Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Clementi

Dr. Bob Prescribes Beethoven Piano Concerto in D, Op. 61a

Compositionally, 1806 was a miraculous year for Herr Ludwig van Beethoven. Among the works he completed that year were the Piano Sonata in F minor, the Appassionata, Op. 57; the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58; the three so-called “Razumovsky” String Quartets, Op. 59, nos. 1, 2, and 3; the Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60; the Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61; the second Version of his opera Leonore (as well as the Leonore Overtures nos. 2 and 3) (Leonore was renamed Fidelio in 1814); 32 Variations on an Original Theme in C minor, WoO (without opus) 80; and Six Ecossaises for piano, WoO 83;  (For those who’s like to know much more about Beethoven in 1806, I can happily recommend Mark Ferraguto’s excellent Beethoven 1806, published by Oxford University Press in 2019.) Crazy. Some ten years into his hearing loss, in poor mental health, and plagued by gastric issues that would lay most of us low for weeks at a time, Beethoven’s creative juices and sheer ingenuity were running at a level inconceivable to any of us today.  His Violin Concerto received its premiere that same year – 1806 – on December […]

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Music History Monday: The Mozart/Clementi Duel

On January 23, 1752 – 265 years ago today – the composer, harpsichordist, pianist, organist, conductor, teacher, music publisher and editor, and piano manufacturer Muzio Filippo Vincenzo Francesco Clementi was born in Rome. Remembered best today for his six delightful Sonatinas for Piano published as Op. 36, he was, in fact a prodigious composer; his collected works (published in Bologna by Ut Orpheus) fills 60 volumes! In his own lifetime, Clementi was considered by his contemporaries to be one of the handful of greatest living pianists. Wolfgang Mozart – almost exactly four years younger than Clementi – quit his day job in Salzburg and settled in Vienna in May, 1781. He was 25 years old. Mozart knew his worth, and he knew – as well as we do, today – that in 1781 he was the greatest pianist and composer in the world. To his mind, among his first tasks in Vienna was to make sure that everyone in that fine city understood his greatness as well. By December 1781, Mozart had gone a long way towards accomplishing that task. By December of 1781, Mozart considered Vienna to be his turf, and he was not kindly disposed towards anyone busting […]

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