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Appendix to “How Fast Shall We Play?”

by Martin Saving

The following metronome markings for Beethoven’s late quartets might be of interest to some of you; As mentioned in the blog post “How Fast Shall We Play?”, Beethoven never provided metronome markings for his last quartets, but Rudoph Kolisch, one of the most prominent chamber musicians of the 20th century, and also an academic and a teacher, analysed more or less all of Beethoven’s music, and the relationship between Beethoven’s metronome markings, his tempo indications and the nature of the music, and came up with the following provisional suggestions:

 

Op. 127

 

Allegro (3/4) Crotchet = 168

Adagio, ma non troppo e molto cantabile (12/8) Dotted crotchet = 30

Scherzando vivace (3/4) Crotchet = 200

Finale (Alla breve) Minim = 120

 

Op. 130, Op. 133

 

Allegro (C) Crotchet = 126

Presto (Alla breve) Minim = 184

Andante con moto, ma non troppo. Poco scherzoso (C) Crotchet = 63

Alla danza tedesca. Allegro assai (3/8) Dotted crotchet = 72

Cavatina. Adagio molto espressivo (3/4) Crotchet = 36

Grosse Fuge. Overtura. Allegro (6/8) Dotted crotchet = 144-152

Meno mosso e moderato (2/4)     Crotchet = 100

Allegro (C) Crotchet = 144-152

Meno mosso e moderato (2/4) Crotchet = 96

Allegro molto e con brio (6/8) Dotted crotchet = 152

Finale. Allegro (2/4) Crotchet = 120

 

Op. 131


Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo (Alla breve) Minim = 30

Allegro molto vivace (6/8) Dotted crotchet = 152

Allegro moderato (C) “senza tempo”

Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile (2/4) Crotchet = 56

Presto (Alla breve) Semi-breve = 132

Adagio quasi un poco andante (3/4) Crotchet = 60

Allegro (Alla breve) Minim = 120

 

Op. 132


Allegro (C) Crotchet = 126

Allegro ma non tanto (3/4) Dotted minim = 72

Canzona di ringraziamento. Molto adagio (C) Crotchet = 30

Alla Marcia, assai vivace (C) Crotchet = 168

Allegro appasionato (3/4) Crotchet = 180

 

Op. 135


Allegretto (2/4) Crotchet = 84

Vivace (3/4) Dotted minim = 108

Lento assai, cantate e tranquillo (6/8) Dotted crotchet = 24

Allegro (Alla breve) Minim = 132

 

 

Source: “Tempo and Character in Beethoven’s Music” (Kolisch) (Published in “The Musical Quaterly” 1993, Volume 77, Number 2)

 

 

 

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