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John Field 1782-1837

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Arnold1740-1802 Gluck1714-1787
Beethoven 1770-1827  
Boccherini1743-1805 Haydn1732-1809
Clementi1752-1832 Hummel1778-1837
Czerny1794-1857 Mozart1756-1791
Diabelli1781-1858 Rossini1792-1868
Dussek1760-1812 Schubert1797-1828
Field1782-1837 Weber1786-1826
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Nocturne in B flat No.5

John Field was an Irish composer of the Classical Period born in Dublin.

Field is the founder of the piano nocturne: he is best remembered for his eighteen nocturnes which are single movement impromptu compositions for piano that maintain a single mood throughout. The first three of these date from 1812. They are notable for their influence on Frédéric Chopin, who went on to write 21 nocturnes himself


Field was born in Golden Lane, the eldest son of Protestant Irish parents. His father, Robert Field, earned his living by playing the violin in Dublin theatres. Field first studied the piano under his grandfather (also named John Field), who was a professional organist, and later underTommaso Giordani. He made his debut at the age of nine, a performance that was well-received, on 24 March 1792 in Dublin. Field's family moved to London where Field's father secured for John an apprenticeship with the pianist and piano manufacturer Muzio Clementi. He attracted favourable comment from Joseph Haydn for his performances. By the time he was seventeen, Field had already premiered his First Piano Concerto (he wrote seven of them); it was one of the last acts of his apprenticeship. He was a performer for several years before turning to composition, beginning with his first set of piano sonatas, dedicated to Clementi, published in 1801.

In 1801 Field accompanied Clementi on a tour of Paris and Vienna . When Clementi moved to Russia, Field followed him there, continuing his employment demonstrating his pianos. Field established his own concert career in Russia, and by 1806 was dividing his time between Moscow and Saint Petersburg, settling in the latter city after his marriage to a French woman in a Catholic ceremony in 1810. His teaching proved lucrative, and his lifestyle became somewhat extravagant.

By 1831 his health deteriorated, and suffering from a painful cancer of the rectum he travelled back to London for medical attention. After treatment he returned to Russia by way of France, where he heard Fraz Liszt perform on the keyboard, and Italy, spending nine months in a hospital in Naples. Helped by a Russian aristocratic family, he returned to Moscow in 1835, and gave three concerts in Vienna en route, as a guest of Carl Czerny. In Moscow, he composed his last few nocturnes in the sixteen months remaining to him.

He died in Moscow two years later and is buried in the Vvedenskoye Cemetery.





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