23. Muzio Clementi [365 Composers for 2013]


23rd January – Muzio Clementi


Clementi (23rd or 24th January 1752 – 10th March 1832) is our composer for 23rd January, to mark the (possible) day of his birth.
Nationality: Italian/English
Lifespan: 80 years
Genre: Classical
Education: with private tutors
Fame Ranking: 3

Clementi is reasonably well-known amongst piano players. As a pianist himself, Clementi was prodigious in his output of piano music and was one of the first composers to write specifically to showcase the piano’s abilities. He wrote over 100 piano sonatas, many of which are easy enough for young pianists at the beginning of their studies to tackle.

Born in Rome, Clementi was “discovered” by a generous English patron whilst still a child. He was taken over to England where he was kept and given musical tuition, in return for providing musical entertainment to the household, until he reached “maturity” at 21. After that he elected to stay in England and worked as a composer, teacher, conductor, publisher and also produced pianos. Clementi became the exclusive publisher in the UK for Beethoven’s works. Some of his alterations to the construction of the piano have been retained as standard. You can see pictures of his pianos and even listen to some restored pianos here.

Clementi was, and still is, widely respected, with A-list musicians taking a keen interest in both performing and adapting his works. In his own time, Beethoven recommended them, Czerny used them in his teaching and, later, Debussy adapted many.

Clementi died in Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK and is buried at Westminster Cathedral.


Here is Clementi’s Piano Sonata in B minor, Op.40:

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