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Mozart // Fantaisy, Sonatas KV332, 457 – Clementi // Sonata op.34 n°2

Aldo Ciccolini,

Clementi is now known mainly for his pedagogical works, but he is a major figure in the history of music for the piano, and was greatly admired by Beethoven for example.

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Though Ciccolini has always held his Sonata Op.34 No. 2 close to his heart, he had never recorded it before. He has now – and how sumptuously! – grouping it with works by Mozart.

After a first and highly-praised recording devoted to Mozart (La Dolce Volta LDV 03), he has now tackled his Sonata KV 332and the celebrated diptych comprising Fantasy in C Minor KV 475 and Sonata in C Minor KV 457. Through their expressive depths and their pre-romantic accents, these Mozart works fit nicely with Clementi’s amazing Sonata Op.34 No.2.

“One shouldn’t be impatient in life, certain things demand a gestation period. I’m not impatient to play something, I need the time to find myself”, says Aldo Ciccolini.

More than just a CD, this new recording is testimony to the art of a living legend. Now 87 years of age, the master’s source of wonder and appetite for music remain intact!


MOZART / Fantasy No.4 in C Minor K.475 12’13


MOZART / Piano Sonata No.14 in C Minor K.457 KV457

  • Molto allegro 6’40
  • Adagio 7’18
  • Allegro assai 5’45


CLEMENTI / Piano Sonata in G Minor, Op.34 No.2


  • Largo e sostenuto. Allegro con fuoco 8’56
  • Un poco adagio 6’39
  • Molto allegro 6’32


MOZART / Piano Sonata No.12 in F Major K.332


  • Allegro 7’16
  • Aadagio 4’39
  • Allegro assai 4’59

Aldo Ciccolini, now an elder statesman of the piano, has for long been associated with the music of his adopted France, of Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Ravel and Satie.
Here is a depth and seriousness recital, in which Ciccolini erases much of his former debonair self and opts for playing of a notable depth and drama. In Mozart’s C minor Fantasia and Sonata, K475 and 457, he makes the supposed division between Mozart’s Apollonian and Beethoven’s Dionysian genius erroneous. Nothing is glossed, everything is considered, and in the Sonata’s storming finale his measured tempo somehow gives added substance to the music’s C minor intensity. His way with Clementi, too, reminds you of a fiercely original and uncompromising voice (a quality that greatly appealed to Horowitz) and it is only in Mozart’s F major Sonata, K332, that the playing becomes strenuous, making you long for a greater sense of texture, for that light and shade inseparable from Mozart. The finale is, however enviably robust and this absorbing issue, crowned with a charming interview, is excellently recorded and decorated with vivid art work by Axel Arno.

The distinguished Italian-born French pianist and pedagogue, Aldo Ciccolini, began piano lessons at a very early age. At 9, he was granted entrance to the Naples Conservatory, where he studied piano with Paolo Danza, taking 1st prize in 1940. He also took 1st prize in composition there in 1943.

In 1941 Aldo Ciccolini made his debut as soloist in Frédéric Chopin’s F minor Concerto at the Theater San Carlo in Naples. In 1947 he became Professor of piano at the Naples Conservatory. In 1949, he was co-winner of the Grand Prize in the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud competition in Paris. In November 1950, he made his USA debut as soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and subsequently pursued a notable international career. He became a French citizen in 1969 and was professor at the Conservatoire de Paris from 1971 to 1988. On December 9, 1999 he celebrated a career in France spanning 50 years with a recital at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris.

Aldo Ciccolini maintained a comprehensive repertoire, which extended from J.S. Bach to contemporary composers. His virtuoso technique was enhanced by a particularly refined lyricism. He was a celebrated interpreter and advocate of the piano music of the French composers Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy and Erik Satie as well as that of less prominent composers such as Déodat de Séverac, Jules Massenet, Charles-Valentin Alkan, and Alexis de Castillon. He was also known for his playing of the music of Franz Liszt.

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