A Mysterious Love: Beethoven’s "Fur Elise"
Mention this piece to anyone, and they will recognize it. People may not know the details or the story about this song/piano piece, but everyone has heard of this tune even once. For piano players, it is the most used and performed even in the classes.
Fur Elise is one of the most recognized works of the great Ludwig van Beethoven.
The full and original name of Für Elise is Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor, a piece for solo piano. The name is in German and translated into English as "For Elise." It is one of the most enduring and popular compositions of Ludwig van Beethoven'(1770-1827). The date of its composition is April 1810. It was published in 1867 by Ludwig Nohl decades after Beethoven’s death. As for the "Elise," in the title, three women are rumored to be the namesake of this piece. They are Elisabeth Röckel, Therese Malfatti, or Elise Barensfeld. There is a belief that "Elise" is Therese Malfatti, but a mistranslation of the title misaligned it to its supposed original title "Für Therese."
The first edition of the piece appeared in Nohl's publication Neue Briefe Beethovens (New letters by Beethoven), decades after Beethoven's death. It was declared authentic and but is now lost. There is an early and later version of this piece. The early version, transcribed by Nohl, is the one being used and heard today. The later version, transcribed by Barry Cooper, has a much different accompaniment.
The song is a love song but is written in a minor key. The tune comes off as a sad, haunting, melancholy, and dark – a contrast to the theme of the song. Due to this song's popularity in Beethoven's time, the word "Elise" was used to show a sweetheart or lover.