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cellar, burying his head among cushions that he might not hear the

The explanation of this lies on the surface; if he did take refuge
underground it was only what every other inhabitant of the city, whose
duty did not call him elsewhere, was doing; and as for the cushions - the
vibration of the cannonade heard in that vault must have been agony to
his diseased nerve. Had Beethoven really been alarmed he might easily
have quitted Vienna. Cowardice in any form is the last vice that could
be attributed to him; resolute and firm, he feared no danger.

In 1810 the Mass in C was performed for the first time at Eisenstadt,
the residence of Prince Esterhazy, the grandson of Haydn's patron, in
whose service Hummel was at the time as Kapellmeister. Esterhazy,
accustomed only to the simple services and masses of the Haydn-Mozart
school, did not know what to make of a production so totally different.
Accordingly, at the _déjeuner_ afterwards given in the palace to the
artists and dilettanti who had assembled for the occasion, he said, with
a smile, to our composer, "Now, dear Beethoven, what is this that you
have been about again?" The susceptible musician, not a little irritated
at hearing his work so lightly spoken of, glanced towards Hummel, who
happened to be standing by the Prince's side, wearing a peculiar smile,
which seemed to Beethoven full of malicious pleasure. This was too
much - the opinion of a fashionable worldling like Esterhazy was nothing
to Beethoven, but that a brother in art should so misunderstand
him - should rejoice at an apparent failure! - he rose abruptly, and
quitted the palace.

Such is the correct account of the rupture between Beethoven and Hummel,
which lasted until a few days before the death of the former, when
Hummel, hearing of his precarious state, hastened to Vienna to effect a
reconciliation before it was too late.[32] Another version of the story
is that the two composers were rivals for the hand of the same lady, and
that Hummel, owing to Beethoven's deafness and his own better position
as Kapellmeister, was the favoured suitor! The practice of tracing every
event in our composer's life to a love affair is just as ridiculous as
the opposite extreme of denying his capability for the tender passion.

A more interesting incident in connection with the First Mass is that
related by Schindler of the effect produced upon Beethoven by the
reading of the German text composed for it by some poet, who, though
unknown to fame, seems to have translated the master's thoughts from the
language of Tones into that of Words, with power and truth. When
Beethoven came to the "_Qui tollis_" his eyes overflowed with tears (the
first and last time that he was ever seen so affected) as he exclaimed,
"Thus I felt while composing this!"

The tide of Beethoven's earthly renown and glory, which had been slowly
rising for years, reached its height in 1813-14.

In the former year took place the two celebrated concerts on behalf of
the Austrian and Bavarian soldiers wounded in the battle of Hanau, when
the Seventh Symphony, and "Wellington's Victory, or the Battle of
Vittoria," were performed for the first time. We can easily imagine,
from the sensation excited even now by the latter work, how intense must
have been the enthusiasm which greeted its performance at a time when
popular feeling was strung up to the highest pitch. Beethoven himself
directed, regulating the movements of his bâton by those of
Schuppanzigh's bow. In a notice of the concert written by himself he
says: "It was an unprecedented assembly of distinguished artists, every
one of whom was inspired by the desire of accomplishing something by his
art for the benefit of the Fatherland; and all worked together
unanimously, accepting of subordinate places without regard to
precedence, that a splendid _ensemble_ might be attained.... My part was
the direction of the whole, but only because the music happened to be of
my composition. Had it been otherwise, I would have stationed myself as
readily at the great drum, like Herr Hummel; for our only motives were
Love to the Fatherland, and the joyful devotion of our powers to serve
those who had sacrificed so much for us."

In 1814 occurred the great Congress, when Vienna was for a season the
abode of kings, princes, and delegates from every Court in Europe, and
the glittering capital was well-nigh intoxicated by its own
magnificence. The magistrates of the city invited Beethoven to compose a
Cantata for the occasion, which produced the "Glorreiche Augenblick,"
perhaps the composer's most neglected work, and deservedly so, as it is
not worthy of him. It won for him, however, the presentation of the
freedom of the city, the only distinction which Beethoven valued. Nor
was this his only triumph. His genius began to be universally
recognised; he was created an honorary member of Academies and Societies
in London, Paris, Stockholm, and Amsterdam; and the Philharmonic Society
in London presented him with a superb grand pianoforte of Broadwood's
manufacture. In short, from every nation in Europe, and even from
America, he received striking proofs of the love and admiration in which
he was held. Stimulated by these manifestations, excited by the
splendour around him, and the stirring, momentous events which were
taking place, Beethoven was induced to depart for the time from his
usual solitary habits, and to mingle for a few weeks in society. In the
apartments of Prince Rasoumowski, the well-known Russian dilettante, he
was introduced to many of the illustrious visitors, and long retained a
lively recollection, half comical, half gratified, of the manner in
which he had been idolized; - how the grand seigneurs had paid court to
him, and how admirably he had played his part in receiving their homage!
He was most deeply affected by his interview with the gentle Empress
Elizabeth of Russia, with whom he conversed in his customary frank, open
way, completely setting aside all etiquette; while she, on her part,
expressed the highest veneration for the composer, and at her departure
left him a gift of two hundred ducats, which he acknowledged after his
own fashion by dedicating to her his brilliant Polonaise, Op. 89. This
was the only substantial result to our poverty-stricken Beethoven of the
attachment professed by the whole of the gay throng!

The bright episode of the Congress, with its fêtes and triumphs, soon
flitted past, bringing out in sterner and darker contrast the days which

Beethoven had dedicated his "Battle of Vittoria" to the Prince Regent of
England (George IV.), but to his great chagrin, no notice was taken of
it. He alludes to this in a letter to Ries, and referring to the
Prince's well-known character of _gourmand_, says, "He might at least
have sent me a butcher's knife or a turtle!"

Another vexation in connection with the symphony, causing him infinite
annoyance, arose out of the despicable conduct of Maelzel, afterwards
the inventor of the metronome. In the year 1812 he had made the
acquaintance of the latter, who had promised to construct for him a
sound-conductor, in return for which Beethoven composed a kind of
warlike piece for the mechanician's new instrument, the panharmonica,
which he was on the point of taking to England for exhibition. The
effect of Beethoven's work was so marvellous, that Maelzel urged him to
arrange it for the orchestra, and the result was - the "Battle of
Vittoria." Maelzel meanwhile went on constructing four machines, only
one of which was found available, and Beethoven, without the slightest
suspicion of any underhand dealing, allowed him to take the entire
management of the concerts for the relief of the wounded. In his hermit
life he did not hear much of what was going on around him, and his
consternation may therefore be imagined when informed that his false
friend was announcing the symphony everywhere as his own property,
stating that it had been given to him by Beethoven in return for his
machine, and the sum of four hundred guldens which he professed to have
lent him! He had actually contrived to have many of the orchestral parts
copied out, and those that were wanting supplied by some low musician,
and with this mutilated work he was on his way to England. The matter
was at once placed in the hands of the law; but it was long before
Beethoven recovered from the effects of this fraud; it made him, in
fact, suspicious ever after towards copyists. The loan of four hundred
guldens proved to have been _fifty_, which Beethoven accepted from him
at a time when, as he states in his instructions to his lawyers, he was
"in dire necessity; _deserted by every one in Vienna_."

This Maelzel had the impudence subsequently to write to Beethoven,
requesting his patronage for the metronome, and pretending that he was
busily engaged in preparing a sound-conductor which would enable the
master to direct in the orchestra. The latter never made its appearance,
but Beethoven, who at first approved of the metronome, did all in his
power to have it introduced. Afterwards, when he saw the confusion of
_tempo_ which it had occasioned, he used to say, "Don't let us have any
metronome! He that has true feeling will not require it, and for him who
has none, it will not be of any use."

This affair with Maelzel gives us a glimpse into the pecuniary
difficulties which harassed Beethoven throughout his life, assuming
greater prominence towards the end. He was always in want of money, and
yet (according to the notions of the times) he was handsomely paid for
his compositions. What, then, was the cause of it? Were his means
swallowed up by his frequent removals? Did the perplexity arise simply
from his unbusiness-like habits? To these questions we must add a third,
which may, perhaps, afford a clue to the mystery, - What became of the
valuable presents, the watches, rings, breast-pins, snuff-boxes, &c.,
&c., of which Beethoven had received so many? When asked where such a
gift was, he would look bewildered, and say after a moment's reflection,
"I really don't know!" The matter would then pass entirely from his
thoughts; but there were those about him who were not equally

In 1815 the cloud which for two years had been threatening, burst upon
him in those troubles and sorrows which encompassed him until the end.
He lost his old friend and staunch supporter, Prince Lichnowski, and, a
few months after, his brother Carl, who in dying bequeathed to him as a
legacy the care of his only child. It seemed as if the annoyance which
this man had caused our Beethoven in his life were to be perpetuated and
continually renewed in the person of his son. Not so, however, did the
master regard the fresh call upon him. After having done all that
kindness could suggest, or money procure, to relieve his brother's
sufferings and cheer his last days, he took home the orphan child to his
heart with a love and tenderness that could not have been greater had
the boy been his own.

His first step was to remove him from the care of his mother, a woman of
lax morals and low habits. In this Beethoven was actuated by the purest
and best motives; but, unfortunately, his zeal went too far. He forgot
that the fact of his sister-in-law's having been a bad wife did not
necessarily imply that she had lost a mother's heart; and in insisting
upon the total separation between the two, he roused all the bitterest
feelings of a woman's nature, and prepared much sorrow for himself. The
"Queen of Night," as he nicknamed her, sought redress through the law,
and for four years a suit for the possession of the lad was pending. In
his appeal Beethoven thus nobly expresses the sentiments which dictated
his conduct: - "My wishes and efforts have no other aim than that of
giving the best possible education to the boy, his talents justifying
the greatest expectations; and of fulfilling the trust reposed in my
brotherly love by his father. The stem is now pliable; but if it be for
a time neglected, it will become crooked, and outgrow the gardener's
training hand; and upright bearing, knowledge, and character will be
irretrievably lost. I know of no duty more sacred than that of the
training and education of a child. The duty of a guardian can only
consist in the appreciation of what is good, and the adoption of a right
course; and only then does he consult the welfare of his ward; whereas
in obstructing the good he neglects his duty."

Misled by the prefix _van_, his advocate unfortunately carried the case
to the Aristocratic Court; and, as it went on, Beethoven was called upon
to show his right to this proceeding. Pointing with eloquent emphasis to
his head and heart, the composer declared that in these lay his
nobility; but, however true in the abstract, the law could not admit
this plea, and after a decision had been given in his favour, the case
had to be re-tried before the ordinary Civil Court. This occurrence
wounded Beethoven more than can be described; he felt his honour
tarnished as a man and as an artist, and for several months no
persuasion could induce him to show himself in public. In addition to
this, the evidence necessarily brought forward to strengthen his plea
revealed only too plainly the loose life of his sister-in-law, and such
an _exposé_ of one so nearly related to himself was, for his pure and
reserved nature, the height of misery.

The Civil Court reversed the decision of the Aristocratic, and the boy
was given over to his mother; while Beethoven, determined to gain his
end, brought the case before the High Court of Appeal, where he was
finally successful. Let the reader imagine the effect of all this
painful publicity, following upon the annoyances with Maelzel, to a mind
constituted like Beethoven's. No Stylites on his pillar could have
suffered more than did our composer in his loneliness until the cause
was gained. And what return did he meet with from the object of his
solicitude? - The basest ingratitude.

About this time he began seriously to think of visiting London; the
Philharmonic Society made him the most handsome offers; and his own
inclinations prompted him to quit Vienna. He had at all times cherished
the greatest love and admiration for England and the English nation, our
free institutions harmonizing with his political views; and a commission
coming from this quarter was always welcome to him, not only on account
of the unwonted _honoraire_ which usually accompanied it, but also
because of the high esteem in which he held the English as artists and
appreciators of art. During the latter years of his life, therefore,
this visit to London was his favourite scheme, and he intended _en
route_ to pass through the Rhine provinces, that he might once more see
the home and the friends of his boyhood; - but it was destined never to
take place.

The four years of the lawsuit were almost barren of creative result, but
in the winter of 1819-20 he began his Mass in D. This colossal work,
written more for future generations than for us, was originally
intended for the installation of the Archduke Rudolph as Archbishop of
Olmütz; but as the work went on, our composer grew more and more in love
with his task, which gradually assumed such proportions that it was not
completed till 1823 - two years after the event it was meant to
celebrate! A copy of the Mass, which Beethoven regarded as his most
successful effort, was offered to every court in Europe for the sum of
fifty ducats. It was, however, accepted only by France, Prussia, Saxony,
Russia, and by Prince Radziwill, Governor of Posen, and a musical
society in Frankfort. The King of Prussia sent to inquire, through his
Ambassador, if the master would not prefer a decoration to the fifty
ducats. Beethoven's answer was prompt - "Fifty ducats!" If his work were
worthy of a decoration, why not have given it in addition to the paltry
sum asked for it? Louis XVIII. acted differently; he sent the composer a
valuable gold medal, on one side of which was his bust, and on the
reverse the inscription, "_Donné, par le roi, à M. Beethoven_." An
application of Beethoven's to Goethe requesting him to draw the
attention of Karl August to the Mass met with no answer, although Goethe
might have been able, at very trifling inconvenience to himself, to
render material assistance to the master. His self-love had probably not
recovered from the shock it had received during a walk with Beethoven on
the Bastei at Vienna, when, struck by the profound respect and deference
manifested by every one whom they encountered, Goethe exclaimed, "I
really had no idea that I was so well known here!" "Oh!" replies our
brusque composer, "the people are bowing to me, not to you!" This was in
reality the case, for the circumstance occurred in Beethoven's palmy
days, when he was, as Marx observes, a "universally beloved and popular
character, a part of Vienna itself."

The circumstance which more than any other casts a gloom over the
master's last days is, that he was doomed (apparently) to outlive his
fame, and to have the inexpressible mortification of witnessing that
rupture in the musical world which has lasted down to our days, and will
probably never be healed, viz., the separation of the classical from the
so-called romantic school. Hitherto, the followers of Art had been
united; naturally, individual tastes and predilections had occasionally
predominated - some admiring one master and some another, - but on the
whole, the lovers of music had been unanimous in their adherence to the
pure and good. With the appearance of Rossini (that clever
scene-painter, as Beethoven called him), this state of affairs underwent
a complete revolution. His gay, light-hearted melodies, extravagant
roulades, and inexhaustible vivacity took the public by storm - Beethoven
and his immortal masterpieces were forgotten. And yet, perhaps, this is
only what might have been expected, - the divine in Art is not for all,
nor are all for the divine. Beethoven might have known, like Goethe,
that he was too profound ever to be popular in a wide sense. The mass of
mankind look upon Art simply as a means of relaxation. So, indeed, it
ought to be to all; but never should it stop there. Art, in its highest
and best forms, has power not only to provide the weary and careworn
with temporary self-forgetfulness, and to dissipate grief, but - and
herein lies its true, its God-given strength - to renew the energies and
brace the mind for higher and nobler efforts in the future. Whenever it
stops short of this, satisfied with fulfilling its first and lower
function, there is developed a tendency to abdicate its real position,
and to degenerate into the mere panderer to man's follies, to his vices.
Who could have felt this more keenly than Beethoven? Not the mere loss
of his own popularity was it that made him turn away so deeply wounded
from grand displays in which snatches of his own works were performed,
along with meaningless arias, and shallow, noisy overtures of the new
Italian school. So deeply did he take the change to heart, that he
resolved to have his Mass in D and the Ninth Symphony performed for the
first time in Berlin. The announcement of this intention produced a warm
remonstrance (in the form of an Address) from his attached little circle
of friends; and the master, touched by the feeling which called out this
manifestation, was induced to forego his determination, and to consent
to the two works being brought out in Vienna, provided a hall suitable
for the purpose could be obtained.

This was no easy matter, and the difficulties in connection with it gave
rise to a half-comical little incident. His enemies were in power, and
demanded an absurd sum for the use of the building, to which Beethoven
could not be induced to agree. As neither party would yield, the project
seemed on the point of shipwreck, when the faithful Schindler, alarmed
for the success of the enterprise on which he had set his heart,
persuaded Count Moritz Lichnowski and the violinist Schuppanzigh to meet
him as if by accident at Beethoven's house, and press the latter to
yield to what was inevitable. The plan succeeded, and the necessary
papers were signed; but the composer's suspicions were roused, and the
three devoted friends received for their pains the following autocratic
mandates: -


"Duplicity I despise. Visit me no more. There will be no concert.



"Come no more to see me. I shall give no concert.



"Do not come to me until I send for you. No concert.


This did not in the least deter them, however, from doing what they
believed necessary for his benefit: the concert took place, and was the
scene of a triumph such as few have experienced. The glorious Jupiter
Symphony seemed to act upon the immense mass of human beings that
thronged the building in every part, like ambrosial nectar; they became
intoxicated with delight, and when the refrain was caught up by the
choir, "_Seid umschlungen Millionen!_" a shout of exuberant joy rent the
air, completely drowning the singers and instruments. But there stood
the master in the midst, his face turned towards the orchestra, absorbed
and sunk within himself as usual, - he heard nothing, saw nothing.
Fräulein Unger, the soprano, turned him gently round, and then what a
sight met his astonished gaze, - a multitude transported with joy! Almost
all were standing, and the greater number melted to tears, now for the
first time realizing fully the extent of Beethoven's calamity. - Probably
in all that great assembly the master himself was the most unmoved.
Simply bowing in response to the ovation, he left the theatre gloomy and
despondent, and took his homeward way in silence.

Verily, he, like a Greater, knew what was in man. In eight days from
this eventful epoch he was completely forgotten; a second concert proved
an utter failure, and Rossini's star was again in the ascendant. Nor did
the flighty Viennese public cast another thought upon our Beethoven
until the news of his death came upon them like the shock of an
earthquake, and they hastened, when it was too late, to repair the past.

But if it was painful to meet with ingratitude from the public, how much
harder must it have been for the master to endure the same from one
nearly related to him! We have said that he adopted his brother's
orphan child. This nephew, also a Carl Beethoven, was at his father's
death about eight years of age, and a boy of great talent and promise.
The four succeeding years, during which the lawsuit dragged its weary
length, were extremely detrimental to him, as he seems to have been
tossed about from one person to another - now with his mother, and again
with his uncle - in a manner very prejudicial to any good moral
development. Events showed him only too plainly the character of his
mother, but nature - stronger still - urged him to take her part in the
contest so far as he dared; and, incited by her evil counsels, he soon
began secretly to despise his uncle's authority, and openly to follow a
path he had laid down for himself, - the path of self-will and sensual
indulgence. Expelled from the University where he was attending the
Philosophical Course, his more than father received the repentant
prodigal with open arms, and placed him in the Polytechnic School to
study for a mercantile career, that he might be under the supervision of
Herr Reisser, Vice-President of the Institute, and co-guardian with
himself over Carl. In the summer of 1825 the composer wrote no fewer
than twenty-nine letters to his erring nephew, every one of which
exhibits his character in the most beautiful light. They breathe the cry
of a David, "Oh! Absalom! my son! my son!" - but it is a living Absalom
who has to be lamented, and the most energetic appeals, the most loving
remonstrances are invoked to move that stony heart. In vain, - Carl went
from bad to worse, and in 1826 the master was compelled to give up the
habit which had been his only solace for years - that of spending the
summer in the country - and to remain in Vienna to watch over the young
man. Matters soon came to a crisis, - Carl, urged to pass an examination
which he had long neglected, attempted, in a fit of despair, to put an
end to his own life. Here the law stepped in, and after he had been
treated in an asylum where his spiritual as well as his bodily condition
was cared for, the miserable youth was restored to his no less wretched

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