Conversation of Two Deaf

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By 1818, Beethoven's hearing loss increased, and the composer had to carry a blank notebook and pen with him in order to communicate.

The other party replied by writing, while Beethoven often replied aloud. When a special topic was discussed, the composer often gave his answer by writing.

Note 8, kept on Tuesday, April 1823, 28, contains the composer's long and intimate conversation with a person named Sandra. The name is presumed to be a variation of Alexander, as no such male name was recorded for that period.

The common point that causes this sincere conversation is the deafness of the duo.


[BEETHOVEN] Baths and the countryside air are good for many ailments. You just shouldn't use your ear trumpet early. I was able to keep my left ear a little better because I avoided it.

[SANDRA] I haven't used a mechanical tool for now, but I'll have to soon.

[BEETHOVEN] Better to communicate in writing whenever possible; so you don't have to stick a trumpet in your ear trying to hear, less damage.

[SANDRA] Don't laugh at me, but until last week, my best hope was a fairly old medical book. It uses only the upper branches of a young pine tree. I have to write you all the details.

[BEETHOVEN] Have you tried galvanization? I could have done it before but I couldn't resist.

[SANDRA] Please write your full address, I will send you the prescription in detail. It's a very natural treatment. If it works, we're both lucky.

[BEETHOVEN] May I ask your name?

[SANDRA] Sandra – My fellow countryman.

[BEETHOVEN] A sad malady. Doctors know very little. In the end, people get tired.

[SANDRA] I found this book in a second-hand bookstore that I came across. It belongs to a famous doctor who lived in the 16th century. The ancients were not stupid. They describe exactly my complaints. I have paid 800 ducats for the treatment so far. I used to be a sales representative.

[BEETHOVEN] (written in French) My brother Johann lacks honor and morals. Unfortunate.

[SANDRA] If I trample my dignity in order to live a good life, I am no longer a man.

[BEETHOVEN] Closed his pharmacy (his brother Johann) now lives as a proprietor. I'm not sure if he did his best, he is an ordinary person.

[SANDRA] Stingy. He bought as much property from me as he did from the hospital owners.

[BEETHOVEN] My brother's marriage is proof of his moral level. I have been sick for 3 years otherwise I would have gone to London a long time ago.

[SANDRA] They place great value on genius. Just give them the Wellington Win. I find it odd that your brother owns a carriage. Like a simple baker.

[BEETHOVEN] If he's providing her with money?!

[SANDRA] Things are going well.

[BEETHOVEN] He always wants me to do things his way, it's not possible for me. He tried so hard not to make that marriage, but in vain. But it doesn't deserve better. He chases after ordinary things. His morals deteriorated between the French and the Austrians.

[SANDRA] I'm not talking to him.

[BEETHOVEN] He's a barbarian. The misfortune of the propensity to be rich.

[SANDRA] 3 more years, nothing more.


Source: Albrecht , Theodore, Beethoven's Conversation Books: Nos. 17 to 31 (May 1822 to May 1823), Boydell Press

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