Muzio Clementi: Piano Sonatas in G Minor, Op. 3, No 3, in F Minor, Op. 13, No. 6, in C Major, Op. 33, No. 3 "Quasi Concerto", in G Minor, Op. 8, No. 1, & in G Minor, Op. 37, No. 2
Ian Hominick (Piano)
Recorded in March, 2012, at WMFT Studio, Chicago – 76'41
MSR 1475 – Liner notes in English
A secondary figure of the classical era in Western music, composer, organist, and virtuosic pianist Muzio Clementi (1752-1832) is said to be the "father" of the piano sonata. At least to some extent. Highly respected by Beethoven, he was slammed by Mozart who regarded him as "a mere mechanicus, with not a kreuzer's worth of taste or feeling" (but wasn't Mozart dismissive of most of the composers of his time?).
Clementi's production mostly consists of piano pieces, but he also wrote two overtures, and four symphonies. To this writer's knowledge, only two recordings of the symphonies he wrote exist (the London Mozart Players, under the Chandos label, and Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 played by the Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma, released by Naxos in 2013). By the same token, recordings of his piano works are scarce. This is why we welcome MSR's recording of five sonatas by Canadian pianist Ian Hominick.
Hominick gives a suitable account of the flurry of notes, tossing off the challenging flourishes in the rapid passages. He is technically brilliant and there is a lot of energy in his playing. His approach is way more "come scritto" than Howard Shelley's, but the drawback of the recording is to be found in slow movements, especially in the largo e sostenuto of the Sonata in F Minor, Op. 13, No. 6, and, to a certain degree, in the andante cantabile of the Sonata in G Minor, Op. 8, No. 1 where Hominick places too little emphasis on the emotional content. Granted, there is much difference in terms of emotional content between a Clementi sonatina and a Beethoven sonata, but these pieces are very well crafted by a minor master and they do have their passionate moments.
Overall, a quite pleasurable recording that will delight devotees of this musical genre, as well as those who enjoy treading off the beaten path.