Chat with Beethoven


Czech-born composer and music teacher Johann Wenzel Tomaschek visited Beethoven with his brother on 10 October 1814.

Meyerbeer'sDie beiden Caliphen', they talked about many different topics related to music, apart from tugging on the opera.

Tomaschek describes Beethoven's hearing loss in his autobiography 'The unlucky guy is also having problems with hearing these days, someone who wanted to be understood had to shout instead of speak.' expresses it in a sentence.

The record of his famous messy hair, which was identified with him, was as follows; “The room in which he received us was magnificently furnished; must have been a coincidence, she was disheveled and untidy like her hair. "

The text of the speech regarding this visit and his second and last visit on 24 November is as follows:

Tomaschek (T): Mr. Beethoven, please forgive me if I offend you. I am Prague composer Tomaschek, working in the service of Count von Bucquoy; I had the audacity to visit you with my brother.

 Beethoven (B): I am very pleased to meet you, you do not disturb me.

T. I see you are working hard.

B. Doesn't it have to be? What happens to my reputation otherwise?

T. A new opera is performing tonight. Seyfried composed the music, I can't say that I am very eager to go and watch it.

B. Why, what to do? Along with others, there should be composers like him. What would happen to the masses without such composers?

T. I often hear of a young foreign pianist named Meyerbeer, who is said to be an excellent piano player.

B. Yeah, they told me great things about him too, I didn't get a chance to go and listen. Let him stay in Vienna for three months, then let's see what his reputation becomes. Everything new is enough to please people here.

T. Do you know him personally?

B. Battle of Vitoria (Op. 91) I met during the performance of my work. Most of the composers in Vienna are kind enough to play something in my orchestra, this young man also played the big drums! Hahaha ! (Laughter) I have reasons to be very dissatisfied with him. He was always behind. He can't be trusted, and he doesn't have the courage to raise his hand at the right time.

Tomaschek's second visit to Beethoven on 24 November, the day before he left Vienna.

T. I came to say goodbye.

B. I thought you were leaving. Have you been staying in Vienna since our first meeting?

T. Except for my Aspern and Wagram visits, yes. And are you okay?

B. I'm like always, dealing with the same annoyances. There is no life here.

T. You are in a busy schedule for your concert, I hope I am not keeping you busy?

 B. You don't, I'm glad you came. However, you are right. What ordinary preoccupations create concert preparations!

T. I read in the newspapers that you postponed the concert day.

B. Yes, but now everything is copied. I had to do the general rehearsal the morning of the concert, so I chose a later date.

T. All these problems do not seem sustainable.

B. You're right. One person has to deal with the bullshit of everyone else. And how much money is spent up front? The treatment of artists is a scandal! I have to donate one-third of my income to the salon manager and one-fifth to the hospital. Let the devil see their faces! With harassment like this, I have to question whether music can be played freely. Believe me, there is nothing that can be done for artists in times like these.

T Have you been to Meyerbeer's opera?

B. No; however, things did not go as expected. You came to my mind. Your opinion of the man's talent was not positive, it seems you were right. After the first performance, I talked to the singers who came to the tavern. 'Wonderful!' I said, 'You've given us something impressive. You made a big mistake. You should be ashamed to make such honorable speeches about such a bad composition!'

T. I saw the work. It starts with "Hallelujah" and ends with "Requiem".

B. (laughs). His situation as a composer also applies to his pianist. They often ask me if I'm listening to him. I have to say that I did not listen, but according to the opinion of my competent friends whose ideas I trust, he is just an exaggerated pianist with technique.

T. I heard him playing on the ***** scene before he went to Paris. It didn't make much of an impact.

B. What did I predict? I know this kind of admiration well. Let him stay here for another month, then let's see what is said about him. It is an accepted fact that the best composers are the best virtuosos; but can they play the previously studied passages like the pianists of the period who run around the piano? Hey! Hey! Do not tell me! A true virtuoso plays pieces that form and hold together while improvising. If the ideas in them can be put on paper instantly, free time can also be used for written works. That's what I call playing the piano; the rest is just a bad joke.

A Talk with Beethoven
Johann Wenzel Tomaschek and Ludwig van Beethoven
The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular
Vol. 33, Beethoven Supplement (Dec. 15, 1892)


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