43. GOETHE AND BEETHOVEN (Teplitz, July, 1812)

WOLFGANG VON GOETHE (1749-1832) Pencil drawing by Ferdinand Jagemann, 1817 From his early youth Beethoven had felt the most sincere admiration for the greatest German poet. When he met, in 1810, Bettina von Arnim-Brentano she, also a passionate admirer of Goethe, spoke to the composer about her idol and, in turn, reported to Goethe of Beethoven's incomparable genius. Goethe, however, appreciated only the music of his friend Zelter. When the two great men met in Teplitz, Bohemia by coincidence when taking the cure, Goethe took the initiative and arranged to meet with Beethoven who was more than twenty years his junior. ( Goethe Museum, Weimar)
TEPLITZ, BOHEMIA After a colored engraving Why did Goethe and Beethoven after their meetings on the 19th, 20th, 21st and 23rd of July, 1812 never meet again? Why did Goethe never answer Beethoven's touching letter--he was ill and in grave financial troubles--of February 8, 1823? Goethe writes on that subject to Zelter on September 2, 1812: "I met Beethoven in Teplitz. His talent is astounding; unfortunately, however, he is a completely undisciplined personality who is not entirely wrong in finding this world detestable, but who by thinking so makes that world no more pleasant for either himself or others." Such judgment coming from Goethe was identical with a complete condemnation.--Beethoven, on the other hand, declared after these meetings of Teplitz: "The atmosphere of the Court pleases Goethe too much and certainly much more than would become a poet. Let us not talk about the ridiculousness of the virtuosos if poets who sh ould be considered the principal teachers of a nation can forget everything in view of such fallacious glamor." ( Historical Museum of the City of Vienna)
BETTINA VON ARNIM, NÉE BRENTANO (1785-1859) Pencil drawing by Ludwig Emil Grimm Goethe's friend, particularly famous for her "Goethe's Correspondence with a Child," published the work in 1835 after the poet's death. She broke with Goethe shortly before his meeting with Beethoven in Teplitz and was compelled to leave Weimar. ( Goethe Museum, Weimar)
KARL AUGUST VARNHAGEN VON ENSE (1785-1858) Lithograph by Loeillot de Mars Varnhagen, the husband of the famous Rahel--she, too, was one of Goethe's admirers in Weimar--revered Beethoven greatly. He had met him in Teplitz in 1811 and speaks of this meeting in his Memoirs; he also mentions him in a letter to Uhland ( National Library, Vienna)
MARIANNE VON WILLEMER (1784-1860) Pastel, 1819 At the age of sixty-five, Goethe fell madly in love with this woman who was thirty-five years his junior, and this passion inspired his immortal work "Westöstlicher Diwan," the Suleika of which is Marianne. An excellent musician, the young woman had the courage to point out to Goethe that the only composer worthy of setting his lyrics to music was Beethoven. ( Goethe Museum, Weimar)
KARL FRIEDRICH ZELTER (1758-1832) Engraving by B. H. Bendix after P. Bardon Zelter was the director of the Berlin Singakademie and a fertile, though undoubtedly mediocre composer. As Goethe's friend he advised him on matters musical. At the outset he was unresponsive to Beethoven's genius which he did not understand. He also did not dare to acquaint Goethe with Beethoven's works until finally he, too, became an admirer of Beethoven. ( Former State Library, Berlin)
CHRISTOPH AUGUST TIEDGE (1752-1841) Engraving by Baumann and Gottschick after Weitsch Beethoven met the poet in 1811 in Teplitz and composed his poem "An die Hoffnung." During that time Tiedge introduced Beethoven to the singer Amalie Sebald. ( National Library, Vienna)
CONSTANZE ELISABETH CHARLOTTE, KNOWN AS ELISE VON DER RECKE, NÉE GRÄFIN MEDEM (1754-1833) Engraving by E. Henne This poetess was the friend of Tiedge and spent her vacation with him in Teplitz in 1811. She offered Beethoven her poems so he would set them to music; Beethoven did not respond at all. ( National Library, Vienna)
AMALIE SEBALD Engraving after a poem by C. Kolb Beethoven met this eminent singer in Teplitz in 1811 and became so enamored of her that certain musicologists consider her, rather than Therese von Brunswick or Giulietta Guicciardi, the woman to whom the letter "To the Immortal Beloved" was addressed. ( Society of Friends of Music, Vienna)