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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 224 pages of information about Great Violinists And Pianists.
clothes, placed himself at the piano, stretching out his arms over the keyboard, so that the sleeves shrank up nearly to the elbow, his whole figure appeared awkward and stiff in the highest degree.  But, as soon as his touching instrumentation began, everything else was forgotten, and one became all ear.  Unfortunately I could not express my emotion and thankfulness to the young man otherwise than by the pressure of the hand, for he spoke no language but his mother tongue.  Even at that time many anecdotes of the remarkable avarice of the rich Clementi were related, which had greatly increased in later years when I again met him in London.  It was generally reported that Field was kept on very short allowance by his master, and was obliged to pay for the good fortune of having his instruction by many privations.  I myself experienced a little sample of Clementi’s truly Italian parsimony, for one day I found teacher and pupil with upturned sleeves, engaged at the wash-tub, washing their stockings and other linen.  They did not suffer themselves to be disturbed, and Clementi advised me to do the same, as washing in St. Petersburg was not only very expensive, but the linen suffered much from the method used in washing it.”

From the above it may be suspected that Clementi was not only player and composer, but man of business.  He had been very successful in money-making in England from the start, and it was not many years before he accumulated a sufficient amount to buy an interest in the firm of Longman & Broderip, “manufacturers of musical instruments, and music sellers to their majesties.”  The failure of the house, by which he sustained heavy losses, induced him to try his hand alone at music publishing and piano-forte manufacturing; and his great success (the firm is still extant in the person of his partner’s son, Mr. Col-lard) proves he was an exception to the majority of artists, who rarely possess business talents.  Clementi met many reverses in his commercial career.  In March, 1807, the warehouses occupied by Clementi’s new firm were destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of about forty thousand pounds.  But the man’s courage was indomitable, and he retrieved his misfortunes with characteristic pluck and cheerfulness.  After 1810 he gave up playing in public, and devoted himself to composing and the conduct of his piano-forte business, which became very large and valuable.  Himself an inventor and mechanician, he made many important improvements in the construction of the piano, some of which have never been superseded.

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