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Beethoven & that Danged Metronome (FREE)

 The tempo of a piece can change its entire character. Beethoven was notorious for his metronome markings, and this week we learn the big role those little numbers played. We'll also take a brief detour and examine how other composers worked with tempii. Bach, Handel, Shostakovich, and, of course, Beethoven feature. 

 
Program 1

Discover how changing a tempo can effect the entire character of piece, with Bach, Handel, and Beethoven.

Bach: Aria fr. Goldberg Variations (two excerpts)
Gould, p.
CBS 37779, Sony 87703
1:53, 1:33

Handel: Overture fr. Messiah (excerpt)
Royal Phil/Beecham
RCA LDS-6409
2:24

Handel: Overture fr. Messiah
Amsterdam Baroque/Koopman
Erato 2292-45433
3:07

Beethoven: Symphony No. 1, III
Vienna Phil/Furtwangler
EMI 47409
3:49

Beethoven: Symphony No. 2, I
Berlin Phil/Karajan
DG 429036
10:13

Beethoven: Symphony No. 2, I (excerpt), II, III, IV
London Classical Players/Norrington
EMI 47698
1:09, 9:59, 10:45

Program 2

In this segment we investigate how something as little as metronome marking can effect something as large as a  Beethoven Symphony, with an emphasis on his early work. 

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, I (excerpt)
Berlin Phil/Furtwangler
Tahra 1008
1:09

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, I
Vienna Phil/Bernstein
DG 413778
17:37

Beethoven: Symphony No. 4, I & IV (excerpts)
Bavarian Radio Symphony/Kleiber
Melo 40047
9:13, :19, :18

Beethoven: Symphony No. 4, IV (excerpt)
Vienna Phil/Furtwangler
EMI 47409
:21

Beethoven: Symphony No. 4, IV (excerpt + complete)
La Scala/Giulini
Sony 58921
:17, 7:44

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, I (excerpt)
Vienna Phil/Furtwangler
EMI 69803
1:00

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, I (excerpt)
Vienna Phil/Bernstein
DG 419435
1:01

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, I (excerpt)
Concertgebouw/E. Kleiber
:54

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, I
Vienna Phil/C. Kleiber
DG 415861
7:17

Program 3

We tackle metronome markings in Beethoven's piano concertos and symphonies.

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4, I (excerpt)
CSO/Stock; Schnabel, p.
RCA 09026-61393
:17

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4, I (excerpt + complete)
Cleveland Orch/Szell; Fleisher, p.
CBS 42445
:17, 17:59

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4, I (excerpt)
Cleveland Orch; Ashkenazy, p.
Lon 421718
:16

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, I (excerpt)
NBC Symphony Orch/Toscanini
RCA 74321 55836
1:17

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, I (excerpt)
Columbia Symphony/Walter
CBS 36720
1:13

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, I
Concertgebouw/Mengelberg
8:29

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 rehearsal (excerpt)
Columbia Symphony/Walter
Sony 64465
3:47

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7, I
Columbia Symphony/Walter
Sony 64463
12:58

Program 4

Bill gives the listener front row seats to the tug of war between composer and conductor when deciding on tempo. Shostakovich, Bernstein, and Beethoven feature. 

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5, finale
New York Phil/Bernstein
CBS 37218
8:53

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 finale (excerpt + complete)
Leningrad Phil/Mravinsky
Doremi 7811
:38, 11:00

Beethoven: Symphony No. 8
London Classical Players/Norrington
EMI 47698
25:13, 3:01

Program 5

In our final segment we zoom in on a single piece, Beethoven's 9th Symphony, and listen to excerpts at every tempo imaginable. 

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (excerpts)
CSO/Reiner
RCA 09026-61795
1:12, :25, :57

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (excerpts)
Vienna Phil/Furtwangler
DG 435325
1:12, 2:20, 24:47

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (excerpts)
London Classical Players/Norrington
Virgin Veritas 56137820
:50, :28, 1:10, 1:03

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (excerpts)
Vienna Phil/Rattle
EMI 7234 5 57450
1:08, 11:50

 

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