ _Canon_ for six voices.
    _x._ _Canon_ for four voices.
    _y._ _Canon_ for three voices.
    _z._ _Canon_ written in the album of Director Neide.
    _tz._ _Song of the Monks_, from Schiller's "_Wilhelm Tell_."
    _a^{2}._ "_Song of the Nightingale._"
    _b^{2}._ "_Germania's Wiedergeburt_," for four voices and orchestra.
    _c^{2}._ "_Abschiedsgesang an Wien's Bürger._"
    _e^{2}._ Final songs from (1) "_Die Ehrenpforte_," in D major; (2)
    "_Die gute Nachricht_."
    _f^{2}._ "_Andenken von Matthison_"--allegretto.
    _g^{2}._ Three-part _Song_.


IV. COMPOSITIONS WHICH APPEARED AFTER BEETHOVEN'S DEATH, WITHOUT BEING
DESIGNATED AS _Op._ OR _No._

    _a._ "_Beethoven's Heimgang_," for voice and piano.
    _b._ "_An Sie_," Song, in A flat major.
    _c._ _Two Songs_:--

        1. "_Seufzer eines Ungeliebten._"
        2. "_Die laute Klage._"

    _d._ "_Die Ehre Gottes in der Natur_," for four voices and orchestra,
           in C major.
    _e._ _Cantata: "Europa steht."_
    _f._ _Song, "Gedenke mein."_
    _g._ "_Empfindungen bei Lydia's Untreu_," in E flat.
    _h._ "_Equali_," two pieces for four trombones.
    _i._ _Allegretto_ for orchestra.
    _k._ _Three Quartets._
    _l._ _Rondo_ for piano and orchestra.
    _m._ _Octet_ for wind instruments (now Op. 103.)
    _n._ _Rondino_ for eight-part harmony.
    _o._ _Two Trios_ for piano, violin, and 'cello.
    _p._ _Military March_ for piano.
    _q._ "_Lament at Beethoven's Grave._"
    _r._ "_The Last Musical Thought._"

J. AND W. RIDER, PRINTERS, LONDON.



A NOVEL WITH TWO HEROES.

BY ELLIOTT GRAEME,

AUTHOR OF "BEETHOVEN; A MEMOIR," &C.

_In Two Vols. Post 8vo._

OPINIONS OF THE PRESS.

"We can sincerely congratulate Mr. Graeme on having achieved a decided
literary success.... The story is written in a lively and agreeable
style ... the simple life of the worthy Director is charmingly told....
Several of the portraits are evidently taken from life.... The interest
of the story centres in Mala, the beautiful girl, who inherits her
father's genius.... The characters of Mr. Chesney, the stately and
somewhat pompous rector, and of his anti-type, a parson of quite another
school, are drawn with singular truthfulness and freedom from
exaggeration."--_Athenæum._

"Above the average even of good novels ... clever and amusing ... free
from sensationalism, though full of interest, and of interest which
touches many of the deeper chords of life. Mr. Graeme's delineation of
character is remarkably good.... After all, the English rector is the
gem of the book; the crust of his character so hard, but the ring of the
metal itself, though harsh, so true.... Mr. Graeme's canvas is so
crowded, that it is really difficult to select figures for illustration.
When we have given the notice their prominence demands to some of the
leading characters, we find our heartiest admiration and our keenest
dislike really reserved for the subordinate actors, who yet are very
real in the byplay on which so much of the story turns, as it would turn
in actual life."--_Spectator._

"In 'A Novel with Two Heroes,' Mr. Graeme has produced a story of deep
interest, and something more,--he has given us a love-story, or rather,
two or three love-stories, without the least frivolity of the kind that
most of the novel-writers of the day seem to think is the necessary
accompaniment of love-making. He has shown intimate knowledge of the
springs of human nature, and a power of description which is not the
less admirable that it is quiet and unpretentious. There are some
domestic scenes which, for their simplicity and their obvious
reproduction from real life, have not often been excelled; while, again,
there are dramatic scenes powerful almost to painfulness in their
intensity, without being in the least disfigured by big or strong words.
Womanly beauty and natural scenery Mr. Graeme touches with a light hand,
contriving to tell more about them in a few words or lines than most
people could do in as many pages.... Sir Robert Chesney is a good,
plucky English lad, without a serious flaw in him, but not fond of
learning, though full of humour. His experiences with his uncle are
delightful.... It would be easy to go through the novel and pick out
passages of high excellence.... Abundant merit of a high order is shown
throughout, alike in construction, plot, and treatment."--_Scotsman._

"We can only point out some of the beauties of this fresh and
interesting production.... One of its great charms is its singular
purity.... In drawing his characters Mr. Graeme brings out strongly, yet
without the least effort, the pathetic side of most lives; and he
brightens them up at the same time with many a touch of genuine
humour.... Mr. Graeme is no surface painter.... 'A Novel with Two
Heroes' may safely be recommended to all who can appreciate delicacy of
sentiment, combined with clever portraiture and thorough knowledge of
life."--_Morning Post._

"One of the most promising works of fiction which it has been our lot to
encounter of late years. Not for a long time have we read a more
pleasant and enjoyable story, full of poetry and life and music, rich in
subtle delineation of character, vigorous word-painting, and graphic
portraitures, all steeped in that delightful dreaminess and mystic
beauty with which German tales are so often and so richly flavoured....
We have been led to dwell at length on the defects of Mr. Graeme's work
because it is one of those productions which can stand, and, we shall
add, deserve severe criticism. Were the faults a hundred times more
numerous and grave than we have indicated, the novel would still be a
remarkable production. The pictures of German life--the St. Cecilian
festival, the _Fastnacht_, or annual Saturnalia at Lent, the Procession
of St. Agnes, the sails on the river, &c., &c., are all painted with a
fidelity and power not often met with but in Scott. Even more remarkable
are the humour and pathos, as well as the variety and originality of the
portraitures. Every character is full of life and
individuality."--_Glasgow Herald._

"This work has sterling merits."--_Saturday Review._

"Better worth reading than five out of six of the novels of the
day."--_Examiner._

"Will be heartily welcomed by all lovers of a good story."--_Graphic._

"Uncommon scenes and characters uncommonly well
described."--_Illustrated London News._

"Mr. Graeme has an eye for colours. He seizes upon the telling points of
a story, and paints in the picturesque details of a passing
scene."--_Westminster Review._

"Very lifelike; displays depth and originality of thought."--_John
Bull._

"Superior in all respects to the common run of novels."--_Daily News._

"A novel with some delightfully fresh characters; ... not a page but is
attractive."--_Daily Telegraph._

"This eminently readable novel ... displays an acquaintance with human
nature, and a power of description of the happiest kind."--_Leeds
Mercury._

LONDON: CHARLES GRIFFIN AND COMPANY.





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