BEETHOVEN ON VINTAGE POSTCARDS

by Liselotte Erlanger Glozer


(This article appeared in a fuller form in the September l996 issue of "Postcard Collector.")
A British visitor to Vienna has left us a description of his first impression of Beethoven as
"...a short, stout man with a very red face, small, piercing eyes, and bushy eyebrows, ... notwithstanding the high color of his cheeks and his general untidiness there was in those small piercing eyes an expression no painter could render. It was an expression of sublimity and melancholy combined..."

This image of the dishevelled, misogynistic composer is preserved in a portrait by the contemporary painter Fassbaender (Stengel, sepia), and even more clearly in Otto Novak's signed "fantasy" painting "Le maitre solitaire" (The Solitary Master) which shows a stocky, paunchy Beethoven striding through an autumnal landscape (published by BKW, in their series of Viennese Artist's cards).

Oddities among Beethoven postcard portraits include a silk stuffed-fabric card; a three dimensional bust portrait on a sage green background. The silvery image mimics a cameo and might have been meant to hang over a piano (no publisher, no date). Another is a "metamorphic" portrait, from a series which includes Liszt and Wagner, comprised, in standard metamorphosis card fashion, of nude women's photographs. At the bottom of the card is the opening of the "Ode to Joy" from the 9th Symphony (r/p, no publisher).

Although Vienna has claimed Ludwig van Beethoven (l770-l827) as one of its triumvirate of famous composers he was born in Bonn, Germany. His birthplace is now a museum which, in l925 - l930, issued a series of cards all marked and copyrighted "Beethoven House in Bonn." Cards in the series include exterior of views of the house, a portrait of Beethoven's mother, a fanciful depiction of his birth, portraits, and statues. Most striking is the picture of the stark memorial room, containing only the composer's bust and a few wreaths.

Both Beethoven's father and grandfather were singers at the court of a minor German prince. His father was an alcoholic and the support of the mother and two younger brothers fell largely on young Ludwig. By the age of l2 he had become assistant organist at the court chapel and within a year played harpsichord in the court orchestra. At l8 he travelled to Vienna and impressed Mozart with his talent. At 22 he again went to Vienna, which was to become his home for the rest of his life. He was to become a student of Haydn's, but the temperamental, arrogant young musician and the older maestro did not get on well. A number of other teachers -- among them the Italian musician Salieri of "Amadeus" fame -- felt that Beethoven was "unteachable."

The young Beethoven took Vienna by storm, not as a composer but as a piano virtuoso. At the time, music was performed primarily at the houses of the nobility, whose patronage was of utmost importance. Beethoven impressed a number of influential sponsors whose names have come down to us as the dedicatees of his sonatas and other pieces of chamber music.

Fortunately for Beethoven, it was during this period that public concerts subscribed to by the middle classes became more common, giving the musician a chance to reach a wider audience; soon music publishers vied for the rights to his compositions. A portrait of the young Beethoven, published in the Valentine series of Famous Composers (about l9l0) gives the opening of his piano sonata #l2, opus 26, known mainly for the rondo sometimes referred to as the "Funeral March."

Beethoven was not yet in his thirties when the first signs of progressive deafness appeared. His personal life -- romantizied in a recent movie -- can be best understood when one considers his increasing hearing loss, which gradually cut him off from human intercourse and brought on occasional rages of paranoia. An interesting sidelight on his deafness is that the probable inventor of the metronome -- that instrument of torture for the beginning musician -- also designed hearing aids for Beethoven.

Beethoven was well aware that among the Viennese, the road to fame was via opera and he entered the sweepstakes with Fidelio. Although this opera contains music of spectacular beauty and emotional strength, it was dogged by misadventure. Its first performance took place while Napoleon's troops occupied Vienna, and they did not appreciate an opera sung in German. After this fiasco, Beethoven shortened the work, but even in its present form it is not often seen. To the public it is best known for the three Leonore overtures Beethoven composed for various revivals.

Fidelio is a "rescue" opera, the story of an innocently jailed political prisoner cast into the deepest dungeon by a vengeful enemy. The prisoner's wife, Leonore (thus the title of the overtures) dons men's clothing and, under the name of Fidelio, hires herself as an assistant to a kindly jailer, Rocco, hoping to free her husband. The story ends happily: through her devotion and bravery, Leonore and her husband are reunited.

An odd metamorphic card, titled BEETHOVEN: FIDELIO, differs from other metamorphosis cards as the figures are not photographic but drawn. The various characters of the opera appear in the composer's hair, cheeks, etc. The publisher is J.B.B., the artist's (illegible) name might be on the cravat; the card is postmarked circa l9l0.

I also own a series of real photo postcards of Fideliotaken at a Salzburg Festival performance in the 1950s. One of them shows a scene from the first act in which the four main characters, Rocco, his daughter, her suitor, and Lenore-as-Fidelio sing a moving quartet in canon form; each of the characters is shown standing isolated from the others, so as to express their utter loneliness (r/p, no date), yet their four voices, weaving together, create one of the most beautiful ensembles in operatic history.

As the years passed and Beethoven's fame increased, iconographic depiction of him tended more toward the heroic; an example is a card showing the sculpture bust by Landrebe (published about l908). The image becomes even more heroic on Vienna's Beethoven monument. Here the statue, draped in a greatcoat, seems to survey the surroundings from a god-like altitude (published by B.K.W., painted by R. Preuss).

For the centenary of Beethoven's death the city of Vienna honored the composer by issuing a beautiful memorial card. Beethoven's portrait is surrounded by all the houses in and around Vienna in which he had lived. In the middle of the card is a poem which, translated, reads as follows:

Many an old house is still
venerated as a place where he worked.
No new house has been built
Where his song has not been heard.

Lucky-Mojo-Pookline


Search All Lucky Mojo and Affiliated Sites!

You can search our sites for a single word (like archaeoastronomy, hoodoo, conjure, or clitoris), an exact phrase contained within quote marks (like "love spells", "spiritual supplies", "occult shop", "gambling luck", "Lucky Mojo bag", or "guardian angel"), or a name within quote marks (like "Blind Willie McTell", "Black Hawk", "Hoyt's Cologne", or "Frank Stokes"):

Lucky-Mojo-Pookline

LUCKY MOJO CURIO CO. ONLINE CATALOGUE


  • POSTCARD PAGES
  • OPERA & CLASSICAL MUSIC PAGES
  • ESSAYS
  • LISELOTTE GLOZER'S HOME PAGE

  • Contact-the-Lucky-Mojo-Curio-Company-in-Forestville-California copyright © 1997-2019 Liselotte Erlanger Glozer. All rights reserved.
    Send your comments to: cat yronwode.

    Post-Card-Image-in-Liselotte-Erlanger-Glozer-edited-by-catherine-yronwode
    LUCKY MOJO is a large domain that is organized into a number of
    interlinked web sites, each with its own distinctive theme and look.
    You are currently reading
    LISELOTTE ERLANGER GLOZER TEXT ARCHIVE by cat yronwode
    .

    Here are some other LUCKY MOJO web sites you can visit:

    OCCULTISM, MAGIC SPELLS, MYSTICISM, RELIGION, SYMBOLISM
    Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
    Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic by cat yronwode:a materia magica of African-American conjure
    Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
    Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
    Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy and sacred geometry
    Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
    The Lucky Mojo Esoteric Archive: captured internet text files on occult and spiritual topics
    Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive:FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
    Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century occultist
    Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, and more
          Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
          Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
          Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
          Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races

    POPULAR CULTURE
    Hoodoo and Blues Lyrics: transcriptions of blues songs about African-American folk magic
    EaRhEaD!'S Syd Barrett Lyrics Site: lyrics by the founder of the Pink Floyd Sound
    The Lesser Book of the Vishanti: Dr. Strange Comics as a magical system, by cat yronwode
    The Spirit Checklist: a 1940s newspaper comic book by Will Eisner, indexed by cat yronwode
    Fit to Print: collected weekly columns about comics and pop culture by cat yronwode
    Eclipse Comics Index: a list of all Eclipse comics, albums, and trading cards

    EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
    Hoodoo Rootwork Correspondence Course with cat yronwode: 52 weekly lessons in book form
    Hoodoo Conjure Training Workshops: hands-on rootwork classes, lectures, and seminars
    Apprentice with catherine yronwode: personal 3-week training for qualified HRCC graduates
    Lucky Mojo Community Forum: an online message board for our occult spiritual shop customers
    Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour Radio Show: learn free magic spells via podcast download
    Lucky Mojo Videos: see video tours of the Lucky Mojo shop and get a glimpse of the spirit train
    Lucky Mojo Publishing: practical spell books on world-wide folk magic and divination
    Lucky Mojo Newsletter Archive: subscribe and receive discount coupons and free magick spells
    LMC Radio Network: magical news, information, education, and entertainment for all!
    Follow Us on Facebook: get company news and product updates as a Lucky Mojo Facebook Fan

    ONLINE SHOPPING
    The Lucky Mojo Curio Co.: spiritual supplies for hoodoo, magick, witchcraft, and conjure
    Herb Magic: complete line of Lucky Mojo Herbs, Minerals, and Zoological Curios, with sample spells
    Mystic Tea Room Gift Shop: antique, vintage, and contemporary fortune telling tea cups

    PERSONAL SITES
    catherine yronwode: the eclectic and eccentric author of many of the above web pages
    nagasiva yronwode: nigris (333), nocTifer, lorax666, boboroshi, Troll Towelhead, !
    Garden of Joy Blues: former 80 acre hippie commune near Birch Tree in the Missouri Ozarks
    Liselotte Erlanger Glozer: illustrated articles on collectible vintage postcards
    Jackie Payne: Shades of Blues: a San Francisco Bay Area blues singer

    ADMINISTRATIVE
    Lucky Mojo Site Map: the home page for the whole Lucky Mojo electron-pile
    All the Pages: descriptive named links to about 1,000 top-level Lucky Mojo web pages
    How to Contact Us: we welcome feedback and suggestions regarding maintenance of this site
    Make a Donation: please send us a small Paypal donation to keep us in bandwidth and macs!

    OTHER SITES OF INTEREST
    Arcane Archive: thousands of archived Usenet posts on religion, magic, spell-casting, mysticism, and spirituality
    Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: psychic reading, conjure, and hoodoo root doctor services
    Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic, plus shopping
    Crystal Silence League: a non-denominational site; post your prayers; pray for others; let others pray for you
    Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
    Hoodoo Psychics: connect online or call 1-888-4-HOODOO for instant readings now from a member of AIRR
    Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith; prayer-light services; Smallest Church in the World
    Mystic Tea Room: tea leaf reading, teacup divination, and a museum of antique fortune telling cups
    Satan Service: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
    Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including ex-slave narratives & interviews
    Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective, plus shopping
    Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
    Yronwode Institution: the Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology


    Lucky-Mojo-Pookline