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John Field


FIELD, JOHN (1782-1837), Irish musical composer and pianist, was born at Dublin on July 26, 1782. He came of a musical family, his father being a violinist, and his grandfather the organist in one of the churches of Dublin. From the latter the boy received his first musical education. When a few years later the family settled in London, Field became the favourite pupil of Clementi, whom he accompanied to Paris for the pur pose of showing off the Clementi pianos, and later, in 1802, on his great concert tour through France, Germany and Russia. Field appeared in public in most of the great European capitals, and remained in St. Petersburg as a teacher of music when Clementi returned to England. His marriage with a French lady of the name of Charpentier was anything but happy, and had soon to be dissolved. Field made frequent concert tours to the chief cities of Russia, and in 1820 settled permanently in Moscow. In 1831 he came to England for a short time, and for the next four years led a wandering life in France, Germany and Italy. In Naples he fell seriously ill, and lay several months in the hospital, till a Russian family discovered him and brought him back to Moscow. There he died on Jan. 11, 1837. Field's seven concertos for the pianoforte are now forgotten; so are his quartets for strings and pianoforte. But some of his "nocturnes" for the piano forte, a form of music highly developed, if not actually created by him, still live because of their continuous flow of beautiful melody. They were indeed Chopin's models. Field's execution on the pianoforte was nearly allied to the nature of his compositions; Moscheles, who heard Field in 1831, speaks of his "enchanting legato, his tenderness and elegance and his beautiful touch." An admirable essay by Liszt on Field is prefixed to a volume of the latter's nocturnes published by Schuberth &,Co. in 1837,

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