How Slow Can You Go?

Aug 20, 2012
Originally published on September 18, 2012 3:55 pm

These are the dog days of summer. It's dry. The sun is hot. Vacations are lingering. All good reasons to slow it down a notch. Time to leaf through that slow-food cookbook for a good recipe. Time slow down the music too — to channel your inner adagio molto.

But how slow is too slow? Tempos are crucial in classical music. Play Chopin's funeral march too fast and it sounds like you're at a fiesta; conduct the famous Allegretto from Beethoven's Seventh Symphony too slowly and it can collapse under its own weight.

Below are examples of musicians who take the idea of slow to new and fascinating extremes. Have a few favorites in the "how slow can you go" department? One of ours is conductor Sergiu Celibidache, who late in life embraced his inner snail. Let us know yours — but don't rush — in the comments section.

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