Muzio Clementi, who was born in Rome in 1752 and died in Evesham (England) in 1832, was called the “father of the piano”, thanks to his perception (and exploration) of the instrument’s multiple timbral and sonic potential. As a composer he ventured to exploit the expressive resources of the piano to the full, thereby approaching the sonic and formal investigations of Beethoven, who duly gratified Clementi with an artistic approval that the great German master accorded only very rarely to other composers. As a teacher his work operated on two fronts: the publication of the Introduction to the Art of Playing on the Piano Forte […] (1801), a method that was taken as a model by the majority of subsequent theorists; the 100 studies of the Gradus ad Parnassum, which turned him into the head of a piano school of international standing and created a landmark for piano studies until our own day. But neither should we neglect Clementi’s role as a music publisher and piano builder of European stature. He was an emblematic figure in a world in which profound social and economic changes were busy paving the way for the so-called ‘modern age’.
The critical edition of the complete works of Muzio Clementi (Rome, 1752 - Evesham, 1832) consists of 15 volumes (38 tomes): the first two contain vocal and orchestral music respectively, five volumes are devoted to the chamber music, two volumes to the keyboard works, and two volumes to the didactic works. Another three volumes contain: 1) the doubtful works, the arrangements and transcriptions of Clementi; 2) the correspondence; 3) a thematic catalogue of his works together with documents relating to his life, the iconography and an updated bibliography. Each volume includes an analytical historical introduction, a critical edition of the music and a critical commentary (comprising a list, description and criticism of the sources, an account of the interpretational problems and a list of variants).
[Preface and Critical Commentary in Italian and English]