Clementi Keyboard Sonatas
Everyone knows Clementi's name but few have lately recorded his music. He was not only submerged in the 'ocean' of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven but also had fingers in many pies—composing, performing, teaching, publishing and instrument manufacture, a thing that is usually unhelpful to a high reputation in any one field. Like Czerny, his association with didacticism seems to have coloured the popular view of him as a composer, and Beethoven's respect for his music has not been enough to offset completely the effects of Mozart's bitter attacts on him.
Clementi looks back (baroque echoes of Bach and Scarlatti) and forwards (not least in pianistic style, to Beethoven), as well as sideways (at his contemporaries) and if this tends to obscure his own, personal identity it by no means deprives his music of value, as that in this recording makes clear. There is much brilliant writing (and Sturm und Drang in the outer movements), while the slow ones are rich in pathos. Van Immerseel, playing an instrument made by Michael Rosenberger in 1795—a particularly fine one that protests slightly only when hit hard—is a persuasive advocate of this music. His phrasing is supple, his articulation immaculate and his dynamics finely shaded. This very enjoyable programme is exceptionally well recorded, the LP and CD formats sounding equally excellent.'