SangMi Chung

Muzio Clementi: Piano Sonatas

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The sonatas of Muzio Clementi, closely bound up with the development of the modern piano, have been favorites of the historical-performance movement, but Clementi was played before the revival of the fortepiano ever gained traction. This little selection of sonatas, played on a modern piano by Korean-born pianist SangMi Chung, harks back to the days when a piano recital might open with Clementi or Scarlatti before proceeding to the heavy stuff. Chung's Steinway tends to overwhelm the straightforward lyricism of the slow movements, but in general she's a lively player with a subtle sense of humor that serves Clementi well. Hearing Chung's both rambunctious and serious reading of the Piano Sonata in F sharp minor, Op. 26/2, gives you a good idea of what the young Beethoven heard in Clementi, who was profoundly influenced by Clementi, and her sense of overall line in Clementi's compact but far from simple sonata structures is keen throughout. Booklet notes, in English only, are sparse and misspell the name of Giacomo Meyerbeer, but the pleasantly resonant sound environment of New York's Academy of Arts and Letters accords well with Chung's aims. This recording does not break new ground, but it is well attuned to Clementi's considerable charm.

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