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Beethoven, Ludwig van, --Gerhard von Breuning
AUTOGRAPH DRAFT BY BREUNING FOR A PROJECTED ARTICLE, ABOUT BEETHOVEN'S RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS FAMILY MEMBERS, PARTICULARLY HIS BROTHER JOHANN
commenting on and offering criticism of a recent publication by the Beethoven scholar A. W. Thayer, which exposed the bogus nature of much writing about Beethoven, referring to his own reminiscences of Beethoven, Aus dem Schwarzspanierhaus, rejecting on the basis of his and his father's close acquaintance of Beethoven the description of the composer as "crazy [närrisch]", correcting Thayer on many points, including in his view of Beethoven's relations with his brother Johann, remarking on the dubious nature of Johann's business dealings, recalling Johann's importunate meddling in Beethoven's affairs, describing Johann as the least unpleasant of Beethoven's relations, contradicting Thayer flatly in his assertion that Johann was appreciative of Beethoven's music, noting his description of it as "incomprehensible, foolish, crazy stuff", remarking on Beethoven's constant laments regarding Johann and his nephew Carl, noting that Thayer for all his researches was not personally acquainted with Beethoven, as he was, nor with Beethoven's nephew and Schindler, regretting that Thayer did not discusses his views with him before publication, remarking that Beethoven was indeed a very weak character, highly dependent on others on account of his deafness and lack of ability in dealing with practical matters, commenting on the baleful influence in Beethoven's life exerted by his other brother, Caspar, referring to Beethoven's wishes to be married, his frequent changes of address, and many other matters   

...Wenn aber Thayer (S.35) gar schreibt: "Trotz allem, was man gegen ihn (Johann) geschrieben hat, war er von freundlicher Nature, güthmutig und ein großer Verehrer der Talent seines Bruders", so will ich bestätigen: daß Johann stets eine lächelnde Miene verrieth, was übrigens zum Theil schon in dem Baue seines in dem Mundwinkel etwas schief aufgezogenen Mundes gelegen gewesen seyn mag, daß er aber nie ein Verehrer der Talente seines Brüders wenigstens in künstlerischer Hinsicht und bei Lebzeiten Ludwig's gewesen; denn selbst habe ich aus seinem Munde vernommen, daß er von dem unverständlichen, närrischen, verrückten Zeuge sprach, das sein Bruder schreibe...

20 closely-written pages, 21 x 17cm, cut down from a larger leaf, HEAVILY CORRECTED AND ANNOTATED IN INK AND PENCIL IN THE MARGINS BY BREUNING, autograph pagination ("1"-"20"), later pencil annotation, no place or date [c.1877], some discolouration to outer pages; with further autograph notes by Breuning on a smaller, separate leaf


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Catalogue Note

AN IMPORTANT BIOGRAPHICAL SOURCE, WRITTEN BY A KEY WITNESS TO BEETHOVEN'S LAST MONTHS.

Gerhard von Breuning (1813-1892) was the son of Beethoven's lifelong friend Stephan von Breuning. The teenage Gerhard was a constant companion to Beethoven in his final illness and published a noted memoir - Aus dem Schwarzspanierhaus (Vienna, 1874) - which is our best source for information on the composer in his last months.

Thayer's article, which prompted Breuning's draft, was Ein kritischer Beitrag zur Beethoven-Literatur vorgelesen im "Schillerverein" (Berlin, 1877). In many instances Breuning takes Thayer to task here, in crushing and direct language which has the all the force of truth, for his overly sympathetic view of Beethoven's brother Johann (1776-1848).

LITERATURE

Rudolf Klein, 'Gerhard von Breuning über Beethovens Beziehung zu seinen Verwandten. Ein unbekannter Entwurf zu seinem Artikel', Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, xxix (1974), pp.67–75 (the deleted passages not transcribed); TNG, iv, pp.331-332

Music, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental Books

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