Talk:Symphony No. 5

Metronome markings in Symphony No. 5

As a result of this earlier discussion, I've created an artificial audio file to illustrate how the first movement would sound if Tchaikovsky's metronome markings were followed. I was very surprised to find that I have never heard the main theme played at this speed, or even anywhere close, and my first thought was that I must have misread the metronome marking of the Allegro con anima (crotchet = 104), but it's marked correctly in the first edition and all subsequent editions I've come across. The effect of taking this tempo literally is to completely change the character of the movement, from the lugubrious funeral march we usually hear, to a brisk and forward-thrusting main theme (from 1:54 in the recording, after the slow introduction).

The total playing time for the movement, taken strictly at Tchaikovsky's tempo markings, is 11:47. It would be very interesting to know if there are any recordings that are anywhere close to that speed.

With the usual disclaimers and apologies for the limitations of artificial audio, you can listen to the audio file here (17Mb).

Brett Langston
First posted in the Tchaikovsky Forum on 7 July 2011]