One of the most eminent pianists of his time – who even engaged in a contest with Mozart and did not lose – Muzio Clementi created fundamental pedagogical works for piano and altogether 63 sonatas for piano solo. Didone abbandonata dates from his last compositional opus for solo piano sonatas written in 1821. The topic of Dido, who was abandoned by Aeneas and expressed her grief through mourning, despair and, ultimately, raving madness, was extremely popular and subjected to countless arrangements since the 17th century in operas, single “scena” and many instrumental works. The performance instructions for the sonata are as numerous as they are uncommon, and symbolize Dido’s hyper-expressiveness.
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Muzio Clementi dedicated to Luigi Cherubini his three piano sonatas (op. 50) composed in 1821 and that same year had them published simultaneously in Paris, Leipzig, Offenbach, Milan and by his own firm in London. In the Paris edition the sonata entitled Didone abbandonata is no. 1; in the other editions it is no. 3. The autograph has disappeared. The present edition is based … more
About the composer
A composer, pianist, keyboard-instrument manufacturer, and music publisher from Italy. His volumes of piano music, foremost among them the exercises from Gradus ad Parnassum, op. 44, continue to occupy a prominent position in piano pedagogy. As a manufacturer of keyboard instruments he contributed to the further development of the pianoforte. His efforts as a publisher included helping to establish the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach throughout the world, and fostered the rediscovery of other Baroque composers. He mainly composed works for keyboard instruments, as well as orchestral and chamber music.
|1752||Born in Rome on January 23. First musical instruction from Antonio Boroni and others.|
|from 1766||He is appointed organist at the church of San Lorenzo in Damaso for eight months. Thereafter he enters the musical service of the aristocrat Peter Beckford at his manorial home at Steepleton Iwerne in southern England.|
|from 1775||through active concertgiving in London he establishes himself as a piano virtuoso.|
|from 1780||A longer concert tour leads him, among other places, to Paris and Vienna, where he is introduced at court.|
|1781||On December 24, he enters a virtuoso competition against Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart initiated by Emperor Joseph II.|
|from 1785||He is principal composer for the Hanover Square Grand Professional Concerts in London.|
|from 1802||An eight-year business trip as publisher and keyboard manufacturer takes him through Europe. During this time his pupils, including John Field, present his keyboard instruments.|
|1813–24||He is director of the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.|
|1814||On December 7 he becomes a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.|
|1832||Dies in Evesham (Worcestershire) on March 10.|