How Fast did Mozart and Beethoven Really Play?

Fasten your seat belts. Beethoven, Czerny, Moscheles, Chopin,… the 17th/18th c. French composers and academics, left us thousands exact indications of the exact tempi they had in mind for their music. It is almost like we have a CD recording of Beethoven… And yet, today, almost nobody takes that information serious. Often these numbers are so insanely fast, that it makes sense at first to just ignore that information once and for all. At best some musicologist insist on just practicing a bit harder…easy to say, but the world would have been flooded by recordings in the “original tempi” if they were technically possible to realize. Thing is that many of those metronome markings simply are out of reach, even to the greatest virtuosos of today. Doesn’t make sense if you think that Czerny wrote his opus 299 for students. And yet we know that those metronome numbers were meant to be played exactly, they are not just an ‘ideal reach’. And no… their metronomes were not broken…So what’s the point we are missing here?