The Sonata in B minor shows Clementi again at his best when writing in a minor key. Still experimenting restlessly with large-scale formal plans, he once more arrives at a solution that is for him entirely new: there are two big movements in the tonic (both sonata-allegro types), each preceded with a slow introduction. The Largo mesto e patetico introduction to the final movement produces a subsidiary theme that is adopted as the first material of the Allegro that follows, and the Largo itself appears (as in the first movement of Beethoven’s ‘Pathétique’ Sonata) at the point of recapitulation. The first movement starts with an introduction of high pathos and stabbing dissonance; even its middle section in the relative major (D major) suggests not relief, but something like melancholy resignation. The Allegro con fuoco e con espressione that follows is one of Clementi’s fine driving, appassionato movements in a minor key, akin to the memorable first movement of his Sonata in G minor, Op 34 No 2.
from notes by Leon Plantinga © 2010