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John Field
 
 
 
 
John Field, (born July 26, 1782, Dublin—died Jan. 23, 1837, Moscow), Irish pianist and composer, whose nocturnes for piano were among models used by Chopin.

Field first studied music at home with his father and grandfather and afterward in London with Muzio Clementi, under whose tuition, given in return for Field’s services as a piano demonstrator and salesman, the boy made rapid progress. In 1802 Clementi took Field to Paris and later to Germany and Russia. Field quickly secured recognition as a pianist and composer and in 1803 settled in Russia, becoming for a time a popular and fashionable teacher. He played extensively throughout Europe during the next 30 years and had great success with one of his E flat piano concerti at a Philharmonic Society concert in London in 1832. He is credited with being one of the earliest to develop the use of the sustaining pedal, both in the prescription of it for his music and in his own performance.

Field was one of the earliest of the purely piano virtuosos, and his style and technique strikingly anticipated those of Chopin. As a composer he was at his best in shorter pieces, where his expressive melodies and his imaginative harmonies, often chromatic, are not exposed to the strain of long development. Field wrote seven piano concerti and four sonatas, in which high quality is often apparent but not consistently maintained. In the nocturnes, more concise and intimate than his larger works, Field’s music is distinguished in style and varied in mood.

Encyclopædia Britannica

 
 
 
 

Born into a musical Dublin family, John Field showed an early interest in music. By the age of nine he had begun lessons with Tommaso Giordani and in the spring of 1792 gave his first public performances on the piano to an ecstatic reception. In 1793 the family moved to London, where his father, a violinist, joined the orchestra at the Haymarket Theatre while Field took employment in the showrooms of Muzio Clementi's piano warehouse. He undertook a seven-year apprenticeship to Clementi and in 1793 made his first London appearance in a benefit concert playing a piece described as "a lesson on the new grand piano forte."

In his final year of apprenticeship Field took the bold step of presenting his First piano concerto at a concert held at the King's Theatre early in 1799. He basked in two seasons of great popularity, in the second year publishing his important Piano sonatas. Opus 1, dedicated to Clenienti in recognition of his guidance over the years. In 1802 Clementi reciprocated by taking Field on a continental tour starting in Paris and ending in St Petersburg.

Field decided to remain in Russia, and lived under the patronage of an important Russian general, Marklovsky. Within a year he made his concert debut at the Philharmonic Hall in St Petersburg. He became much in demand for teaching, concerts, and private performances in fashionable homes. Fie toured Russia, making his Moscow debut in 1806, and eventually settled on dividing his existence between St Petersburg and Moscow. From Field's early days in Russia date The bear dance and Variations on a Russian air. both piano duets. The latter is based on a Russian folk tune and is a forerunner of the nationalistic works of Glinka and Balakirev.

Field flourished as a piano virtuoso of rare talent. Fie wrote seven piano concertos, but his most important compositions are his Nocturnes, a form he developed to illustrate the expressive side of his playing that countered his sheer technical brilliance. The interpretive style he forged influenced Romantic piano composers such as Chopin and Liszt. He published 19 Nocturnes between 1812 and 1836, all characterized by a mood of melancholy and the use of widely spaced broken chords in the left hand while the right hand carries the melody.

While living in St Petersburg Field married one of his pupils, Adelaide, while also keeping a French mistress; both women bore him sons. Adelaide left him, however, and Field's creative work seriously diminished as alcoholism gripped him. In 1831 he returned to London for cancer treatment. He gave concert performances m England, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy, but these were poor shadows of his performances m Russia. In Naples his health deteriorated and for most of 1834 he lay in hospital until rescued by a Russian benefactor. He returned to Moscow, where he worked intermittently until his death in 1837.

 
 
 
None have quite attained to these vague eolian harmonies, these half-formed sighs floating through the air, softly lamenting and dissolved in delicious melancholy. Nobody has even attempted this peculiar style, and especially none of those who heard Field play himself, or rather who heard him dream his music in moments when he entirely abandoned himself to his inspiration.

— Franz Liszt's preface to his edition of Field's nocturnes, 1859. (English translation by Julius Schuberth, 1859)
 
 
 
 
JOHN FIELD: Piano Concerto no. 1 - Paolo Restani, piano
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
JOHN FIELD: Piano Concerto no. 2 - Paolo Restani, piano
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
JOHN FIELD: Piano Concerto no. 3 - Paolo Restani, piano
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
JOHN FIELD: Piano Concerto no. 4 - Paolo Restani, piano
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
JOHN FIELD: Piano Concerto no. 5 - Paolo Restani, piano
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
JOHN FIELD: Piano Concerto no. 6 - Paolo Restani, piano
 
 
 
 
 
 
JOHN FIELD: Piano Concerto no. 7 - Paolo Restani, piano
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field - Nocturne Nr.1 Es-Dur played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field - Nocturne No.2 in C Minor played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field - Nocturne no. 3 A Flat Major un poco allegretto played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 4 A major Poco adagio played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 5 B Flat Major Andantino played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 6 F Major Andante played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 7 C Major Moderato played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 8 A Major Andante played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 9 E Major Andantino played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 10 E Minor Adagio played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 11 E Flat Major Moderato played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 12 G Major Lento played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 13 D Minor Lento played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 14 C Major Molto moderato played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 15 C Major Molto Moderato played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 16 F Major Molto Moderato played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne 17 E Major Lento played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field- Nocturne no. 18 Midi in E Major Allegretto played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field Piano Sonata No 2- 1 played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
John Field Piano Sonata No 2 - 2 played by John O'Conor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
JOHN FIELD_Piano Sonata No. 3 in C minor-movement 1 (Benjamin Frith)
 
 
 
 
 
 
JOHN FIELD_Piano Sonata No. 3 in C minor-movement 2 (Benjamin Frith)
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
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