Next, the secretary of the Association, Eva Álvarez, presented the recently designed website. She went through the different sections, including the introduction, the space devoted to Clementi’s biography, past and upcoming activities, and links to Clementi-related websites.
The presentations by the members of the board were followed by three talks by specialists.
Firstly, in “The contribution of Muzio Clementi to the history of music”, Marina Rodríguez Brià highlighted the value of Clementi’s legacy. By reference to numerous contemporary witness reports and present-day accounts, she reviewed Clementi’s activities and their historical significance. Thus, she spoke of Clementi the pianist, initiator of a technique that was properly devised “from” and “for” the piano that provides the backbone of both his pedagogical legacy and his musical work; of Clementi the editor, who published a catalogue of 6,000 contemporary and ancient works; of Clementi the discoverer of talents and promoter of musical societies that would establish with other societies and have continuity in the future; and Clementi the piano-maker, committed to the technical and sound improvement of the instrument.
After a break, it was the turn of Italian pianist and musicologist Luca Chiantore. In addition to corroborating or deepening some of the aspects discussed earlier, his talk, entitled “The Clementi case”, focused on the historiographic treatment of many lesser-known composers. In his opinion, the history of music is narrated from a German-centric vision, linked to a growing nationalism that began in the 1840s, which excludes or minimizes areas and composers from other European regions. This explains how Clementi and many others were forgotten or reduced to an anecdotal memory. Chiantore made a passionate defence of Clementi and also emphasized his importance as a symphonist who, at the time, was valued by the public at the same level as Beethoven, with whom he had a close relationship.
To round off the morning session, Jaume Ayats, director of the Barcelona Museum of Music, gave a talk on “Recovery of musical heritage”, with an illuminating analysis of the meaning of the term ‘heritage’. Is it just something material? What is the value of oral transmission and what difficulties does it face when it comes to musical notation? These issues, also mentioned in the preceding talk, underlined the importance of the role played by public and private institutions and, therefore, the interest of a newly-founded Association that has among its aims the study and recovery of the memory of an important composer.
In the afternoon, the Day continued at the Museum of Music of Barcelona with the presentation in the organ hall of the restoration by Jaume Barmona of a historical square piano Collard & Collard, late Clementi, owned by Marina Rodríguez and Joan Josep Gutiérrez.
After the welcome address by the director, Jaume Ayats, Joan Josep Gutiérrez explained the origin of the piece and gave a brief account of the history of the piano, specifically the square piano and the Collard brand, which continued the Clementi brand. The Collard brothers collaborated with Clementi for more than 30 years, during which they built a close friendship with the musician. After his death in 1832, the company kept the name Clementi for many years, both as a memento and as a commercial bait. The piano owned by Marina Rodríguez and Joan Josep Gutiérrez and now restored dates from 1843 and has the general design of the pianos that were made in Clementi’s lifetime.
Jaume Barmona described his restoration and underlined the importance of the transmission of the piano-maker’s craft.
To conclude, Marina Rodríguez gave a recital of pieces by Clementi which she introduced briefly and which allowed her to show the sonority of the piano as well as the musical quality of the Roman composer. She rounded off her excellent performance ended with some encores of pieces by Ferran Sor and Clementi himself.