Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Recordings of the Month


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons

Vivaldi Violin Concertos



Beethoven Piano Concertos

Stradal Transcriptions

LOSY Note d’oro

Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2


Muzio CLEMENTI (1752-1832)
The Complete Piano Sonatas 2

CD 1
Three Sonatas, Op. 9 [36:12]
Three Sonatas, Op. 10 [30:14]
CD 2
Sonata in E flat major, Op. 11 No. 1 [11:48]
Toccata in B flat major, Op. 11 No. 2 [4:03]
Four Sonatas, Op. 12 [55:36]
Howard Shelley (piano)
rec. 11-15 February 2008, All Saints Church, East Finchley, London. DDD
[66:26 + 71:27]


Experience Classicsonline

It would be hard to fault the approach and playing of Howard Shelley on this very attractive two-CD set of piano music by Clementi from Hyperion. The key to his perceptive and persuasive performances seems to be humility. Or - better - respect. His touch is light but firm. His tempi are gentle but consistent and appropriate. His variations in timbre noticeable but always to a purpose. The result is twofold: for those familiar with Clementi's work something new and fresh emerges. For those new to it, something of substance and immense pleasure is added to their repertoire (and probably CD collection) of music to love.

Most of Clementi's work is for the keyboard. It does not get the exposure you might expect, given his reputation when living - second only to that of Haydn, and later Beethoven, who himself ranked Clementi extremely highly. Nor does Clementi's music get the exposure it deserves in our time. Clementi's is music sure of foot and direction, yet with at times Mozartian deliberation and Schubertian purity.

Living to the age of eighty through one of music's stormiest periods, Clementi ploughed his own furrow. That is what Shelley has brought out. Each piece is approached in its own right and its internal logic is emphasised - more as 'pure' music, than as music with a particular historical weight. As a result, small details (such as key changes, ornamentation, subtlety in texture) emerge and are gently evident to the listener. Yet they are details which add to the particularity of each piece. Of these Shelley is aware, then, without showing them off. Integrated wholes. The result at the end of an hour or two hours careful listening is of immense satisfaction. Thanks to Shelley's embrace of its conception and architecture the music has worked.

This set is particularly welcome, then. It's the second volume in a projected complete chronological survey of the Clementi sonatas which Hyperion hopes to complete in six double CD sets - and attractively priced: two for the price of one every time. They are expected to be released over the next three years. Indeed, Volume 1 (CDA67632) has already appeared. It contained less substantial pieces than those on the current set. But equally delightful. Now these dozen or so sonatas and a toccata in Volume 2 are situated somewhere between an unburdened Haydn who has absorbed a lot of Scarlatti - and early Beethoven.

An issue for some might be the instrument. Shelley plays a modern Steinway. We could have expected a fortepiano; it might have added more character; it would have thrown the textures into a different relief and perhaps be thought to have added depth. Instead, Shelley has opted to emphasise the music's structure, its development through each movement and indeed throughout movements. The Op. 10 sonata in A major is a good example [CD1 trs. 10-12]: as we listen, we are more conscious of the melodic ideas, the changes in mood through which Clementi leads us - as did Mozart; not the effects ( la Scarlatti).

Thus the music speaks for itself directly from the composer. Surely a wiser approach of Shelley's. So, Yes, one is probably likely to listen to these splendid pieces less as curiosities that attracted Mozart's ire and more as poetic excursions into the soul, even; in some ways as one listens to Beethoven. They are 'contained' thematically, true. There are few fireworks or Chopinesque moments of rumination. Yet Shelley's playing emphasises their solidity, worthiness to stand at the centre of this repertoire, not as fillers. And as highly communicative contributions to the genre, which (while making few innovations) ought to leave you plainly centred and at peace after an hour's listening.

Mark Sealey


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.