Muzio Clementi (1752-1832):
Sonata in D Minor, Op. 40, No. 3 
Sonata in B Minor, Op. 40, No. 2 
Sonata in C Major, Op. 37, No. 1 
Sonata in B Flat Major, Op. 24, No. 2 (a.k.a. Op. 47, No. 2) 
Sonata in A Major, Op. 33, No. 1 (a.k.a. Op. 36, No. 1) 
Piano: Albert Wong
Producer: Michael Rolland Davis
Engineer: Ed Thompson
Piano Technician: Paul Schopis
(DDD) Recorded May 6-9, 2001 at Fernleaf Abbey, Columbus, Ohio.
Recorded direct to the Sadie Artemis 24-Bit High Resolution disk editor.
Original 24-Bit Master ? HDCD Encoded
Albert Wong, born on January 1, 1990, was the first baby boy born in Boston that year. He has resided in Carrollton, Texas (a suburb of Dallas) since September 1990. Even though he could sing many entire songs before he could speak complete sentences, his musical interest was not revealed until he saw and heard the piano at age three and a half. By the time he was four he enjoyed the instrument so much that he announced to everyone that he wanted to be a concert pianist. He won the grand prize of the North Texas Piano Competition at age five.
Today, at age eleven, Albert is a seasoned performer. He gave his first solo recital at age six. Since then, he has played numerous solo recitals and participated in chamber and orchestral concerts across the country. He has appeared on the local TV shows, Good Morning Texas and Positively Texas, and has also been spotlighted in feature articles in Texas Monthly and The Dallas Morning News. Following the release of his debut Bach disc, Fanfare magazine ran a lengthy feature article in its Jan./Feb. 2001 issue entitled, 'Albert Wong: A Wise Old Soul - at Ten!' He made his orchestral debut in 1997 (at the age of seven), playing the Bach's Concerto in F minor shortly after he won First Prize in the Dallas Symphonic Piano Concerto Competition. He has appeared with the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth for three consecutive seasons. In the summer of 1999, he was asked to assist the only full-time North Texas classical radio station, WRR-FM, to promote its Smart Babies CD. In the past concert season, Albert has performed seven solo piano recitals around the country. In May of 2000 he received the Bayard H. Friedman 'Outstanding Student Award in the Performing Arts' from the Board of the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth.
Piano is not his only love and is not the only thing in which he excels. He also studies the violin. Besides music, he enjoys reading, biking, computer games, attending concerts - and thinking! He also shows talent and interest in math, science, literature and philosophy.
Five Clementi piano sonatas elegantly performed by 11-year-old Albert Wong. As a follow-up to his highly acclaimed debut CD last year of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Book II, 11-year-old pianist Albert Wong has chosen to record five of Muzio Clementi's greatest piano sonatas (the Sonata in B minor Op. 40, No. 2; Sonata D Major Op. 40, No. 3; Sonata C Major Op. 37, No. 1; Sonata B-flat Major Op. 24, No. 2 and Sonata A Major Op. 33, No. 1). The performances by this extremely talented piano prodigy are both elegant and sensitive, revealing the amazing capabilities of this young performer.
A year on, [Wong] turns to more neglected repertoire and in many ways makes an excellent job of it...Great things may well come from him.
Jeremy Siepmann, BBC Music Magazine, Jul. 2002
The Clementi sonatas challenge the performer to respond to a wide range of dramatic characteristics. Wong does a reasonably good job in meeting this challenge. He brings a sense of dignity to the more solemn moments, and captures much of the humor and playfulness that percolate throughout these scores. If Wong misses the more sophisticated corners of this wit, as well as the last degree of gravity in the darker sections, he may be forgiven. Albert Wong was 11 years old when he made this recording.
This is not a circus act. Wong is a genuine artist, and this recital can be enjoyed on its own musical merits. I can recall hearing Sarah Chang performing live at the age of eight, and being astounded at the poise and precision of her playing. At that time, she performed the Lalo Symphonie espagnol, and as with these Clementi sonatas, she was dealing with material that does not require a mature emotional viewpoint. Chang played on a child-sized violin, whereas no such accommodation exists for piano prodigies. Wong's technical abilities are amazing for his age, but some struggle is apparent in his rapid passagework.
None of my criticisms are made to belittle this obviously fabulously talented young fellow. Quite the contrary, the only proper way to review this recital is to compare this playing to other recordings, and Wong fares well in a narrow field. In side-by-side comparison, Stefan Irmer, on the MDG label, displays a greater ability to allow the music to breathe rhythmically, and sounds slightly more nimble, but Wong is at least his equal in terms of coloristic shading and tone production. This is remarkable music-making, at any age.
Peter Burwasser, Fanfare Magazine, Jan. 2002