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Clementi Sonatas and Sonatinas

Sonatas Op 24 No 2, Op 34 No 2,

Sonatinas Op 36 Nos 1, 3, 4, 6


Liz Glaser (fortepiano)

Simax PSC 1248


This charming disc deserves to be widely known and will win many friends. It is a healthy mixture of the sonatinas widely used in teaching, and two larger works, one of which provided the theme for the overture to Mozart's Magic Flute.


All amateurs will recognise many of the sonatina movements. Indeed, I remember the middle movement of Op 36 No 3 as the first piece by a famous composer I ever played, Book 1 Page 1 in a now-defunct graded series and widely anthologised elsewhere.


Glaser gives committed interpretations not simply of the big Op 34 no 2, but of the smaller pieces; pupils who are used to – say – the deliberately under-interpreted Associated Board CDs of grade exam pieces will find this disc refreshing and pleasant.

The presentation falls on just the right side of the line between sweet and twee. The programme notes are written as a letter of appreciation to Clementi, and a picture of Glaser aged about five decorates the cover. But don't be deceived, the photo is from 1941; Glaser is a mature authority, although interestingly she went back to study with Paul Badura-Skoda in 1990, and with Malcolm Bilson to prepare a complete Mozart sonatas recording.


Glaser's robust and expressive instrument is a modern copy of a contemporary Clementi. This is also likely to be educationally interesting. The sympathetic tuning to “well temperament” at A= 430 (close to “equal temperament”) and the lyrical playing are not so far from what a beginner will expect to hear as to be disconcerting. It is a shame the exact tuning is not specified.


One obvious caveat. Unlike, say, a CD of Beethoven recordings where the individual sonatas illuminate one another, or a recital programme where the juxtaposition of different pieces alchemises the whole, this disc is quite same-y and should be listened to ‘little and often.'


Ying Chang