WoO 201: Музыкальная шутка "Ich bin bereit!"

Время создания: май 1818 г.
Посвящено: Vinzenz Hauschka

Первое издание: каталог Тайера (Thayer, 1865)

This musical joke comes from a letter addressed to Vincenz Hauschka. Hauschka, on behalf of the Society of Musical Friends of Austria, had asked Beethoven to write an heroic oratorio for the Society. Beethoven, in high humor, responded as follows:

Best and Chief Member of the Society of Musical Fiends [sic] of the Austrian Imperial State!

"Ich bin Bereit! Ich bin Bereit!" (I am ready! I am ready!) I have only a sacred subject, but you want a heroic one, and that also suits me, only I think I shall mix a little sacred with it, which for such a mass would be in the right place.

Herr von Bernard would suit me very well, but mind and pay him; for myself I say nothing, as you already call yourself music-friends, so it is natural that on this score you will act liberally!!! Now farewell my good fellow (I wish you open bowels and convenience), so far as I am concerned, I wander here among the mountains, clefts and valleys with a sheet of music paper, and I scribble a lot for the sake of bread and money, for to this pitch have I arrived in this all-powerful Phaeacian Land [i.e., Austria], that in order to win time for great work, I am always compelled beforehand to do so much daub-work for the sake of money, so that I may stand the strain of a great work. For the rest my health has greatly improved, and if haste is required, I can already serve you.

If you want to speak to me, write, and then I will arrange all about it. My best respects to the Society of Musical Fiends.

In haste, your friend, Beethoven.1

However, the oratorio in question, The Victory of the Cross, was never written. The libretto, by Joseph Karl Bernard, was not supplied to Beethoven until October 1823, and then was found to be so unsatisfactory that Beethoven never began serious work on the project.


  • 1. Translation by Dr. A.C. Kalischer, Beethoven's Letters, (Dover, 1972) p.253.