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26 November 2021, 12:14
Für Elise, if it had been written 200 years later…
In a viral TikTok video, pianist Alexander Joseph transforms Beethoven’s 1810 keyboard miniature into an ambient, 21st-century piano work, with flowing arpeggiated passages and chromatic harmony placing it firmly in the Einaudi soundworld.
Using the Italian composer-pianist’s best-loved melody ‘Nuvole Bianche’ as a starting point, Joseph turns ‘Für Elise’ into a dreamlike piano work that would be equally suited to a moody film score.
“What if Beethoven’s Fur Elise… had been written by Ludovico Einaudi?” Joseph asks his 68,000 TikTok followers.
His tricks, Joseph adds, are to add a “2/8 bar for momentum build”. And then, at the end of the piece, to “repeat [the] phrase with added arpeggios and development”.
Ludovico Einaudi is one of the world’s most streamed classical artists and composers, composing award-winning film scores, releasing chart-topping albums, and selling out concert halls across the world.
Best known for his simple, contemplative piano works, Einaudi once described his own music as “in search of maximum intensity, with the bare minimum”.
Joseph reposted this clip in celebration of one year since he went viral, with the reimagining.
After hoards of TikTok-ers begged for a full version of ‘Für Elise Reimagined’, Joseph published a longer take in February 2021 on YouTube. He also released it across streaming platforms, and started selling the sheet music for his arrangement on his website.
But what would the great German Romantic have thought of his tinkered piece?
“I had a chat with Beethoven, he was cool with it,” Joseph says. Zehr gut.
Discover Beethoven’s extraordinary life and music in ‘Beethoven: the Man Revealed’ with John Suchet on Global Player.