LABELS: Hänssler faszinationmusik
WORKS: Capriccio No. 1; Capriccio No. 4; Keyboard Sonata in D, Op. 40/3; Monferrinas, Op. 49/2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 & 12
PERFORMER: Lilya Zilberstein (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD 93.096
If none of the works here shows Clementi at his most inventive, they have more personality than his unfair reputation for arid brilliance might suggest. Most substantial are the late E minor Capriccio (No. 4), which interleaves passionate rhetoric with typically austere contrapuntal textures, and the leisurely D major Sonata of 1802, prone at times to over-indulge in flashy passagework but notable especially for its harmonically intense D minor introduction and slow movement. The other works on offer – the B flat Capriccio (No. 1) and the series of Piedmontese dances known as monferrinas – find Clementi in salon vein: tuneful, agreeable pieces, though not, perhaps, ones to linger in the imagination.
Lilya Zilberstein brings plenty of colour and temperament to the two major works, making no apologies for playing them on a modern Steinway and relishing Clementi’s exploitation of rich, quasi-orchestral sonorities. But she is always careful to let light and air into the textures – say in the passages of double thirds in the D major Sonata. Zilberstein understands, too, the vocal nature of many of Clementi’s themes, whether in the operatic pathos of the E minor Capriccio – here savoured but never exaggerated – or the elegantly moulded lyrical music in the Sonata. The recording is excellent, vividly capturing Zilberstein’s full, centred tone and wide dynamic range. A black mark, though, for Hänssler’s inadequate, sometimes moronically translated note. Richard Wigmore