Classical

"Für Elise" by Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven, who was known for illegible writing, inscribed the handwritten manuscript with the phrase, “For Elise,” which has been attributed to Elisabeth Röckel, a noted musician and friend of Beethoven’s. But many have asserted that the transcriber misread Beethoven’s scribbling, and that the dedication was actually, “For Therese.”

"Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky as part of his ballet, “The Nutcracker.” It was premiered at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in 1892. It had only modest success at first, but has since become deeply woven into the fabric of music and dance, in addition to appearances in animation, video games, and a host of other media. The New York City Ballet produced George Balanchine’s staged reinterpretation in 1954 and has done so for every Christmas season since, to houses packed particularly with parents bringing their children to see the grand two-hour spectacle.

"Air on the G String" by J.S. Bach

In 1717, Johann Sebastian Bach was working for Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen, the German prince of the House of Ascania. Bach was the prince’s music director. Bach composed his Orchestral Suite No. 3 in honor of Leopold, around 1731. The second movement, entitled, “Air,” was further popularized in 1884 when violinist August Wilhelmj arranged it for piano and violin.