Clementi Sonatas Span Career

This release presents a snapshot of Clementi’s development as a composer — and the development of his chosen instrument. Sandro De Palma performs at a modern keyboard. but he carefully matches his playing to the works.

De Palma gives Clementi’s 1771 Op. 1 Sonata in a delicate, mannered reading. It’s easy to hear a close resemblance to Mozart in De Palma’s interpretation.

When Clementi published his Op. 8 sonatas, much had changed. Pianos were more robust and had a wider range. Da Palma brings out the strong dynamic contrasts in the work. If the Op. 1 sonata sounded like Mozart, this one sounds like early Beethoven.

The disc opens and closes with two sonatas from Clementi’s Opus 50. This 1821 publication was his final collection of keyboard sonatas. The piano sonata in G minor, Op. 50 No. 3 is titled “Didone Abbandonata,” and portrays the emotional arch of the story. Clementi’s final sonata seems to sit somewhere between Beethoven and Schubert, stylistically. The Op. 50 No. 2 sonata leans more toward Beethoven, with its crashing fortes and frenetic energy.

De Palma makes the most of these late sonatas, playing forcefully and in full command of his instrument. A well-thought-out program executed brilliantly.

Muzio Clementi: Piano Sonatas
Sonata in B-flat major, Op. 1, No. 3; Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 8, No. 2;  Sonata in D minor, Op. 50, No.2; Sonata in G minor, Op. 50, No. 3 “Didone abbandonata”
Sandro De Palma, piano
Naxos 8.573880  

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