The Sonata Op 41 in E flat major has a somewhat convoluted history. When Clementi arrived in Vienna in the spring of 1804, he learned that a leading music publisher in the city, Artaria & Co., had just put out this sonata (together with assorted other pieces of his) without permission. This was embarrassing on more than one score: this composition was from a much earlier time in the composer’s life (he had likely left it behind after his last visit to Vienna in 1782), and, moreover, he had already borrowed some of its music for another sonata in E flat (Op 23 No 1). Clementi quickly arranged for a different Viennese publisher to print the corrective edition we hear in this recording, much revised, with the offending passage removed and a slow movement added. That slow movement is a fine one. The opening melody—with its distinctively long anacrusis figure, subjected to a series of ever-changing ornamental restatements—accounts for all the thematic material of the movement, and represents the more mature Clementi at his best. The first movement of this sonata, like the Sonata Op 23 No 1 for which it was cannibalized, once more looks like a revised concerto movement.
from notes by Leon Plantinga © 2009