The first sonata of Op 33, in A major—often a good key for Clementi—is a compact, lucid piece with a modest harmonic vocabulary and a transparent texture reminiscent, once again, of Haydn. The opening theme of the first movement begins with elegant Haydnesque rhythmic ambiguity as a three-beat anacrusis floats weightlessly downward to the start of bar 2—where an unstable harmony puts off a real downbeat until we finally get it in bar 3. (Clementi attempts something similar, perhaps with less success, in the finale of the following sonata in F.) Then comes a rondo, whimsical in the extreme, full of surprising harmonic digressions and abrupt changes of texture. The sonata ends with a flash of wit: an unceremonious, chromatic, sidling approach to the final tonic chord.
from notes by Leon Plantinga © 2009