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CLEMENTI Muzio
in London
(1752 - 1832)

1828

DINNER TO CLEMENTI.

"At the suggestion of Mr. J. B. Cramer and Mr. Moscheles, who, with a few others, formed themselves into a committee, and issued a circular to all the principal musical professors of the metropolis, a splendid dinner was given at the Albion Hotel, on Monday the 17th ult., to Muzio Clementi, Esq., in honour of his long and brilliant career in the musical art, and as a public demonstration of the high respect and esteem in which the profession hold his character as a man.

Sir G. Smart was President; Mr. Horsley and Mr. Collard, Vice-Presidents; and upwards of sixty of the most distinguished professors, piano-forte manufacturers, and music-publishers were present.

The chairman was supported by Messrs. Clementi, J. B. Cramer, Braham and Moscheles. Amongst the company we remarked Messrs. Attwood, Bishop, Liverati, Griffin, Neate, Potter, F. Cramer, Dragonetti, Coccia, Cnvelli, Dizi, Sola, Peile, Schlesinger, Meves, Nicholson, Sale, Kiallmark, Novello, Burrowes, Major, Parry, Beale, Webbe, Leete, Clifton, Blewitt, Barnet, Holder, Stodart, W. F. Collard, Tomkinson, Preston, Willis, Chappell, D'Almaine, Addison, &c. &c. &c.

Several others were prevented attending, by the shortness of the notice, and by being obliged leave town. Sir G. Smart introduced every toast in an appropriate manner, and ably conducted the business of the day.

After The King's Health, which was followed by the most animated applause, a glee by Horsley, was sung by Terrail, Goulden, J. B. Sale and Leete. After the second toast, the chairman announced that Mr. Cramer would sit down to the piano-forte, which was received with a general cheer. He performed the beautiful Sonata in A, from dementi's Opera 2, with matchless grace and taste.

In proposing the health of Mr. Clementi, the Chairman took a short view of his professional life, both as a composer and performer, which had reflected so much honour on the art; and concluded his remarks by assuring him of the high esteem, respect, and veneration, in which he was held, both by his brethren and by all who had the advantage of knowing him, for his excellent qualities as a man.

The veteran rose, with evident marks of strong feeling depicted in his intelligent countinance, amidst the cordial and animated cheers of the whole assembly. His words were few, but full of meaning; and he concluded by saying, " I consider this as the proudest day of my long life." A glee, written by Mr. W. F. Collard for the occasion, and composed by Mr. Bishop, was then sung with great effect, the composer presiding at the instrument. It was a production worthy of the occasion. The following are the words.

O for the harp, whose strings of gold
Were struck by Music's god of old!
O for the voices, all inspir'd,
Divinely to its strains that quir'd!
For now we raise the song to thee,
Great Patriarch of Minstrelsy ! —

Hail! glory of the art divine!
Whose boldness seiz'd Apollo's flame;
And, with a pow'r was only thine,
Made budding genius blossom fame!
Not Time, that toils to bury all,
Shall cast his mantle dark on thee —
Thy name and works shall never fall
Till Music's self shall cease to be !

The health of Mr. Cramer was then given, which excited a general cheer. Mr. Moscheles now proceeded to the piano-forte, and performed Clementi's sonata dedicated to Kalkbrenner, in the most masterly style.

In returning thanks for the honour done him in drinking his health, he said he was doubly gratified on this occasion, as it also afforded him an opportunity of thus publicly acknowledging how proud he felt in owning himself a disciple of the great master, in honour of whom they were that day assembled. (Great cheers).

Nicholson performed a fantasia on the flute in admirable style, accompanied by J. B. Cramer on the pianoforte.

After the toast, —

"The memory of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven," the chairman, with a well-turned compliment to Mr. Braham, informed the company that that gentleman would favour them with a song. He accordingly sung, in his finest and most impressive manner, "The year that's away,"

introducing the following stanza, written by Mr. Parry.

Here's to Clementi, whose fame
Sheds a halo of light round us a';
Long, long may he live, and look back with delight
On the days o' the years pass d awa'.

This was unanimously encored.

Mr. Potter next executed a Capriccio of Clementi on the piano-forte, in a manner tlyit lost nothing of its excellence by comparison with the great performers who 4iad preceded him.

One of the greatest treats of the evening next followed. Cramer and Moscheles played Clementi's duet in E flat, opera 14, with such exquisite skill as renders it impossible to give it due praise. It was one of the most admirable performances ever heard, and the whole audience testified their delight by the most rapturous applause.

A beautiful glee by Attwood, for five voices, was then sung; when the chairman again rose, and in giving "The immortal memory of Handel," stated, that as he knew the anxiety which the meeting must feel to hear the Father Op The Piano-forte perform, he had solicited him to gratify them; and had the pleasure to announce that he had kindly consented "just to touch the instrument," notwithstanding the long interval which had elapsed since he withdrew from public life, and an injury in his wrist, which he had met with whilst in Russia, from which he had never recovered.

The applause that followed this announcement was not less sincere than loud. When it had subsided, he in whose honour the party had assembled, was led to the piano-forte by the chairman, Messrs. Cramer and Moscheles. A breathless anxiety prevailed, none having heard him for little less than a quarter of a century, and the greater part never.

He chose his subject from Handel's first concerto, and as he improvised on this, his countenance grew animated, and he touched the keys with such masterly skill, and luxuriated in such rich combinations of harmony, that he drew tears of pleasure, — not unmixed with recollections of the past and thoughts of the future, — from many who surrounded him.
 
Thus passed the day on which "the Father of all such as handle the piano-forte," both received and conferred honour. Of Mr. Clementi we have had more than one occasion to speak in the former series of the Harmonicon; but warmly as we have expressed our opinion of him and his works, our language would have taken a much more encomiastic tone had he been beyond its reach — had it been impossible for him to suspect, or the world to impute, any thing like flattery as its motive.

On his compositions is founded whatever taste we possess for that class of music at the head of which they stand. To the frequent hearing of his best disciple do we mainly ascribe our love for a style that is the beau ideal of piano-forte playing, and from which we have derived so much pleasure.

Ungrateful, therefore, should we be did we not acknowledge our obligation to the source of both — did we not contribute our mite of praise to a man to whom we feel personally indebted, and who, whatever the frigid cynic, the false philosopher, may say or think, has increased the stock of human happiness, and added to the glory of his age." The Harmonicon, 1828, p. 18-19

1833

MUZIO CLEMENTI.

"In the history of every art or science we meet with many names  which, although of deserved, and perhaps even great, celebrity, suggest few, if any, ideas extraneous to themselves and their own immediate works.

To chronicle the births, deaths, and performances of such men, is comparatively an easy undertaking; not so the task of compressing into a limited space the life and achievements of those few artists whose names will serve for ages as time-marks to the student, indicating the division of eras, and indissolubly connected with some great revolution or marked improvement.

Of the latter class was Clementi : of the piano-forte school, whether we consider him as composer, performer, or instructor, he was the acknowledged patriarch; and in tracing the outlines of his professional life we hardly know on which we ought most to dwell — what he performed himself, or what he instructed or inspired others to perform.

Some of the greatest pianists of the present day, while exulting in the reputation of pupils, and even pupils' pupils, of their own, feel a pride and satisfaction in hailing Clementi as their original master, the founder of their school; while men as celebrated as Steibelt, Woelfl, Dussek, and even Beethoven, have acknowledged that they owed to his works what circumstances prevented their deriving from his personal instructions. "Clementi," says Dr. Crotch, in his Lectures lately published,

"may be considered as the father of piano-forte music; for he long ago introduced all the beauty of Italian melody into pieces calculated, by their ornamental varieties, to elicit the powers of the instrument, and display the taste as well as the execution of the performer."

And in a subsequent passage of the same work the author mentions the introduction of Clementi's sonatas into our chambers as having, in conjunction with the quartetts and symphonies of Boccherini and Haydn, "stamped a value on modern music which many of the admirers of the ancient school were disposed to acknowledge."

Muzio Clementi was born in the year
1752, in Rome, where his father followed the occupation of a chaser and embosser of silver vases and figures for the church service.

He was related also to Buroni, afterwards principal composer at St. Peter's, from whom he received his earliest lessons in music. At six years of age he commenced sol-fu-ing: at seven he was placed under an organist of the name of Cordicelli, for instruction in thorough bass; and proceeded with such rapidity, that at nine years old he passed his examination, and was admitted to an organist's place in his native city.

His next masters were Santarelli, who is considered by the Italians the last great master of the vocal school, and Carpini, the deepest contrapuntist of his day in Rome.

While studying under Carpini, and as yet little more than twelve years old, young Clementi wrote, without the knowledge of his master, a mass for four voices, which was so much admired by his friends, that at length Carpini desired to hear it: although not much addicted to bestowing praise, even Carpini could not refuse his tribute of applause, adding, however, what was probably very true, that if the youthful composer had consulted his master, " it might have been much better."

About this time young Clementi's proficiency on the harpsichord, which, notwithstanding his other studies, he had assiduously practised, attracted the notice of Mr. Peter Beckford, then on his travels in Italy.

Mr. Beckford prevailed on the parents to consign their son's future education to his care, and brought him to his seat in Dorsetshire, where the society and conversation of a family distinguished by literary habits and taste, as much as by wealth and rank, must have contributed in no small degree to inspire that relish for the whole circle of the belles lettres which led Clementi, independent of the study of his own art, to acquire an uncommon proficiency in both the living and the dead languages, and an extensive acquaintance with literature and science in general.

The plan of study adopted by such a man, left in early youth to steer his own course, undirected and almost unassisted, would afford, if completely developed, so many valuable lessons, that we regret our inability to lay more than an outline of it before our readers.

The works of Corelli, Alessandro, Scarlatti, Paradies, and Handel, were the sources from which he derived instruction, and the examples on which he formed his taste; while at the same time he was indefatigable in the practice of the instrument to which he had devoted himself.

But his ruling principle was, that steady and regular apportionment of every moment of -time to its own pre-arranged occupation, which affords the surest promise of success, whatever may be our pursuits; and without which, no great results were ever achieved either in study or in action.

To this Clementi, young as he was, adhered strictly; his sleep, his meals, his relaxation, and his studies, had each their appointed time and their fixed duration; and if by the demands of his patron on his society, or his powers of contributing to the amusement of the family or guests, or any other accidental circumstance, the order was broken, and that proportion of time which he had set apart for the study of his own profession curtailed, he drew upon the allotted hours of rest for the arrears; and would rise even in the cheerless cold of mid-winter, to read if he had light at command, or to practise on his harpsichord, if light as well as fire were unattainable.

His success was equal to his zeal and assiduity; at eighteen he not only surpassed all his contemporaries in execution, taste, and expression, but had already composed (though it was not published till three years after) his celebrated Opera 2, — a work, which, by the common assent of all musicians, is entitled to the credit of being the basis on which the whole fabric of modern pianoforte sonatas has been founded; and which — though it is now, from the immense progress which manual dexterity has made in the last sixty years within the powers of even secondrate performers —was, at the period of its production, the despair of such pianists as J. C. Bach and Schroeter, who were content to admire it, but declined the attempt to play what the latter professor declared could be executed only by its own composer, or by that great performer of all wonders, and conqueror of all difficulties, the Devil.

While thus assiduous in the prosecution of his studies, Clementi was not, as many men of studious habits are, inattentive to his personal health. Aware of the injurious effects of constant sedentary application, he used every means that abstemiousness in diet, and a regular and judicious plan of exercise afforded, to counteract them; and by this plan he found his spirits unfailingly elastic, and his powers of application to study seldom wearied.

The time arranged by his father for his stay with Mr. Beckford was no sooner completed, than his love of independence determined Clementi immediately to quit that gentleman's house, and commence his career in the arena of the metropolis, where he was speedily engaged to preside at the harpsichord, in the orchestra of the King's Theatre; and his reputation increased so rapidly, that he soon received as high remuneration for his lessons or performances as Bach, or any of his most celebrated contemporaries.

In 1780, at the suggestion of Pacchierotti, he determined to make a tour on the Continent, whither his compositions and the fame of his executive talents had long preceded him. In Paris, which was the first capital he visited, he remained till the summer of 1781, when he proceeded, by the way of Strasburgh and Munich, to Vienna, enjoying every where the patronage of sovereigns, the esteem and admiration of his brother musicians, and the enthusiastic applauses of the public.

Accustomed to the measured and somewhat cold plaudits of an English audience, the first burst of Parisian enthusiasm so astonished him, that he frequently afterwards jocosely remarked, he could hardly believe himself the same Clementi in Paris as in London. In Vienna he became acquainted with Haydn, Mozart, Salieri, and many other celebrated musicians, then resident in that city; and played alternately with Mozart, before the Emperor Joseph II. and the Grand Duke (afterwards Emperor) Paul of Russia and his consort. On one occasion, when the imperial trio alone were present, Clementi and Mozart were desired to play; some question of etiquette arising as to who should make the first display of his powers, the Emperor decided it by motioning Clementi to the instrument, saying at the same time, in allusion to his Roman birth, "tocca all' eglese di dar l'essempio."

Clementi having preluded for some time, played a sonata; and was followed by Mozart, who, without any further exordium than striking the chord of the key, also performed a sonata. The Grand Duchess then said, that one of her masters had written some pieces for her which were beyond her powers, but she should very much like to hear their effect; and, producing two, Clementi immediately played one, and Mozart the other, at sight.

She next proposed a theme, on which, at her request, these two great masters extemporized alternately, to the astonishment, as well as delight, of their imperial audience. The plan was evidently premeditated, and hardly fair towards the eminent professors, who were thus surprised into an immediate competition and comparison of abilities.

The result was equally honourable to them as men, between whom there was no unworthy feeling of jealousy, and creditable to them as artists, on whose talents no demand, however unexpected or unusual, could be too great.

In the course of his tour on the Continent, Clementi had written in Paris his Operas 5 and 6., and in Vienna his Operas 7, 6, 9, and 10. On his return to England, he deemed it necessary to publish his celebrated toccata, with a sonata, Opera 11., a surreptitious and very erroneous copy having been printed without his knowledge in France.

About the same time he published his Opera 12., on the fourth sonata of which Dr. Crotch and Mr. S. Wesley afterwards gave public lectures. In 1783, J. B. Cramer, then about fourteen or fifteen years old, and who had previously received some lessons from Schroeter, and was studying counterpoint under Abel, became his pupil, and attended him almost daily, until Clementi went again, for a short time, to Paris; whence, however, he returned the following year; and from 1784 to 1802 continued in London, pursuing his professional career with increasing reputation as an instructor, composer, and performer.

The number of excellent pupils formed by him during this period, proved his superior skill in the art of tuition; the invariable success which attended his public performances attested his pre-eminent talents as a player; and his compositions from Opera 15. to 40. as well as his excellent " Introduction to the Art of Playing the Piano-forte," are a lasting proof of his application and genius.

About the year
1800, upon the failure of the house of Longman and Broderip, by which Mr. Clementi lost considerably, he was induced, by the representations of some eminent mercantile men, to engage in the mnsic publishing and pianoforte manufacturing business.

A new firm was quickly formed, at the head of which was Mr. Clementi's name; and from that period he declined taking any more pupils, but dedicated the time which was not demanded by his professional studies or mercantile engagements, to improving the mechanism and construction of the instrument, of which he might be said to have first established the popularity.

It was soon after his becoming a partner in the house which bears his name, that he arranged Haydn's Oratorio, "The Creation," for the pianoforte and to English words.

Availing himself of the peace of 1802, Mr. Clementi proceeded in the autumn of that year for the third time to the Continent; where he remained eight years. He set out, accompanied by his favourite pupil, Field, whose early perfection he had equal pride and satisfaction in exhibiting to the audiences of Paris and Vienna.

In the latter city, he meant to have left his pupil under the instruction of the celebrated Albrechtsberger, while he himself proceeded to St. Petersburgh; but when the moment of parting arrived, Field expressed such deep regret at being separated from his first master, that Clementi, unable to resist his entreaties, took him on to the Russian metropolis, where,he introduced him to all his friends, and laid the foundation of his fortune.

The principal piano-forte player and teacher in St. Petersburgh, at the period of Clementi's arrival there, was a young professor named Zeuner, a native of Dresden, who immediately and successfully applied to the great master for instruction and advice in the pursuit of his studies, and became so attached to him, that when Clementi left Russia, Zeuner gave up all his pupils and connections in that capital, and accompanied his master to Berlin, and thence to Dresden, where he remained, prepared by the instructions of Clementi, to acquire the reputation to which he afterwards rose.

After parting with Zeuner, Clementi took under his protection a very unassuming, but able young professor of Dresden, named Klengel, who accompanied him to Vienna, and, the following year, on a tour through Switzerland, and back to Berlin.

About this time he also became acquainted with, and contributed in no small degree, by the exhibition of his own powers, to cherish and bring forward the then rising talents of Kalkbrenner.

In Berlin, Clementi married his first wife, and soon after - set out with his bride on a tour to Rome and Naples; returning to Berlin only to lose his partner in childbed of that son, whose promising talents and dispositions were the pride of his father's declining years, and whose premature and melancholy fate, by the accidental discharge of his own pistol, must be even yet fresh in the recollection of our readers.

To dissipate the sorrow occasioned by the loss of a beloved wife, the widower had recourse to travel: and, accompanied by another promising young pupil, Berger, he set off for Petersburgh, where he found his old friend and scholar, Field, in the enjoyment of all that reputation and talent could give him — in fact, the musical idol of the Russian capital. After a short stay in Russia, he again plunged into the bustle and excitement of journeying, and proceeded to Vienna.

The death of his brother now called Mr. Clementi to Rome, to arrange the family affairs; which done, he was anxious to return immediately to England. This, however, was more easily wished than accomplished. So completely had the war interrupted all communication, that for some time he had not even received remittances from London; and, as he told an intimate friend, had been obliged to live upon the snuff-boxes and rings which had been presented to him in the course of his travels : and the attempt to proceed from any part of the Continent, within his reach, to England, was attended not only with difficulty, but with danger.

At length, after making short residences in Milan and other cities, he, in the summer of 1810, found an opportunity, which, though hazardous, he did not hesitate to embrace, and once more landed in safety on the British shores. In the following year he married his second amiable wife, then Miss Gisborne, a lady possessed of considerable talent and many accomplishments.

During the whole period of his residence on the Continent, he had published only a single sonata, Opera 41.: it is not to be supposed, however, that even in the bustle of travelling, either his mind or his pen was suffered to rest unemployed; on the contrary, he composed several symphonies for a full orchestra, and prepared materials for his "Gradus ad Parnassum."

His first publication, after his return, was an " Appendix" to his " Introduction to the Art of playing on the Piano-forte." Subsequently he adapted the twelve grand symphonies of Haydn, for piano-fortes, flute, violin, and vioioncello; the "Seasons" of Haydn, for voices and piano-forte; Mozarts overture to "Don Giovanni," and various select pieces from the vocal works of the same great master.

In the years
1820 and 1821, he published several original works for the piano-forte; his sonata Op. 46. (dedicated to Kalkbrenner); his capriccios, Op. 47.; a fantasia, Op. 49.; a set of sonatas, Op. 50. (dedicated to Cherubini); and an arrangement of the six symphonies of Mozart, for the pianoforte, with accompaniments.

The latest of his original compositions not only exhibit much of the vigour which marked his earlier productions, but prove that he was not resting upon his oars while the tide of taste was floating by him.

In the mean time he also gave the musical world two elementary books, of the highest value; his "Practical Harmony," which was published in four volumes, between
1811 and 1815; and his "Gradus ad Parnassum," in three volumes.

The return of Mr. Clementi to his adopted country, as may' be naturally expected, was hailed with expectation as well as delight, both by the profession and by the musical public.

Those who remembered his past performances, looked anxiously forward to a renewal of their pleasures; while the young hoped to avail themselves of his instructions, or at least to have an opportunity of studying his manner, and forming or correcting their style by the contemplation of so great a master.

All were alike doomed to disappointment: from the moment of his return to England, Clementi determined neither to take pupils nor to play in public; and, we believe, the only two instances in which (out of the bosom of his own family, or the circle of his immediate friends) his fingers have been heard on the keys, were first at one of the Philharmonic Concerts, in which a symphony of Haydn, containing at the end a few bars for the piano-forte solo, was selected for the purpose of enabling the assembled professors to boast that they had once more heard Clementi play; and the second and last at the dinner, to which that profession, some time after, invited their veteran associate. (Of course we do not include in this statement his nearly annual appearance as conductor of the Philharmonic, but refer to solo playing only.)

Of the Philharmonic Society Mr. Clementi was one of the original founders, and he generally conducted a concert each season. To this society he presented two of his manuscript symphonies, the first of which was performed the 1st of March,
1819; and a grand overture, performed the 22d of March, 1824. In the same year he conducted also the performance of one of his own symphonies at the " Concert Spirituel."

Clementi had, during many years of his long life, been accustomed to receive all the rewards or praises that sovereigns or the public could bestow on superior talent; a compliment yet remained to be paid him, valuable as it was unsought — honourable as, in this country at least, it was rare.

At the suggestion of Messrs. Cramer and Moscheles, it was proposed to call the veteran artist from his retirement to an entertainment, at which all the elite of the profession then in London, foreigners as well as English, should assemble to receive and congratulate, on his

"frosty but kindly"

age, the instructor of many, the admired and looked up to of all. A committee to regulate the arrangements was soon formed, and the entertainment took place at the Albion Tavern on the 17th of December, 1827.

After several glees and songs, and after Moscheles had performed one of Clementi's sonatas, Mr. C. Potter one of his capriccios, and Messrs. J. B. Cramer and Moscheles his duet, Op. 14., in a style worthy of their own talents and the presence of the composer, the toast, "The immortal memory of Handel," was the signal for the veteran himself to approach the instrument, and, as the chairman, Sir George Smart, announced to the delighted company,

"just touch the keys."

Clementi had throughout life been celebrated for his powers of extemporaneous playing; when drawing unpremeditatedly on the resources of his own mind, his fancy seemed as unbounded as his science, his delicacy as polished as his learning was profound.

Early in his professional career, Dussek, when asked to play after Clementi had been extemporizing, replied,

"To attempt any thing in the same style, would be presumption; and what sonata, what concerto, or what other regular composition, could a man play, that would not be insipid after what we have heard ?"

In his tours on the Continent, the most learned professors had been delighted by his feeling and invention, as much as they were astonished by his facility and resources. On this occasion he indulged his assembled friends with a last prqof that his fancy was unfettered by age, and his finger unpalsied by years.

Paying to the giant composer, whose immortal memory had just been drunk, the compliment which some future artist of equal eminence may pay to himself, Clementi chose a subject from the first organ concerto as the theme of his performance, and then proceeded to extemporize in a style in which those who had been his contemporaries or pupils immediately recognised the undiminished powers of their old friend or instructor; and at which those who for the first time heard the more than septuagenarian artist, could hardly find terms to express their delight and surprise. The plaudits were long, loud, and to their object almost overpowering.

Mr. Clementi was a most amiable and social man, and very liberal and kind to his brother professors. Surrounded by all

"Which should accompany old age; As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends;"

his latter years afforded a bright proof of the respect and reward which, to the last moment of protracted life, will attend upon a youth spent in temperance and virtuous industry, and a manhood guided by honour, and dedicated to laudable ambition.

The death of Mr. Clementi took place at his cottage in the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire, on the 16th of April,
1832. His remains were consigned to their long repose on the 28th of April, in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey, in the neighbourhood of Bartleman, Shield, Williamsi and others, who have earned an honourable place in the musical history of their country.

It was expected that the united force of the metropolitan choirs, assisted by many volunteers, would give to the musical solemnities an unusual power and grandeur; and this was in a measure realised,'though the public demonstration of sympathy and respect, on the part of the musical world, fell far short of what had been anticipated.

Among the followers of the corpse were — J. B. Cramer, Moscheles, Novello, Field, Horsley, Kramer, Sir G. Smart, &c. The musical service (with the exception of a composition by Mr. Horsley, to the words "I heard a voice from Heaven,") was the same as usual. Never were the mingled pathos and sublimity of the cathedral solemnities more intensely felt — not even when the glare of midnight

torches, the tolling of minute bells, and the measured thunder of artillery have lent their aid, at the obsequies of kings. The cheerful noon-sun shone through the cathedral windows when the procession began to move to that memorable verse, "Man that is born of a woman;" it was the illumination most befitting so clear and natural a spirit as Clementi.
Principally from '' The Harmonicon". "The Annual Biography and Obituary for the Year ..., Volumes 17-18, 1833, p. 86-97

1838

"CLEMENTI (Muzio) a distinguished musical composer and performer on the pianoforte, who was a native of Rome. He quitted Italy for this country in 1767, and in 1773 he published his celebrated "Opus II," which gave birth to a new era in sonata writing.

On his first arrival in England he resided in Dorsetshire with Peter Beckford, Esq. through whose patronage he was enabled to prosecute his musical studies with advantage. Having subsequently settled in London, he was engaged to preside at the harpsichord in the orchestra of the opera-house, and he soon acquired high reputation.

In 1780 he visited Paris, where his talents excited great admiration, as they also did at Vienna, and he was treated with attention by crowned heads, and became acquainted with Haydn, Mozart, and other celebrated musicians.

In 1784 he returned to the English metropolis, and was for several years most advantageously employed as a teacher of music, producing from time to time a number of admirable compositions, and works destined to facilitate the progress of the student in the art which he cultivated with so much success, particularly an excellent and luminous "Introduction to the Art of Playing on the Piano-forte."

About 1800 he entered into business as a musicseller and musical instrument maker in London. In 1802 he again went to Paris, and afterwards passed some time at Vienna, St Petersburgh, Dresden, Berlin, Rome, and Naples, not returning to England till 1810. Whilst at Berlin he married a lady who unfortunately soon died in childbed, and in 1811 he entered a second time into wedlock.

He long continued to employ his talents in composing new music, and in adapting the works of other composers, and he published a valuable system of musical instruction under the title of "Gradus ad Pamassum," in three parts.

His death took place at his country seat, Elm Lodge, near Evesham, Worcestershire, March 10, 1832, in the eighty-first year of his age. His works, which are numerous, consist chiefly of sonatas for various instruments, and especially for the pianoforte." A General Biographical Dictionary, Volume 3, John Gorton, 1838, p. 565 - for a larger Biography see link at the left

1838

"[...] I am about to enter upon the subject of my journey' to France in 1802; before I commence which I may state that I first became acquainted with Mr. Clementi in passing through London, on my way to Paris, on the concluding of the peace of Amiens.

He was so kind as to offer me a place in his carriage to that city; but, as I was anxious to be at the fete on the 14th of July, the anniversary of the Revolution, and he could not set out so soon, I declined the offer, and preceded him about a week.

The peace had brought many foreigners to London, and I sat down at his table with French, Spanish, Germans, Italians, Russians, Turks, and Arabs, and with every one of these Clementi held a conversation, generally in their own language.

As a linguist, his readiness in all the European languages was considered extraordinary; and, as a classical scholar he stood very high.

I remember seeing a learned Greek work, edited by him, in the library at Gopsall Hall, before the Earl Howe possessed that mansion.

Perhaps I have been more inclined to speak in terms of admiration of Mr. C.'s attainments in tbis way, because

I am not one of those who esteemed him a musical genius of the highest order.

I dare say, upon the pianoforte, he was a fine performer; in his executive ability he is considered as the founder of the pianoforte school, but, as a composer, he had not the feeling which produces melody, without which no composition will touch the heart.

While we were at table a young gentleman named Field, an élève of Mr. Clementi, sat down to the pianoforte, and gratified the company by playing one of Bach's fugues, in which, by his force of touch, he maintained a clear distinction in the four different parts.

This extraordinary young performer accompanied him upon his travels. The war soon after broke out and raged with double fury, insomuch that Clementi found it difficult to pursue any given route.

As his journey was avowedly to collect MSS. for his work on practical harmony, he was permitted by Bonaparte, who had learned his design, to pass through the whole seat of war; and the same privilege was granted him by the allied sovereigns. He ultimately worked his way through France, Italy, and Germany, to Petersburgh. Here he left his pupil, Field, who married and still resides there.

I Mr. Clementi continued his research, visited the principal cities in Europe, and returned, after the lapse of ten or eleven years, laden with musical treasures. [...]" Music and Friends: Or, Pleasant Recollections of a Dilettante, William Gardiner, 1838, p. 243-244

1848

"CLEMENTI, (Muzio,) was born at Rome in 1752.

His father was a worker in silver of great merit, and was principally engaged in the execution of embossed vases and figures for the service of the Church.

At seven years of age he was placed under an organist of the name of Cordicelli for instruction in thorough bass; at the age of nine he passed his examination, and was admitted an organist at Rome. He next studied under Santarelli.

Between his eleventh and twelfth years he studied under Carpini, the deepest contrapuntist of his day in Rome.

A few months afterwards he wrote a mass for four voices.

He had made so great a proficiency between thirteen and fourteen, that Mr. Peter Beckford (nephew of the alderman of that name,) then on his travels in Italy, undertook his future education, and brought him to his country seat in Dorsetshire; and here, by the aid of a good library and the conversation of the family, Clementi quickly obtained a competent knowledge of the English language, as well as the classics, and various branches of science. But he did not neglect the art which he had chosen for his profession. His early studies were principally employed on the works of Corelli, Alessandro Scarlatti, Handel's harpsichord and organ music, and on the sonatas of Paradies.

At the age of eighteen he had not only surpassed all his contemporaries in the powers of execution and expression, but had written his Opera 2, which all the great musicians of the age have uniformly allowed to be the basis on which the whole fabric of modern sonatas for the piano-forte has been erected.

The celebrated John Christian Bach spoke of it in the highest terms; and when Schroeter arrived in this country, and was asked if he could play the works of Clementi, he replied,

"that they could only be performed by the author himself, or the devil!"

Soon after he had quitted Dorsetshire to reside in London, he was engaged to preside at the harpsichord, in the orchestra of the Opera-house; and had an opportunity, which he never neglected, of improving his taste by the performances of the first singers of that age.

In 1780, and at the suggestion of the celebrated Pacchierotti, he visited Paris; whence, in the following year, he went to Vienna, where he became acquainted with Haydn, Mozart, and all the celebrated musicians resident in that capital.

The emperor Joseph II., who was a great lover of music, invited him to his palace; where, in the latter end of the year 1781, he had the honour of playing alternately with Mozart before the emperor, and the grand duke Paul of Russia and his duchess.

On his return to England he published his celebrated Toccata.

In the autumn of 1783, John Baptist Cramer, then about fourteen or fifteen years of age, became his pupil.

About the year 1800, having lost a large sum of money by the failure of the wellknown firm of Longman and Broderip, of Cheapside, he was induced to embark in that concern.

A new firm was accordingly formed, and from that period he declined taking any more pupils. The hours which he did not thenceforward employ in his professional studies, he dedicated to the mechanical and philosophical improvement of piano-fortes; and the originality and justness of his conceptions were crowned with complete success.

With his favourite pupil, John Field, he, in the autumn of 1802, again visited Paris, whence he proceeded to Vienna, Petersburg, and Berlin. After visiting Dresden he made a tour through Switzerland, and returned immediately afterwards to Berlin, where he married his first wife.

In the autumn he took his bride through Italy, as far as Rome and Naples; and on his return to Berlin, having had the misfortune to lose her in childbed, he immediately left the scene of his sorrows, and again visited Petersburg.

In the summer of 1810 he once more arrived in England, and in the year following married again.

During his last visit to the continent he published his Opera 41, and collected materials for many other works, among which his Practical Harmony, 4 vols, and his Gradus ad Parnassuiu, deserve to be specially mentioned.

In 1813 he assisted in founding the Philharmonic Society, of which he frequently consented to act as a director, and presented to it his two Symphonies, which abound in agreeable melody, and are most skilfully written. He died on the 10th of March, 1832, and was buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey." A new general biographical Dictionary projected and partly ..., 1848, p. 358

1863

"Muzio Clementi, one of the greatest pianists and composers for the Pianoforte of whom the history of the art makes mention, was born at Rome, in 1752, and died near London, March 18, 1832.

In conjunction with Longman, Broderip, and Co., he founded a Pianoforte manufactory himself, under the title of Clementi and Co, from which has descended the now eminent firm of Collard and Collard." The Musical World, Volume 41, 1863, p. 147

 

MUZIO CLEMENTI.

"This celebrated pianist and composer was born at Rome, in tho year 1752. His father was a worker in silver of great merit, and principally engaged in the execution of embossed vases and figures employed in the Catholic worship.

At a very early period of his youth he evinced a strong disposition for music, and as this was an art which grealy delighted his father, he anxiously bestowed the best instructions in his power on his son. Buroni, who was his relation, and who afterwards obtained.the honorable station of principal composer of St. Peter's, was his first master.

At six years of age he began solfaing, and at seven he was placed uuder an organist of the name of Cordecelli, for instruction in thorough base; at the age of nine he passed his examination, and was admitted an organist in Rome.

This examination consists in giving a figured base from the works of Corelli, and making the scholar execute an accompaniment, after which he was obliged to transpose the same into various keys.

This Clementi effected with such facility, that he received the highest applause from his examiners. He next went under the celebrated Santarelli, the great master of singing.

Between his eleventh and twelfth years he studied uuder Carpini, the deepest contrapuntist of his day in Rome.

A few months after he was placed under this master, he was induced by some of his friends, and without consulting his preceptor, to write a mass for four voices, for which he received so much commendation, that Carpini expressed a desire to hear it.

It was accordingly repeated in church in the presence of his и aster, who, being little accustomed to bestow praise on any one, said to his pupil, after his dry manner,

"Why did not you tell me you were about to write a mass! This is very well, to be sure; but if you had consulted me, it might have boon much better."

Under Carpini he was practiced in writing fugues and canons in the canto ferma, and his master was frequently heard to say, that had Clementi remained under his instruction a year longer, he might have passed his examination in counterpoint.

During these studies he never neglected his harpsichord, on which he had made so great a proficiency between thirteen and fourteen, that Mr. Peter Beckford, nephew of the alderman of that name, who was then on his travels in Italy, was extremely desirous of taking him over to England.

The declining riches of the Romish Church, at this period, not giving much encouragement to the trade of his father, he agreed to confide the rising talents of his son to the care of Mr. Beckford, and, soon after this, Clementi set off for England.

The country seat of Mr. Beckford was in Dorsetshire, and here, by the aid of a good library and the conversation of the family, Clementi quickly obtained a competent knowledge of the English and several other languages.

With regard to his own art, his early studies were principally employed on the works of Corelli, Alessandro, Scarlatti, Handel's harpsichord and organ music; and on the sonatas of Paradies.

His efforts to acquire preeminence on the harpsichord were in the mean time as indefatigable as they were successful; and at the age of eighteen he had not only surpassed nil his contemporaries in the powers of execution and expression, but bad written his Op. 2, which gave a new era to that species of composition.

Three years afterwards, this celebrated work was submitted to the public. The simplicity, brilliancy, and originality which it displayed captivated tho whole circle of professors and amateurs.

It is superfluous to add, what all the great musicians of the age have uniformly allowed, that this admirable work is the basis on which the whole fabric of modern sonatas for the pianoforte has been erected.

The celebrated John Christian Bach spoke of it in the highest terms; but, although one of the most able players of his time, he would not attempt its performance; and when Schroeter arrived in England, and was asked if he could play the works of Clementi, he replied, that "they could only be performed by the author himself, or the devil."

Yet, such is the progress which executive ability has made, that what was once an obstacle to the most accomplished talent, is now within the power of thousands.

A well-known popular air with variations, his Ops. 3 and 4, and a duet for two performers on one instrument, were the next productions of his youthful pen.

Soon after he had quitted Dorsetshire to reside in London, he was engaged to preside at the harpsichord, in the orchestra of the Opera House, and had an opportunity, which he never neglected, of improving his taste by the performances of the first singers of that age.

The advantage which he derived from this species of study was quickly shown by the rapid progress which he made beyond his contemporaries, in the dignity of his style of execution, and in his powers of expression.

This, also, he carried into his compositions; and Dussek, Steibelt, Wolefi, Beethoven, and other eminent performers on the Continent, who had no opportunity of receiving personal instructions from Clementi, declared that they had formed themselves entirely on his works.

His ability in extemporaneous playing had, perhaps, no parallel. The richness of harmonic combination, the brilliancy of fancy, the power of effect, and the noble style of execution which he displayed, made him stand alone in an age which produced such a host of executive talent.

1780

His reputation, without the protection of any patron, rose with such rapidity, that, in a very short time, he received the same remuneration for his instructions as J. С Bach; and the fame of his works and of his executive talents having spread over the Continent, he determined, in the year 1780, and at the instigation of the celebrated Poechierotti, to visit Paris.

In that city he was received with enthusiasm, and had the honor to play before the Queen, who bestowed on him the most unqualified applause.

The warmth of French praise, contrasted with the gentle and cool approbation given by the English, quite astonished the young musician, who used jocosely to remark, that "he could scarcely believe himself to be the same man." Whilst he remained in that capital, he composed his Ops. 6 and 6, and published a new edition of his Op. 1, with an additional fugue. Having enjoyed the unabated applause of the Parisians until the summer of 1781, he determined on paying a visit to Vienna.

STRASBOURG

On his way there he stopped at Strasburg, where he was introduced to the then Prince de Deux Ponts, since King of Bavaria, who treated him with the greatest distinction; and also at Munich, where he was received with equal honor by the Elector.

VIENNA

At Vienna he became acquainted with Hadyn, Mozart, and all the celebrated musicians resident in thot capital. The Emperor Joseph Ц., who was a great lover of music, invited him to his palace; where, to the latter end of the year 1781, he had the honor of playing alternately with Mozart before the Empci"i- and the Grand Duke Poul, of Russia, and his duchess. At Vienna he composed three 9onatas (Op. 7), published by Arteria; three sonatas (Op. 8), published at Lyons; and six sonatas (Ops. 9 and 10), also published by Artaria.

On his return to England, he deemed it necessary to publish his celebrated Toccata, with a sonata — (Op. 11) — a surreptitious copy, full of errors, having been printed without his knowledge in France.

1783

In the autumn of 1783, John Baptist Cramer, then about fourteen or fifteen years of age, became his pupil. He had previously received some lessone from Schroeter, and was studying counterpoint under Abel. Clementi, at this time, resided in Titchfield street, and Cramer used to attend him almost every morning, until the following year, when Clementi returned to France. Previous to his undertaking this second journey, he was engaged at the nobility's concerts, and had published his Op. 12 . upon one of the sonatas of which work both Dr. Crotch and Samuel Wesley afterwards gave public lectures in London.

1784

In the year 1784, he again went back to England, and soon afterwards published his Ops. 13, 14, and 15. From this period to the year 1802, he remained in England, pursuing his professional labors with increasing reputation; and wishing to secure himself sufficient time for the prosecution of his studies, he raised his terms for teaching to one guinea per hour.

Disfame, however, was so great, that this augmentation of price rather increased than diminished the candidates for his instruction. The great number of excellent pupils, of both sexes, whom he formed during this period, proved his superior skill in the art of tuition; the invariable success which uttended his public performances, attested his pre-eminent talents as a player; and his compositions, from Op. 15 to Op. 40, are a lasting proof of his application and genius.

Before the publication of this last work, he had produced one, the advantages of which have been and are still felt and acknowledged by almost all professors; we mean his excellent and luminous "Introduction to the Art of Playing on the Piano-forte."

1800

About the year 1800, having lost a large sum of money by the failure of the well-known firm of Longman and Broderip, 23 Cheapside, he was induced, by the persuasions of some eminent mercantile gentlemen, to embark in that concern. A new firm was accordingly formed, and from that period he declined taking any more pupils.

The hours which he did not thence forward employ in his professional studies, he dedicated to the mechanical and philosophical improvement of piano fortes; and the originality and justness of his conceptions were crowned with complete success.

John FIELD

The extraordinary and admirable talents of John Field, are still fresh in the memory of most lovers of classical music. These talents Clementi had cultivated with unceasing delight. With this favorite pupil, in the autumn of 1S02, he paid his third visit to Paris, where he was received with unabated esteem and admiration.

This pupil delighted every one who heard him; and what is still more worthy of remark, he played some of the great fugues of Sebastian Bach with such precision and inimitable taste as to call forth from a Parisian audience the most enthusiastic applause.

From Paris he proceeded to Vienna, where he intended to place Field under the instruction of Albrechtsberger, to which his pupil seemed to assent with pleasure; but when the time arrived for Clementi to set off for Russia, poor Field, with tears trembling in his eyes, expressed so much regret at parting from his master, and so strong a desire to accompany him, that Clementi could not resist his inclinations; they therefore proceeded directly to St. Petersburgh.

In this city Clementi was received with the greatest distinction; he played extemporaneously in the society of the principal professors with his accustomed excellence, and to the admiration of his audience; and having introduced Field to his friends, soon afterwards left Russia, in company with a young professor of the name of Zeuner.

Zeuner was the principal pianoforte player and teacher in Petersburgh; and having received some instructions from Clementi during his residence there, he became so attached to his master, that he left all his scholars for the sake of accompanying htm to Berlin.

In the latter city Clementi played, both extemporaneously and from his works, before all the most eminent musicians, with his wonted vigor and effect; and, after remaining there two months, took Zeuner with him to Dresden, the place of his birth, where he left him well prepared to acquire the reputation which he afterwards obtained.

In Dresden, an unassuming but very able and excellent young musician, of the name of Klengel, introduced himself to the acquaintance of Clementi, and, after obtaining some instructions, became exceeding desirous of accompanying his master in his travels.

Clementi was so much pleased with his character and talents, which have since become well-known to the public, that he consented; and after a few weeks' residence at Dresden, he took him on to Vienna, where, daring some months, his pupil worked very hard under his instruction.

It was at this time that he became acquainted with and cherished, by counsel and the frequent exhibition of his own powers on the piano-forte, the rising talents of Kalkbrenner, who has since raised himself to such distinguished eminence.

Switzerland; Rome & Naples; Berlin & St. Petersburgh

During the summer following, Clementi took his pupil Klengel ou a tour through Switzerland, and returned immediately afterwards to Berlin, where he married his first wife. In the autumn he took his bride through Italy, as far as Rome and Naples; and on his return to Berlin, having had the misfortune to lose her in childbed, he immediately left the scene of his sorrows, and once more visited St. Petersburgh.

In this journey he took with him another promising young pupil, of the name of Berger, who had previously received his instructions, and who is now the principal professor of the piano-forte nt Berlin.

At Petersburgh he found Field in the full enjoyment of the highest reputation—in short, the musical idol of the Russian nation. Пеге he remained but a short time; and finding relief from the contemplation of his severe loss in the bustle of traveling, he again went back to Vienna.

1810

The following summer, having heard of the death of his brother, he proceeded once more to Rome, to settle the affairs of his family. He then made short residences at Milan and various other places on the Continent, where he was detained, in spite of his inclinations, by the disastrous continuation of the war; and seizing a hazardous opportunity of conveyance, in the summer of 1810, he once more arrived in England, and the year following married.

Although, during this period of nearly eight years, he published only a single sonata, (op. 41,) his mind and his pen were still occupied in the composition of symphonies, and in preparing materials for his " Gradus ad Parnassum."

His first publication, after his return, was the appendix to his " Introduction to the Art of Playing on the Piano-furte," — a work which has been of infinite use both to the profession and to the public. He next adapted the twelve grand symphonies of Haydn for the piano-forte, and accompaniments for the flute, violin, and violoncello.

This work was a great desideratum, since that which had already been published by Salomon was awkwardly and imperfectly done. Before he went abroad, he had adapted Haydn's "Creation" for the piano-forte and voices; and he now published the oratorio of the "Seasons," which he had done in the same manner.

He afterwards adapted Mozart's overture to " Don Giovanni," besides various selections from the vocal compositions of the same outhor. The Philharmonic Society having been now established, he gave two grand symphonies which were received there, and at various other concerts with enthusiastic applause.

1824

He produced several other symphonies at the Philharmonic Concerts in March, 1824.

Clementi enjoyed the highest consideration in England. Having become rich, in the last years of his life he abandoned the direction of his mercantile house to his associate, M. Collard, and retiring to a pretty country-sent, lived in repose, and seldom visited London. Once when he did come, Cramer, Moschelles, and others, gave a banquet to the patriarch of the piano, at the close of which he improvised to the astonishment and delight of all present. This was his " swan song."

1832

He died on the 10th of March, 1832, at the age of eighty years.—London Musical World.

"Much miserable composition (musical) is, however, still in use among them, (the Dissenters ;) but this is an evil which it will take long time to eradicate. To change the tuneé in use among a Christian community is a work of as much difficulty as changing the currency of an empire.—Dr. Ed. Hodges.

The cultivation of the ear is of the very first importance. Take especial pains to become acquainted with tones and tone relations. The bell, the pane of glass, the cuckoo—learn to distinguish the tones they produce.

It is said of Dr. JOHNSON, that he was once importuned by a young nobleman to listen to his performance on the flute. The youth played well, and expected praise, but received from the stern old moralist a rebuke for the waste of much time that ought to have been devoted to the improvement of his own mind.

We do not present this as an argument against the study of music as an art, and we suppose that the rebuke was not intended as an objection to that great amount of practice which is necessary for one to excel in any department of art, but only as a misappropriation of time in this one instance.

A mere performer on an instrument, or a mere vocalist, can never, for that reason, be entitled to one's highest respect.

But when we consider the proud rank of the musical composer, ranked in all ages with the poet, we discover that music is more than an art, and that it demands the aid of the imagination, and, indeed, of a highly-cultivated mind, as well as the mere fingers.

"Melody" is the war-cry of dilletanli, and certainly music without melody is not music. But understand well what dillttanti mean by the term: the only compositions thus named by them are such as are easily caught up and possess a pleasing rhythm.

But there is melody of a different description, and wherever you open the works of Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven, it comes before you in a thousand different ways: it is to be hoped that you will soon become tired of the poverty-stricken sameness of Italian operas.—Schumann.

Can any one become musical ? My dear child, the most important requisites, a good ear and a quick power of comprehension, are given us, like all other things from above.

But our natural disposition may be educated and improved. The way to become musical is not to shut yourself up, like a hermit, for days together, pursuing a course of mechanical study, but by actual and varied intercourse with musicians, especially with members of the chorus and orchestra.—Schumann." New York Weekly Review and Musical World, 13/04/1861, p. 139-140
 

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