Stuart's Spectacular Students

This is dedicated to my amazing students. The goal is for each and every one of them to feel unstoppable by the time they walk out of the classroom door for the final time in May. This chronicles their journey; their own Chronicles of Self-Actualization.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Beethoven ~ Fur Elise

Ludwig van Beethoven

(1770-1827) Unlike Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven was not considered to be a child prodigy. He was twenty-two years old when he first began to make an impression on the Viennese public as a virtuoso pianist. After the age of thirty, Beethoven became progressively deaf and was no longer able to perform. Beethoven's music seemed to reflect his personality -- chaotic and powerful. His chief works include numerous piano sonatas, string quartets, an opera, a mass, as well as nine symphonies. Symphony No. 5 is probably his most famous work.
Sample Works: "Moonlight Sonata" Symphony No. 5, 1st mvmt "Fur Elise"

"Written by the legendary composer Ludwig van Beethoven in 1810 and still surviving to serve as inspiration for thousands of people not least to take up the piano

Learning music is perhaps one of the most interesting and rewarding commitments you can make in life. The art of playing piano has been passed down for many, many generations and is hopefully a skill that will never be forgotten; because while there may well never be another Beethoven, Bach or Mozart, music remains the one thing that can speak to everyone. Whether you're just starting out, an experienced musician, a teacher that strives to share knowledge for countless hours a week, or simply one who pass on advice every now and then in a casual setting - thank you. The world is a better place with music

Brief History of the Piece

Für Elise (which is German for For Elise) was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven around 1810 when the composer was 40 years old and already firmly established as one of the greatest composers of all time. The piece is named Für Elise because a Beethoven researcher claimed to have seen this dedication on an old manuscript which has been missing since, and the name 'Elise' has been the cause of some speculation.

It's a well known fact that Beethoven didn't have any luck when it came to marriage. At the time the piece was written he was in love with Therese Malfatti who was one of several women to turn down his marriage proposal. Some scholars have speculated that the title was misread from 'Therese' to 'Elise' because of Beethoven's terrible handwriting, and that the piece was actually dedicated to Therese who was studying under the maestro at the time. This is quite a far stretch, and thus not a definitive answer to the riddle.

No known records, letters, or accounts from people at the time has any mention of an 'Elise' in Beethoven's life, but that doesn't mean there wasn't one. To expect that all aquaintances from 200 years ago can be accounted for is very unreasonable, especially when the subject is a man who increasingly withdrew himself from the world because of his deafness.

At least unless some new letters or documentation shows up, Elise will remain one of the many mysteries in the composer's life. Another is the famous letter that was discovered after his death in 1827 addressed only to his immortal beloved. Her identity has despite extensive research and speculation never been uncovered either, not that a connection beetween her and Elise is implied.

Other Theories

Another guess about the title is that 'Elise' was a name generally used to describe a sweetheart during Beethoven's time, and this piece was written with that in mind as a general song to all sweethearts. This is however not a very likely explanation either, and it doesn't fit well with Beethoven's composing and dedication history.

Whether Elise was misread, an unknown love or a woman who inspired Beethoven to write this piece, perhaps without them ever meeting, it remains one of many unsolved mysteries left entirely to your imagination. All we know is that even after several years Beethoven re-visited the piece, but it remained as sketches that where never released in his lifetime."


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