Monday, April 27, 2009

For Elise

On this day in 1810, the German composer, Ludwig Van Beethoven gave to the world this simple and sweet piano piece, "Fur Elise". I'm sure you recognize the tune, you hear it everywhere, from hold music to commercials on tv. But, do you know the story behind the tune? "Fur Elise "can be simply translated to "For Elise". Who is Elise, you ask? We're not sure. There are many speculations that Elise was mis-read (Beethoven apparently had messy handwriting) as Therese. Therese Malfatti was one of Beethoven's piano students around the time this piece was written. He proposed marriage to the young Therese, but she declined. The research shows that there was no Elise in Beethoven's life, but there could have been one, we'll just never know.

If you'd like to learn more about Beethoven, check out some books or look at our databases. You can even check out a CD or LP with this lovely tune. Here's a select few items on Beethoven:

Diagnosing Genius: the Life and Death of Beethoven

Beethoven: the Universal Composer

Ludwig van Beethoven: an Essential Guide to his Life and Works

The easy classical fake book: melody, lyrics and simplified chords

Bach. Beethoven. Brahms.

Baby Beethoven
(sound recording)

Favourite Beethoven (sound recording)

(facts from Encyclopedia Britannica, image from NYPL Digital Gallery)

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