December 16th has more than one birthday of interest to us Regency-ers. Along with Austen, it’s also the birthday of Beethoven, born in 1770. Five years before Jane. (It’s also the birthday of my mother, but that’s probably only of interest to me, who still has to find her a present. Jane and Ludwig aren’t quite as picky).
I had hoped to make this post about Jane’s own interest in the music of Beethoven. After all, we know she enjoyed music, and that he was one of the leading composers of the era. Alas, according to the Jane Austen Memorial Trust, which has cataloged over 300 pieces of music-related material belonging to Jane, she owned very little by Beethoven (or Mozart, or Handel, or any of the other composers we listen to most today). She owned a lot of pieces by such non-household names as Pleyel, Dibdin, Sterkel, and Kotzwara. So there goes my theme. But here are a few other little factoids I found on my search!
In 1811, Jane Austen published “Sense and Sensibility”; Beethoven first performs his Piano Trio in B-flat
In 1813, “Pride and Prejudice”; Wellington’s Victory
1818, Mary Shelley publishes “Frankenstein”; Beethoven the Piano Sonata #29 (Hammerklavier) (not Austen, I know, but interesting!)
The 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice featured some Beethoven. At the Phillips’ party, Mary plays “Nel cuor non mi santo”. At Pemberley, Georgiana plays “Andante Favore.” And according to the 2005 Pride and Prejudice website, the score was inspired in great part by Beethoven’s piano sonatas, and performed by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet with the English Chamber Orchestra in that sort of style. I couldn’t find any info on “real” Ludwigian pieces they might have used, but they did use Purcell at the Netherfield ball.
I also saw that at the Jane Austen Evening our own Cara will be attending in January, there is a visit from “Herr Beethoven” scheduled as well.
Happy birthday, Jane and Ludwig! Hopefully some of you will have other nuggets of factoids to share.
I’m impressed with your factoids, Amanda! Now, if I can just suggest:
-Moms love candles.
-and comfy sweaters.
-and maybe, just maybe, an exotic tea.
Do not buy her that life-size poster of Orlando Bloom you’ve been eyeing. It will not suit.
Happy Birthday, Amanda’s Mom!
The heroine of THE INCORRIGIBLE LADY CATHERINE was a big Beethoven fan. When I was researching that book I read somewhere that Beethoven was not considered suitable for young ladies–too passionate. Which worked well for that story.
Now of course, I cannot find anything to justify this factoid!
A lot of Beethoven’s piano music was also too difficult for the typical amateur (with all due respect to Fur Elise).
I did reread the inserts on several of my Jane Austen CDs and found nothing on Beethoven.
One of my favorite JA CDs (maybe your mom would like this?) is Jane’s Hand, The Jane Austen Songbooks with Julianne Baird. Unfortunately it’s listed as having limited availability.
But wait, there’s a new one, Jane Austen’s Songbook. I wonder if it’s too late to ask for this for Christmas?
What, Megan, you don’t think my mom would appreciate that Orlando poster??? Oh, well, you’re probably right. She doesn’t understand my Orlando obsession at ALL. 🙂 It will just have to wait for my birthday next month.
Elena, I’ve heard that about Beethoven’s music and young ladies, too, but can’t remember at all where I read it! I’m going to have to look for those CDs, they sound great. I have one called “The Jane Austen Companion” and it’s very enjoyable.
Totally OT, I saw the Golden Globe noms this morning, and Pride and Prejudice and Keira Knightley both got nods!
One Regency I remember that featured Beethoven’s music was MRS. DREW PLAYS HER HAND by Carla Kelly. If I recall correctly, the hero of that book was much given to pounding out Beethoven sonatas on the pianoforte.
Of course, there was that other book, by another author–both of whom will remain nameless–in which the heroine complained about having to teach her ungifted pupils to play Chopin etudes. I think Chopin was about eight years old at the time…precocious little tyke! 🙂
Most experts believe Beethoven was born on the sixteenth of December. The only documentary evidence is the composer’s baptismal record. Of course, documentary evidence can be deceiving — even inauthentic. We do know that Beethoven was baptized on December seventeenth, at least so the record shows. Some biographers maintain that Beethoven was born on the seventeenth, citing the fact that in the locale of Beethoven’s birth, Catholics were customarily baptized on the day they were born. In any event, what we are left with is a few pieces of evidence, and an inference. As they say in the law, the question of Beethoven’s birth date is a matter upon which reasonable minds can differ.