11th Sep 2020


This series is featuring some of the recordings both recorded at the period when this Collection was housed in the Finchcocks Musical Museum near Goudhurst in Kent, and those made in their present home at Waterdown House in Tunbridge Wells. This includes details of the instruments involved and interviews not only with the performers but also some of the other people associated with these recordings: the recording engineers and the tuners. Making a recording is a true team effort.

We are starting this series with details and chat of two about two if the solo recordings made by Richard Burnett by the enterprising West Country recording company, Saydisc. directed by the splendid Gef Lucena. Between 1979 – 1991 the firm produced 50 distinguished early music recordings, mainly made at Finchcocks Musical Museum. A limited range of these are available and can be bought from The Finchocks Charity, but we are discussing plans for a wider range to be available directly from Saydisc Amon Ra.

This has a very personal significance as a Clementi grand was the very first period keyboard instrument which Richard Burnett bought in 1968, before he had bought the 18th century house of Finchcocks for his growing Music Collection and before he had set up in partnership with Derek Adlam and his workshop, Adlam Burnett Historical Instruments Limited.

Richard’s first classical chamber music group was called The Clementi Ensemble and Clementi remained a much loved composer. The musical scholarship wing of the Finchcocks Charity is called The Muzio Clementi Award, which has Christopher a direct descendent of the composer, as its benefactor and sponsor. Last year, in March 2019, we held the Under 18 Clementi piano competition at Waterdown House, held in collaboration with Dulwich Festival, which featured a dozen highly talented young pianists aged between 7 and 16.

We have asked Richard Burnett to introduce this recording for us which he made in 1982 in Finchcocks Musical Museum, which he owned and until 2016.

“MUZIO CLEMENTI 1752 – 18 32 The great Italian composer was an astonishing polymath. There appeared to be nothing he couldn’t do remarkably well. A master of languages, living and dead, a superb pianist and technician who employed a successful team of piano builders in Cheapside, London. Because of his nationality, Clementi revered the clarity of Italian music. In London, however, he realized the British were more inclined to rumbustiousness . For his English piano team therefore he invented a clever device called the Harmonic Swell an d Bridge of reverberation, in which a series of untuned strings are set to vibrate with the tuned strings, thus increasing the excitement of performance.Our grand piano which has the harmonic swell mechanism was built in London by Clementi’s firm in 1822.

The main offering in this recording of Clementi Late Piano works, and made by Gef Lucena for the West Ccentountry firm Saydisc/Amon Ra in 1982 as part of their “Finchcocks Series” in the Finchcocks Musical Museum, is the magnificent “Didone abandonata - Scena tragica”. I find this is a truly great piece of piano writing, and a most exciting and passionate experience. Because no singer is involved the piano has to create in G major in G minor all the emotion which would usually be the role of the singer, and Clementi’s piano is well equipped to cope with the full range of Dido’s feelings.

n contrast there are twelve lively Montferrinas, country dances which show Clementi’s other side as a composer of enjoyable crowd-pleasers and shrewd business man. “ “

CD SAR 8 Late Clementi Works Richard Burnett Made at Finhcocks Musical Museum Released 1983 Sonata in G minor Dido abbamdato and Twelbe Monferrinas

All the Amon Ra series are still available via SayDisc but the full range of the SayDisc Amon Ra Finchcocks collection can also be bought via the Finchcocks Charity. (please email for full details and costings