Clementi Correspondence and Other Documents

Rowland, David ed. (2024). Clementi Correspondence and Other Documents. Muzio Clementi Opera Omnia, CCE 5. Bologna: Ut Orpheus Edizioni.



The Introduction to the first scholarly edition of Clementi’s letters (The Correspondence of Muzio Clementi, Ut Orpheus Edizioni, Bologna, 2010) contained the comment ‘it is more than likely that one of the results of the enterprise will be the discovery of yet more correspondence’. Sure enough, a further 26 letters to and from Clementi and his business partners subsequently came to light and are edited in this new collection.

They are placed alongside other documents relating to Clementi which provide further information on his biography and business activities. The letters of Maria Gisborne (Emma Clementi’s sister-in-law) to Mary Shelley provide a number of insights into Clementi’s family life. Clementi’s ‘adoption’ papers contain details of the contract between Muzio, his father and the English gentleman Peter Beckford which paved the way for Muzio’s removal to England at an early age.

Clementi’s own notebook, probably dating from the 1790s, reveals that Clementi was widely-read in subjects such as history, classics, literature and art. No doubt this education stood him in good stead as he entered London’s society, as related in the diary of William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft’ partner and later husband.

A part of Clementi’s life that has perplexed previous biographers has been his little-documented travels on the continent, especially in Italy, during 1826 and 1827. Extracts from the Journals of Clementi’s second wife, Emma, and his brother-in-law John Gisborne trace Muzio’s movements at this time, as well as providing many details of his family, friends and business associates. Information from all these sources provides significant, previously-unknown detail which is incorporated into a new account of Clementi’s life supplemented with biographical details of the major characters mentioned in the volume.

Plain Language Summary

This edition of documents relevant to the life and music of Muzio Clementi (1752-1832) supplements the first scholarly edition of Clementi's correspondence edited by David Rowland in 2010. It includes new letters, Clementi's notebook, the records of his 'adoption' by the English gentleman Peter Beckford, extracts from the journals of his second wife and his brother-in-law along with other material.

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