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Beethoven writes about the importance of dynamics

June 1, 2008

This letter is to the opera singer Sebastian Mayer.

The note in square brackets is by Dr AC Kalischer.

(April 1806)

Please request Herr v.Seyfried to conduct my opera to-day; I myself want today to see and hear it at a distance; by that means, at any rate, my patience will not be so severely tried, as when close by I hear my music murdered. I cannot help thinking that it is done purposely. I say nothing about the wind instruments, but that all pp, crescendos, all decrescendos and all fortes ff were struck out of my opera; no notice is taken of a single one. If that’s what I have to hear, there is no inducement to write anything more! The day after tomorrow I will fetch you to dinner. Today I am unwell again.

Your friend,
BEETHOVEN

P.S. – If the opera should be given the day after tomorrow, there must be a rehearsal tomorrow in the room – otherwise it will get worse and worse every day!

[Ignaz Xaver Ritter von Seyfried was appointed conductor at the Theater an der Wien when twenty-one years old; he was an enthusiastic admirer of Beethoven. He died at Vienna in 1841.]

Beethoven’s Letters with explanatory notes by Dr. A.C. Kalischer, J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., London & Toronto, 1926, pp.59-60.

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