The summer of 1822 proved to be extremely difficult for Beethoven financially. The costs for the upkeep of his nephew and servants as well as his household were high. His health was bad, so doctors' costs and a forthcoming stay in a spa consumed additional amounts of money. On top of this he had old debts with the publisher Steiner, who now demanded their repayment including interest. Beethoven had also incurred debts with his friend Franz Brentano in Frankfurt, as he had paid him an advance for acting as an agent for the Missa solemnis (which was neither finished nor even sold), as well as with the publisher Artaria in Vienna.
In desperation the composer turned to his brother Johann. Johann van Beethoven, the family's "financial genius" who was wealthy and very skilled in business matters, came to Ludwig's aid. He gave him cash and obviously stood security for him with Steiner, so that in the end Beethoven owed Johann 500 florins. But Johann van Beethoven was not wealthy because he was a sentimental businessman. And he knew his brother and his promises. Unlike publishers and friends he did not heed Ludwig's assurances but instead demanded copyright for several of his works, including the Bagatelles which Beethoven wanted to sell to the publisher Peters and which were later to become op. 119. As a result the unavoidable occurred: the brothers argued and had it out through different publishers. Johann tried to sell the Bagatelles, Ludwig tried to prevent this as he thought his brother was cheating him. Schemes and plots abounded, supposed intrigues were uncovered and hatched anew. Ludwig won: via his former pupil Ferdinand Ries, who lived in London, he sold the Bagatelles op. 119 to an English publisher. Once published they no longer had any business value for Johann. He did not, however, give up. To compensate Johann for the lost money, Ludwig had to provide a replacement. As he did not have any money, he provided compensation in the form of a new cycle of six Bagatelles op. 126, which he composed in spring 1824. On 19 June 1824 he told his brother that they were ready for collection.