November 22 1815: Dear Ries!


On November 22, 1815, Ludwig van Beethoven writes to Ferdinand Ries, in London.

Vienna, Wednesday, the 22nd November, 1815.

Dear Ries! I hasten to write to you that I have sent off by post to-day the pianoforte edition of the Symphony in A, addressed to the firm of Thomas Coutts and Co. As the Court is not here, there are no couriers, or very few ; besides, this is really the safest way. The Symphony must be published about March, I will fix the day. Things have already been too much delayed for me to be able to fix a shorter term.

For the Trio and the Sonata for violin there is more time, and both will be in London in a few weeks. I beg you earnestly, dear Ries, to look after this matter, so that I may receive the money ; sending the things is expensive; I want it.

I have lost 600 fl. of my yearly pension ; at the time of the bank-notes it did not matter ; then came the redemption bonds, and thus I lost 600 fl. After several years’ vexation, with entire loss of the annuity— and now we have arrived at the point, that the redemption bonds are worse than ever the bank-notes were ; I pay 1000 fl. house rent, you can form an idea of the misery which the paper money causes.

My poor unfortunate brother (Carl) is just dead. He had a bad wife; I may say he had consumption for several years, and in order to make life easier for him, I reckon that I gave him 10,000 fl. in Vienna coin. For an Englishman that is nothing, but for a poor German or rather Austrian it is a lot. The poor fellow had much changed during the last years, and I can say I pitied him from my heart; and it now comforts me to be able to say to myself, that with regard to maintaining him I have nothing to reproach myself with.

Tell Mr. Birchall to make good to Mr. Salomon and to you the cost of postage of your letters to me and mine to you; he can deduct it from the sum which he has to pay me; I want those who work for me to suffer as little as possible.

Wellington’s Victory at the Battle of Vittoria must have reached Th. Coutts and Co. long ago. Mr. Birchall need not pay the money until he has all the works. Make haste and let me know the day when Mr. Birchall publishes the piano-forte score. For to-day I only beg you to show warmest zeal in this matter; I am, whatever it may be, at your service. Farewell from my heart, dear Ries !

Also the title on the pianoforte score.

Your friend,


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