Quarter note equals 59.225 beats per minute. That remains the oddest metronome marking I’ve encountered in my admittedly short career. The reason Tom Johnson used that tempo for An Hour for Piano is easy enough to deduce–he wrote a piece that was 3,553.5 beats long and wanted it to have a final duration of exactly one hour (3553.5 beats / 60 min = 59.225 bpm)–but to understand why the tempo remains unwavering and why an hour is important, we have to turn to the man himself.
Andy Lee on recording Tom Johnson’s An Hour for Piano, which should be exactly 60 minutes long. Fascinating stuff. It’s a wonderful piece of music too.
You can also read my interview with Andy Lee.