Discussion:
tempos and tempo markings
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William Sommerwerck
2014-12-31 12:37:24 UTC
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The argument about Beethoven's metronome markings prompts this post.

Has anyone considered that Beethoven might have read the tempo at the wrong
(faster) end of the weight?

I'm more than ever convinced that most composers wanted their works to be
performed more briskly than they commonly are. (We know as fact that this was
true of Wagner.) The tendency toward slower tempi seems partly the result of
conductors getting older, and partly because conductors want "profound"
performances -- though I've never heard a slow performance that automatically
came out as "profound".

Dausgaard's Schumann cycle was revelatory. A small orchestra could negotiate
hairpin musical turns at high speed -- and the result was a thrilling
experience that did not trivialize the music. Ditto for Paavo Jarvi's
Beethoven.
gggg gggg
2021-01-01 23:39:03 UTC
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Post by William Sommerwerck
The argument about Beethoven's metronome markings prompts this post.
Has anyone considered that Beethoven might have read the tempo at the wrong
(faster) end of the weight?
I'm more than ever convinced that most composers wanted their works to be
performed more briskly than they commonly are. (We know as fact that this was
true of Wagner.) The tendency toward slower tempi seems partly the result of
conductors getting older, and partly because conductors want "profound"
performances -- though I've never heard a slow performance that automatically
came out as "profound".
Dausgaard's Schumann cycle was revelatory. A small orchestra could negotiate
hairpin musical turns at high speed -- and the result was a thrilling
experience that did not trivialize the music. Ditto for Paavo Jarvi's
Beethoven.
https://boingboing.net/2021/01/01/the-mystery-of-beethovens-metronome.html
dk
2021-01-02 21:45:52 UTC
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Post by William Sommerwerck
The argument about Beethoven's metronome markings prompts this post.
Has anyone considered that Beethoven might have read the tempo at the
wrong (faster) end of the weight?
I'm more than ever convinced that most composers wanted their works to be
performed more briskly than they commonly are. (We know as fact that this was
true of Wagner.) The tendency toward slower tempi seems partly the result of
conductors getting older, and partly because conductors want "profound"
performances -- though I've never heard a slow performance that automatically
came out as "profound".
You seem to ignore the fact modern concert halls have very different
acoustics than the halls built during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Post by William Sommerwerck
Dausgaard's Schumann cycle was revelatory. A small orchestra could negotiate
hairpin musical turns at high speed -- and the result was a thrilling
experience that did not trivialize the music. Ditto for Paavo Jarvi's
Beethoven.
Audiences do not really care about metronomes and literal fidelity
to the score. If it doesn't sound good, who cares about "correctness"?

No one cares about Beethoven's "opinions" of how his own music
should be performed.

dk
MiNe109
2021-01-03 16:02:46 UTC
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Post by dk
Post by William Sommerwerck
The argument about Beethoven's metronome markings prompts this post.
Has anyone considered that Beethoven might have read the tempo at the
wrong (faster) end of the weight?
I'm more than ever convinced that most composers wanted their works to be
performed more briskly than they commonly are. (We know as fact that this was
true of Wagner.) The tendency toward slower tempi seems partly the result of
conductors getting older, and partly because conductors want "profound"
performances -- though I've never heard a slow performance that automatically
came out as "profound".
You seem to ignore the fact modern concert halls have very different
acoustics than the halls built during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Post by William Sommerwerck
Dausgaard's Schumann cycle was revelatory. A small orchestra could negotiate
hairpin musical turns at high speed -- and the result was a thrilling
experience that did not trivialize the music. Ditto for Paavo Jarvi's
Beethoven.
Audiences do not really care about metronomes and literal fidelity
to the score. If it doesn't sound good, who cares about "correctness"?
No one cares about Beethoven's "opinions" of how his own music
should be performed.
I'm glad this is finally settled after six years! For big band in a big
hall closer to Beethoven's metronome mark performances, turn to Chailly
and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
gggg gggg
2021-01-03 17:35:24 UTC
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Post by dk
Post by William Sommerwerck
The argument about Beethoven's metronome markings prompts this post.
Has anyone considered that Beethoven might have read the tempo at the
wrong (faster) end of the weight?
I'm more than ever convinced that most composers wanted their works to be
performed more briskly than they commonly are. (We know as fact that this was
true of Wagner.) The tendency toward slower tempi seems partly the result of
conductors getting older, and partly because conductors want "profound"
performances -- though I've never heard a slow performance that automatically
came out as "profound".
You seem to ignore the fact modern concert halls have very different
acoustics than the halls built during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Post by William Sommerwerck
Dausgaard's Schumann cycle was revelatory. A small orchestra could negotiate
hairpin musical turns at high speed -- and the result was a thrilling
experience that did not trivialize the music. Ditto for Paavo Jarvi's
Beethoven.
Audiences do not really care about metronomes and literal fidelity
to the score. If it doesn't sound good, who cares about "correctness"?
No one cares about Beethoven's "opinions" of how his own music
should be performed.
dk
According to this:

- Most revealing were the metronome indications, several of which are frequently disregarded. These are of great importance in determining the character of movements as a whole and of various sections. Some have consistently been decried as unplayably fast, although Beethoven characterized correct realization of his tempi as “extremely necessary”.

https://www.classical-scene.com/2017/03/28/beethovens-ninth-tempi/
gggg gggg
2021-01-03 17:45:21 UTC
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Post by gggg gggg
Post by dk
Post by William Sommerwerck
The argument about Beethoven's metronome markings prompts this post.
Has anyone considered that Beethoven might have read the tempo at the
wrong (faster) end of the weight?
I'm more than ever convinced that most composers wanted their works to be
performed more briskly than they commonly are. (We know as fact that this was
true of Wagner.) The tendency toward slower tempi seems partly the result of
conductors getting older, and partly because conductors want "profound"
performances -- though I've never heard a slow performance that automatically
came out as "profound".
You seem to ignore the fact modern concert halls have very different
acoustics than the halls built during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Post by William Sommerwerck
Dausgaard's Schumann cycle was revelatory. A small orchestra could negotiate
hairpin musical turns at high speed -- and the result was a thrilling
experience that did not trivialize the music. Ditto for Paavo Jarvi's
Beethoven.
Audiences do not really care about metronomes and literal fidelity
to the score. If it doesn't sound good, who cares about "correctness"?
No one cares about Beethoven's "opinions" of how his own music
should be performed.
dk
- Most revealing were the metronome indications, several of which are frequently disregarded. These are of great importance in determining the character of movements as a whole and of various sections. Some have consistently been decried as unplayably fast, although Beethoven characterized correct realization of his tempi as “extremely necessary”.
https://www.classical-scene.com/2017/03/28/beethovens-ninth-tempi/
According to this:

- ...Respect for the metronome – whose markings were considered, for perhaps a century, to be crazy.

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/features/article/beethoven-s-symphony-no-9-introduced-by-riccardo-chailly
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