Muzio Clementi

Biography

Born: January 23, 1752; Rome, Italy   Died: March 10, 1832; Evesham, Worcestershire, England  
Born shortly after Handel wrote his oratorio Jephtha and dead shortly after Berlioz wrote his Symphonie fantastique, Muzio Clementi failed to write anything equal to the originality of those two composers -- or, certainly, equal to the best of his closer contemporaries, Mozart and Haydn. Yet Clementi remains a significant figure for his pioneering work on behalf of the newfangled piano, that percussive, expressive instrument that quickly Read more displaced the harpsichord at the end of the eighteenth century. His full-scale sonatas and small studies exploited the possibilities of the early piano and groomed the technique of early pianists, and led him to be known as "the father of the piano." His influence on Beethoven has likely been underestimated.

Clementi was a child prodigy, with an appointment as an organist at age 9 and an oratorio to his credit by the time he was 12. In 1766 Clementi's father was persuaded to take the boy to study in England, the country that would remain Clementi's base for the rest of his life. In the English countryside the youth undertook a rigid course of studies, emerging in 1773 for a spectacular debut in London as a composer and pianist. Had Clementi matured anywhere else in Europe, he might have limited himself to the organ and harpsichord; but the piano was enormously popular in England, and Clementi furthered his career by capitalizing on the instrument's expanded capabilities. In 1780, he went on tour to the Continental capitals; in Vienna, Emperor Joseph II instigated a friendly musical duel between Clementi and Mozart.

Clementi settled down in London in 1782, dividing his time between teaching (his pupils included Cramer, Meyerbeer, and Field), composing, and performing. In 1799, he co-founded a company that both published music and manufactured pianos. Toward the end of his life he traveled through Europe again and spent more and more time composing; during this time, he wrote several symphonies, but most have been lost. He is mainly remembered for his dozens of piano sonatas, and for his collection of studies, Gradus ad Parnassum (Steps Toward Parnassus), which has been the bane of piano students for two centuries and was parodied by Debussy in the opening movement of his Children's Corner. Clementi was the complete piano man, popularizing the instrument through his own performances, writing exercises to develop young pianists, writing sonatas for mature pianists to play, and manufacturing instruments for their use. Read less
Clementi: Complete Sonatas Vol 1 / Mastroprimiano
Release Date: 04/10/2007   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 93338   Number of Discs: 3
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Muzio Clementi: Sonatas / Sang Mi Chung
Release Date: 02/23/2010   Label: Centaur Records  
Catalog: 3035   Number of Discs: 1
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Byron Schenkman Plays Muzio Clementi
Release Date: 03/29/2011   Label: Centaur Records  
Catalog: 3078   Number of Discs: 1
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Clementi: Keyboard Sonatas Vol 5 / Mastroprimiano
Release Date: 06/28/2011   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94113   Number of Discs: 3
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Clementi: The Complete Sonatas Vol 6 - The Late Sonatas / Mastropimiano
Release Date: 01/29/2013   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94342   Number of Discs: 3
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