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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.‎

An exhibition and various conferences on Muzio Clementi reveal his relationship with ‎Beethoven

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.‎

Course: ‎
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.‎

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