Posts categorized “Music and Love”


Did Beethoven compose Fur Elise for his Valentine?

There are many secrets and rumors about Beethoven’s love life. He loved to flirt, had many lovers (both real and fantasies), and often used “pet names.”A fascinating unanswered question  is,”Who was Elise?”
One suggestion is that in 1809 Beethoven fell in love with a beautiful eighteen-year-old student named Therese Malfatti. He believed the esteem Therese (Elise) held for him was reciprocated love. Beethoven had fantasies of marriage to this young girl, and because of this had requested his required birth certificate from Bonn.

Why Didn’t Beethoven Marry Therese Malfatti (Elise)?

In 1810 Beethoven was invited to the Malfatti household for a party thrown by Therese’s father.  Beethoven was planning to play a bagatelle he had composed for Therese, then propose marriage to her. Unfortunately he got so drunk that night that he didn’t play the piano or propose. He managed to write Therese’s name on the title page of the music. He wrote  ” Fur Therese ”  in almost illegible writing. On Therese’s death the manuscript was found and published as “Fur Elise.”

Was Beethoven’s Close Friend, Elisabeth Roeckel, “Elise?”

Elisabeth Roeckel and Beethoven were close friends – perhaps more than just friends. She was also a  pianist and later became a singer. She was known in her circle of friends as “Elise.” In 1810 she and Beethoven were separated when she traveled to Bamberg to work in theater.  There are rumors that  Beethoven dedicated the A-Minor piano piece “in the memory of” Elise because they were separated. Since Elisabeth Roeckel was referred to in the dedication as “Elise” and not the more formal “Fraeulein Roeckel,” she must have known Beethoven well.

Beethoven Loved to Flirt

Elise (Elizabeth Roeckel) wrote about Beethoven’s teasing. “Beethoven, true to his frisky disposition,  pinched me out of sheer affection. I didn’t know what to do.” This wasn’t the end of their friendship, however. A few days before his death in 1827, she visited him. She cut off a lock of his hair and accepted one of his quills to remember him.

Was There Another Elise?

We can only guess who was the inspiration for Beethoven’s  famous piece. Elise was a very common name in Vienna at that time, so he may have dedicated Fur Elise to another woman.  We still enjoy the music, and every student longs to get to a level where they can play Fur Elise.
Listen to the beginning of Fur Elise played on the harp. Find Fur Elise & click.

Who do you think is the real “Elise?”








I Left My Harp in San Francisco

Romantic and Relaxing Harp Music Enhances Listeners’ Experience;
Yet Being the Harpist Can Be Exciting!

On a very busy weekend I got a call from someone who said that he and his wife were going to spend the night at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. They had stayed there the night of their wedding 10 years before. To add to the romance of the occasion, he wanted to surprise his wife the next morning with harp music. I was glad to accept such a delightful gig.

Early Saturday morning I loaded my big concert harp in the car and drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco. After unloading the harp I left it in the lobby of the Fairmont, drove to a nearby parking garage, and walked back to the hotel. I then wheeled my harp around many hallways and rode up an elevator to reach the couple’s room. The husband came to the door and motioned for me to bring the harp in. His wife was ecstatic.

I serenaded them for an hour as they had breakfast, taking many requests. When it was time for me to go, they asked if I would play I Left My Heart In San Francisco. The wife had tears in her eyes as I played the song, and she insisted that her husband buy one of my CD’s before I left.

Feeling happy I wheeled my harp into the elevator, and three more people entered to go down to the lobby. One of them said, “Oh, are we going to have elevator music?” “Of course,” I responded. So I gave them a relaxing little excerpt of “Fur Elise” on my harp (elevator music) on our journey down.

After wheeling my harp back around the various hallways I arrived again at the lobby. (I now understand what mice in a maze feel.) I left my harp against a wall in the lobby and walked the 1 ½ blocks to the parking garage, thinking about the morning’s events. After collecting my car and paying the fees, I proceeded to set off for home, still recalling the enchanting encounter with the romantic couple and the fun elevator music, then thinking ahead to the rest of the weekend and my other gigs.

As I approached the Golden Gate Bridge, I said to myself, “The weather is pleasant—about 70 degrees—so the harp will be fine in my car until I leave for the wedding this afternoon.” Then I thought, “Oh. I forgot to put the cover on the harp.” With that, reality struck! “Oh! … I left my harp in San Francisco!”

Fifteen minutes later the harp was safely in my car as I again approached the bridge, crossed, and headed home. In one morning I had experienced romance, nostalgia, panic, humiliation, relief, then humor—all in a very short space of time. The song, I Left My Heart In San Francisco, has taken on a new meaning for me!

To listen to some relaxing elevator music, or find something romantic, go to