Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

Adolf Bäuerle's Allgemeine Theaterzeitung on the Viennese First Performances of the Missa Solemnis and Ninth Symphony

Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

Adolf Bäuerle's Allgemeine Theaterzeitung on the Viennese First Performances of the Missa Solemnis and Ninth Symphony

Article excerpt

New Rare Beethoveniana at the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies (2006)

UNLIKE PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS IN THIS SERIES, THIS ONE FOCUSES ON A SINGLE NEW ACQUISITION of no little importance in the history of Beethoven reception: the bound issues of the first half of volume 17 (1824) of Adolf Bäuerle's lively if little-known journal on Viennese theater, musical, botanical, zoological, and other cultural life, Allgemeine Theaterzeitung und Unterhaltungsblatt für Freunde der Kunst, Literatur und des geselligen Lebens (General Theater-Newspaper and Entertainment Gazette for Friends of An, Literature, and Social Life). The first half of the year ran from issue 1 (Thursday, January 1) to issue 78 (Tuesday, June 29); the issues were normally published on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and each usually contained four pages. The issues the Center recently acquired include no less than seven items on the Ninth Symphony: the famous plea from Beethoven's admirers to have the work performed in Vienna and not Berlin, a second (incorrect) announcement of the premiere, reviews of the premiere and the second performance, a poem written to honor the occasion, and two (also inaccurate) announcements for the second performance.

Because the volume is rare and the German text difficult to obtain, facsimiles of all seven items are given here. (The reviews, for example, are not found in the German collected edition of reviews of Beethoven's works, Ludwig van Beethoven: Die Werke im Spiegel seiner Zeit.) The facsimiles differ from the double-column format of the originals. To cram as much content onto a page as possible, Bäuerle's magazine was printed in small type with two columns to a page; rather than distribute magnifying glasses with this issue of the journal, I chose to separate the columns and increase their size.

Translations of the seven items from various sources appear next to the facsimilies. The translation of the first, the plea for a Viennese premiere, is taken over, with minor changes, from the 1921 English edition of The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven, by Alexander Wheelock Thayer, translated by Henry Edward Krehbiel (New York: Beethoven Association), 153-55. The translation in the 1921 edition does not exactly match the German text shown here, however: the title and prefatory sentence, the list of signatories, and the concluding two paragraphs written by Bäuerle himself are missing. (Similarly, in the 1967 revised edition of Thayer's Life of Beethoven edited by Elliot Forbes, the title, prefatory sentence, and editor's concluding paragraphs are missing.) The Beethoven scholar David Levy, who wrote his dissertation on the first performances of the Ninth Symphony and is the author of a highly praised monograph on the Ninth, is the translator of the two reviews, whose texts were taken from his dissertation with his kind permission. I am especially indebted to Hannah liebmann and Heidi Melas for their generous assistance with the translation of the four remaining items.

As will be discovered below, there was no little national pride at stake in the contest to mount the premiere of the Ninth, and interested Viennese parties sprang into action when they learned that Beethoven was discussing a Berlin premiere with Count Briihl. On January 30 or 31, 1824, the contralto Karoline Unger, who had first met Beethoven in 1822 on which occasion he had requested a kiss not on the hands but on the mouth, visited the composer and inquired via conversation book when the concert would take place. He appears to have answered with some sort of negative reply about the likely success of a Vienna premiere, for she next wrote, "If you give the concert[,] I guarantee the house will be full[.]" Again Beethoven seems to have responded negatively, and Unger-whom Anton Schindlet described as "full of fite and natural high spirits"-chastised him: "You have too little confidence in yourself!.] Has the homage of the whole world not given you a little more pride[? …

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