Friday, May 30, 2014

Re Clementi: "It's So Intense!"

This the comment of an adult student reading a Clementi Sonatina in C, the famous Sonatina in C that every little kid had (and all too often still has) to learn to play in exactly the same manner.

She is reading from a facsimile of the first printing.  No phrase markings, no slurs.  All the wit and brilliance of the piece is exposed to the reader's unbiased ear.

And that's how the intensity came across to her: via her ear.  I asked what she had meant by remarking on the piece's intensity.  Her answer was that it would be so comfortable one moment and so uncomfortable the next.

The composer was at his fullest maturity when he wrote these works, which are treated as though he was the "mechanicus" Mozart pronounced him to be at their piano-playing competition.

Might Mozart have been jealous of Clementi?  Either it was aspects of his technique, or the fact that, unlike Wolfgang, Muzio was not under the thumb of a musician-father.  Who knows?

Last night, reading a biography of Brahms, I came across a quote from him about how much he admired Clementi's compositional skill.

Me, too!