Following for the Course of the Year Dresden’s Question

“ What is BEAUTIFUL ? ”

As theme of the big special exhibition of the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum at the Lingnerplatz March 27, 2010 – January 2, 2011 for whose catalog volume niemeyer’s could provide the illustrations for Hogarth’s Analysis of Beauty.

niemeyer’s, always right in the midst , takes part on his stage , his way . And presents himself hereto quite virtually this time

presenting  per  ear  and  eye  witness , inter  alia ,

the  most  legendary  piano  wrestling

in  the  history  of  music

Per  1831er  second  earliest  autograph  more  comprehensive  communications  by the close work-fellow and conductor of the important early days , Ignaz von Seyfried , on Ludwig van Beethoven


“ only  by  the  soul …

the  beauty

and  the  intellectual  value  of  autographs

can  be  realized ”

( Stefan Zweig )


Ignaz  Ritter  von  Seyfried

Composer, Conductor, and Musical Writer

1776 Vienna 1841

Biographical  Notes  &  Character  Traits  and  Anecdotes

Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried, Biographical Notes (on Ludwig van Beethoven)Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried, Character Traits + Anecdotes (on Ludwig van Beethoven)

on  Ludwig  van  Beethoven

Autograph manuscripts in brown ink. (1831.) 12 pp. on 3 double leaves + ½ leaf and 13 pp. on 9 (4 blue) individual leaves resp. Dark brown kid portfolio with blind tooled facsimilated title Biographische Notitzen / über / Ludwig van Beethoven on the front cover (14⅝ × 9¼ in [37 × 23.5 cm]) & 13-line gilt stamped in German in the inside cover

“ The ‘Biographical Notes’ / of Ignaz von Seyfried / (1776 Vienna 1841) / as the second earliest comprehensive source / of the Beethoven literature / in the 1831 autograph manuscript / deviating from the 1832 print / regarding one of the / most moving moments in Beethoven’s life / Including i. a. also / his fascinating report of the event / of the / ‘1798. piano match with the virtuoso Wölffl’ ”

with the sheets of the Biography Manuscript as original filling, into which the manuscript sheets of the Character Traits and Anecdotes in their different sizes, papers + colors have been exactly incorporated per own laid portfolio in such a manner that their nine themes lie upon seven gilt stamped numbered sheets with flaps to stick in. Gilt stamped then also the frontcover of the portfolio in German with

“ Ludwig van Beethoven / (Character Traits and Anecdotes / communicated / by / Ignaz von Seyfried / Autograph Manuscript) / 1831 ”.


Ludwig van Beethoven. Studien im Generalbasse … Aus dessen hs. Nachlasse gesammelt u. hrsg. von … Seyfried. (Nebst einem Anhange biographischer Notizen [“ Early  contribution  to  the  Beethoven  literature ”, Wolffheim Catalogue II/1929, 423, in spaced type] etc.) Vienna, Haslinger, (1832, prescripted  by  1214  subscribers !). Appendix pp. 3 ff.

Ignaz  von  Seyfried’s

Josef Kriehuber, Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried

original  manuscripts

deviating  from  the  print


one  of  the  most  moving  moments

in  the  life  of  Beethoven ,

the  latter  he  experienced  up  to  its  end .

So  he  wrote

the  choral  music  for  the  requiem , too .


Nohl, Beethoven nach den Schilderungen seiner Zeitgenossen, 1877, pp. 25, 38-43, 182 f.; Kerst, Die Erinnerungen an Beethoven, 1913, per 15 passages according to the index; Bettina von Seyfried, Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried, 1983/90; Honegger-Massenkeil VII (1982, revised 1987), 346; Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart XII, 603 f.; Sadie, New Grave Dict. of Music and Musicians, 1980, XVII, 208 f.; ADB XXXIV, 113 ff., and, Beethoven, II, 251 ff.; Wurzbach XXXIV, 176 ff.; Prietznigg, Mitteilungen aus Wien – Zeitgemälde, 1835 (more comprehensive presentation of Seyfried together with catalogue of works); Bauer, Ignaz Ritter v. Seyfried. Kurze Lebensgeschichte. C. 1950 (typoscript in Institute for Musicology, Vienna, according to B. v. Seyfried, as Prietznigg, too); Rolland, L. v. Beethoven, 1918, + Beethoven the Creator, 1929.


The autograph manuscript of the Notitzen has been laid before the musicologist Bettina von Seyfried (see literature). She has no doubt on the authenticity, though the quality of the writing were not as careful as accustomed of other autographs by Seyfried. The opinion here is, that this may be an expression of his deep emotion corresponding with the content as comparatively known from Grillparzer who already worked on the funeral oration when the master’s death became certain to him. “At this moment it did a strong fall in my inside … and like it happened to me at other works if real emotion overcame me: I could not complete the oration in the same pithiness in which it was started” (Kerst, op. cit., vol. II, p. 249; from the view of today just this unpithy ending of greatest beauty). But surely conditionally on his health and economical difficulties, too, overshadowing his last fifteen years.

The years 1827-1829 were marked by incurable stomach cancer in its initial state; Seyfried prepared himself for an early death. Additionally in 1831 the plague caused considerable financial losses as many of his pupils left the town. With the result important here “Thus I started to elaborate the beginning for Beethoven’s Studies,

namely  the  biographical  notes …

just the way as the work was published during this year’s (1832) Easter fair” (Seyfried in his autobiography, quoted from B. v. S., page 33, footnote 183, as also the notes on the circumstances have been taken from B. v. S., pp. 32 ff.). The text itself would suggest as earliest day of writing March 2nd, 1830, as the dying day of Prince Rasumowski’s chamber virtuoso Ignaz Schuppanzigh, with Franz Weiß already deceased February 25th ( “ ‘Thus had been!’ since unfortunately already the first two leaves of that wonderful leaf of trefoil have fallen off!” ).

The manuscripts rank as

second  to  the  earliest  biography  on  Beethoven ,

after that also only short one of 1827 by Johann Aloys Schlosser, active in Freiburg/Breisgau, since 1828 on his own as book/art seller + publisher in Augsburg, as a merely outsider and also-musicologist (L. v. B. Eine Biographie desselben … Hrsg. zur Erwirkung eines Monumentes für dessen Lehrer Joseph Haydn; Cooper 1996: “… has long intrigued scholars, and many have pointed out the flaws in Schlosser’s ‘Biography’”).

And far before the “Biographische Notizen” by Wegeler-Ries (1838) following in the title. The first anyway out of question for the Vienna time while Ries, pupil of 1801/05, could not be eye/earwitness for such important incidents as the pianistic fights with Wölfl yet and the Leonore/Fidelio distaster anymore resp.

And accordingly even more ahead of the biography by Schindler (1840) who still was a child in those early years and was accepted only reluctantly by Beethoven at first – thus 1814 as the earliest – and is witness just for the last eight years.

The  ranking  of  Seyfried’s  record  thus  matchless

as documented for the time from 1853 till 2008 as following …

Into  this  most  tremendous  creative  period

– for which von Dommer in ADB sees the period from 1800 till 1812/13 while Rolland stays closer to the master himself :

“ The Eroica and the Appassionata were in Beethoven’s eyes the culminating peaks of his genius. Speaking generally, the works of this period of three years (1803-1806) remain his favourites until near his death … Among these privileged works Leonore occupies a special position. He placed it on the same height as the others, and he loved it more because it had suffered more … It is one of the Great Days of music. It inaugurates an era ” (Beethoven the Creator, 1929, pp. 207 + 101) –

falls  the  close  contact

August von Kloeber, Ludwig van Beethoven

between  Beethoven  and  Seyfried

which is sketched in the “Biographische Notitzen” here.

“ Since 1803 (Nohl: 1800, Thayer 1802-1805) he had been on friendly terms with Beethoven (‘belonging to his warmest admirers’, ADB) and

conducted  in  1805  ( recte 1806 )

both  performances  of  the  second  version  of  ‘Fidelio’ ”


Rating  &  Ranking


“ The preceeding biographic sketch contains everything
what is known about the circumstances of the adored master
and  is  authentic  fact ”

(Henry Hugh Pierson on occasion of the new edition of the Studien).


“ (The portrayal, see below) is in the appendix
of those otherwise forged ‘Beethoven-Studien’ by
Ignaz von Seyfried, who already in those days
was  on  friendly  terms  with  Beethoven
and thus is
a  reliable  witness  in  this  matter ”

Ludwig Nohl, Beethoven nach den Schilderungen seiner Zeitgenossen


“ (Seyfried’s) personal character was unblemished .
He would , therefore , naturally have access to the musical salons
and his reminiscences of music and musicians in those years
may be accepted as
the  records  of  observation .

The  unfavorable  light  which  (was)  thrown  upon  him
as  editor  of  the  so-called  ‘Beethoven Studien’
does  not  extend  to  such  statements  of  fact
as  might  easily  have  come  under  his  own  cognizance ;
and  the  passage  now  cited  from  the  appendix  of  the  ‘Studien’ …
bears  all  the  marks  of  being  a  faithful  transcript
of  the  writer’s  own  memories ”

(Alexander Wheelock Thayer, The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven [1921]).


“ Seyfried had a close relationship with Beethoven ,
experienced  many  things  together  with  ( him )
and  reported several of these to the posterity …
(S)o  his  informations  on  Beethoven  are
of  great  value .

… because of the many informations on Beethoven
the  appendix to  (the  Studien)
is  still  highly  esteemed
and  used  manyfold  ( so  again  in  1978  by  Salomon ) .

It  contains
‘Biographische  Notitzen’
which  are  insignificant  for  the  time  in  Bonn  but
valuable  for  Beethoven’s  work  in  Vienna
… In  the  present  manual  there  is
repeatedly  referred  to  Seyfried’s  communications ”

(Theodor Frimmel, Beethovenhandbuch).


“ As  a  whole  the  most  comprehensive  reference
(Seyfried)  receives  in  the  literature  on  Beethoven ”

(Bettina von Seyfried, Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried).


“ ( Seyfried’s )  informations  on  Beethoven

are  of  great  biographical  value ”

(Honegger-Massenkeil, Ds große Lexikon der Musik, vol. VII,
the latter Director emeritus of the Institute for Musicology at the university and, 1972-1974,
provisional head of the Beethoven Archive, both Bonn).

This approval and esteem resounding in unison through the times thus cannot be dirtied by the single dissonance then released by the Beethoven Haus in Bonn. So then there


“ I cannot award any special scientific or collectible value
(to the Seyfried manuscript)
and do not consider the (then quite lower) price as being appropriate . ”

An opinion appearing intelligable here only in conjunction with the re-emergence of the manuscript of the Notes in 1987 (thus without the only recently added one of the Character Traits and Anecdotes) from the aspect – see then per 2007 & 2008, too – that it got to Bonn indeed, yet into other hands there. For its missing in literature up to Bettina von Seyfried’s major dissertation-research of 1983, the state of knowledge of which at least in this regard has not been updated anymore for the typoscript edition of 1990 either,

causes  its  re-emergence

an  event  for  two  reasons .

First in the usual sense as, so for once Schletterer in ADB in 1892,

“ S(eyfried’s) complete musical bequest passed into the possession of his disciple Binder, conductor at the Josephstädter Theater … Since he also died without heirs in 1860 it must be suspected that

Seyfried’s  after  all  very  valuable  manuscripts

may have been frittered away. ”

And else as, so Sadie from newer view, much seems to have come back into firm possession:

“ His  works  (as  writer)  in  manuscript  and  in  print
are  in  the  important  libraries  in  Vienna . ”

The latter casting a glare on their present rareness. As then following the course of things autographic Beethoveniana in general become rarer and rarer and therewith more and more precious on the market. While their important inventory of the Louis Koch collection, e. g., in the 1950s changed for the present still into the private Bodmer collection, so at once together with this to the Beethoven House in Bonn. By which almost 800 (sic!) autographs, original editions, and letter documents definitely got lost for the market like a beat of the drum, unattainable for new collector’s desire in present and future.

Eventful at least on quite a different level as in a spectacular case – see below – deviating from the printed version. And thus in the case here it should be a marginal aspect only that in


“ The  institutions  of  the  public  sector  (develop)
their  own  standards  of  value  which  regrettably
not  always  further  collecting  +  keeping ”

(F. H. Franken in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on the publication
of “Internationales Symposion Musikerautographe”
by the Institute for Austrian Documentation of Music).


“ In  case  the  original  is  not  sold  yet
I  would  be  glad  if  you  would  inform  me  of  the  price
of  the  precious  manuscript ”

(a musicologist associated with the Beethoven House in Bonn in a private mail to here on occasion of the order of the 1990 reproduction here of just the Notes manuscript along with transcription ).


Further  private  call  in  respect  of  the  Seyfried  manuscript
from  the  circle  as  before
under  emphasis  of  Seyfried’s  position & bearing
in  the  Beethoven  context


A)  On  the  manuscript  of  the  Biographische Notitzen  in  detail :

13¾ × 8½ in (35 × 21.5 cm) à 36-45 lines and, last page, 28 lines resp. & the ½ leaf (5⅝ × 8⅜ in [14.3 × 21.2 cm]) breaking off after 6 lines.

(Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried.) Biographische Notitzen. Reduced complete reproduction of the manuscript with transcription. Bonn, Niemeyer, 1990.

Written in brown pen and ink on uncut laid paper with figurative + typographic watermarks and almost fluently legible – transcription nevertheless attached – the manuscript is

complete  by  itself .

The sheets numbered I. to IV. (I-III of 4 half-page columns each, IV as half leaf written on one side only) and starting with – according to his own statement –

“ Ludwig van Beethoven saw the light of the world in Bonn on December 16th in 1772 … ” (corrected in print to Dec. 17, 1770, observing the rearrangement of the sentence in the manuscript),

concluding with

“ How the art enthusiastic Vienna honoured Beethoven’s remembrance is notoriuosly known; also Prague, Berlin, Breslau, even most towns of Germany rivaled to give the departed the last tribute, and still celebrate his dying day yearly in the most solemn way … This (the tomb) has been concluded within a year’s time and was inaugurated solemnly. / It consists. (Following space, then)

On the funeral itself an essay whose authenticity is evidenced by all eyewitnesses and which shall be, printed word by word, the conclusion of this biographic sketch.

(Following on the half-leaf)

(Now is inserted the preliminary report on the ‘Miserere’.) (Following again space, then)


I. Address, written by Grillparzer, and given on the Währinger graveyard by the Imperial-Royal Court Actor ”

(Anschütz, but breaking off before for the end of the page).

The  portrayal

Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried, Biographical Notes (on Ludwig van Beethoven)

« by  Ignaz  von  Seyfried ,

who  already  in  those  days

was  on  friendly  terms  with  Beethoven

and  thus  is

a  reliable  witness  in  this  matter »

(Ludwig Nohl , Beethoven nach den Schilderungen seiner Zeitgenossen, 1877)

In print the above reference to the effected inauguration of the tomb is followed by 6 lines on Franz Kirchlehner from Nußdorf near Vienna who covered the deficiency for the tomb stone. – The essay on the funeral determined to be “the conclusion” in print under its own title. Instead of this the print contains 7 lines about having been (not) married and build while the manuscript continues as quoted “(Now is inserted the preliminary report …)”, probably the genesis of especially Seyfried’s contribution, rendered only as part of “Leichenbegängnis”.

Otherwise the manuscript is richly honeycombed with all those

much  demanded  fascinating  proofs  of  manuscripts

as strike-throughs, changings, and rearrangements within the text itself, and, isolated and also by another hand and in pencil, too, on the half pages intentionally kept free for this purpose, which mostly are corrected in print accordingly. Among the highlights the manuscript is interspersed with not less before and ahead

that  highly  important  deviation  from  the  print

regarding that generous gift of 100 pound Sterling from

the  London  Philharmonic  Society

moving Beethoven on his deathbed beyond words as he believed to be impoverished.

March 14th, 1827, twelve days before his death, Beethoven had written to his friend Moscheles :

“ … A hard lot, indeed, has fallen upon me ! However, I submit to the will of fate, and only pray to God so to ordain it in His divine will that I may be protected from want as long as I have to endure death in life. This will give me strength to bear my lot, however terrible it may be, with humble submission to the will of the Most High.

Therefore, my dear Moscheles, I entrust once more my affair to you … ”

(Kalischer 1215). – On this literature states :

“ Beethoven … had asked both the Philharmonic Society in London and Moscheles who was in England then to arrange a concert on his behalf. The Society was generous enough to send 100 £ immediately what moved Beethoven deeply. His friend Rau tells:

‘ It was heart-rending to see him, folding his hands,
being all tears of joy and gratefulness. ‘

Caused by his joyful emotion one of his wounds opened during the night … ”

(Rolland 1918, pp. 128 ff.). – Correspondingly Beethoven to Moscheles again :

“ With what emotion I read your letter of the 1st March is not to be described in words.

This  magnanimity  of  the  Philharmonic  Society ,

with which they anticipated my request, has touched my inmost heart … [Tell these worthy men that, if God restores me to health, I shall try practically to show my gratitude by works … A whole sketched symphony (the 10th) is in my desk, also a new Overture … In short, I shall try to fulfill any wish expressed by the Society, and never have I undertaken a work with such ardour as will now be displayed. May it only please God to restore me soon again to health, and then

I  shall  prove  to  these  magnanimous  Englishmen

that  I  know  how  to  value  their  sympathy  to  me

in  my  sad  condition .]

… Your noble attitude I shall never forget, and I shall soon render my thanks in particular to Sir Smart (Sir George S., London publisher) and Herr Stumpff (see below) … ”

(Kalischer 1218). – This letter dates of March 18, 1827, at the 26th he died.

And in this sense then also Schindler in his report of April 12, 1827 to the publisher Schott Sons in Mayence who on his part had forwarded a generous lot of 20-year-old Rüdesheimer for which the master had asked him at medical advice, “on the last hours of life of the gigantic Van Beethoven” (CÄCILIA VI, pp. 309-312) :

“ He then, once again, begged me not to forget Schott, also again to write in his name to the Philharmonic Society to thank them for their great gift, and to add that the Society had comforted his last days, and that even on the brink of the grave he thanked the Society

and  the  whole  English  nation .

God bless them … ”

(Kalischer 1220).

With his request for conciliatory assistance on 8th February Beethoven had appealed to Stumpff (the harp manufacturer J. A. St., who only a short time ago had hugely delighted the master with “the great luxury edition of Handel’s works”, here by Kalischer erroneously addressed with Max St.; compare index and note to 1034) and on 22nd February to Sir Smart and friend Moscheles, all London. His follow-up letter to the latter of 14th  March had crossed with the fair reply letter of the first of March 1 in which are found sentences as

“ How much the information had frightened myself and penetrated with pains … I cannot express by words! … in spirit often I stand in the room at the bed of the patient and ask the doctor so frankly, so uneasily … and would likely wring from him, that the disease not critical and that the patient would be soon cured completely! … could hot heartfelt wishes of a friend effect the recovery, so the hearts of your admirers would soon rise on the surge of a symphony of thanks gushing from your breast to that who only all can help …

In conformity with your wish and without the slightest delay I won Messrs. G. Smart and Moscheles for the good cause, I also acquainted the directors of the Philhharmonic Society with the matter, whereupon it was at once resolved to hand over

for  the  present  ( sic! )  a  sum  of  one  hundred  pounds

to Baron Rothschild here, with a request that it should be forwarded by the first post to the Rothschild in Vienna … ”

(Kalischer 1200). – Hereto Seyfried reports

only  in  the  manuscript  here ,

thus not before in “Caecilia” in 1828, too, that Stefan von Breuning as lifelong intimate friend and from now guardian of nephew Karl, himself dying only a few months later (June 4, 1827), had returned this no longer required gift :

“ The whole estate by the way amounted to 20000 fl. – in print specified as 9000 fl. Conv. silver coins plus 125 St. Duc. outstanding debts – by what the rumour Beethoven was near to suffer penury is refuted.

For  this  reason  the  aid  of  (not  mentioned  100)  Pound  Sterling
generously  sent  from  England
has  been  returned  with  thanks
by  the  executor  Mr.  Privy  Councillor  von  Breuning. ”


England-statement  of  most  beautiful  content

connected to

Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried, Biographical Notes on Ludwig van Beethoven

one of the most moving moments in the life of Beethoven ,

even not changed in the manuscript,

is  missing  in  print .

Relating to the execution Beethoven’s letters to his legal intimate friend Dr. Johann Baptist Bach of March 6, 1823 + January 3, 1827 (Kalischer 879 + 1199) and Kalischer’s foot-note to the codicil of March 23, 1827 (K. 1219) nevertheless should not been overlooked. As likewise not Beethoven’s statement towards Schott’s Sons of March 20, 1827, signed by von Breuning and Schindler as requested witnesses, as appendix to the above letter 1220 accompanied by Kalischer’s résumé

“ The English nation and the house of Schott’s Sons in Mayence thus remained as

heart-warming  final  remembrance
  in  the  mentality  of  the  dying  Beethoven ”.

As equally fascinating research and the general public furthermore highlighted

first  report

on Beethoven’s legendary capabilities to improvise, concerning literature until today. Correspondingly generations later von Dommer recapitulated in ADB:

“ Especially the breath-taking power of his improvisations hardly anyone could resist as

reports  from  his  biographies  state . ”

And yet in our time Reclam’s Konzertführer states :

“ His  art  to  improvise  freely

is  described  as  unique .”

On this Seyfried’s own memory  ( Nohl :

« (Seyfried’s)  informations  on  Beethoven

are  of  great  biographical  value »

Honegger-Massenkeil, Das große Lexikon der Musik, vol. VII, 1987,

the latter Director emeritus of the  Institute for Musicology at the university and,

1972/74, provisional head of the Beethoven Archive, both Bonn

“ Now  follows  the  scene  of  a  wrestling … ” )

Ignaz von Seyfried's original manuscript of the Biographical Notes on Ludwig van Beethoven
Ignaz von Seyfried's original manuscript of the Biographical notes on Ludwig van Beethoven

  as  ear  and  eye  witness  from  the  beginning  onwards

thus also at the soirées at the house of Baron von Wetzlar (Raymund von W., protector of Mozart to whose “truly good friends” the “rich baptized Jew” – so Mozart in the letter to his father of November 24, 1781 – belonged and who had given along Wölfl, too, best recommendations), where Beethoven and Joseph Wölfl (Salzburg 1772 – 1812 or 1814 near London, “pianist of most extraordinary kind”, ADB; Beethoven dedicated his 1796 piano sonata, The “loving” Sonata, op. 7, to him) rivaled with each other, expressly carried as event sui generis in Kerst’s periodical list

“ 1798. Piano  match  with  the  virtuoso  Wölffl .”:

“ There the most interesting competition of both athlets not rarely provided the numerous though selected gathering an artistic treat beyond description; both presented their newest inventions; now the one or the other left his instantanious ideas of his glowing fantasy running freely; then both took place at two pianos. Improvised mutually on themes given each other, and thus produced a lot of four-handed cappricci that, if written down in the moment of birth, would have resisted transitoriness. —

“ It would have been difficult if not impossible to present one of the fighters the palm for his technical skills … Even then Beethoven revealed in improvising his character inclining more to the sinister dark; when revelling in the immeasurable realm of the tones, then he was also wrenched from earthly things; his spirit had broken all fetters, shaken off the yoke of slavery, and flew triumphantly jubilating up into the light ether; now his play roared like a wild foaming cataract, and sometimes the conjuror forced the instrument to an effort that even the strongest construction was almost unable to obey; then he sank back, exhausted, exhaling faint complaints, melting in melancholy, – again the scale raised, triumphing over passing earthly misery, turned up in devotional sounds … But, who can fathom the ocean’s deepness? It talks in a mysterious language whose cryptic hieroglyphs only the insider is allowed to solve! —

“ Wölfl, on the other hand, bred in Mozart’s school was always the same; never shallow, but always clear, and just by this more accessible for the majority … Still a quite unique pleasure grew to the unprejudiced and impartial observer in quietly reflecting both the Maecenas (Prince Lichnowsky on Beethoven’s, Baron von Wetzlar on Wölfl’s side). As they followed in close attentiveness the performance of their protégés, giving each other applauding looks … ”

All  this  now  here  in  the  manuscript

by  a  witness  blessed  in  such  a  way !

Who otherwise and beforehand remarks on this:

“ But the main field of honour of the ingenious art disciple was the free improvisation and the ability to work a given theme and perform it thematically; in which as Gerber (Lexikon der Tonkünstler, 1812/14) … tells he gave a highly honourable probe extempore before the scholared composer Junker at Cologne. ”

« As  a  whole

the  most  comprehensive  reference

(Seyfried)  receives

in  the  literature  on  Beethoven »

The  source  of  a  directly  involved  one

– also in regard of physiognomical observations not mentioned in “Biographische Notitzen” Seyfried served as such – he is, too, for the disastrous first of Fidelio on which he reports in the “Biographische Notitzen” here :

“ The Fidelio now come to European fame got on stage then under a in no way lucky constellation … Also for the Prague stage B. projected a new, less difficult overture … In the course of the following years the directors of the Kärntnerthor Theatre chose … this opera as their benefit performance. It now received its present form, was divided into 2 acts, and provided with the imposing overture in E major. But even this was not written down completely on the first evening (May 23, 1814) and had to be supplemented temporarily by that for the Ruins of Athens. ”

Into  this  most  tremendous  creative  period

– for which von Dommer in ADB sees the period from 1800 till 1812/13 while Rolland stays closer to the master himself :

“ The Eroica and the Appassionata were in Beethoven’s eyes the culminating peaks of his genius. Speaking generally, the works of this period of three years (1803-1806) remain his favourites until near his death … Among these privileged works Leonora occupies a special position. He placed it on the same height as the others, and he loved it more because it had suffered more … It is one of the Great Days of music. It  inaugurates an era ” (Beethoven the Creator, 1929, SS. 207 + 101). –

falls  the  close  contact

between  Beethoven  and  Seyfried

which is sketched in the “Biographische Notitzen” here.

“ Mainly to this period the close ties of friendship with the editor of these pages date. We lived under the same roof, were daily companions at the table … All what his never resting genius created in the limited period of two years (note: partly in first attempts) – the wonderful Leonore, the oratorio: Christ at the Mount of Olives, the concerto for violin, the symphony Eroica, and Pastorale, just as that in C minor, the concertos for piano in G, E flat, and C minor which he all (thus in a greater period than the mentioned two years) composed for several academies staged for his benefit, and

“ produced  with  the  quite  good  orchestra

under  my  direction, –

all  these  guarantors  of  immortality

I  was  so  lucky  to  admire  first .”

To the painstaking evolution of all of them the name of von Seyfried is tied forever. One has to bear this in mind when approaching the spiritual – and thus material – estimation of this autograph manuscript.

The  Condition

generally very good, only first + last page slightly browned, small centerfold repairs and two ink break-throughs. Adequately, too,

The  Presentation

in a showcase kid portfolio with the blind tooled

facsimilated  title

“ Biographische  Notitzen.  (on)  Ludwig  van  Beethoven ”.

Worthy  its  high  quality  as  a  unique  document

“ of  one  of  the  most  fertile  periods  of  occidental  musical  life ”

(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)


B)  On  the  manuscript  of  the  continuous  Character  Trait  and  Anecdotes  in  detail :

À 17-30 lines in brown ink on 5 (4 written on both sides) leaves of laid paper, the four large ones of which (9⅜-9½ × 7⅛-7¼ in [23.8-24 × 18-18.5 cm]) on form paper with smoothed out centerfold with print on one side (in German)

“ Orchestra Report / from the imperial royal private Theater / an der Wien. (to which Seyfried belonged to for decades as conductor) / of  180 ” and “ Orchestra Report. / Rehearsal or Performance / Members failing to appear / Come too late. / Gone too early. / Notes. ” resp.

as well as 4 sheet written on one side of the blue cover paper (8⅜-8⅝ × 4¾-4⅞ in [21.4-22 × 12-12.5 cm]; smoothed out centerfold) of

“ Cæcilia / eine Zeitschrift / für die / musikalische Welt / herausgegeben / von einem Vereine von Gelehrten / Kunstverständigen und Künstlern. ”

co-published by Seyfried of issues 3-6, Mayence, Schott, 1824/25. – Almost fluently legible, transcription included, however. – Except for one page typeset nonetheless crossed out with pencil by the typesetter as mark of being done, but more distinctly perceptible on the blue paper only, yet not really disturbing and quite contrarily mark of work and creation so valued with autographs. In this connection then also Seyfried’s corrections in the form of inserts, deletions of words and lines let connoisseurs and purists alike get value for the money. – Beside some small tears in the upper margin of two blue sheets and a light paper vestige at the outer edge of another one of impeccable preservation.

Present  here  as  by  themselves  concluded  parts  on the basis of the new edition of 1853 edited by Pierson following the Biographische Notitzen (pp. 3-10) the opening pages 14 to 19, par. 1  with  their  first  8  reports  marked  as  independent  in  print , that is

“ Beethoven  spent the summer months in the countryside every year … (1)

When the master performed his Fantasia with Orchestra and Chorus publicly for the first time … (2)

Someone sent Beethoven a New Year’s card … (3)

The more the deficiency of the sense of hearing  and the in the course of his last years of living … (4)

In conducting our master was by no means a model … (5)

When Beethoven was not yet afflicted by his organic infirmities … (6)

Our Beethoven absolutely not belonged to the obstinate composers … (7)

When  Beethoven  composed

Ignaz von Seyfried, Character Traits + Anecdotes on Ludwig van BeethovenIgnaz von Seyfried, Character Traits + Anecdotes on Ludwig van Beethoven

at  his  Fidelio ” (8)

as  well  as  the  great  final  accord  of  pages  26/27

“ Beethoven  was in the truest sense of the word a real German … even the exotic little word:  Pianoforte  he tried to eradicate, and he chose for it the characteristic expression: Hammer-Clavier  as properly fitting representative … ” (9)

Correspondingly to that the master had bound Messrs. Steiner & Comp. in Vienna by letter of 23rd January 1817 “that henceforth all our works which have German titles are to have Hammerclavier instead of Pianoforte …

Instead  of  Pianoforte  Hammerclavier –

(centered in the original) by which it has its agreement once for all” (Kalischer 618 with additional reference to the Seyfried passage here and the annotation “So applied nevertheless only to the sonatas in A [op. 101] and B-flat major [op. 106]”.

Preceding the latter (9) the long part of Griesinger’s tradition, pages 23 bottom to 26 top, as later addition by Pierson (cf. Bettina von Seyfried, op. cit., p. 63, par. 3) is not subject of Seyfried’s work and therefore not an omission within his present manuscript.

Beginning  therefore  with the start for the summer-resort in Mödling for which “a carriage-and-four (was) loaded with few effects indeed, yet with an immense load of music … and the owner of these treasures marched blithely, per pedes Apostulorum, ahead …”. But open nature was barely reached when the master already forgot everything around him … Per pedes Apostulorum. Here then the opening,

in  Horst  Seemann’s  marvelous  1976  DEFA  film

Beethoven — Tage aus einem Leben / Days in a Life  the  final  scene :

the moving-happy Beethoven marches behind his removal van, unimpressed by everything around him – an automobile boulevard traffic of the progressed 20th century.

And  present  fourth  part  on its full large pages inspired Seemann to his

splendid  dinner  scene  “ The Soup , The Soup ”

Seyfried manuscript of the Beethoven Anecdotes, here concerning Cook MehlschöberlSeyfried manuscript of the Beethoven Anecdotes, here concerning Cook Mehlschöberl

The  Master  as  Cook  Mehlschöberl !

Here  then  the  source  of  this  famous  anecdote ,

kept nevertheless from days long dating back. Then already about 1799 the master closed a humorous billet to the colleague Hummel with “… (Your Beethoven / also named Mehlschöberl)” (Kalischer 28 along with the foot-note in German

“ … It is very interesting to see how the amusing nickname ‘Mehlschöberl’ appeared already at this period to be current among the composer’s friends. In a favourite buslesque ‘The Gay Coition’ the ‘Cook Mehlschöberl’ plays a prominent part. As Ignaz v. Seyfried now tells us Beethoven occasionally took pleasure in it during the last period of his earthly pilgrimage … ”

Exquisiteness  5  then  brings the master from the circle of his lunch guests back before the orchestra before which he now “became ever smaller and at the pianissimo slipped under the desk so to speak. Just as the masses of sound swell, also he grew up like out of a trapdoor, and with the entrance of the full instrumental power he became, rising to tiptoe, almost gigantic and seemed to want to, rowing wavily with both arms, glide up to the clouds … With increasing hardness of hearing frequently a rough discord arose of course … Also in such cases the eye came to his support; for he observed the strike of the strings, guessed from it the just performed figure, and soon saw his way again.”

Tradition  6  on the back of the same sheet as the previous top-notch stays on location and by no means behind that, but now as audience of performances by colleagues, “gladly and repeatedly opera performances; especially those in the then so wonderfully flourishing Theater an der Wien; now and then also for the benefit of his own good as in a manner to speak he just had to set the foot out of his room (“We lodged [at that time] under one and the same roof, were daily table companions”, so Seyfried in his Biographische Notitzen, see page 6 here), and into the first floor. There mostly Cherubini’s and Mehul’s creations fascinated him, which just in the same epoch began to enthuse all Vienna. There he planted himself hard behind the orchestra back and held out, quiet like a stuffed dummy, until the last stroke of the bows. This was the only mark, however, that the work of art inspired him; if on the contrary it failed to come up to him then … Actually it was difficult, quite impossible indeed, to figure from his face signs of applause or dislike; he was always the same, seemingly cold, and equally reserved in his opinion about art fellows; only the mind worked restlessly in the interior, the animal frame resembled a soulless marble … However, the listening to a quite miserable bad music … he also proclaimed by a roaring laughter. Everyone who knew him more closely knows (at least 1853 with Pearson it will be “knew”!) that he was no less a first-rank virtuoso in this art; only a pity … as he frequently condescended to laugh at his own most secret thoughts and ideas without rendering any account on it. ”

Tradition  7  follows adequately on separate large sheet written on one side :

“ … When he then became aware, however, how the musicians responded to his ideas, playing together with growing fire,

became  moved , electrified , enthused

by  the  magic  charm  of  his  musical  creations ,

then his face became radiant, pleasure and satisfaction shone from all features, a pleasant smile played around the lips, and a thundering: ‘Bravi tutti!’ rewarded the successful performance.

It  was  the  noble  genius’  first  and  finest  moment  of  triumph

against which, as he confessed frankly, even the thundering applause of a large, responsive audience was in the shade … when, however, especially in the scherzos of his symphonies at the sudden unexpected change of the beat, everything fell apart, then he stroke a resounding laugh, assured: ‘he would not have expected it anything else; he had already waited for it beforehand’ and showed an almost childish joy that he had succeeded: ‘to unhorse such seasoned knights.’ ”

Collectors  listen  to  the  fanfare ! So  only  one  who  was  present  blows !

Eighthly  more of the early years or Seyfried assisting the master at the piano concertos 3-5

“ When B: composed at his Fidelio he domiciled, as was already mentioned in the biographical notes, in the residential premises of the Theater an der Wien and arranged several academies which earned the highest art interest by both the introduction of his latest brain childs and his own master play. During the performance of the piano concertos in C minor, G and E-flat he invited me /: that is the publisher /: friendly to turn over, and took a delight in my surprise when, in spite of the aided eyes, I was not able to notice little more than nothing in the open part except for the clef, the indication and various cross-lines running over the sheet. He had, just for recollection, noted the ritornelle and the beginnings of the solos by symbols only understandable by him … At such a state of affairs we therefore made the agreement according to which I should be advised to turn over each time before the ending of a page. During the production, however, the then still so merry master, for ever inclined to any harmless joke and innocent teasing, could not help to corner me and delay the arranged signal as long as possible, usually up to the latest moment of decision … ”

Ninthly + ending :  the  Beethoven  talking  politics  and  —  once  more  Horst  Seemann !

“ Although having a perfect command of the Latin, French and Italian language, nor a stranger to the English (missing in print , nevertheless documented by letter to Ferdinand Ries in London of 9th July 1818 [Kalischer 637] concerning the stay with the London Philharmonic Society intended for January 1818 at the latest:

‘7th: Still I ask for the … confirmation in  English  language … ’

[contrary hereto on September 11, 1817 to friend Zmeskall, K. 655: “The reply from London … merely in English language, do you know then no one who could translate the letter to us also only orally?”]) he yet preferred, wherever possible, his national idiom. If he could have had it his way all his works would have been published in print with German title sheets … Among Germany’s poets Göthe was and remained his darling. Also in other fine arts and sciences he had, without showing off, more than just superficial knowledge;

with  particular  pleasure  he  talked  in  the  intimate  circle

about  political  issues ,

with  such  a  clear  general  view ,

true  conception , and  clear  opinion

as one would have never believed of the diplomatic proselyte living just in and for his art. ”

How vividly we do recall Horst Seemann’s informer reporting to Metternich what rebellious things that Beethoven had uttered again in the pub last night and having to take what de Gaulle

« Career  happens  if  you  love  music .

And  if  a  career  does  not  happen

do  not  worry .

For  you  still  love  music »

Lazar Berman

1930 – 2005

used to say in case of Sartre : how could I apprehend Voltaire ! By which Seemann of course at the same time treated his East Berlin big shots’ red shinbones .

Without  doubt

the  core  manuscript  of  the  Character  Traits  and  Anecdotes .

Concluding with the assessment

“ While half the world resounds in laud and praise of the transfigured singer, only few are (in print ‘may well be’) able to appreciate his high value as a human in its fullest extent … Because the majority … could not even remotely imagine the interior marvelous core … ”

Ignaz von Seyfried  was  one  of  those  few .

Something blows from his lines , his writings begin to breathe , reflecting the sympathy wielding the pen . By this, however, striking chords as only a manuscript can touch . For

And how much Ignaz von Seyfried then also had present ending at heart is revealed by the additional sentence of this last manuscript page by which he suggests to Ludwig van’s “best of all Tobiasses” , the mutual friend Haslinger as publisher of also the Studien im Generalbasse – only here per manuscript ! –

“ /: The  previous  could  possibly  most  felicitously  form

the  absolute  ending  of  the  Anecdotes  and  Character  Traits. :/ ”

Just as then done and therefore present here, too.

Certainly , the anecdotes deal with “incidents and quotes of Beethoven which beside Seyfried could have come to the knowledge of any other person of this ‘scene’ (and) it is to be assumed that Seyfried was not the only one who knew about these things,

but  was  the  only  one  who  wrote  these  down

to  communicate  them  to  posterity ”

(Bettina von Seyfried, op. cit., 72 and, quoting Thayer [1910, pp. 567 ff.], 70, footnote 104):

„ The notes scattered over various places and brought together here correspond in their contents completely; they confirm and add to each other, and they provide

such  a  distinct  and  vivid  picture  of  Beethoven ,

who then was in the vigorously blooming manhood , in the first years of his great fame and

in  the  most  wonderful  period  of  his  work ,

as  we  do  not  have  of  any

of  our  other  great  composers . ”

And especially for just these years Seyfried stands as co-witness, not re-teller . As we on our part witness by these his sheets the labor of their writing down , co-experiencing their creation . Singular and incomparable as against the distance of the later print , not to mention its reprint twenty years later. What still was “know” with Seyfried so becomes a “knew”. And “a pious mind and pure Herzens=Religion“, a religion of the heart, of the manuscript reads different than a “… and pure religion” printed in authoritarian bondage!

“ … we  were  present  when  they  buried  him ;

and  when  he  died  we  have  wept ”

(conclusion of Grillparzer’s funeral oration).

And what rank Seyfried enjoyed at his time is documented by the 1700 performances of his own compositions placing him “ahead of all by far, followed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with 400”. However, 125 years ago Schletterer saw his lasting compositional achievement in his religious compositions, concluding with the words:

“ He  was  as  great  an  artist
as  an  amiable  man .

His  portrait  in  lithograph  by  Kriehuber  was  published  in  Vienna  (in  1829) ”.

(The portrait worked by Alois Martin Stadler, 1792-1841,
has been lithographed at J. Höfelich in 1846.)

Corresponding to all this the number (92) of his pupils from up to Petersburg, Moscow, Odessa, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Milan, and partly on highest recommendations, gathered arround him since 1803 though mainly only after 1825.

His burial accordingly “with an immense crush of all classes”. And the “Österreichische Morgenblatt” of Sep. 1st, 1841, classified him

“ into  the  society  of  immortal  composers

Beethoven  and  Franz  Schubert …

‘ In  their  union  he  is  the  third’ … ”

After studying philosophy and law he got his piano lessons by W. A. Mozart and L. Koželuch while Joh. Gg. Albrechtsberger (1736-1809), the famous theorist and teacher of Beethoven, too, court organist and conductor at the Stephansdom, instructed him in composition, as did his friend P. von Winter, too. 1797 he was conductor at the Freihaus Theatre of E. Schikaneder, then, until about 1825/28, at the Theater an der Wien.

“ Since 1803 (Nohl: 1800, Thayer 1802-1805) he had been on friendly terms with Beethoven (‘belonging to his warmest admirers’, ADB) and

conducted  in  1805  ( recte 1806 )

both  performances  of  the  second  version  of  ‘Fidelio’ ”


On said conducting as a whole, or in parts only (Kinsky-Halm: Leonoren overture III) including the first performance and both the two repetitions in 1805 literature is parted. The contemporary critiques are as little productive in this regard as the memoirs of contemporaries seem to be reliable. And Bettina von Seyfried exercises greatest familiar restraint especially on the question of particular performances, however, referring to Seyfried himself and his note in “Caecilia” (1828, p. 219) :

“ The symphonies and concerts (Beethoven) first produced for his benefit at the Theater an der Wien, the oratorio, and the opera, I rehearsed, according to his instructions, with the singers, held all auditions with the orchestra, and personally conducted the performances. ”

Corresponding to Beethoven himself by letter of April 1806 – Kalischer 105 – to the friendly Pizarro-singer Friedrich Sebastian Mayer (also Meier, 1773-1835, brother-in-law of Mozart) :

“ Please request Herr v. Seyfried

to  conduct  my  opera  to-day ;

I myself want to-day to see and hear it at a distance … ”

And now for its 1805/06 performances blessed ex cathedra as following:

“ Conductor  of  the  first  performances

of  Beethoven’s  opera  ‘Fidelio’  (‘Leonore’) ”

(underlining not in the original; Archives Beethoven-Haus Bonn ad Seyfried-Autograph NE 304 as “some reminiscences of the history of creating and perfomance” of the opera:

“ Fidelio in 1805 November 20, 21, and 22, then deferred in respect of the slack theatregoing during the hostile invasion. Then in 1806, studied with some – insignificant – revisions, March 29 and April 10 – in all: five performances … Though I myself rehearsed this opera and also [underlining not in the original] conducted the two last repetitions so I can’t remember anymore quite exactly whether or not perhaps already then the initial arrangement in 3 acts was reduced to 2 corresponding with the printed book. – ”).

A possible memory gap uprightly conceded only to the latter, not to the complete conducting!

Secured finally, that he wrote the choral music for the requiem which became his own, too. “After the holy consecration his corpse was lead on a four-in-hand state carriage in a torchlight procession … to the new Währinger cemetary” (B. v. S., p. 36).

This  then  the  man  to  whom  we  owe  present

contemporary  autograph  document

of  great  warmth

and  beauty  of  expression .

The writing of which reflecting at least partly the personal affection wielding the pen. And in spirit we shall feel the same emotion Felix von Weingartner recalled in regard of a conversation with the gray soprano Grebner as performer of the 1824 first night of the Ninth : “It was touching … and to look in her eye

which  had  seen  the  greatest  composer

still  in  the  flesh ”

(quoted by Kerst, op. cit., II, pp. 81 f.).

As musical writer – Wurzbach wrote – “he published mostly anonymously (as here, too) …

“ In all these … articles are a real treasure of appropriate remarks and judgements thoroughly grasping the subject, further laid down reliable contributions in biographies. ”

And von Dommer rates especially this one as one of those

“ works published not long after (Beethoven’s) death by persons who had known him yet and had been close to him … as references of contemporaries … (of which) one … could put together his character most clearly. ”

And since besides Seyfried’s report in “Caecilia” there is almost no biographical press material, not even Grillparzer’s funeral oration contains anything in this direction – the necrologies of the “Leipziger musikalische Zeitung” of March 28 and the “Berliner Nachrichten” of April 5, 1827, fill just 1½ and 2½ pp. resp. in Seyfried’s appendix of 1832 – Seyfried’s record, quite extensive for “Notes”, has the precedence of an authenticity based on “friendly relations for more than three decades” as not known of Schlaffer. Supported additionally by a “Brothership in Apoll”

(so Beethoven in fall [?] 1822 to Seyfried :

“ My  Dear  worthy  Brother  in  Apollo!

Hearty thanks for the trouble you have taken about my human work, and I rejoice that its success has become generally acknowledged; I hope that you never will pass me over when I am in a position to serve you with my modest powers. The worshipful Committee of Burgers is already sufficiently convinced of my good-will; in order to confirm this to them, we will again have a friendly talk about the way in which they may best be served. If a master like yourself sympathises with us, things ought never to go badly.

With hearty esteem, your friend,

Beethoven. ”

[Kalischer 849 with the annotation “It was in 1822 when Beethoven, at the end of September, produced his great fugued Overture in C at the inauguration Josephstadt theatre. At a concert for the hospital funds this work, under the direction of Seyfried, was performed to the great satisfaction of the composer.”] )

as the base of the older friendship, the mutual work, and the house community during, it may be repeated,

“ one  of  the  Great  Days  of  music ”

as among the biographers qualifying Seyfried exclusively whose good and hearty relation to Beethoven “emerges indeed from (his) letters” (Nohl). All this thus

the  comprehensible  criterions

of both the manuscripts here as

the  experienced  biography

of a life about which is written 165 years after its end:

“ From the day he died, Beethoven has been immortal. Other composers – Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Bruckner, Mahler – took years and years to achieve similar status … ‘No living man (so Grillparzer’s funeral oration, see above) enters the halls of immortality. The body must die before the doors are opened. He whom you mourn is now among the greatest men of all time. Unassailable forever’ … for it is a reminder that in Beethoven’s genius there was indeed ‘the surest promise of immortality’. Is Mozart similarly blessed? Is Bach or Schubert, or any of the other composers whose music we continually celebrate and to whom posterity has awarded the worth of greatness? The answer, I think, is no. At least, I don’t believe that Mozart and all are immortal in the same way that Beethoven is … And (so) it is no wonder that Beethoven’s exalted position has never been seriously threatened … it seems that many of the ideas born of that spirit took permanent hold in Western Culture … Beethoven was of his time, but he is also of our time, more so than any of his mates in the Great Composer’s Hall of Fame. Eighteen years after his death he was memorialized in Bonn, 165 years after his death he is being memorialized in St. Louis, probably for the same reasons ”

(James Wierzbicki, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 13, 1992).

And of whom quite in this sense decades before Oswald Spengler had written with regard to the possibility of a definition of the soul respectfully comparatively “It would be easier to break up a theme of Beethoven with dissecting-knife or acid …” (The Decline of the West I [1926], 300).

And  for  one  of  the  most  moving  moments  in  the  life  of  just  this  immortal  then

the  above-mentioned  unprinted  passage

only  here

in the manuscript of the Biographische(n) Notitzen. In connection with a truly splendid and noble gesture. That by the London Philharmonic Society. Which “the dying (had called on) for help over land and sea” (Stefan Zweig, Sinn und Schönheit der Autographen).

In autograph manuscript here by a man who himself got the obituary:

“ But  you  friends

give  a  tear  to  (Ignaz  von  Seyfried’s)  remembrance ,
he  was  not  just  a  great  artist ,
he  was  also  a  –  great  man !
Throughout  his  entire  life ”

(August Schmidt in 1841 in the necrology stretching over three issues of the “Allgemeine Wiener Musikzeitung”, then again, with only minor changes, in 1848 in his “Denksteine”, quoted after B. v. Seyfried).

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