Howard Shelley (piano)
This is the second volume in a complete chronological survey of the Clementi sonatas which we hope to complete in six ’2 for the price of 1’ double CD sets released over the next three years. After the somewhat frivolous delights of Volume 1, Volume 2 displays Clementi in more serious and weighty form. The selection recorded here, particularly the Op 12 sonatas, is of pieces that begin to reveal depths of expression seldom encountered in the composer’s earlier music.
Muzio Clementi was for much of his long career one of the most famous musicians in Europe. Around the turn of the nineteenth century his public esteem was probably second only to that of Haydn, and, a decade or so later, Beethoven. But unlike the reputations of these other two, Clementi’s fame as a musician rested almost solely upon his exploits, as both player and composer, at a single instrument, the piano. And the vast majority of his compositions are sonatas for that instrument. This is a fascinating body of work which spans European musical life from Scarlatti to Chopin.