Beethoven : Fur Elise, WoO 59

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Für Elise, WoO 59 -- Urtext

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Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770-1827)
Sheet music for : Piano

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Für Elise, WoO 59 -- Urtext

Fur Elise - Klavierstück in A moll - Keyboard piece in A minor - Bagatelle 25 - Albumblatt

This famous piano piece entitled Für Elise, WoO 59 is certainly one of Beethoven's most famous works for solo piano.

It was first published in 1867 under the title Klavierstück in A moll [Keyboard Piece in A minor].

However, the autograph bears the title Für Elise am 27 April 1810 zur Erinnerung von L. v. Beethoven [For Elise on April 27, 1810, as a remembrance of L. v. Beethoven].

Beethoven scholars do not know for certain who this Elise was.

The most probable theory is that Beethoven originally entitled his work Für Therese, for Therese Malfatti von Rohrenbach zu Dezza (1792-1851), whom Beethoven intended to marry in 1810 but who declined his proposal.

Upon first publication of the work, its discoverer Ludwig Nohl may have mistranscribed the title as Für Elise. The autograph has been lost.

The piece is written in 3/8 time and has the following musical form :
  • Measures 1-8 : Phrase 1 of the theme in A minor, a quiet melody played by the right hand accompanied by arpeggios in the left hand
  • Measures 9-14 : Phrase 2 of the theme, in C Major
  • Measures 15-22 : Phrase 1 returns in A minor
  • Measures 23-37 : Contrasting section in F major, modulating to C Major and back to A minor
  • Measures 38-58 : Theme returns (phrases 1-2-1)
  • Measures 59-81 : Contrasting agitated section set over a pedal point on A and ending in arpeggios and a chromatic descent
  • Measures 82-end : Theme returns(phrases 1-2-1)
Please note that scholars do not agree as to whether there should be a D or an E in measure 7 (second note, right hand) and in subsequent similar passages.

However, most modern editions show a D, as we do here.

We suggest performing the ornaments (here : appoggiaturas and a turn) in accordance with the performance practice of the Classical period :
  • Measure 23 : double appogiatura : must start ON the beat
  • Measure 26 : appogiatura : must start on the beat and take half the value of the following note
  • Measure 29 : a turn can be added here
Note also that in measure 74, some editions show an E instead of an F in the second chord of the right hand. As Beethoven's sketch is unclear, we agree with most modern editions and show an F here.

Duration : 02:53

Source : Ludwig van Beethoven, Miscellaneous Piano Pieces.

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