In modern times (after recording a melody/song was possible) we have a fair idea on how the original composer imagined his composition to be played (most often he would be the one recording/mastering it).
What about in older times when no recording was possible, were there any notations or instructions on music sheets, or accompanying material, where the composer would describe the approach his music should have when played?
I understand there are multiple musical notations on intensity, speed, sustain etc but my question is more about "sentimental" instructions. Like Wagner e.g describing the intended way for "Ride of the Valkyries" to be played is as "all hell broke loose and coming to get you" or Beethoven noting that "Moonlight Sonata" should be interpreted as the "sadness embracing you while watching something beautiful and calm"...
EDIT: Do we know of any such original composer notes/material? I can see an example herein the video description ""effect that matches the performance instructions, which are to play each piece "painfully", "sadly" or "gravely".""