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April 27

Beethoven

Arguably Beethoven’s best known work out of the hundreds of pieces he wrote, you can hear Für Elise in baby toys, movie soundtracks, commercials, you name it.

Ludwig van Beethoven, Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-29499

1810: Elise Who?
Beethoven composes Für Elise
We´ll never know who the great German composer and piano virtuoso Ludwig van Beethoven had in mind when he wrote this delicate piano composition that is instantly recognizable after just a few notes. While it’s known as For Elise in English, its formal name is Bagatelle in A minor (a bagatelle is a short, light piece of music usually written for piano). Für Elise was actually jotted down right on the paper Beethoven used.

Some scholars think the reference indicates Beethoven wrote it for one of his girlfriends, but others say the informal name is the result of a transcription goof, and in fact the piece was intended to be Für Therese (a woman Beethoven had really wanted to marry but never did). At any rate, Für Elise is a charming work.
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