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John Field

July 26, 1782 - January 23, 1837
born in Dublin, Ireland, composed during the Romantic period
John Field, the greatest Irish musical figure of the Romantic era, developed a highly influential keyboard style that provided a direct path to the music of Chopin. In contrast to his immediate predecessors, Field wrote music that calls for characteristically expressive and sensitive performance rather than virtuosic bravura. According to renowned and respected musicians like Spohr, Glinka, and Hummel, Field's playing was marked by a particular sweetness and delicacy and an emphasis on color and tasteful expressivity. Such qualities are reflected in Field's best-known and most influential compositions, primarily his nocturnes. At a time when piano music was typified by forms and genres like the sonata, theme and variations, fantasia, rondo, and fugue, the development of an independent composition emphasizing mood rather than thematic development or embellishment was both original and important. The development of the keyboard character piece paved the way for generations of Romantic composers, including Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Chopin, all of whom were indebted to Field.

In addition to numerous nocturnes, Field also produced a significant amount of other music for piano solo or piano in combination with other instruments. Field's first published works, the Three Sonatas, Op. 1, are interesting mainly for the fact that, having been written under the influence of Clementi, they present the only structurally conventional works in Field's output. Otherwise, they are uninteresting and derivative. While more original in style, the remainder of Field's works are episodic in form and rely upon melodic charm and invention for effect. The composer's many dances, rondos, and various other short works are mostly insignificant, tossed off for Field's own use on specific occasions. The seven piano concerti, on the other hand, are wholly representative of the typical virtuoso concerti of the period, and while they lack originality, Field makes effective, idiomatic use of the instrument.

Field began his piano studies with his father, and later studied with Tommaso Giordani. He made his debut at the age of nine; in the following year, Field and his family moved to London, where the young musician was apprenticed to composer/piano manufacturer Muzio Clementi. On February 7, 1799, Field premiered his Piano Concerto No. 1; shortly afterward, his apprenticeship with Clementi expired. For the next two years, Field was in demand as a soloist in London but continued to work for Clementi. Their relationship continued through 1803, when Field chose to remain in St. Petersburg after his appearance there during a tour. Spohr's autobiography suggests that Field was poorly treated by his former master, and St. Petersburg may have provided Field's first real opportunity to establish an independent career. Field, at any rate, lived in Russia for the rest of his life, achieving rather remarkable success as both pianist and composer. Shortly after his death, his works faded into obscurity; today, however, his legacy as a seminal figure in Romantic piano composition is secure. ~ Steven Coburn, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Field: Piano Music Volume 2

Title: Nocturne No.8, For Piano In E Minor, H. 46
Title: Nocturne No.11, For Piano In E Flat Major, H. 56
Title: Nocturne No.12, For Piano In G Major, H. 58
Title: Nocturne No.13 ("Dernière Pensée"), For Piano In D Minor, H. 59
Title: Nocturne No.14, For Piano In C Major, H. 60
Title: Piano Sonata No.3 In C Minor, Op. 1/3, H. 8/3
Title: Nocturne No.15, For Piano In C Major, H. 61
Title: Nocturne No.16, For Piano In F Major, H. 62
Title: Nocturne No.17 (Pastorale D'après Un Manuscrit Authentique), For Piano In E Major, H. 65
Title: Nocturne No.18 ("Midi"), For Piano In E Major, H. 13
x

Track List: Field:Piano Music, Vol. 1 (Nocturnes and Sonatas)

Title: Nocturne No.1, For Piano In E Flat Major, H. 24
Title: Nocturne No.2, For Piano In C Minor, H. 25
Title: Nocturne No.3, For Piano In A Flat Major, H. 26
Title: Nocturne No.4, For Piano In A Major, H. 36
Title: Nocturne No.5, For Piano In B Flat Major, H. 37
Title: Piano Sonata No.1 In E Flat Major, Op. 1/1, H. 8/1
Title: Nocturne No.6, For Piano In F Major, H. 40
Title: Nocturne No.7, For Piano In C Major, H. 45
Title: Pastoral, For Piano In A Major (also Known As "Nocturne No.8"), H. 14
Title: Piano Sonata No.2 In A Major, Op. 1/2, H. 8/2
Title: Romance, For Piano In E Flat Major (also Known As "Nocturne No.9"), H. 30
x

Track List: John Field: Complete Piano Music, Vol. 6

Title: Waltz (Valse Tiré D'un Rondo), For Piano In A Flat Major, H. 18
Title: Polonaise En Rondeau, For Piano In E Flat Major, H. 29
Title: Marche Triomphale, For Piano In E Flat Major, H. 16
Title: Prelude, For Piano In C Minor, Deest 6
Title: Largo For Piano In C Minor
Title: Dances (6), For Piano, H. 42
Title: Exercise Modulé Dans Tous Les Tons, For Piano In C Major, H. 33
Title: Exercise No.2, For Piano In A Flat Major, H. 24
Title: Exercise No.1, For Piano In C Major, H. 28
Title: Piano Concerto No.2 In A Flat Major (solo Piano Version), H. 31
Title: Andante Inédit, For Piano In E Flat Major, H. 64
Title: Rondo, For Piano, 4 Hands In G Major, H. 43
Title: Air Russe Varié (Variations On A Russian Air), For Piano, 4 Hands In A Minor, H. 10
Title: Grand Waltz, For Piano, 4 Hands In A Major, H. 19
Title: Andante, For Piano, 4 Hands In C Minor, H. 11
Title: La Danse Des Ours, For Piano, 4 Hands, H. 12 (2nd Part By W. Aumann)

Comments

I am from his clan tree too
Put my cats to sleep no joke
P
Glad to know I'm from his clan\tree, just wished his musical talent would have been passed down to me !!!!!
laurelvanam
B
BE
BEA
BEAU
BEAUT
BEAUTI
BEAUTIF
BEAUTIFU
BEAUTIFUL
BEAUTIFU
BEAUTIF
BEAUTI
BEAUT
BEAU
BEA
BE
B
vine song lol
laurelvanam
Put my dog to sleep I'm not joking
While Chopin's Nocturne No.8 was sweet and beautiful, I fell as if Field's version of Nocturne No.8 is filled with a bit of sorrow and regret.
follow me if you like or love classical music and i'll follow you back
toobride
Very easy to listen to, and quite inspiring. Thank you.
Yes, I too hear Chopin in his music.
you can definitely hear the similarity to Chopin, i.e., where Chopin found his inspiration in the music of John Field. Lovely!
What a beautiful piece of music this is! I've never known John Field but I am glad I do now.
Field's music has a fresh contemporary clarity, and so it must have seemed quite unique in its time.
Never heard of John Field until Pandora. Mozart-Chopi n blended.
This is the first time I have heard this composer.... i t is heavenly, melodic, gentle, soothing and inspiring
If proof were needed of Irish composer John Field's place in musical history, his "Nocturnes" are it. Chopin's nocturnes are directly traceable to Field's influence, and both composers wrote their works for piano. His influence has continued. This is piano music. Listen and learn.
davidfgage
All children should have such sweet lullabies!
hartarabians
I played several of Field's nocturnes when I was younger, and had forgotten completely about his music until now. Never knew he was Irish.
John Field was one of my many musical influences from an early age.
josephbasker v i l l e
Beautiful and Calming Music
mainframe196 2
Chopin was influenced by Field's music.
Clementi was such a b*stard!
piano sonata 2 in major. Ah, the lusciousness . Ah, the delicacy with which it is performed. And Oh, the beauty!
I'm certainly not an experienced listener but I love his Nocturne No. 4 in A Major. Beautiful, emotional... sensitive.
Wow, field was unknown to me until now, but I love the delicacy he uses in his piano, it's beautiful
Sounds like Chopin in some ways...
Sounds like Chopin in some ways...
Hee Hee. That was funny.
tedsandyman0 1
or like eating a pink bonbon stuffed with snow
viewpoint1
Lovely, delicate, like eating a sweet peach under a tree beside a pond.
His Nocturnes and Sonatas played by Benjamin Frith on Piano Music Vol. 1 and Vol 2. are definately a "must listen" if you are interested in the music of John Field.
What a wonderful surprise! Like other listeners here, I had never heard this music before and yet responded to it instantly! Excellent!
Another surprise out of Pandora's Box! You make listening and learning a delight! What a great venue and best of all it's FREE! Keep it coming!
lincoln0212
I too hadn't heard of this composer. I suppose that there are many more under appreciated artists. It's a lucky day when we find one.
Wow..I cannot believe I've never heard of this composer before. I love the delicacy and melodiousnes s of his piano music! I can say this won't be the last time I'll listen to his compositions . And I thought I knew a lot of the major composers of romantic era piano music! Thanks for listing this, Pandora!
So beautifully stated by Steve Hughes. He pursued his individualit y with poise and great confidence. Something rare these days.
stevekhue
I am deeply affected by his "ahead of his time" music. His compositions are derived from the depth of his feelings rather than the conventional established forms of his time.

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