The topic of early metronome markings has always been a long-standing puzzle for musicians and scholars. Conductors and performers face the difficult task of interpreting tempi indications of works of the nineteenth century, with metronome markings that occasionally seem incorrect according to our modern standards. The “A Tempo Project,” a video project by Swiss pianist, composer, and organist Bernhard Ruchti, includes useful analyses of scores and musicological sources such as historical performance reviews, correspondence, original manuscript notations, and recordings of the studied works. Ruchti illustrates how different readings of tempi indications have impacted historical performance and attempts to explain the wide range of metronome marking interpretations. Taken as a whole, Ruchti’s work helps shed light on the complicated and ever-timely problem of historical metronome markings.
Journal of the American Liszt Society
Volume 70-71 2019-2020 – April 2021