The second sonata of Op 50, in D minor, is Clementi’s only sonata in that key. It is a consistently strong piece in which several of his oldest compositional habits appear, now convincingly absorbed into his latest style. The blustery first theme of the opening movement, for example, is set entirely over a tonic pedal point—one of Clementi’s oldest habits. The music in the secondary key, F major, has the abundant ornament that is customary in his late ‘lyric’ style, but was anticipated as early as the Sonata in A major Op 2 No 4, published in 1779. The slow movement, Adagio con espressione, is one of Clementi’s atmospheric, highly ornamented and tonally digressive late-period slow movements. There follows a witty Allegro with a brusque, home-spun main theme that we hear a number of times in rondo-fashion; this music undergoes sophisticated transformations that make for a satisfying conclusion to this strong sonata.
from notes by Leon Plantinga © 2010