Clementi: Born in Rome, Died in Evesham
with Tim Porter
Thursday 23 February 2017
Tim Porter lived up to his reputation as a speaker on historical and musical topics, when he gave the Society a superb talk about the life and works of Muzio Clementi – composer, piano teacher, piano manufacturer and international celebrity.
Born in Rome in 1752, Clementi was “discovered” as a teenager by a rich Englishman, Peter Beckford, who was doing the Grand Tour. Beckford “bought” him as a protege and brought him to England to enable him to pursue his musical education, and Clementi lived in England for the rest of his life. Apart, that is, from the many tours he undertook throughout Europe, first as a virtuoso performer of his own and other piano compositions and then, later in life, with a large team of performers and technicians, not to mention a load of pianos, in order to sell his products.
It is thought, said Tim, that his Evesham connection may have come about through his second wife, a Worcestershire woman called Emma Gisbourne, whom he married when he was 59. Having lived in London for most of his life, in old age he moved first to Lichfield, then to Evesham. His stay in Evesham was brief, possibly less than a year; he died here in 1832 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
There was a very lively discussion afterwards about the exact place where Clementi lived in Evesham (thought to be possibly Prospect House off Elm Road) and the circumstances of his death. Society members proved to be a mine of information and speculation, although no definite answers emerged.