John Field (composer)

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John Field (July 26, 1782January 23, 1837) was an Irish composer and pianist. He is best known for being the first composer to write nocturnes.

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Biography

Born in Dublin, Field first studied the piano under his father, who was a violinist, and later under Tommaso Giordani. He later went to London where he studied under Muzio Clementi. He toured Europe both to demonstrate the pianos that Clementi made and as a concert pianist before settling in Saint Petersburg in Russia where he was a popular performer and teacher. He died in Moscow.

Music

Field is best remembered as the first composer to write nocturnes, single movement pieces for piano which were not in a fixed form (as the minuet or fugue are) and which maintained a single mood throughout. These pieces greatly influenced Frederic Chopin, who went on to write 21 nocturnes himself. Inasmuch as Field's nocturnes were the first single-movement piano character pieces, they can be seen as important forerunners of many other Romantic composers' works, among them Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt and Edvard Grieg.

Selected compositions

Field wrote seven piano concertos.

  • Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat, H. 27 (1799)
  • Piano Concerto No. 2 in A flat, H. 31 (1811)
  • Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat, H. 32 (1811)
  • Piano Concerto No. 4 in E flat, H. 28 (1814, revised 1819)
  • Piano Concerto No. 5 in C, H. 39 (1817), l'Incendie par l'Orage
  • Piano Concerto No. 6 in C, H. 49 (1819, revised 1820)
  • Piano Concerto No. 7 in C minor, H. 58 (1822, revised 1822-32)

Among his solo piano compositions, Field composed 16 nocturnes, four piano sonatas (the first three published together as his Op. 1), as well as fantasias, etudes, rondos, and sets of variations.

External links


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