CLEMENTI Piano Sonatas
Although Muzio Clementi’s prolific sonata output rarely figures in the concert hall, it has certainly proliferated on CD over the past two decades. As a result, the Canadian pianist Ian Hominick faces formidable recorded competition. His interpretations are sensitive, stylistically aware yet somewhat small-scale, which may have something to do with the WFMT Studio’s slightly drab ambience. Compare his fluidly easy-going way with the finale of the F minor Sonata, Op 13 No 6, to the wider dynamic range and more volatile expressive palette in Maria Tipo’s comparably paced traversal, or else sample Hominick’s thoughtful yet held-back account of the Presto of the G minor Sonata, Op 8 No 1, next to Tipo’s bracing drama and colouristic variety and you’ll understand what I mean.
He brings appreciable power to the Sonata quasi concerto’s Allegro con spirito and underlines the Adagio’s gentle dissonances with the tiniest of pedal blurs. Unfortunately his prosaic, square-toed Presto never catches fire in the manner of Horowitz’s admittedly contrived yet far more characterful 1980 live recording. In the Presto of the G minor Sonata, Op 7 No 3, Hominick’s passagework falls just short of Howard Shelley’s decisive solidity, while his capable left-hand octaves are less shapely and incisive compared to Shelley. Yet in contrast to Shelley’s animated, generously phrased Cantabile e lento, Hominick’s steady deliberation creates a more austere contrapuntal clarity that holds attention from first to last. The G major Sonata, Op 37 No 2, stands out for Hominick’s excellent detached articulation and supple double notes in the Allegro moderato finale. Succinct and informative annotations by Andrea Lamoreaux round out this release.