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Ludwig van Beethoven

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Ludwig van Beethoven was a prolific and music-history-altering composer. Today we celebrate his life on the anniversary of his baptism, which is the closest date we have to knowing his actual birth day.

Drawn portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven

I can remember, as a young pianist, that Beethoven’s Für Elise was the first “real” piece I learned to play outside of my Bastien Piano Method books. It begins with the right hand’s fifth and fourth fingers alternating—like a slow trill—between an E and D-sharp, giving way into the piece’s famous melodic line. It is, however, a much longer piece than its recognized melody, which is beautifully crafted into three contrasting sections. I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I learned the whole piece and memorized it. Now, my memory falters in the second and third sections, but the piece is still with me some eighteen years later.

I also learned Sonata No. 14, op. 27 no. 2, quasi una fantasia Moonlight,” the first movement, which quickly became my favorite piano work to play, and it still is my favorite. The composition is played in a low register on the piano’s keyboard. The right hand typically hovers around middle C. For about 7 minutes you spend your time working through arpeggiated chords, which invoke feelings of unrequited intensity.

I mention both Für Elise and Moonlight Sonata because they are two of Beethoven’s most well-known piano works, and they are two very popular music requests received in the Music Section. They can represent a pianistic milestone for many amateur pianists because they aren’t too difficult.

Check out the Music Section’s holdings for these two popular pieces (select items are listed below); it includes many versions of the same piece in multiple formats and collections, by various publishers. Then, when you’ve mastered these masters, give us a call or write us, and we’ll help you delve deeper into the pieces of Beethoven. There is something for everyone who enjoys late-classical early-romantic music styles.

Don’t forget that the Music Section has an abundant collection of music appreciation audio titles. I’ve included some selections about Beethoven below.

Individual song titles

(Für Elise)
BRM00057, published by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH), bar over bar format
BRM01122, published by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)(England), bar by bar format
BRM26297, published by the Stamperia Nazionale Braille (Italy), paragraph format
BRM03482, published by Howe Press of Perkins School for the Blind (United States), section by section format
(Moonlight Sonata)
BRM10078, published by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH), bar over bar format
BRM09320, published by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB)(England), bar by bar format
BRM26245, published by Stamperia Nazionale Braille (Italy), paragraph format
BRM28016, published by L’Association Valentin Haüy (France), section by section format

Large Print:
(Für Elise)
LPM00096, from Guild repertoire: Intermediate C: Piano Music Appropriate for the Auditions of the National Guild of Piano Teachers
(Moonlight Sonata)
LPM000125, G. Schirmer edition (New York), 1923

Digital Cartridge (audio):
(Für Elise)
DBM01773, taught by Bill Brown
(Moonlight Sonata)
DBM01775, taught by Bill Brown

Music appreciation (audio) titles

Digital Cartridge (audio):
DBM02513, Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, lecture by Robert Greenberg
DBM02435, Great Masters. Beethoven, His Life & Music, lecture by Robert Greenberg
DBM03625, Life and Works: Ludwig van Beethoven, by Jeremy Siepmann

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