Muzio Clementi Piano Jewels Shine

OK, so Muzio Clementi isn’t as great as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. But remember — Clementi tied Mozart in a piano duel. So he had some talent. And his music holds up pretty well, too. 

In his day Clementi was considered one of the premier piano performers in the world. And he was one of the premier composers of the instrument. 

Clementi’s best remembered for his sonatas. This release explores other types of piano pieces from his catalog. 

Most impressive to me is the Toccata in B-flat major, Op. 11. The cascading runs of thirds are dazzling. Clementi doesn’t ask the performer to do anything he couldn’t do himself. And he could do a lot. 

Rodolfo Leone has the technical skills Clementi requires in these works. Mozart complained that Clementi was a technician, not a musician. That assessment’s a little unfair, I think. Leone’s musicality elevates these works. And she demonstrates that Clementi was more than just show.

La Chasse depicts a hunt, as the title suggests. Leone’s playing makes for an exciting romp through the countryside (or in this case, the keyboard). The Capriccios also benefit from Leone’s interpretations. 

These works were meant to be played and enjoyed. And Leone’s performances facilitate that enjoyment. Jewels can dazzle — and this music can, too. This album was aptly named.

Muzio Clementi: Piano Jewels
Capriccios, Toccata, La Chasse
Rodolfo Leone, piano
Naxos 8.574233

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