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Pianos and Pianists - Consultant Editor Ates Orga

Christmas in Vienna



 << Continued from page 1 


premieres his
Fourth Piano Concerto dedicated to the Archduke Rudolph of Austria
and Choral Fantasia dedicated to the King of Bavaria
- his last concerto appearances in public -

Musical Akademie
Theatre an der Wien

Thursday December 22nd 1808, 6.30pm

I accepted the kind offer of Prince Lobkowitz to let me sit in his box with hearty thanks. There we continued, in the bitterest cold, too, from half past six to half past ten, and experienced the truth that one can easily have too much of a good thing - and still more of a loud [the programme included also the premieres of the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies]. Nevertheless, I could no more leave the box before the end than could the exceedingly good-mannered and delicate Prince [with Razumovsky, joint dedicatee of the symphonies], for the box was in the first balcony near the stage, so that the orchestra with Beethoven in the middle conducting it was below us and near at hand; thus many a failure in the performance vexed our patience in the highest degree. Poor Beethoven, who from this, his own concert, was having the first and only scant profit that he could find in a whole year, had found in the rehearsals and performance a lot of opposition and almost no support. Singers and orchestra were composed of heteregeneous elements, and it had been found impossible to get a single full rehearsal for all the pieces to be performed, all filled with the greatest difficulties.

- Johann Friedrich Reichardt, letter December 25th 1808


Abusive articles about my latest concert will perhaps be sent again from here to the Musikalische Zeitung ... nobody in Vienna has more private enemies than I have. This is the more understandable since the state of music here is becoming worse and worse - We have Kapellmeisters who not only do not know how to conduct but also can hardly read a score - Conditions are worst of all, of course, at the Theater an der Wien - I had to give my concert there and on that occasion obstacles were placed in my way by all the circles connected with music [including] Herr Salieri being my most active opponent ... In spite of the fact that various mistakes were made, which I could not prevent - the public nevertheless applauded the whole performance with enthusiasm ...

- Beethoven to his Leipzig publisher Breitkopf & Hartel, January 7th 1809


The wind instruments varied the theme [of the Choral Fantasia] which Beethoven had previously played on the pianoforte. The turn came to the oboes. The clarinets ... make a mistake in the count and enter at once. A curious mixture of tones results. Beethoven jumps up, tries to silence the clarinets, but does not succeed until he has called out quite loudly and rather ill-temperedly: 'Stop, stop! That will not do! Again - again!'

- Leipzig Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung [reported by Thayer]


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