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Hyperion Records

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The Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine by Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765)
Musée d'Art Thomas Henry, Cherbourg, France / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67819
Recording details: December 2009
St Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Annabel Connellan
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: October 2010
Total duration: 21 minutes 6 seconds

'This must be one of the most handsome of all recent homages to a lesser-known composer, with nothing about the performances, recording quality or presentation falling short of first-class … Shelley is a perfect advocate for this music, the limpidness of his playing being allied to utter sensitivity of dynamic and phrasing … a heartening achievement on all counts' (Gramophone)

'Each volume has shown remarkable variety from Clementi's fervid imagination … for all the temptation to compare Clementi with his more familiar contemporaries, a clear and distinctive voice appears through this overview of the complete sonatas. Shelley's technical security allows him to project a sense of ease and spontaneity … the complete set proves a benchmark which I doubt will be moved for a very long time' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This is a most attractive and sparkling account on Clement's final sonatas and brings to a satisfying conclusion Howard Shelley's survey of Clementi … the sound captured on the recording more than lives up to expectations' (International Record Review)

Piano Sonata in A major, Op 50 No 1
composer
published in 1821, but probably composed twenty or so years earlier; dedicated to Luigi Cherubini

Allegro vivace  [8'12]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The sonatas ‘Opus 40, Book I’, published in 1802, were never followed by a ‘Book II’. In fact no new sonatas of Clementi were to appear before 1820, the year of his single Sonata Op 46. The following year saw his final publication of sonatas, the three of Op 50, dedicated to his fellow Italian who had made a splendid career in Paris, Luigi Cherubini. There is good reason to believe, however, that Clementi had composed much of this music years earlier, and had intended it as the second instalment of Op 40. Perhaps some unfavourable reviews of his music around 1800 contributed to a certain caution about publishing his work; a notice in a Leipzig journal from 1807 refers to several major new compositions of his which Clementi ‘is determined not to release to the public until he has satisfied himself that they are perfect’.

The first sonata of Op 50, in A major, has an opening movement with something of the transparent texture and lyrical melody that Clementi seemed to associate with this key, as in his Sonata Op 33 No 1, and even as far back as Op 2 No 4. For a slow movement Clementi writes a rather leisurely two-voice canon flanked by two statements of a lugubrious, harmonically potent Adagio sostenuto e patetico that anticipates the subject of the canon in its middle section. The finale, a spritely Allegro vivace, mixes traditional harmonies with the distinctly nineteenth-century sound of the expanded upper range of the piano.

from notes by Leon Plantinga © 2010

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