chapter  14
Historical performance, metronome marks and tempo in Beethoven’s symphonies
ByClive Brown
Pages 10

In the article on Performing Practice for New Grove, Howard Mayer Brown observed: A good performance of Beethoven's Sonata op.17 played on a natural horn and a piano of the period provides a quite different aural experience from one played on modern instruments. In the matter of Beethoven's metronome marks there seems at first sight to be little difference between the various conductors. In their respective booklets the Hanover Band and the London Classical Players announce their intention to observe these marks closely. The circumstances in which Beethoven worked out metronome marks for the Ninth Symphony were brilliantly investigated by Stadien in 1967, when he came firmly to the conclusion that the marks were wrong. Rather than casting doubt on the reliability of Beethoven's markings in general, it may be more fruitful to look at their degree of self-consistency and to see what light this may shed on the disputed metronome marks in the Ninth Symphony.