Beethoven complained of low salary, newly discovered letter shows

London: A letter written by the legendary composer Ludwig van Beethoven has been uncovered in Germany after being left in a will.

In the six-page document of Beethoven’s scrawled corrections, he complains about his illness and lack of money.

Experts were already aware of the 1823 letter’s existence, but say it is of historic value.

Broadcaster John Suchet, who has written books on Beethoven, said that finding the letter was “hugely significant”.

“We’ve always known it existed, therefore the information in it isn’t new, but anything in its original form to do with Beethoven is hugely significant,” the BBC quoted Suchet as saying.

“It means we can look at his handwriting, which was always untidy, because his father took him out of school very early so he could concentrate on music,” he said.

According to Stefan Weymar from the Brahms Institute in Lubeck, where the letter will be displayed, Beethoven was “spontaneous”.

“Beethoven was not a composer with beautiful handwriting.
“It is spontaneous and he wrote things, then crossed them out, his thoughts changed as he went on,” he said.

In the letter, Beethoven asks harpist and composer Franz Anton Stockhausen to help find advance buyers for his Missa Solemnis mass.

He also wrote about an eye disorder from which he was suffering at the time.

“My low salary and my illness demand efforts to make a better fortune,” Beethoven wrote in the letter.

The letter ended up in the hands of music teacher Renate Wirth, a descendant of the recipient.

The value of the document has been estimated at more than 100,000 euros (82,000 pounds).

The letter is the latest information in recent months that has come out on Beethoven.

In December, scientists wrote in the British Medical Journal that they thought the composer’s deafness helped to define his music.


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