Movement 1: Allegro molto vivace
Movement 2: Adagio, sostenuto e cantabile
Movement 3: Allegro
Movement 4: Finale: Presto
The opening Sonata in G major is Clementi’s only sonata with four truly independent movements. But instead of a minuet or scherzo, for the third movement he presents a group of severe two-voice canons, abounding with the austere, often astringent sounds that come with his thin-textured imitative writing. The remaining movements of this first sonata are big-limbed structures with a good deal of leisurely ornament. The first shows the many internal cadences and two-handed figuration that suggest a missing orchestra and a possible origin as a concerto movement. The second is a luxuriantly ornate Adagio, sostenuto e cantabile in the distant key of E major; its irregular, sweeping figurations of as many as twenty notes to the rhythmic unit prefigure the piano sounds heard in Paris salons three decades later, as, for example, in Chopin’s Nocturne in F sharp major, Op 15 No 2.
from notes by Leon Plantinga © 2010