> CLEMENTI Piano works Tipo [KM]: Classical CD Reviews- Aug 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Muzio CLEMENTI (1752-1832)
Compsizioni per pianoforte (Works for Piano) vol. 4

Sonata in B flat major, op. 13 no. 4
Sonata in F major, op. 13 no. 5
Sonata in F minor op 13. no 6
"Batti, batti" from Mozartís opera Don Giovanni
Fantasie, avec variations, sur líair Au clair de la lune

Minuetto a tempo di ballo, composed by Mr. Collick, with 5 variations
Sonata in C major op. 37 no. 1
Sonata in G major op. 37 no. 2
Sonata in D major op. 37 no. 3
The Black Joke, theme with 21 variations, Wo2
Maria Tipo, piano
Rec: Date unknown, Museo Teatrale alla Scala di Milano, Italy.
WARNER FONIT 0927 43315-2 [143.00]


Muzio Clementi was one of the pivotal composers of the period spanning the late 18th century and early 19th century. Unlike the popular trend - that of opera and vocal music - he dedicated himself to the development of the piano, being composer, performer, publisher and even builder of the instruments. Called the "father of the piano" during his lifetime, Clementi was trained as an organist and harpsichordist, and spent his formative years in England, where he seems to have been self-taught.

Clementiís music covers a wide range of styles and emotions. Ranging from some Mozart-like works, such as the Sonata in B flat major op. 13 no. 4, where one can hear the influences of both Mozart and Haydn, to the later works, such as the opus 37 sonatas, which are much closer in spirit to Schubert. Clementi provides the listener with a great deal of enjoyment; this is delightful music, clearly privileging melody rather than style or discourse. The variations on the French nursery-tune Au clair de la lune, show the composer in a playful mode, taking a very simple tune - the first tune every French child learns on the piano - and weaving arabesques of melody around it to make a beautiful work fit for the concert hall.

The Black Joke is another set of variations that takes a simple song and builds on it brilliantly. This simple Irish song is played with great subtlety, and Clementi adds to it and embellishes it in a surprising manner, stretching it out, in this recording, to almost 22 minutes.

This is an attractive set, featuring some beautiful music very well played by Maria Tipo. Clementi is one of those pivotal composers who deserves more recognition.

Kirk McElhearn

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