Ah! What great music! What strains genius! His music is itself inspiration.
But what inspired him?
Many of us know or learned to play Beethoven's simple elegant air, Fur Elise. In my head, I see my sister passionately tapping it out...nah-nah nah-nah nah-nah ba da um...
It was written for Elise...but who was she? This inscription was said to be seen on a lost original manuscript. Was it misread and perhaps said, "Therese," the composer's sweetheart at the time? The piece was written around 1810, when Beethoven was becoming increasingly reclusive as his hearing faded, hence what other acquaintances could he have had with the name Elise? There was an opera singer, Elisabeth Röckel, who married a friend of Beethoven's. Their daughter was called for her mother, who records show might have been called Elise in Vienna. But no one really knows.
Beethoven's inspiration is as enigmatic as the Mona Lisa's smile, yet they continue to inspire us. What other famous icons remain mysterious? Do you have any favorites?