* Note: It is most appropriate to end this series where it very well may have begun. Perhaps not in the sense of the aforementioned composers and the likeness of “Romanticism” thereof. But, in the true sense of romance and sensation. In the true sense of emotive purity. John Field created the masterpiece framework, the prototype for the oft duplicated…Nocturne.
YOU MAY NEED TO ERASE some music muscle memory to truly listen to the intent on these pieces. He was the original…yet they that came after him, claimed his lead. If you fail to affirm these things, then merely listen to Nocturne 06 or 12. They came far prior to the one who asserted that place, those places.*
*Do some research if you please…
“The principal mark of genius is not perfection, but originality.”
John Field was the prototype for many whom followed in his footsteps. Some never even mentioned his name…yet they were truly inspired. It is almost entirely impossible to not note the similarities in their masterpieces. All baring the original name, John Field. We shall never truly get to the bottom of whom has borrowed what and why they thought it wise to never pay tribute to this intelligent creature, Mr. Field. Yet, what is most important is that even now…his message of romance, beauty and ultimately truth lives on.
Please give a moment of your time to reflect simply on the name JOHN FIELD . It is perhaps one you have never heard…yet he deserves so much merit. His name must live on. His truth, his beauty…must live on.
“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”
There’s music in the sighing of a reed;
There’s music in the gushing of a rill;
There’s music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.
His notes never quite hit the ground. They cannot quite simply touch the earth. This is ethereal, beautiful otherness in form. Speechless phrases written in the vast sky of lightness. The fingertips floating on the piano as if hardly able to barely brush with the human touch. The personification of airiness. The prototype, the muse….for all those that followed him. For they never come close, to being him. Beautiful though they may be…imitators to the muse ;they wrote through skin . They receive praise through his name, his message. He has all but been forgotten in most senses. Yet the message lives on their music… he was the messenger of the natural truth.
A petit field…
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. After concerts in Russia, he 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.
A grander field…
Very few composers are credited with having ‘invented a form’, but the one thing most people know about John Field is that he invented the nocturne. It isn’t true, of course: others before him (Haydn for one) had used the term ‘nocturne’ or ‘notturno’, either for a short, lyrical piece or a kind of serenade. But it was Field who cultivated it both as an idea and a genre, and associated it inescapably with the piano. Perhaps more important is the fact that he was the first Celtic voice – certainly the first Irish composer – to make a contribution to European concert music. And his contribution, though not massive in itself, had huge consequences. Field came from a family of musicians and was something of a prodigy, giving his first concert in Dublin at the age of nine.
He also benefited from the generosity of his father, who was willing to outlay the huge sum of 100 guineas to place the 12-year-old boy in a seven-year apprenticeship in London with Muzio Clementi, who as well as being a publisher and piano manufacturer, was one of the greatest pianist-composer-teacher impresarios of the age. Clementi recognized his talent, and Field became the master’s favourite pupil. His early London concerts (with two years knocked off his age for publicity purposes) were a marked success. Even the visiting Haydn was impressed, writing of ‘Field a young boy, which plays the pianoforte Extremely well’. In return for lessons in pianism and composition, Field had to demonstrate the pianos in Clementi’s warehouse with his improvisations. He first appeared as composer-pianist at the age of 16 with the performance of his First Piano Concerto at the King’s Theatre in February 1799, and in 1801 published his Op. 1, a set of piano sonatas dedicated to Clementi.
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An apropos ending…
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