September 5, 2009

Musicologist says he has found ‘Elise’

A German musicologist says he has figured out who was Elise in Beethoven's Fur Elise, one of the most famous dedications in classical music.

Klaus Martin Kopitz of Berlin says he stumbled onto the answer to the nearly 2-century-old mystery while researching a publication called Beethoven in the eyes of his contemporaries. Among the journals, letters, poems and memoirs he read, he found the mention of Elisabeth Roeckel, Deutche Welle reported Saturday.

She was the younger sister of Joseph Roeckel, who sang a lead in Ludwig van Beethoven's opera Fidelio and befriended the composer. Elisabeth, known familiarly as Elise, also was a singer and piano player. She moved to Bamburg to further her career and Koptiz believes Beethoven dedicated the A-Minor piece to her because they were separated by distance.

She wrote of Beethoven as a flirt and a friend in her journals. They remained friends until his death in 1827 at age 56.

Other musicologists have said the recipient of the dedication was Therese Malfatti, to whom Beethoven proposed in 1810. A draft of the manuscript was found among Malfatti's papers.

Kopitz believes Malfatti found the manuscript and Beethoven said it was dedicated to her when it wasn't.