Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/384
Similarly he was said to have made a piano-score of the 'Creation' from memory, after having heard the oratorio a few times, merely with the help of the book of words, and that his arrangement was so good that Haydn adopted it for publication. If Weber, in one of his published letters, does not speak highly of Clement as a conductor, it must be remembered that Weber's criticism was seldom unbiassed, and that he probably felt some satisfaction at Clement's want of success at Prague, where he was Weber's successor.
Clement's style was not vigorous, nor his tone very powerful: gracefulness and tenderness of expression were its main characteristics. His technical skill appears to have been extraordinary. His intonation was perfect in the most hazardous passages, and his bowing of the greatest dexterity. Beethoven himself has borne the highest testimony to his powers by writing especially for him his great Violin-concerto. The original manuscript of this greatest of all violin-concertos, which is preserved in the imperial library at Vienna, bears this inscription in Beethoven's own handwriting:—'Concerto par Clemenza pour Clement, primo violino e Direttore al Theatro à Vienne dal L. v. Bthvn., 1806.' Clement was the first who played it in public, on Dec. 23rd. 1806.
If we hear that in later years Clement's style deteriorated considerably, and that he yielded to a lamentable degree to the temptation of showing off his technical skill by the performance of mere tours de force unworthy of an earnest musician, we may ascribe it to his unsteady habits of life, which brought him into difficulties, from which he had to extricate himself at any price. But the tendency showed itself early. It is difficult to believe, if we had not the programme still to refer to, that at the concert at which he played Beethoven's Concerto for the first time, he also performed a set of variations 'mit umgekehrter Violine'—with the violin upside down.He published for the violin 25 concertinos, 6 concertos, 12 studies, a great number of airs variés and smaller pieces. For the piano, a concerto. For orchestra, three overtures. For the stage, an opera and the music for a melodrame. All these works are however entirely forgotten.
[ P. D. ]
[ M. C. C. ]
CLEMENTI, Muzio, born at Rome 1752, died at Evesham March 9 [App. p.594 "March 10"], 1832. Clementi's father, an accomplished workman in silver, himself of a musical turn, observed the child's uncommon musical gifts at an early period, and induced a relation of the family, Buroni, choirmaster at one of the churches at Rome, to teach him the rudiments. In 1759 Buroni procured him lessons in thorough bass from an organist, Condicelli [App. p.594 "Cordicelli"], and after a couple of years' application he was thought sufficiently advanced to compete for an appointment as organist, which he obtained. Meanwhile his musical studies were continued assiduously; Carpani taught him counterpoint and Sartarelli singing. When barely 14 Clementi had composed several contrapuntal works of considerable size, one of which, a mass, was publicly performed, and appears to have created a sensation at Rome. An English gentleman, Mr. Bedford, or Beckford, with some difficulty induced Clementi's father to give his consent to the youth's going to England, when Beckford offered to defray the expenses of his further education and introduce him to the musical world of London. Until 1770 Clementi quietly pursued his studies, living at the house of his protector in Dorsetshire. Then, fully equipped with musical knowledge, and with an unparalleled command of the instrument, he came upon the town as a pianist and composer. His attainments were so phenomenal that he carried everything before him, and met with a most brilliant, hardly precedented, success. From 1777 to 80 he acted as cembalist, i. e. conductor, at the Italian Opera in London. In 1781 Clementi started on his travels, beginning with a series of concerts at Paris; from thence he passed, via Strasburg and Munich, to Vienna, where he made the acquaintance of Haydn, and where, at the instigation of the Emperor Joseph II, he engaged in a sort of musical combat at the pianoforte with Mozart. Clementi, after a short prelude, played his Sonata in B♭—the opening of the first movement of which was long afterwards made use of by Mozart in the subject of the Zauberflöte overture—and followed it up with a Toccata, in which great stress is laid upon the rapid execution of diatonic thirds and other double stops for the right hand, esteemed very difficult at that time. Mozart then began to preludise, and played some variations; then both alternately read at sight some MS. sonatas of Paisiello's, Mozart playing the allegros and Clementi the andantes and rondos; and finally they were asked by the Emperor to take a theme from Paisiello's sonatas and accompany one another in their improvisations upon it on two pianofortes. The victory, it appears, was left undecided. Clementi ever afterwards spoke with great admiration of Mozart's 'singing' touch and exquisite taste, and dated from this meeting a considerable change in his method of playing: striving to put more mnsic and less mechanical show into his productions. Mozart's harsh verdict in his letters (Jan. 12, 1782; June 7, 1783) was probably just for the moment, but cannot fairly be applied to the bulk of Clementi's work. He disliked Italians; the popular prejudice was in their favour, and they were continu-