Happy Birthday, Ludwig!

Ludwig van Beethoven was born on this date (December 16, 1770).

A concert I would have loved to attend…
On December 22, 1808, Beethoven secured the Theater an der Wien in Vienna for a lengthy “academy” (or benefit) concert of his music dedicated to the Archduke Rudolph of Austria to benefit “Theaterarmen”, but in actuality, himself–he needed money. The concert contained the premiere of the Pastoral Symphony (No. 6); the aria “Ah, perfido”, op. 65, sung by Josephine Kilitzky; three movements from the C Major Mass; the premiere of the Fifth Symphony; the Piano Concerto No. 4 performed by Beethoven; a solo piano improvisation also performed by Beethoven; and the Choral Fantasy.
…or perhaps not
Apparently, the piano was horribly out of tune, which, of course, bothered the audience, but not Beethoven since he was already quite deaf. In that frigid bleak midwinter, the hall was so cold that Kilitzky was noticeably shaking and could hardly sing. And, the concert which began at 6:30 did not end until 10:30. Johann Friedrich Reichardt wrote in his diary–

Beethoven also gave a concert for his own benefit in the large suburban theatre, consisting entirely of his own compositions. I could not possibly miss this and accepted with heartfelt gratitude Prince Lobkowitz’s kind invitation to take me with him in his box. There we held out in the bitterest cold from half-past six until half-past ten, and experienced the fact that one can easily have too much of a good thing.


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