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Hyperion Records

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Roman Ruins with the Blind Belisarius by Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765)
Leeds Museums and Art Galleries (Temple Newsam House), UK / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67632
Recording details: June 2007
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Annabel Connellan
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: February 2008
Total duration: 11 minutes 3 seconds

'Listening to this opener in Howard Shelley's complete cycle, recorded on a pristine-sounding modern piano, it is hard to imagine anyone else ever making them sound better … Shelley reveals this by treating each and every one of these works with the utmost respect, his constant attention to the subtlest details of touch and phrasing meaning not only that things are never allowed to descend into the routine, but that he is more than able to respond to those moments when Clementi really does find a vein of poetry … the Andante cantabile of Op 8 No 1 is a gem, the excellent Op 7 No 3 is strongly expressive throughout … Shelley realises them all while also coping coolly with the more finger-breaking exhibitions of virtuosity … Shelley's performances, which seem well capable of achieving definitive status, make you wonder if Mozart was hiding some genuine discomfort' (Gramophone)

'Shelley's playing is warm and expressive throughout, and there's enough enjoyment here to make one look forward to the continuation of his series' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Clementi was a master of intricate structure and dynamics, as Shelley's elegant readings vividly demonstrate' (The Observer)

'Launching his complete Clementi cycle in impressive style, Howard Shelley tosses off chains of thirds and octaves with elegant virtuosity, and brings an ideal expressive flexibility to the more personal sonatas' (The Daily Telegraph)

'I have long admired Shelley's spaciousness of phrase and generosity of tonal range, and this latest offering certainly does not disappoint on either account. The Opp 1 and 2 Sonatas benefit from a fresh and spirited viewpoint, the leisurely lyrical lines nevertheless beautifully compact … this set may well encourage listeners to reappraise Clementi, not in the shadow of Mozart of Beethoven but in light of the composer's inestimable contribution to classical style' (International Record Review)

'Wonderful playing, superb sound and a valuable addition to the catalogue' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Shelley in a nutshell: sparkling clarity, perfect sense of line and style, and deep respect for the musical idiom of the early Classical keyboard works' (Pianist)

'The sonatas 'proper' recorded here each consist of short movements. Every one is a delight; this is good-natured music deisgned to appeal, which it does with grace, civility and clarity. Brilliance is not denied, though—the 'Spritoso' opening movement of the F major work … is a rumbustious number that recalls Domenico Scarlatti's flamboyance. Slow movements are unfailingly lyrical and dance forms add elegance … Howard Shelley, his piano beautifully recorded, plays with immense style and affection, alive to the music's sparkling and intimate scale—invention that charms and invigorates. It will be fascinating to chart Clementi's later works in the genre of the sonata with Shelley as the consummate guide' (International Piano)

'This first Hyperion volume of a projected complete recording of all the sonatas is cause for celebration, and not only because it is laid out chronologically. Howard Shelley has a special feel for this music, and in his hands, these marvelous pieces are indeed revealed in all their translucent textures and melodic invention. The attractive price tag (two for the price of one) together with superb sound and authoritative annotations complete a fine first helping of what should be a resounding success all around' (Classical.net)

Piano Sonata in E flat major, Op 7 No 1
composer

Allegro  [4'28]
Mesto  [3'56]

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