This is the second volume in a complete chronological survey of the Clementi sonatas which we hope to complete in six ’2 for the price of 1’ double CD sets released over the next three years. After the somewhat frivolous delights of Volume 1, Volume 2 displays Clementi in more serious and weighty form. The selection recorded here, particularly the Op. 12 sonatas, is of pieces that aim for depths of expression seldom encountered in the composer’s earlier music.
Muzio Clementi was for much of his long career one of the most famous musicians in Europe. Around the turn of the nineteenth century his public esteem was probably second only to that of Haydn, and, a decade or so later, Beethoven. But unlike the reputations of these other two, Clementi’s fame as a musician rested almost solely upon his exploits, as both player and composer, at a single instrument, the piano. And the vast majority of his compositions are sonatas for that instrument. This is a fascinating body of work which spans European musical life from Scarlatti to Chopin.
“These soul-searching works are rendered with profound feeling and sensitivity by Shelley, a worthy Clementi champion for our age.” Anthony Holden, The Observer, 31st August 2008
“…Howard Shelley's crystalline touch, poised elegance at speed and (in the slow movements) gentle flexibility are well nigh ideal.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2008
“Clementi’s sonatas have been neglected for far too long … we have had to wait an extraordinarily long time for a complete survey of this quality … with performances as characterful as Shelley’s and with two CDs for the price of one, this is a genuine bargain, one that is likely to delight and to
amaze in equal measure” International Record Review
“This second instalment of all Clementi’s 70-odd sonatas in chronological order is no less relevatory than the first … the sonatas combine the high spirits and dexterity of Scarlatti with the classicism of Haydn and Mozart; some of the slow movements have an even greater depth of expression than theirs … furthermore, you get two discs for the price of one. Difficult to resist!” Classic FM Magazine