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Clementi Piano Sonatas Op 24 Nos 2, 5, Op 40 Nos. 4, 5


Nikolai Demidenko


Hyperion Helios CDH55227


This is a welcome reissue of an immaculate disc. Demidenko's playing is crisp, precise, and at the same time heartfelt. He makes us regret the current neglect of Clementi, who was of course famously championed (and recorded) by Horowitz, after his wife, Wanda Toscanini, presented him with an edition of the composer's complete works.


Demidenko is able to give Clementi a sense of pianism and grandeur without losing the lightness, intimacy and ease of works that are still small-scale in comparison to their better-known Beethovenian successors. This CD also gives a more sprightly, virtuosic experience than the recent Glaser fortepiano recording, which is also very recommendable, especially for taking the beginners' sonatinas seriously.

The most sparkling offering on this disc is Op 24 No 2, the opening of which will be instantly recognisable as the theme Mozart used for the overture to the Magic Flute. The slow movement is sweetly lyrical, the finale has impressively fast fingerwork.


Note that though nowadays Demidenko favours the Fazioli piano, and has even helped with the design, this is recorded at Snape Maltings on a Steinway. Though so fleet and effortless is Demidenko's playing that his silky tone closely resembles what one might expect on a Fazioli.


Fine recorded quality, and good notes by Ates Orga, a frequent collaborator of Demidenko; recommended without hesitation, especially at Helios price for a recording still only about ten years old. Listen to Horowitz too, of course, but not for nothing does Hyperion advertise this Demidenko as a particular ornament of the Helios catalogue.


Ying Chang