John Field (1782-1837) Irish composer and pianist

Irish 18th and 19th century composer and pianist John Field is known for his romantic compositions and his nocturnes. He first played for a large audience at the age of 9. After he moved to England, Haydn heard the young pianist play. He foresaw a great future for Field.

John Field became a pupil of Muzio Clementi, the famous Italian composer, pianist, publisher and owner of a piano factory. Field demonstrated the company’s pianos and accompanied Clementi at his travels through Europe. In 1802, they toured in Paris, Vienna, and finally St. Petersburg. Especially in Russia, Field became a success, of course among the upper classes.

Field moved to Moscow in 1822, but kept touring in Europe occasionally. Franz Liszt was a great admirer of Field and later published the Irishman’s nocturnes. John Field actually was the inventor of his musical style, a composition in night style. Field's creation of the nocturne as a genre was unquestionably his greatest contribution to music. It set up a mood and an atmosphere and it appealed directly to the listener's willingness to share an emotion, generally an emotion of consoled sadness. Usually it was a slow piece of piano music with a faster area in the middle. One of his best known followers in this genre was Frederic Chopin.

During a tour, Field got ill in Naples. Friends returned him to Moscow, where he died in 1837.

Field’s nocturnes:

  • No.1 in E-flat Major (St. Petersburg, 1812)
  • Romance in C minor
  • No. 2 in C minor (Moscow, 1812)
  • No. 3 in A-flat Major (Moscow, 1812)
  • No. 4 in A Major (St. Petersburg, 1817)
  • Serenade in B-flat Major
  • No. 5 in B-flat Major (St. Petersburg, 1817)
  • No. 6 in F Major (two versions) (Moscow, 1817)
  • No. 7 in C Major (St. Petersburg, 1821)
  • No. 8 in A Major (St. Petersburg, 1821)
  • Pastoral in A Major (Vienna, 1816)
  • No. 9 in E-flat Major (Romance) (Leipzig, 1816)
  • No. 10 in E minor
  • No. 11 in E-flat Major (Berlin, 1833)
  • No. 12 in G Major (Paris, 1834)
  • No. 13 in D minor (Paris, 1834)
  • No. 14 in C Major (1835)
  • No. 15 in C Major (Paris, 1834)
  • No. 16 in F Major
  • Grande Pastorale (Nocturne no. 17) (London, 1832)
  • Pastorale E Major
  • Nocturne in B-flat Major
  • The Troubadour

A list of other works by Fields is available at

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