JOHN FIELD (1782 - 1837)
To the Irish pianist and composer John Field has been credited the invention of the nocturne, a form later adopted and developed by Chopin. Field was born in Dublin in 1782, the son of a violinist, but moved with his family to London in 1793, perhaps taking violin lessons from Haydn’s friend Salomon. He became an apprentice of Muzio Clementi, appearing in a series of important London concerts and later touring widely. He accompanied Clementi to Russia in furtherance of Clementi’s business activities as a piano manufacturer and remained in St Petersburg, where he became a fashionable teacher and performer, moving to Moscow in 1821. Illness brought him, in 1831, to London again, a visit followed by a continental tour and a final return to Moscow, where he died in 1837.
Music for Piano and Orchestra
Field wrote seven piano concertos, as well as one or two other compositions for piano and orchestra, a necessary contribution to his career as a performer. These works allowed him to give fuller play to technical brilliance in the piano writing.
Field’s music enjoyed considerable popularity throughout the 19th century. His nocturnes had clear influence on Chopin, Liszt, Fauré and other composers.