Beethoven's 5th: Do we still hear his Message Today?

Beethoven’s 5th: Do we still hear his Message Today?

Beethoven’s fifth symphony is probably the world’s most well-known classical music piece. But are we indeed familiar with the original version? Do we still play his famous symphony today in correlation with the notation Beethoven used? Let’s see if we can reconstruct the master’s intentions here. You may be surprised of the outcome!

schumann godowsky

Schumann’s “incomprehensible lack” of tempo judgment

Famous pianist Godowski wrote in his 1915 edition of Schumann’s Kinderscenen that Schumann had “an incomprehensible lack of judgment in deciding the speed of every number”. In other words: a great composer, but a musical ignorant…? We may not say or write these kind of things anymore but… we still act in our performances accordingly, not paying attention to Schumann’s carefully given metronome numbers.
Let’s dive into this fascinating subject together and, really first time here on the channel, I’ll demonstrate some pieces on my 1866 Erard piano.

Beethoven, Piano Sonata n°3 (1) in Czerny's tempo : Wim Winters, clavichord

Beethoven, Piano Sonata n°3 (1) in Czerny’s tempo : Wim Winters, clavichord

“Beethoven Like You’ve Never Heard Before”, as the title of a popular Beethoven video goes. Perhaps it’s true for this version as well. His Pianosonata n°3, Opus 10/3 in C Major, played according to what Carl Czerny (and Ignaz Moscheles) gave as their tempi.