View Full Version : Care to comment

11-14-2000, 05:25 AM
I would be interested in any comments on this quote from Serge Ioan Celibidache the son of the late conductor Sergiu Celibidache.
"According to my father, the correct tempo of a piece cannot be determined by a metronome marking but, rather depends on other criteria in the score and, of course, on the acoustics of a particular hall. This tempo fluctates according to the complexity of the notes played (and heard) and their epiphenomena (the secondary sounds resulting from the division of the main note after being played on any instrument). In short, the more notes(and consequently more epiphenomena), the more time needed for them to develop and to be "digested" acoustically. Thus, the richer the music, the slower the tempo."

11-14-2000, 06:49 PM
I think that is right Kevin - it is not as black and white as Crotchet=80. The acoustics in a hall definitely make a difference to what the ear can digest. Some musicians of course are blindly unaware of this fact happily rattle through their pieces as though they were practising at home rather than performing in a Church Hall - the result - A complete Blur !

'Man know thyself'

11-14-2000, 08:32 PM
Broadly I would also agree. But when a piece is in general totally mis-interpreted then the metronome can act as a guide - I believe Beethoven's enthusiasm for the instrument was due to this factor. I believe B's metronome marks apply in general only to the first few bars - this would be enough to convey the nature of the piece without forcing a stranglehold of ridgid tempo throughout - on one occasion, at least, B indicated this was the case. On the otherhand, fluctuations in tempo should not be so great to undermine the forward momentum - regardless of the accoustic. Generally I like a fairly constant tempo with Beethoven, but not robotically so.

Rubato, in my opinion should be used only an occasional effect with Beethoven, and not used constantly as is often the case in practice (even with some 'authentic' performances). Frankly it's used too often without justification to my ears.


"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin