|Muzio Clementi, who was born in Rome in 1752 and died in Evesham (England) in 1832, was called the «father of the piano», thanks to his perception (and exploration) of the instrument’s multiple timbral and sonic potential. As a composer he ventured to exploit the expressive resources of the piano to the full, thereby approaching the sonic and formal investigations of Beethoven, who duly gratified Clementi with an artistic approval that the great German master accorded only very rarely to other composers. As a teacher his work operated on two fronts: the publication of the Introduction to the Art of Playing on the Piano Forte […] (1801), a method that was taken as a model by the majority of subsequent theorists; the 100 studies of the Gradus ad Parnassum, which turned him into the head of a piano school of international standing and created a landmark for piano studies until our own day. But neither should we neglect Clementi’s role as a music publisher and piano builder of European stature. He was an emblematic figure in a world in which profound social and economic changes were busy paving the way for the so-called ‘modern age’.
The debate on the life and work of Muzio Clementi began with Muzio Clementi. Studies and Prospects, a monograph published for the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth and edited by Roberto Illiano, Luca Sala and Massimiliano Sala, and with an introduction by Leon Plantinga (Ut Orpheus Edizioni, 2002). The great interest displayed by the 26 scholars who took part in that project subsequently persuaded us to create a tool that might offer a periodical account of the state of the international debate on the composer. In 2004 we therefore inaugurated a series of studies, the Quaderni Clementiani (Ut Orpheus Edizioni). Hitherto the following titles have been published: Muzio Clementi. Cosmopolita della Musica, edited by Richard Bösel and Massimiliano Sala (2004, QC 1) and New Perspectives on the Keyboard Sonatas of Muzio Clementi (2006, QC 2).
With a ministerial decree dated 20 March 2008, the Opera Omnia of the composer Muzio Clementi was promoted to the status of Italian National Edition. The official ceremony took place at the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage (Rome) in the presence of On. Andrea Marcucci, the Under-Secretary of State, Dr. Maurizio Fallace, Director-General for the Library Heritage and Cultural Institutes, and the steering committee of the National Edition consisting of the scholars Andrea Coen (Rome), Roberto De Caro (Bologna), Roberto Illiano (Lucca — President), Leon B. Plantinga (New Haven, CT), David Rowland (Milton Keynes, UK), Luca Sala (Paris/Poitiers, Secretary Treasurer), Massimiliano Sala (Pistoia, Vice-President), Rohan H. Stewart-MacDonald (Cambridge, UK) and Valeria Tarsetti (Bologna).
The critical edition of the complete works of Clementi, published by Ut Orpheus Edizioni of Bologna, will consist of 15 volumes: the first two will contain vocal and orchestral music respectively, five volumes will be devoted to the chamber music, two volumes to the keyboard works, and two volumes to the didactic works. Another three volumes will contain: 1.) the doubtful works, the arrangements and transcriptions of Clementi; 2.) the correspondence; 3.) a thematic catalogue of his works together with documents relating to his life, the iconography and an updated bibliography. Each volume will contain an analytical historical introduction, a critical edition of the music and a critical commentary (comprising a list, description and criticism of the sources, an account of the interpretational problems and a list of variants).