On 13 February, Barcelona's Museu de la Música and the Associació Muzio Clementi de Barcelona will inaugurate the exhibition "Muzio Clementi, The Father of the Pianoforte. Confluences with Beethoven", an exhibition that can be seen until 12 April in the Museum’s temporary exhibition room.
The exhibition traces the life and work of the man considered to be the frontrunner of the first generation of professional pianists, drawing on new research and studies. The exhibition is complemented by a brief review of the history of the piano, as Clementi was also a music publisher and manufacturer of this instrument.
In addition, to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, the exhibition includes an overview of the relationship between these two artists. Clementi’s innovative musical style was a defining reference in Beethoven's language.
With regard to his relationship with Beethoven, it is a well-known fact that the composer from Bonn was strongly influenced by the sonatas of Clementi, which were an important precedent for the development of his musical style.
Clementi, as well as being a musician, was also a publisher in London. Beethoven’s work spread across the Anglo-Saxon world, in large part, thanks to the publishing contracts he signed exclusively with Clementi. At the same time, he conducted many of Beethoven’s symphonic works with the Philharmonic Society of London, an institution he founded with other musicians and which would commission Beethoven to compose his universal Symphony No. 9.
Acclaimed by the contemporary London press as the father of modern piano music, Muzio Clementi (1752-1832) was a musician held in such high esteem that the epitaph “The Father of the Pianoforte” was inscribed on his tombstone.
Clementi 2020 Conferences
To commemorate the figure of Clementi and his personal and professional ties with Beethoven, Barcelona’s Museu de la Música and the Associació Muzio Clementi de Barcelona have organised the Clementi 2020 Conferences, that will also take place at the Museu de la Música between 13 and 16 February this year and are free of charge.
These conferences, which will run in parallel to the exhibition, will look at Clementi as a figure that has gone down in history as the father of the fortepiano, but who was also master of many other professions of the music world: he was a pianist, composer, conductor, publisher and also a piano manufacturer. The conferences will explore how all this helped his relationship with Beethoven to thrive.
The Associació Muzio Clementi will also present the initial findings of the research and documentation project cataloguing pianos dating prior to 1850 that are hidden away or forgotten in Catalan homes. This research starts with the study of the influence of Clementi on the region’s musical culture and seeks to prevent part of the musical heritage of Catalonia being lost, which is a testimony of its history and the voice of an era.
Up to now, 26 pianos built before 1850 have been documented, amongst which there are 9 Clementi & Co pianos and 6 Collard & Collard pianos, the brothers who were his partners and who, after his death, continued to run the company. The mid-19th century is taken as the cut-off date as this is when the instrument, which was essentially made of wood, was modernised, with the systematic introduction of metal in its interior. These pianos are authentic gems and, at the conferences, their owners will be able to share their experiences of having an instrument hailing from one of the most interesting periods in the history of music.
* View the Clementi Conferences programme here.
The impact of Clementi and Beethoven on the history of the piano
The exhibition activity and the conferences will be complemented by a course organised over six sessions. Entitled "The impact of Clementi and Beethoven on the history of the piano", the course will include examples of music played live on an original Late Clementi, Collard & Collard fortepiano. There will also be a focus on each of the different elements of the exhibition "Muzio Clementi, The Father of the Pianoforte. Confluences with Beethoven" that is devoted to Clementi and his relationship with Beethoven, on the 250th anniversary of his birth.
The admiration they professed for one another is reflected in the musical confluences that will be discussed in these sessions. The history of the piano will also be retraced in the incomparable setting of Barcelona’s Museu de la Música, listening to different instruments from its collection. The course will be given by Marina Rodríguez.
* View the conferences and courses here.
Aleix Palau | 5 February 2020
An exhibition and various conferences on Muzio Clementi reveal his relationship with Beethoven
The Museu de la Música and the Associació Muzio Clementi are jointly organising the exhibition entitled "Muzio Clementi, The Father of the Pianoforte. Confluences with Beethoven” and the Clementi 2020 Conferences.
The exhibition can be visited from 13 February to 12 April and the conferences will take place between 13 and 16 February, as part of the extensive Beethoven250 festival programme presented by L’Auditori.