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Hyperion Records

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Roman Capriccio by Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765)
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67814
Recording details: October 2009
St Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Annabel Connellan
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: May 2010
Total duration: 7 minutes 9 seconds

'Volume 5 of Howard Shelley's exemplary survey brings us sonatas from the late 1790s … several of the works in Vol 4 had a Haydnesque feel but here there seems to be a more personal style on show, busy with up-to-date, complex keyboard figuration yet also displaying natural shapeliness, as well as some moments of memorable individuality … clearly played, intelligently detailed and perfectly recorded' (Gramophone)

'Shelley's playing is exemplary, with a gloriously fluent technique and a most perceptive interpretational approach … the Six Sonatinas here prove particularly nostalgic, core repertoire from many a pianist's childhood and perfect miniature paradigms of classical sonata form … Shelley is creating a benchmark for Clementi's solo piano music which I doubt will be moved in the foreseeable future and this volume's two-discs-for-the-price-of-one is an irresistible offering' (BBC Music Magazine)

'You won't often hear [the Op 36 Sonatinas] played as skilfully as here … along with his best-known works, the 12 on this set include some of Clementi's best, the two sonatas of his Op 34, pieces that attracted the attention of pianists of the calibre of Horowitz and Gilels before the clear and disciplined Shelley. Prepare to be surprised by the strength of musical argument' (The Irish Times)

Sonatina in D major, Op 36 No 6
Progressive Sonatina No 6; published in 1797

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Clementi called the six Sonatinas, Op 36, published in 1797, ‘progressive’, and the not-very-advanced pupil for whom they are intended will encounter some gentle escalation of technical difficulty while moving through the series—short semiquaver (sixteenth-note) runs for the left hand appear as early as the second Sonatina. But throughout, the form and textures remain transparent, and the requisite keyboard facility modest. The first movement of the final D minor Sonatina, for example, features a fluid, mobile melodic figuration in the right hand with even triadic figuration below. Like Mozart, in his ‘little keyboard sonata for beginners’ as he called it (K545 in C major), Clementi can construct an attractive and effortlessly graceful movement from the most everyday materials: from diatonic scales, turns, arpeggios, Alberti-bass and repeated-note accompaniments. These Sonatinas, practised year in and year out by countless beginner pianists around the world, are by all odds Clementi’s best-known music. And surely it is a tribute to their quality and usefulness that after more than two centuries they still perform admirably the function for which their composer intended them.

from notes by Leon Plantinga © 2010

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