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Which Andante sounds better to you: Wind Serenade in C minor


Which Andante sounds better to you?  

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  1. 1. Which Andante is at a better tempo?

    • Recordings 1 and 5, 90 BPM
    • The fastest of them all, Recording 4, 95 BPM
    • Middle of the road, Recording 3, 80 BPM
    • Almost an Adagio, Recording 2, 75 BPM

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Now, I know that this could lead to a disagreement on ensembles, so I won't ask which one of the ensembles sounds better. No, what I am asking is which Andante sounds better in terms of tempo. I have found several recordings of this Andante movement(some of which are actually recordings of the entire serenade that I have a clip of starting at the beginning of the Andante movement and some of which are recordings of just the Andante movement by itself) and they range widely in tempo. I am arranging this Wind Serenade in C minor for a piano duet, so having a good tempo for each of the movements is key to having a good arrangement(obviously if I have the Andante too fast or too slow, it could spell confusion or worse for the piano duet that I am arranging the piece for).

Here is what I have found to be the best sounding recording of the serenade to my ears in terms of the ensemble:


I used this recording of the entire serenade as a basis for the Allegro movement's tempo in my arrangement(which is half note = 80 BPM, a fast Allegro, but still an Allegro nonetheless). As for the Andante movement, it feels to me like it is around 90 BPM in this recording. That is around the fastest tempo that I hear in pieces that are marked Andante and it is pretty close to your average Moderato in BPM.

And here in contrast is what I think is the slowest recording I have found of this same movement:


Tempo is about 75 BPM in this recording. It is so slow, that it sounds more like an Adagio or even a Larghetto than an Andante. When I think Andante, I think walking tempo, not snail's pace tempo.


The Andante feels almost as fast in this third recording as in the first one, but when I actually count the beats(which is easier for me to do when I see a conductor conducting the piece than when I just see the performers or don't see the performers at all), I get a tempo that is much closer to the second recording. The tempo I get is around 80 BPM. Clearly this feels more like an Andante than the Adagio-like second recording.


I hear a bit of rubato in this one(which I don't usually hear in a Mozart recording, usually the earliest composer I hear with rubato is Beethoven, particularly in pieces like Beethoven's Fifth, where I can definitely hear a slowing down as the recapitulation of the first movement starts up), but the average tempo I get for the Andante in this recording is 95 BPM, so actually faster than the first recording. This is another one that is of the entire serenade.


This recording is another Mozart recording with rubato in it and it is another recording of the full serenade. The tempo I get for this Andante is about 90 BPM, the same as with the first recording. The canonic Minuet though, in this recording, I feel that it is too slow. It feels more like a slow movement than the Andante in this recording, which just isn't right, considering that the tempo marking for the Minuet is non-existent(which gets across the same thing as having a tempo marking of Tempo di Minuetto). Heck, even the ending Theme and Variations is unusually slow in this recording(though not as much as the Minuet).

But I'm not asking about the Minuet movement. I just thought I would mention it, because it is an oddity that I noticed listening to these different recordings, having the Minuet slower than the Andante, especially considering that it is a Mozart piece.

So which Andante movement feels like it is at a better tempo to you?

Edited by caters
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I think the 4th, the one that has some rubato, is the better sounding, maybe is the afination that feels a little low (correct me if not), or the softer timbre of the instruments, but it feels like an early romantic composition, most than a mid classical.

That's the thing with the classical tempo markings, they don't refer only to the speed, most of the tempo markings also refer to the overal feeling of the piece. the classical tempo markings are very relative, for example Beethoven's pathetique is marked allegro, which is around 140 to 155 BPM, but  most of the time it is played in 170 which is presto.

Mozart marked the second movement as andante, that opens a lot of possibilities in the interpretation, just andante, in the classical era, was used to mark tempos around 78 and 108, so it has a pretty wide "window" of speed.

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