BEETHOVEN'S THIRD SYMPHONY
CREATION HISTORY
CHRONOLOGY OF BEETHOVEN'S LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES (1804 - 1806)


 



Beethoven around 1804
 


INTRODUCTION

 

Considering the wealth of the topic of the Third Symphony and the manner of presentation that we have chosen here, the writer still regrets that those sub-sections that are presented in pairs of threes next to each other on the start page can not also be read in pairs of threes next to each other, on your monitor.  The sub-sections we are referring to here are those of the conceptual genesis, the creation history and the musical genesis as the first set of three, and the early performance history, this chronology of Beethoven's life circumstances and the work's publication and dedication history, as the second set of three.  Particularly in the case of the second set of three, such a manner of presentation would make it very clear to us in what way the "middle" part of such a "tryptichon" actually forms a vital "middle" part.   However, since the material covered in these three sub-sections is too voluminous in order for us to proceed in such a manner, we have to leave it to your imagination to keep our desired manner of presentation in mind, for yourselves.  

In this context, this originally German-speaking writer does not want to neglect to refer to the fact that the Beethoven work of the German musicologist Klaus Kropfinger which was published in 2001 contains what is, to date, perhaps the most extensive presentation of Beethoven life facts in table form, at a glance.  Due to this and other reasons, you will find Kropfinger's title listed in the bibliography page of this section.  Of course, we have also considered details listed in the Kropfinger table for the writing of this section.  In doing so, however, we have limited ourselves to Beethoven life facts from the years 1804 - 1806 that, in view of the information offered in our accompanying chronologies of this particular tryptichon, would form a comprehensible overall image.   In addition to some facts contained in the Kropfinger table we have also consulted the other works listed in the bibliography page of this section.  

In this middle part of our three-part presentation on hand, we will proceed by presenting to you, on the one hand, interesting details with respect to Beethoven's general life circumstances, and, on the other hand, by chronologically connecting this information with details that have already become available to you in our previous sub-sections on this topic so that we, after the completion of this page, will be as well prepared as possible to deal with the very complicated publication history of this symphony. 

 

THE YEAR 1804

 

From our Creation History of the Eroica we know that Beethoven completed its revision in early 1804.  

With respect to Beethoven's friendship with the widow Josephine von Deym that started to blossom in the later part of this year, we should mention here that her husband, Count Joseph von Deym, passed away on January 27, 1804 and that he left her behind as widow with several children of whom the last one was still 'on its way' at the time of his death.  

As Thayer reports, at this time, Beethoven, at least officially, still occupied his apartment at the Theater-an-der Wien.  He is also reported as having been occupied there with his work on Leonore, at least up to the time of the sale of this theatre in the winter of 1804, by which his work on his only opera was interrupted.  Due to these circumstances, reports Thayer, Beethoven also had to look for new lodgings. 

As Thayer further reports, Beethoven first rented rooms for himself in the so-called Rothe Haus in the Alsergrund, where his friend Freund Stephan von Breuning had his permanent residence.  After some time, however, reports Thayer, it must have become clear to Beethoven that he could save time and money by moving in with his friend Stephan von Breuning so that he gave up his own apartment to be better looked after in the von Breuning household.  These activities, concludes Thayer, took place in the spring of 1804, while the Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe dates Beethoven's move to his friend's apartment at the beginning of May.  

In the course of your description of the events of the year 1804 we shall also have an opportunity to take a look at a translation in Thayer of Stephan von Breuning's own comments on his relationship to Beethoven and, in doing so, we shall learn more illustratively about certain events than we might be able to do in a chronological presentation.  

From our chronological closing remarks in our Creation History, we already know that Beethoven's clean copy of the Third Symphony must have been completed at the beginning of May 1804 and that the 'famous' scene Ferdinand Ries reported on in connection with Beethoven's eradication of the reference to Napoleon on the Title Page of this work must also have taken place during this month. 

From our first Performance History we know that the first reference in writing to rehearsals for private performances of the Symphony at the Lobkowitz Palais went back to June 9, 1804.  

As we also know from our frequent looks in this web site at Beethoven's life style, it was now the season for him to retreat to the country side.  Sources at our disposal (Thayer, Kropfinger) point out that, from July 6 to 24 of this year, Beethoven stayed at Baden near Vienna to take the baths.  

His falling-out with Stephan von Breuning with respect to a rental matter (very likely, Beethoven did not terminate the lease for his own lodgings at the Rothe Haus in an orderly fashion), but as we shall learn very soon, this falling-out did not last for too long. 

As Thayer reports, Beethoven decided not to spend this summer in Hetzendorf, thus close to Countess Josephine von Deym, but rather, as the year before, at  Oberdöbling.

Subsequently, Beethoven is reported as having taken up lodgings in the Pasqualati House at the Mölkerbastei, in the fall, upon returning from Oberdöbling. 

Due to Beethoven's letter to von Breuning of the beginning of November, 1804, his reconciliation with this friend very likely took place during that time, while von Breuning, in his letter of this month to his brother-in-law, Franz Gerhard Wegeler, does not directly refer to their falling-out.  To illustrate von Breuning's attitude, let us take a look at what he wrote to Wegeler: 

"He who has been my friend from youth is often largely to blame that I am compelled to neglect the absent ones.  You cannot conceive, my dear Wegeler, what an indescribable, I might say, fearful effect the gradual loss of his hearing has had upon him.  Think of the feeling of being unhappy in one of such violent temperament; in addition reservedness, mistrust, often towards his best friends, in many things want of decision!  For the greater part, with only an occasional exception when he gives free vent to his feelings on the spur of the moment, intercourse with him is a real exertion, at which one can scarcely trust to oneself.  From May until the beginning of this month we lived in the same house, and at the outset I took him into my rooms.  He had scarcely come before he became severely, almost dangerously ill, and this was followed by an intermittent fever.  Worry and the care of him used me rather severely.  Now he is completely well again.  He lives on the ramparts, I in one of the newly built houses of Prince Estarhazy in front of the Alstercaserne, and as I am keeping house he eats with me every day" (Thayer: 358").

Only after considering this description of the general situation by von Breuning does it appear useful to us to also take a look at Beethoven's written comments with respect to this matter.  To gain a lively impression of it, we might best take a look at his lines to Ferdinand Ries, at the height of this argument and at his reconciliatory lines of November of that year:

 Beethoven an Ferdinand Ries (Fragment)

                                                                                      Baden, den 24. Juli 1804.

" . . . Mit der Sache von Breuning werden Sie sich wohl gewundert haben;[2] glauben Sie mir, Lieber! daß mein Aufbrausen nur ein Ausbruch von manchen unangenehmen vorhergegangenen Zufällen mit ihm gewesen ist.  Ich habe die Gabe, daß ich über eine Menge Sachen meine Empfindlichkeit verbergen und zurückhalten kann; werde ich aber auch einmal gereizt zu einer Zeit, wo ich empfänglicher für den Zorn bin, so platze ich auch stärker aus, als jeder Andere. Breuning hat gewiß vortreffliche Eigenschaften, aber er glaubt sich von allen Fehlern frei, und hat meistens die am stärksten, welche er an andern Menschen zu finden glaubt.  Er hat einen Geist der Kleinlichkeit, den ich von Kindheit an verachtet habe.  Meine Beurtheilungskraft hat mir fast vorher den Gang mit Breuning prophezeit, [3] indem unsere Denkungs-, Handlungs- und Empfingungs-Weise zu verschieden ist, doch habe ich geglaubt, daß sich auch diese Schwierigkeiten überwinden ließen; -- die Erfahrung hat mich wiederlegt.  Und nun auch keine Freundschaft mehr!  Ich habe nur zwei Freunde in der Welt gefunden, mit denen ich auch nie in ein Mißverhältniß gekommen, aber welche Menschen!  Der eine ist todt, [4] der andere lebt noch. [5] Obschon wir fast sechs Jahre hindurch keiner von dem andern etwas wissen, so weiß ich doch, daß in seinem Herzen ich die erste Stelle, so wie er in dem meinigen einnimmt.  Der Grund der Freundschaft heischt die größte Ähnlichkeit der Seelen und Herzen der Menschen. [6]  . . . "

Beethoven to Ferdinand Ries (Fragment)

                                                                                      Baden, the 24th of Juli, 1804.

" . . . You might have wondered about the von Breuning matter; [2] believe me, my dear! that my outrage was only an outburst of many unpleasant, previous incidents with him.  I have the gift of hiding and holding back my sensitivity with respect to a great deal of things; however, once I am being provoked at a time at which I am more receptive for anger, then I also burst out more strongly than anyone else.   Breuning certainly has excellent qualities, but he believes that he is free of all faults, and mostly has  those the strongest that he believes to find in others.  He has a spirit of small-mindedness that I have despised from childhood on.   My judgment almost foretold me the course of events with Breuning, [3] in that our manners of thinking, of acting and of feeling are too different, yet I have believed that also these difficulties could be overcome; -- experience has proven me wrong.  And now also no friendship, anymore! I only have found two friends in the world with whom I have never had a falling-out, but what men!  One of them is dead, [4] the other one is still alive. [5]  Although, almost for six years, we have not heard from each other, I still know that in his heart I take the first place, as he does in mine.  The basis of friendship is the greatest similarity of the souls and hearts of men.  [6]  . . . "

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefweschsel Gesamtausgabe, Volume 1, Letter No. 186, page 216-217]

[Original: Not known, text pursuant to the first print in Wegeler/Ries p. 132ff; to [2]: refers to letter no. 185; to [3]: refers to the fact that in May, 1804, Beethoven moved into the 'Rothe Haus', Innere Stadt no. 173, where he first had his own lodgings which was now empty; to [4]: refers perhaps to Lorenz von Breuning; to [5]: refers to Carl Amenda; to [6]: refers to the fact that this expession might have been derived from a saying; details taken from p. 217].

                             

Beethoven an Stephan von Breuning

                                                                              [Wien, Anfang November 1804][1]

Hinter diesem Gemählde [2] mein guter lieber St. sey auf ewig verborgen, was eine Zeitlang zwischen unß vorgegangen -- ich weiß es, ich habe dein Herz zerrissen, meine Bewegung in mir, die du an mir gewiß bemerkten mustest, hatte mich genug dafür ges[t]raft, Boßheit wars nicht, was in mir gegen dich vorgieng, nein ich wäre deiner Freundschaft nie mehr würdig, Leidenschaft bey dir und bey mir -- aber Mißtrauen gegen dich ward in mir rege -- Es stellten sich Menschen zwischen unß -- die deiner und meiner nie würdig sind; -- mein Portrait war dir schon lange bestimmt, du weißt es ja, daß ich es immer jemand bestimmt hatte, wem könnte ich es wohl mit dem wärmsten Herzen geben als dir treuer, guter, edler Steffen -- verzeih mir, wenn ich dir wehe that, ich litte selbst nicht weniger, als ich dich so lange nicht mehr um mich sah, empfand ich es erst recht lebhaft, wie theuer du meinem Herzen bist, und ewig seyn wirst.

                                                                                                                                       dein

   du wirst wohl auch wieder so zutraulich in meine Arme fliehen, als sonst.

Pour M. de Breuning

Beethoven to Stephan von Breuning

                                                                                   [Vienna, at early November 1804][1]

Behind this painting [2] my good dear St. be forever hidden what had occurred between us for some time --  I know, I have torn your heart apart, the shock that you must have felt that I was experiencing, has punished me enough for it.  It was not maliciousness what had caused me to act like this, no, I would never be worthy of your friendship, ever again, passion within me and within you -- but mistrust was aroused in me against you -- men came between us -- who are never worthy of you and me; -- for a long time, my portrait was meant to become yours, to whom could I give it with the warmest heart but to you, faithful, good, noble Steffen -- forgive me, if I have hurt you, I suffered no less, myself for not having you around me for such a long time, and I felt it all the more strongly how dear you are to my heart and will be forever. 

                                                                                                                                       your

   you will flee into my arms as trustingly again, as usual. 

Pour M. de Breuning

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Volume 1, Letter No.  197, p. 227]

[Original:  Bonn, Beethoven-Haus, Bodmer Collection; to 1[]: refers to the falling-out of July 1804 with respect to the forgotten move-out-notice of Beethoven's lodging at the "Rothe Haus", see letters no. 185 and 186, and also to the dating of this letter in November, 1804;  to [2]: refers to the Hornemann miniature, details taken from p. 227].


 


The Hornemann Miniature of Beethoven
 

As we know from our extensive creation history of Beethoven's only opera Fidelio and from our Biographical Pages, the renewal of the contract with the Theater-an-der-Wien and Beethoven's subsequent taking up of his work on Leonore, and his growing friendship of this late fall with the young widow Josephine von Breuning formed a creative connection.  Since this topic has already been discussed elsewhere, here, its brief mentioning might serve as a conclusion to our look at Beethoven's life circumstances in the year 1804. 

 

 

THE YEAR 1805 

 

In the winter of the year 1805, to all appearances, Beethoven had two lodgings at his disposal, since, after the renewal of his contract with the Theater-an-der-Wien, could return to his quarters there.  According to Thayer, he received visitors where, while, for his private work, he retreated to his apartment in the Pasqualati house while he also continued to spend much of his spare time in the company of Josephine von Deym.   (The growing of this friendship into a passion on Beethoven's part can best be traced in the correspondence that is contained in the Beethoven-Briefwechsel-Gesamtausgabe.) 

In connection with the first performances of the Eroica that we mentioned in our Performance History I we can refer to the semi-public performance of it at the Würth'sche Concert that Kropfinger dates to January 20, 1805, while Thayer and others confirmed to us that the first public performance had taken place on April 8, 1805, at the Theater-an-der-Wien. 

As Thayer reports, this year, Beethoven spent the summer months in Hetzendorf and was, in all likelihood, occupied with his further work on his opera project while he, after his return to Vienna, also had to direct his attention to the rehearsals and to the first performance of his only opera.  More with respect to this can be found in our creation history of Fidelio and thus, of course, also Thayer's report of the revision evening at the Lichnowsky residence.  

With respect to Beethoven's friendships of this year, Thayer refers to the beginning of Beethoven's relationship with his new pupil, Archduke Rudolph of Austria, and with respect to good musical colleagues to the Viennese conductor Ignaz von Seyfried. 

In contrast to this, this year also saw the departure from Vienna of Beethoven's pupil Ferdinand Ries.  Our Fidelio cration history refers to a report by Ries featured in Thayer, namely that one morning during the fall of this year, Beethoven did not permit him to attend the rehearsal of Fidelio, and refers to Beethoven's misgivings with respect to Ries' behavior in the "Andante favori" matter.  However, Ries also refers in Thayer to the letter of recommendation that Beethoven had written on his behalf to Princess  Liechtenstein:

Beethoven an die Fürstin Josephine Sophie von Liechtenstein [1]

                                                                 [Wien, kurz vor dem 13. November 1805][2]

  Verzeihen Sie Durchlauchtigste Fürstin!  Wenn sie Durch den Überbringer dieses Vieleicht in ein unangenehmes Erstaunen gerathen[3]--Der arme Rieß mein schüler muß in diesem unglückseeligen Krieg Die Muskete auf die schultern nehmen, und --muß zugleich schon als Fremder in einigen Tägen von hier fort[4] -- er hat nichts, gar nichts -- muß eine weite reise machen -- die Gelegenheit zu einer Akademie[5] ist ihm in diesen Umständen gänzlich abgeschnitten -- Er muß seine Zuflucht zur Wohlthätigkeit nehmen -- Ich emphele ihnen denselben -- Ich weiß es sie verzeihen mir diesen Schritt -- Nur in der äußersten Noth kann ein edler Mensch zu solchen Mitteln seine Zuflucht nehmen -- in dieser Zuversicht schikte ich ihnen den armenn, um nur seine Umstände in etwas zu erleichtern -- Er muß zu allen, die ihn kennen, seine Zuflucht nehmen.

mit der tiefsten Ehrfurcht

                                                                                           L. van Beethoven

Pour Madame La Princesse Liechtenstein

Beethoven to Princess Josephine Sophie von Liechtenstein [1]

                                                     [Vienna, shortly before the 13th of November 1805][2]

  Forgive me, Serene, Princely Highness!  If you are unpleasantly touched by the presenter of these [lines] [3]--My dear, poor pupil Ries has to take up arms in this unfortunate war, and--at the same time, as foreigner, he has to leave here, in a few days[4] -- he has nothing, absolutely nothing -- has to embark on a long journey -- the opportunity for an akademy[5], under these circumstances, is totally unavailable to him -- He has to seek refuge in charity -- I recommend the same to you  -- I know that you will forgive me this step  -- Only in utter despair can a noble man take refuge in such means -- in this spirit I am sending to you this poor young man to lighten his burden somewhat -- He has to rely on all people he knows.  

with deepest veneration

                                                                                           L. van Beethoven

Pour Madame La Princesse Liechtenstein

[Source: Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Volume 1, Letter No.  240, p. 270-271]

[Original: Bonn, Beethoven-Haus, Bodmer Collection; to [1]: refers to Josephine Sophie von Liechtenstein; to [2]: refers to Ferdinand Ries' comment with respect to the dating of this letter; to [3]: refers to Ries' comment, "Der Brief wurde (was Beethovens Zorn erregte) nicht abgegeben, doch verwahrte ich das auf ein kleines, ungleich beschnittenes Quartblättchen geschriebene Original als einen Beweis von Beethovens Freundschaft und Liebe für mich" [The letter [which aroused Beethoven's anger} was not delivered, yet I preserved this original that had been written on a small quarter sheet that had been cut to size disproportionately, as a sign of Beethoven's friendship and love for me]; to [4]: refers to Ries' obligation of conscription in the French Army; to [5]: refers to Ries' comment with respect to this: "(Concert)"; details taken from p. 271].


The selection of these lines by Beethoven for this year has also been made in light of the fact that Ries had also been a direct and indirect witness of the creation of the Eroica. 

 

 

THE YEAR 1806

 

Since we do--not yet--want to refer to the outcome of events described  in our Publication and Dedication History of the Eroica, we also want to offer you a complete overview of relevant events in Beethoven's life in 1806.  After your reading of our none too short next section you will also be able to place all events of this year that are described here, in an appropriate context.

The winter of this year saw Beethoven's extensive revision of his opera Leonore while the spring saw its second, somewhat more successful performance.  

From Beethoven's later conduct towards his sister-in-law Johanna van Beethoven, nee Reiss, whom his brother married on May 25 of this year we can not make direct conclusions as to his feelings about that union, in the spring of 1806.  His nephew Carl would be born on September 4 of this year.   

While Beethoven, to all appearances, did not retreat to the Viennese country side during this summer, we have extensive reports with respect to his journey in the later summer and fall to Prince Lichnowsky's castle Grätz near Troppau in Silesia.  From there, Beethoven is reported to also have visited Count Oppersdorf at his property near Glogau.  

From our extensive description of the development of the idea to the Ode to Joy and from our Biographical Pages we also know details with respect to the sudden end of his Troppau visit so that we can refrain from discussing it here, at length.  

In connection with the possible ceasing of Lichnowsky's payment to Beethoven of the annuity of 600 florins that he had set out for him in the early 1800's it is relevant, however, to refer to the beginning of Beethoven's friendship with Prince Razumowsky.

In our brief creation history of Op. 61, the Violin Concerto, which premiered on December 23, 1806, we refer to Beethoven's professional relationship to Clement. With our reference to this Beethoven work that has been touted as particularly lyrical, we end our look at Beethoven's life circumstances during the years 1804 - 1806 and turn to our next section in which we discuss the publication and actual dedication of this symphony.   


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