The Morgan Library & Museum owns part of an original sketch of Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Piano Sonata. In the margin, the British publisher Vincent Novello writes that the document was given to him by “Mrs. Streiker” — “one of Beethoven’s oldest and most sincere friends.”
Nannette Streicher’s marginalized place in history is encapsulated in these scribbled lines. While she was indeed one of the closest friends of Beethoven, whose 250th birthday will be celebrated this December, she was also one of the finest piano builders in Europe. She owned her own company — employing her husband, Andreas Streicher, a pianist and teacher, to handle sales, bookkeeping and business correspondence. But many Beethoven scholars, perhaps finding it inconceivable that an 18th-century woman could build a piano, have turned Andreas into the manufacturer and Nannette into his shadowy helpmate. Full story.
Patricia Morrisroe (The New York Times) / November 6, 2020