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Hyperion Records

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Landscape with Roman Ruins by Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765)
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67738
Recording details: February 2009
St Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Annabel Connellan
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: October 2009
Total duration: 12 minutes 48 seconds

'Shelley, who adds to unfailing textural clarity, sensitivity of phrasing and fine touch a willingness to seek out what is meaningful in this music and realise it to a degree that might have surprised even its composer' (Gramophone)

'Beautifully flexible playing … Shelley is a first-rate advocate, with passage-work of crystalline clarity, light-footed pedalling, and communicating a sense of deep commitment to this unjustly under-rated repertoire. The sound … could not be better. Unreservedly recommended' (BBC Music Magazine)

'There is huge variety and pianistic invention … Shelley brings energy, vitality and clarity to the sparse textures of a work [Op 25 No 5] which owes much to Scarlatti … stunning recording quality, exemplary programme notes by the leading authority on Clementi, two discs for the price of one and generous playing time on each, and piano playing of the first order from Howard Shelley' (International Record Review)

Piano Sonata in F sharp minor, Op 25 No 5
registered 8 June 1790; also known as Op 26 No 2

Lento e patetico  [3'32]
Presto  [3'58]

Other recordings available for download
Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The F sharp minor Sonata—usually identified as Op 26 No 2 but in fact published originally by Dale of London as the fifth of ‘Six Sonatas for the Piano Forte; dedicated to Mrs Meyrick … Opera 25’ (entered Stationers’ Hall, 8 June 1790)—is an example of what Shedlock in 1895 defined as that class of Clementi work where ‘his heart and soul were engaged’ to the full. The tenor of its first movement is a mixture of dolce expression, capricious fingerwork, off-beat sforzando accents, teasing articulation (the slurs and dots tell in an orchestral way), and tonal surprise (not least the polarity of the exposition which closes in the dominant minor, C sharp, rather than the expected relative major, A, of Classical routine). The reprise—expanded and developmental—is irregular: alternately bleak and brilliant in figuration and character, what it does in particular with the opening idea (imitatively, registrally, harmonically) is wittily provocative.

The middle slow movement is in B minor, a poignantly felt song, potently textured and voiced, dramatic in its contrasts of soft and loud, of minorial pathos and sweet maggiore release, of dark diminished-seventh tension, of poetically meaningful ornamentation. Structurally its shape is elegant and balanced, combining breadth of phrasing with economy of expression. The 3/8 Presto finale is an imaginatively inventive cameo of Scarlattian brilliance and Mendelssohnian fleetness, of glittering thirds and equally elfin and stormy octaves. Historically, such music is Classical. Temperamentally, it is Romantic.

from notes by Ates Orga © 1995

Other albums featuring this work
'Clementi: Piano Sonatas' (CDA66808)
Clementi: Piano Sonatas

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