Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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From 1785 to 1802 Clementi remained in London, participating in the most robust musical life of any city in the world. In 1791 the London Morning Chronicle exclaimed:
So many public Concerts, private Concerts, Operas, Balls, and Music Meetings, as are cut out for the Winter, and such a shoal of eminent performers as are imported from the Continent, will render a motto from Shakespeare’s Tempest highly appropriate to this country:
The Isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears.
In the midst of this great crescendo of musical activity Clementi reached the apogee of his career, first as a performer, then as a composer. The only major obstacle to his burgeoning fame was one of that ‘shoal of eminent performers from the Continent’, Joseph Haydn, present in the city in 1791–2 and 1794–5; Londoners consistently preferred him to any local talent. And the comparison with Clementi was not hard to make, as the principal fare offered by both composers at London concerts consisted mainly of symphonies. (Only two of Clementi’s symphonies from this period, published in 1787 as Op 18, have survived.) Until 1790 Clementi also appeared frequently on the London stage as a piano soloist, performing his own sonatas and concertos. Here is a fairly typical review from the Morning Chronicle of 15 February 1790:
But the performance beyond all others to astonish, was Clementi’s concerto on the Piano Forte: what brilliancy of finger, and wonderful execution! The powers of the instrument were never called forth with superior skill, perhaps not equal.
from notes by Leon Plantinga © 2009