Tiny Revelations

Sometimes the unconscious will solve a problem you didn’t even know you had. For a month or more, I’ve been gradually learning the Clementi Sonata in F# Minor. (I’m a very slow learner.) This sonata is my first exposure to Clementi, and I’m finding that he was a clever fellow. He wrote in the same classical style as Haydn and Mozart, who were his contemporaries, but he put a distinctly personal stamp on it.

Typically, the cadences that end sections in the classical style are somewhat formulaic. The first movement of this Clementi sonata, however, ends (both the end of the exposition and the final cadence) with an odd melodic figure that is almost the antithesis of any sort of expected formula. It’s one of several odd things about the movement.

In the middle of the night last night, I awoke with an unprompted realization. That odd melodic figure is an inversion of the main melody in bars 1 and 2. He’s referring directly back to the opening, and doing it in a way that you don’t expect and may not even notice. I don’t know why my brain brought this fact to my attention; it just did.

I wish I learned new piano pieces faster. I want to explore Clementi’s neglected sonatas more thoroughly.

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