Howard Shelley’s acclaimed series of the complete Piano Sonatas of Clementi reaches its penultimate volume. In the latter half of the 1790s, when all the sonatas and sonatinas heard in this recording (with the exception of the Sonata Op 46) were published, Clementi apparently devoted his energies mainly to teaching. His pupils included members of well-placed families in London who were able to meet his reported fee of one guinea per lesson. He also had among his students aspiring professionals, including J B Cramer, Theresa Jansen, Benoit-August Bertini, and John Field.
The sonatas heard here, owing to their technical difficulty, appear for the most part to be addressed to such students and other accomplished pianists—and perhaps for Clementi’s own performance in private circles. The sonatinas are clearly intended for less advanced pupils; today they are Clementi’s most well-known works as countless young pianists are still given them for instruction. Therefore this set should be of particular interest to many of those pupils and their teachers.