AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

BEETHOVEN, Ludwig Van (1770-1827)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1249 MS 4221, 4222, 4223, 4243, 4249
Held at: Royal College of Music
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: BEETHOVEN, Ludwig Van (1770-1827)
Date(s): 1800-1823 (predominant 1815-1817)
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 23 letters
Name of creator(s): Beethoven | Ludwig Van | 1770-1827 | German composer


Administrative/Biographical history:

In 1813 the health of Beethoven's brother Kaspar Anton Karl began to seriously deteriorate through tuberculosis and on 12 April 1813 he signed a declaration appointing Ludwig guardian of his son Karl, then aged six, in the event of his death. Kaspar died on 15 Nov 1815. In his will dated the previous day, Kaspar had assigned guardianship of his son Karl both to his wife Johanna and to Ludwig, in order to encourage Johanna and Ludwig to forego their previous antipathy. The arrangement was not a success, as Ludwig was convinced of Johanna's moral unsuitability to act as guardian, and wished to take charge of all responsibilities for Karl's uprising as a surrogate father. On 9 Jan 1816 Beethoven was appointed by the Imperial and Royal Landrechte of Lower Austria sole guardian of Karl, overturning their decision of the previous November to appoint Johanna and Ludwig as joint guardians and Beethoven 'co-guardian'. Beethoven took Karl away from his mother and placed him in the boarding school in Vienna run by Kajetan Giannatasio del Rio in 1816 where he stayed until the end of January 1818. During this period the court permitted Ludwig to allow Johanna to visit Karl only at certain times sanctioned by Ludwig. Giannatasio del Rio had two daughters, Fanny and Anna (Nanni), who both became close friends of Beethoven. Beethoven composed a piece (MS 4222) for Nanni's marriage in 1819.


Scope and content/abstract:

Letters (16) from Ludwig Van Beethoven to Kajetan Giannatasio del Rio, in regard to the education and maintenance of Beethoven's nephew Karl at the school run by Giannatasio del Rio, 1816-1817 (Ref: MS 4221). 'Hochzeitlied für Anna' (known as woo 105 'Auf Freunde, singt dem Gott der Ehen') a piece for four male voices in the manuscript of Beethoven, written for the wedding of Anna Giannatasio del Rio to Leopold Schemerling, 6 Feb 1819 (Ref: MS 4222). Two letters to Beethoven, comprising draft letter from Fanny Giannatasio del Rio, 9 Aug 1817 and letter from Friedrich Matthisson (facsmile only), 4 Aug 1800 (Ref: MS 4223). Letter from Beethoven to his brother Johann Von Beethoven, requesting the return of a book, 13 Jul 1825 (MS 4243). Letters from Beethoven to Sigmund Anton Steiner, Dec 1815, requesting the score of the opera Fidelio to produce a version for a quartet, and to Antonio Diabelli, Apr 1823, regarding the copying of Beethoven's 33 pianoforte variations on waltz by Diabelli for publication (Ref MS 4249).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in five files, MS 4221, 4222, 4223, 4243 and 4249 as given in scope and content.

Conditions governing access:

Usual conditions of the Library of the Royal College of Music apply. See the RCM website or contact the RCM Library for details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopying is permitted at the discretion of the Archivist for research purposes only.

Finding aids:

An entry is given in volume 2 of the Manuscripts catalogue in the library of the Royal College of Music.

Archival Information

Archival history:

MS 4221-4223 were bought for £40 in 1853, with other Beethoven correspondence and music, by Edwards Buxton, a leading partner in Ewer & Co, music publishers, from Edward Czippick, the husband of one of the granddaughters of Kajetan Giannatasio del Rio.

Immediate source of acquisition:

MS 4221 and MS 4222 were bequeathed to the RCM by Mr F C Prévité. MS 4243 was presented by F B Pidduck, Oct 1952; MS 4249 was discovered in a safe in the RCM in Nov 1956 among a cache of letter previously held by Sir George Grove.

Allied Materials

Related material:

British Library holds correspondence and music (Refs: Add MSS 29801, 29803, 29997, 31766, Zweig MSS 6-15, Eg MSS 2327, 2795, Add MSS 35263-65); Cambridge University, Fitzwilliam Museum, holds correspondence and music.

Publication note:

'A Beethoven friendship' by C B Oldman in Music and Letters, Oct 1936, discusses the content and provenance of MS 4221 and 4222 and publishes letter (16) of MS 4221. The other letters in MS 4221 were published in Beethoven's letters with explanatory notes by A C Kalischer selected and edited by A Eaglefield-Hull, translated with preface by J S Shedlock (J M Dent, London, 1926) and The letters of Beethoven edited by Emily Anderson, (Macmillan, London, 1961). Emily Anderson reproduced the text of the 1823 letter in MS 4249, and discussed the other Beethoven letters held by the RCM in 'Beethoven letters in the RCM', RCM Magazine, vol 54, no 2, July 1958.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Robert Baxter as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project. Sources: 'A Beethoven friendship' by C B Oldman in Music and Letters, Oct 1936; Grove Dictionary of Music.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Sep 2001

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Personal Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"