The immortal beloved
Who was not the immortal beloved
Beethoven spent several times with the Hungarian noble family Brunsvik at Unterkrupa Castle. During his stays he lived on the upper floor of the baroque gardener’s cottage, where according to road tradition of the Brunsvik family, he composed the Moonlight sonata. Beethoven dedicated the sonata to his 20 year old piano student Contest Julie Guiccardi. Anton Schindler the 1st Beethoven Biograph claimed in 1840 that Julie was the „immortal beloved“, which later turned out to be pure speculation. … The immortal beloved was most probably Count Brunsvik’s daughter Josefine.
Monlight sonata interpreted by Camillo Mairitsch (4hrd).
to the immortal beloved July 1812
Part 1: July 6th, in the morning
My angel, my all, my very self – Only a few words today and at that with pencil (with yours) – Not till tomorrow will my lodgings be definitely determined upon – what a useless waste of time – Why this deep sorrow when necessity speaks – can our love endure except through sacrifices, through not demanding everything from one another; can you change the fact that you are not wholly mine, I not wholly thine…
Part 2: Evening, Monday July 6th
You are suffering, my dearest creature – only now have I learned that letters must be posted very early in the morning on Mondays to Thursdays – the only days on which the mail-coach goes from here to K. – You are suffering – Ah, wherever I am, there you are also…
Part 3: Good morning on July 7th:
… Be calm, only by a clam consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm – love me – today – yesterday – what tearful longings for you – you – you – my life – my all – farewell. Oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
Andante Favori was composed as a musical declaration of love for Countess Josephine Brunsvik, but her family increased the pressure to terminate the relationship. She could not contemplate marrying Beethoven, a commoner. (Maria Elisabeth Tellenbach, 1988)
Listen to the 1st 4 notes… of Alfred Brendels interpretation on the left side.
According to a hypothesis exposed and sustained during the 1950s (Kaznelson, „Beethovens ferne und unsterblich Geliebte“), the relationship between Beethoven and Josephine continued after her second marriage and had an intimate epilogue in Prague in July 1812. The immortal beloved letter is considered to have been written to Josephine. It is also assumed, that Josephine and Beethoven had a daughter, named MINONA.
(S. Katznelson, 1954, Tellenbach 1983, Stebin 2007)
Piano Sonata No 31 Opus 110
This maybe Beethovens most beautiful sonata is considered to be a requiem for Josefine, since Beethoven composed it when she died in the year 1821.
This sonata was released in 1822. Beethoven worked on it at Landstraßer Hauptstraße, in Baden, at Josefstätterstraße and in Döbling. The focus is on the last of the three movements – perdendo le fore, delete (losing strength) and „poi a poi di nuovo vivente“ (slowly getting lively again) were some of the notes he wrote into the third movement where you could identify his personal feelings he felt in that time. On the right side you can see Glenn Gould’s interpretation of this breathtakingly beautiful piece of music.
Task 3: Love Letter
Read the immortal beloved letter and write a love letter to your own „immortal beloved“.
Countess Josephine Deym (nee Brunswick) Photograph of a pencil drawing, Reproduction from H.C. Robbins Landon, Beethoven. (Pasqualatihouse Vienna, W. Holzheu 12.08.2020)
Letter to the immortal beloved: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Immortal_beloved_letter_1.jpg 14.12.2020
Rita Steblin „Auf diese Art mit A geht alles zugrunde“. A New Look at Beethoven’s Diary Entry and the „Immortal Beloved“. In: Bonner Beethoven-Studien Band 6, S. 147–180.