I have too long delayed writing to you. How gladly would I personally participate in the enthusiasm you excite at Berlin in “Fidelio!” A thousand thanks on my part for having so faithfully adhered to my “Fidelio.” If you will ask Baron de la Motte-Fouque, in my name, to discover a good subject for an opera, and one suitable likewise to yourself, you will do a real service both to me and to the German stage; it is also my wish to write it expressly for the Berlin Theatre, as no new opera can ever succeed in being properly given here under this very penurious direction. Answer me soon, very soon—quickly, very quickly—as quickly as possible—as quick as lightning—and say whether such a thing is practicable. Herr Kapellmeister B. praised you up to the skies to me, and he is right; well may he esteem himself happy who has the privilege of enjoying your muse, your genius, and all your splendid endowments and talents;—it is thus I feel. Be this as it may, those around can only call themselves your fellow-creatures [Nebenmann], whereas I alone have a right to claim the honored name of captain [Hauptmann].
In my secret heart, your true friend and admirer,
My poor unfortunate brother is dead, which has been the cause of my long silence. As soon as you have replied to this letter, I will write myself to Baron de la Motte-Fouque. No doubt your influence in Berlin will easily obtain for me a commission to write a grand opera (in which you shall be especially studied) on favorable terms; but do answer me soon, that I may arrange my other occupations accordingly.
[Music: Tenor clef, C Major, 4/4 time.
Ich kues-se Sie, drue-cke Sie an’s Herz!
Ich der Haupt-mann, der Haupt-mann.]
Away with all other false Hauptmaenner! [captains.]
[Footnote 1: Mdlle. Milder married Hauptmann, a jeweller in Munich, in 1810, travelled in 1812, and was engaged at Berlin in 1816.]
Vienna, Jan. 20, 1816.
The Symphony is to be dedicated to the Empress of Russia. The pianoforte score of the Symphony in A must not, however, appear before June, for the publisher here cannot be ready sooner. Pray, dear Ries, inform Mr. Birchall of this at once. The Sonata with violin accompaniment, which will be sent from here by the next post, can likewise be published in London in May, but the Trio at a later date (it follows by the next post); I will myself name the time for its publication. And now, dear Ries, pray receive my heartfelt thanks for your kindness, and especially for the corrections of the proofs. May Heaven bless you more and more, and promote your progress, in which I take the most sincere interest. My kind regards to your wife. Now as ever,
Your sincere friend,
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.