On this day in 1810, the famous German composer Ludwig van Beethoven composed his piano piece Für Elise. Over the course of his life the deaf musician composed nine symphonies, five piano concertos, thirty-two piano sonatas and sixteen string quartets. This piece was not published until 1867, long after Beethoven’s death, as the manuscript had been lost. However when it was recovered, Beethoven’s manuscript for the composition was dated 27th April 1810. Für Elise translates as ‘For Elise’, and scholars have long debated the identity of the woman who inspired Beethoven to write this beautiful piece.
It is now one of the most famous piano pieces of all time and one of Beethoven’s best known works. Every adult or child who begins to learn how to play the piano remembers this tune and hopes that a way down the line they will be able to play Für Elise. This piece is also particularly remarkable as it came towards the end of Beethoven’s life when he was almost certainly completely deaf, or at least heavily impaired. It is a true testament to his genius that he could compose such a piece without ever being able to hear it out loud; that is what makes Beethoven one of the greats.