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Hyperion Records

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Classical Scene by Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765)
Roy Miles Gallery, 29 Bruton Steet, London W1 / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67850
Recording details: October 2010
St Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Annabel Connellan
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: September 2011
Total duration: 13 minutes 42 seconds

'This enticing seventh (and final) volume of Clementi's works for solo piano is a notable achievement on several levels. The same team … have combined to produce no fewer than 14 CDs of remarkably uniform quality, insight and interest in a mere 4 years … there are over 152 minutes of music on the present discs, much of it demanding. How Shelley manages to absorb it all and then convince you that he has been playing it all his life with his characteristic elegance and dexterity is a gift given to few. Such an eminent composer deserves no less' (Gramophone)

The Black Joke with 21 Variations, WO2
composer
published in 1777

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In 1777 Clementi's first London publication appeared: ‘The Black Joke, with 21 Variations … composed by Sigr. M. C.’. It is hard to imagine why Clementi should have wished to remain semi-anonymous, for these variations certainly include some of his most attractive music to date. The ‘Black Joke’ is a jig-like Irish folk tune which Clementi presents with a stark single-line accompaniment featuring bits of a tonic pedal-point suggestive of a drone. The variations that follow amount to a kind of anthology of keyboard figurations, some of which—like the fast runs in octaves in variations 10 and 20—were later to make Clementi famous. Patterns of repetition among the minor-key variations (14–15–14, 16–17–16) lend these groupings a certain autonomy as miniature ternary shapes. The final variation is a virtuoso tour de force, with octave figurations in both hands enlivened with poignant chromatic inflections.

from notes by Leon Plantinga © 2011

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