The New Youth, the Old Nobility and the Revolution

  In August 1788, major European newspapers rushed to report the major news that France was about to hold a three-level conference again after a lapse of 175 years. , after attempting to rescue the government from bankruptcy while the national debt increased instead of diminished, King Louis XVI was forced to decide among the clergy, nobles, and every third estate in the country who paid any kind of tax over the age of twenty-four Elect representatives and go to the Palace of Versailles to discuss tax increases. The news reached Bonn, the capital of the Electorate of Cologne in the Holy Roman Empire, which is only 500 kilometers away from Paris. A young man heard that the French government invited each of the elected parliaments of the major classes to draft a petition stating that Their dissatisfaction with the status quo and suggestions for reform. Among them, the third level proposes that talented people from all walks of life should be elected to engage in any career that suits them, and to be more effectively responsible for the orderly operation of all aspects of society. He immediately realized that this was the greatest incentive and institutional guarantee for his extraordinary talents to be freely displayed in the music field, and according to the division of the third level by the three-level conference, more than half of these representatives were lawyers, 13% were businessmen, 8% represent the peasant class, and the remaining 5% are professionals, mainly including engineers, scientists, doctors, teachers, writers, artists, booksellers, etc. This young man who thinks highly of himself and calls himself an artist can easily find himself in it positions that he may never have in Bonn.
  This young man named Beethoven’s father was a baritone in the choir of the Elector of Cologne, with an annual salary of three hundred florins, but at this time the old Beethoven’s voice could no longer sing due to years of alcoholism. On November 20, 1789, the Elector ordered that the old Beethoven be removed from the position of court singer, and half of his annual salary of 150 florins should be paid to his eldest son to prevent him from squandering The whole family is in a bigger predicament. In this way, Beethoven, who was only 19 years old, became the legal parent, taking care of his father and two younger brothers with his not yet generous shoulders.
  He’s coping well, thanks in large part to his meager but steady income. As early as 1783, his mentor, the court organist Christian Nefer, nominated him to be the pianist of the court opera house. In addition to his rare ability to learn to sight-read scores, he also received his first salary, the exact amount of which is unknown. In 1784, the Elector formed an orchestra with 31 instruments, and Beethoven played the viola in it as the second organist of the court orchestra. The annual salary of this position was equal to his father’s half-year salary. In 1788, Beethoven, who had superb impromptu skills, increased his family’s income by serving as a private piano teacher for noble children. Although he tried his best, he still couldn’t erase the label of poor family from himself. The viola player of the court orchestra worked for four years, and then was promoted step by step to the chief pianist, while still serving as the original second organist. Do you repeat the same job in the future? He did not want this unlucky idea to appear again. He wanted to rely on his outstanding ability in composition to achieve his unique artistic goal like Mozart.
  However, this goal was unattainable in Bonn at the time. The ancient system of patronage, in which artists depended on their patrons for guarantees of their necessities, was still at the heart of the empire’s cultural development. However, as a court musician, Beethoven soon discovered that the patronage system, which had lasted for more than a century, was incompatible with the composition talent he had long believed in and confirmed by his friends in the circle, and was detrimental to his most cherished creative freedom. Opportunities are as painful as the French third estate, and reforming the sponsorship system must bear the brunt. In essence, the court musician was also a position under the patronage system, and the Elector of Cologne was Beethoven’s patron. According to the practice at the time, the patron largely determined the creation content and artistic value of the patron based on his personal likes and dislikes or actual needs. This was obviously something that Beethoven, who had been influenced by the enlightenment thought, was unwilling to face. What’s more, the contract signed between the musician and the patron usually stipulates that if the patron’s duties include accepting the patron’s commission to create music, the authorship and copyright of all works created by the patron belong to the patron All, and the patron is prohibited from exploiting copies of his work in any way possible to prevent the flow of the work to an unauthorized public. But for Beethoven, it was the extreme desire to see his name on the cover of officially published works that inspired and supported his creative beliefs of walking the narrow door, traveling the long road, and seeing the twilight. How could he tolerate being deprived of his signature? What about rights and copyright stereotypes? On the contrary, if the sponsored person accepts the sponsorship as a performer and only uses his free personal time to create music after his due diligence, he can completely decide to sell his works in the open market, or to sell his works in any Promote it as you see fit. The problem is that spare time cannot meet the actual needs of professional creation, so as late as 1795, a genius like Beethoven failed to leave a handed down work with an official number, and he had to exchange his precious time for cheap Choose between earning money and concentrating on your creative career.
  In order to break free from the shackles of the sponsorship system, Beethoven once pinned his hopes on the printing and publishing industry, but at this time the development of this industry in European countries was not satisfactory. The main difficulty was that the law was unable to combat and prevent rampant piracy, especially the lack of transnational supervision. The legal basis and law enforcement capabilities of Germany caused publications in the German region to suffer infringement losses from other princes in the empire and internationally. Therefore, even the masterpieces of Goethe, a literary giant in its heyday, can only bring it extremely limited copyright income within the Weimar Duchy. He has nothing to do with the huge profits that are on par with legitimate businesses. If Goethe was not of noble origin and only relied on writing to make a living, I am afraid that he would not be able to persist until he finished writing “Faust”. In general, if a composer’s work is in high demand and has been pirated, all he can do is make a public announcement confirming that a certain version is authorized and correct, or constantly rewrite the published work to create a new version. More and more different versions, and in the end there is nothing but a public frenzy for the newest and most complete version of his work. Putting aside the problem of piracy, before expecting to earn a small profit from the sale of works, composers should pay more attention to where the advance payment for publishing works comes from, because publishers are usually only responsible for the marketing of music scores and will not engrave and print them. The cost is shifted to the composer, and even then, it is easy for those willing to bite the bullet because once the work is popular, it will give them more power to bargain with the publisher next time. Beethoven, who has entered a mature stage of creation, has a deep understanding of this, but now he still can’t produce decent works, and taking risks that are beyond his tolerance.
  In the mid-eighteenth century, the public concerts, which were gradually born out of a variety of complex predecessors, also encouraged musicians to dare to get rid of their employers in the court and church to a certain extent, but the development in the German region was still weak. When the comedy masterpiece “The Marriage of Figaro” by the French playwright Beaumarchais was premiered on April 27, 1784, it was enthusiastically sought after. The entrance to the theater was smashed and many people died of suffocation. Since then, more than 100 performances have been performed in a row, and the performances have been sold out. Beaumarchais has donated 42,000 francs to charitable organizations from the performance income, which can be described as a double gain of fame and fortune. Unlike France, public concerts in Germany were closed to the public for a long period of time. Only the aristocrats are rich and leisurely audiences, but this group is a minority after all, which is not conducive to the greatest effect of performances. change. Therefore, when Mozart’s opera of the same name based on “The Marriage of Figaro” was premiered in Vienna in 1786, the success was limited to art and not economic benefits. In addition, there is also a kind of public concert originating from the amateur composition organization university music society in Germany, but it is usually more inclined to serve music creation and performance practice. The color of teaching and practice is obviously stronger than commercial attributes. With the improvement of performance quality Improvement can also attract audiences to buy tickets to enjoy, but it may not be so easy to enrich the purses of musicians. At the same time, private concerts are also showing increasingly limitless potential in replacing the cultural life centered on the aristocrats. As early as the late seventeenth century, wealthy British coal merchants began to provide regular sets in their homes. Ticket concerts; for most of the second half of the eighteenth century, at the peak of each season in London, non-repeating private concerts could be heard nearly every night. Beginning in 1730, Jean Plinieri, a wealthy taxpayer in Paris, held private concerts at his home and hired well-known musicians as conductors all the year round, which shows that he already has a team that can rival the German princes. large orchestra. However, in the German region, private concerts merely moved the performance venue from the more formal court of the princes to the living room of the aristocrat’s villa in the countryside, and were still confined to the closed circle of the traditional upper class.

  The root cause of this significant disparity is that in the nearly two centuries from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the outbreak of the French Revolution, French society has bred a group of middle classes with a considerable number and proportion, that is, the middle class in the three-level conference. The third level mainly includes manufacturing factory owners, businessmen and financiers. Enterprising factory owners took economic risks to break through the restrictions imposed on them by trade unions and the fancy tolls that hindered inland trade. Accumulated a huge net worth; businessmen involved in foreign trade got rich quickly from the dividends of the times when the total trade volume between the country and the colonies surged exponentially; traditional microlenders among the financiers profited from the private usury business, operating savings, loans and investment businesses The bankers who have the opportunity to provide financial loans to the state are rich, and the general taxpayer can encroach on the taxation privilege of the state after paying a low security deposit, and put most of the taxes collected by pennies into his own pockets. Rarely flows into the treasury. Today, these backbone forces are gradually replacing the traditional aristocracy in France to guard the exchange and development of literature, music and art. Voltaire once said in 1768: “In Paris, there are more than 30,000 people interested in art.” It is estimated that the volume of book trade in Paris in 1774 was four times that of London, reaching 4,500. million livres. This made David Garrick, the most famous British actor and playwright at the time, sigh: “London is for the British, but Paris is for everyone.” With the support of the middle class, Paris has become a world unmatched by other cultural cities capital of civilization. On the contrary, due to the relatively backward economy in Germany, the lack of a powerful middle class dilutes the strong aristocratic atmosphere and breaks into the center of the historical stage. Therefore, the clients that Beethoven was familiar with and served were all traditional nobles, that is, grand dukes, electors, dukes, marquises, earls, barons, knights and untitled nobles within the empire. On the one hand, he had no choice but to accept their financial sponsorship, barely maintaining the poverty-stricken life of the common people at the bottom; , After presenting a stunning performance in the palace or noble mansion, despite his protest, he was still arranged to have a meal with the servants in the kitchen.
  In stark contrast to the strength of the gold dollar of the French middle class, the financial situation of the traditional German aristocrats is generally in an unsustainable situation, which directly affects the sustainability of the art sponsorship system. Historically, traditional aristocrats were not allowed to operate industry and commerce for a long time, and could only rely on feudal taxes and land rent to live, otherwise they might be deprived of their aristocratic status. However, since the rise of the first industrial revolution in Britain in the 1860s, the European economic development model has gradually transitioned from physiocratism to mercantilism, and the scissors gap between the direct income of land and the value of industrial commodities has widened. . In response to this severe challenge, the Physiocratic economics introduced from France has aroused great interest in the traditional German aristocrats. Its core view is that land is the only source of social wealth, and only agriculture is productive among all economic sectors. Industry does not create material but only changes or combines the existing forms of material wealth. Commerce also does not create any material wealth but only changes the time and place of its market. Therefore, both are non-productive. Handicraftsmen, manufacturers and Merchants belong to a non-productive class. This provides a theoretical basis for the traditional aristocrats with a large amount of land and serfs to believe that “God is still on their side”. Therefore, they decided to bring their country’s economic system back to the seventeenth century to defend the tradition. They continued to rely on the serf system to force farmers to attach themselves to the land for agricultural production, so that they could not be driven out by the middle-class upstarts like the British farmers who lost their land. to the cities to promote the rapid development of industry. In essence, this is a battle for limited labor resources between the traditional aristocracy and the emerging middle class. Under the premise that the former enjoys institutional privileges, the result of this unfair competition is destined to sacrifice the latter. It is not difficult to explain why industry, commerce and the middle class have always struggled in the German region no matter how the government stimulated them. At the same time, Adam Smith’s economic theory believed that the only source of national wealth is not land but labor. Labor is a commodity and is also subject to the constraints of supply and demand. Therefore, laborers should be allowed to have the freedom to choose employers. It forms a healthy competition with employers to fight for the rights of workers, so as to determine the price of labor, that is, wages. Based on this and guided by it, before the old economic system collapsed, Britain took the lead in finding the key to establish a new economy and an empire on which the sun never sets. Between the ebb and flow, the traditional aristocrats gradually lost out from the continuous consumption of cultural competition. German music leaders such as Handel, Haydn, and Mozart have lived in England or traveled to Western Europe. , and those musicians who refused to live under its umbrella, had an indescribable violent impact. Mozart once said bluntly that a talent A overflowing person will slowly degenerate if he always stays in a small place. Beethoven thought so. Under the double influence of Mozart and the Great Revolution, the idea of ​​going to France to seek development may have been planted in the heart of the young Beethoven, and it has resurfaced in his mind several times after becoming famous, but it is a pity that the traditional aristocrats protect the symbol of German music. Killed in name.
  If the French Revolution was a strong response to the Bourbon dynasty’s long-term refusal to make any reforms to the autocratic monarchy, the failure of political reforms could be said to be a source of trouble for the cultural life and economic background of the German region. While Beethoven was cheering for the demands of the third estate, the traditional German aristocracy was closely watching every move of the second estate during the Great Revolution. The traditional nobles of France, in their petitions to the king, demanded the restoration of their powers before the time of Richelieu, when they divided and ruled, turning France into a disunion and turmoil, no longer whole The country; they control the lifeline of the country’s economy and decide on war and peace; they profess the constitution and make their own laws, which are enforced by private courts and judges. In short, their will is the authority that governs France. When all the classes in the three-level conference unite to oppose the absolute monarchy and demand that it be replaced by a constitutional monarchy, the traditional aristocrats in the German region with the lowest degree of centralization in Europe feel like a thorn in their backs, and they will naturally think of the current emperor of the empire. The Enlightenment Reform that Joseph II is implementing, the abolition of serfdom and the sharp reduction of feudal taxes have seriously eroded the foundation of the feudal system in Germany. Isn’t this going to be at the cost of sacrificing the interests of the traditional aristocracy? The old ways of centralization and absolute monarchy? Therefore, they resolutely opposed and jointly resisted almost every reform measure of Joseph II on the grounds of protecting “German freedom”. Under the high pressure of the traditional aristocracy, Joseph II announced on January 30, 1790, among the rebellious relatives, that he would cancel all reform measures promulgated since 1780 except for the abolition of serfdom. He died under the heavy blow of the failure of reform. Once again the traditional aristocracy triumphed in the German lands, as they had done many times before, although this time more and more people influenced by the Enlightenment deeply regretted it and saw it as a misfit for the new age Demand has regressed. Unfortunately, the power of public opinion cannot affect the situation in Germany for the time being due to the weak middle class. But in France, although the goals of the traditional aristocrats at the two third-level conferences held 175 years apart were both to challenge centralization and restore feudal power, the key forces and decisive factors affecting these two great revolutions have always been It is not the supreme autocratic power of the king, but the direction of the third-level soldiers with the middle class as the absolute main force. The difference is that last time the middle class finally chose to support the sacred and supreme power of the king and made the traditional aristocracy fail, this time they will kick the aristocracy and the king out of the political arena together.

  On September 30, 1790, Joseph II’s younger brother, Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, became Emperor of the Empire. The new monarch, who had 25 years of experience in governing the country and was known as an enlightened monarch, continued to increase his compromise with the traditional nobles in order to consolidate his imperial power, and successively abolished the so-called radical reform measures left by his brother, but his short-lived Not long enough to do the job. On July 5, 1792, Leopold II’s son, Franz II, immediately repealed every liberal act, radical or not, enacted by his uncle and father. The feudal taxation and corvee system, the cornerstone of the feudal system, were restored, and any measures from dictatorship to constitutionalism were impossible to appear in the empire. What the traditional aristocrats lost in the failure of the French Revolution, and in the German region as a “revolution to maintain the status quo” (this unbelievable statement was made by Clemens von F. Invented by Metternich) in full. The power of the government was controlled by traditional aristocrats with mediocre abilities and bad conduct. They lost no time in strengthening publishing control and blocked all progressive texts advocating enlightenment thoughts from the country. The so-called heretics disappeared from Vienna. No wonder Jeremy Bentham, in a letter of July 7, 1817, lamented that “the morality of Austrian politics is gone,” and despaired that he could not find a good man. In the army, it is impossible for civilians to be promoted to commanders. Soldiers refuse to participate in any adventures in military operations that obviously exceed the requirements of their rank because of the hopelessness of promotion. Only the French would do such stupid things. Therefore, when they learned that Marie Antoinette, the sister-in-law of Franz II and queen of Louis XVI, was sent to the guillotine, even though they rushed to the battlefield passionately and vowed to fight the French executioner to the death, they still couldn’t help but feel anxious. In the end, even the capital Vienna fell to the enemy… Beethoven wrote on August 2, 1794: “I believe that as long as the Austrians have black beer and sausages, they will never rebel. !”
  But Beethoven was not an Austrian. The French Revolution, whose momentum and influence spread rapidly across Europe, easily captured his heart. The University of Bonn was the gathering place for the new ideas of the Electorate of Cologne at that time. Hearing that Ologo Sinaet, one of the leaders of the Jacobins in Strasbourg, was giving lectures on German literature at the University of Bonn, Beethoven immediately came to listen Speech of the future state prosecutor of Lower Rhine. When news of the fall of the Bastille reached Bonn, the revolutionary who was guillotined in Paris in 1794 recited an impassioned poem from the pulpit, which began with a tribute to “the chains of despotism.” “Broken” aroused Beethoven’s intoxicated enthusiasm. The following year, Sinaette published a collection of revolutionary poems, and Beethoven’s name can be seen in the list of those who made the appointment.
  This experience may have made Beethoven vaguely aware that the French Revolution would have an immeasurable and profound impact on the rest of his life, but he probably underestimated the speed at which this impact would come. In 1792, Bonn, which is adjacent to the northeastern part of France, had already begun to feel the military threat of the Great Revolution. In order to make various preparations in advance, the court orchestra where Beethoven worked was announced to be disbanded. The placement of court musicians was of great concern to the elector. Perhaps it is recalled that when Haydn, who was extremely popular in England, stopped in Bonn on his way back to Vienna, Beethoven presented him with a new oratorio and was deeply appreciated. When Count Ferdinand von Waldstein suggested that the Elector allow When Beethoven went to Vienna to study under Haydn for several months, he was approved by the Elector and allowed him to still receive his original salary during his trip. On November 1 of the same year, Beethoven left Bonn. On December 8, news of the death of Beethoven the Elder reached Vienna, and Beethoven’s two younger brothers had also moved to Vienna at that time. In 1794, the National Convention of the First French Republic, which was born after the French Revolution, believed that the Electorate of Cologne was the base camp of the French fugitive nobles, so they ordered the French revolutionary army to occupy Bonn, and the Elector was forced to go into exile in the United States. Inz, finally unable to afford Beethoven’s original salary. Correspondingly, the personal dependence between Beethoven and the elector came to an end. Since then, Beethoven never set foot on his homeland again.