Video Pick of the Week: Valérie Duchâteau Play’s Beethoven’s ‘Für Elise’

Beethoven’s Für Elise is, along with the Moonlight Sonata, among the most-learned and -performed classical piano pieces, so it’s not surprising that it found its way into the classical-guitar repertoire—not to mention nearly every other instrument you’d care to name. It’s deceptively simple, but on guitar actually requires some difficult finger stretches and, once it moves beyond the flowing main motif, a few challenging faster passages. The piece’s actual title is Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor, written in 1810, but not published until 1867, 40 years after Beethoven’s death. There appears to be some dispute over who the dedicatee, “Elise,” was; a few theories are offered in the work’s Wikipedia entry.

This “Pick of the Week” version is by the fine French guitarist Valérie Duchâteau, a prodigy from southern France who studied with Alexandre Lagoya before she was a teen, later attended the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris, and has enjoyed a long career that includes a dozen album releases since her first in 1995, method books/DVDs, and regular appearances around France and other countries. (Upcoming appearances can be found here.) Lettre à Elise is obviously the French title of this German work.