John Field: 30 September 1782 – 23 Jan 1837

By | October 30, 2020

Introduction

Black and White portrait of John Field in his early forties

John Field was born into a musical Irish family. At the age of eight he received lessons from Tommaso Giordani. Whist still young he moved to London where he was tutored under Muzio Clementi who enabled his fame and popularity as a concert pianist. They became good friends and Field assisted Clementi in selling musical instruments and was his pallbearer at his funeral in 1832.

Life & Career

In 1802 Field travelled with Clementi to Paris, Vienna and Russia. He settled in St. Petersberg living there for twenty nine years.

He married in 1808 and had a son, however he was quite a womaniser and drinker and fathered at least one illegitimate child. Consequently his wife left him.

Due to his extravagant lifestyle in the late 1820’s Field suffered with rectal cancer… He is quoted as saying  “I play better when I am drunk than anyone in Russia when they are sober.”  He passed out drunk once when he was due at a concert once and rumours spread that he had died!

He gave his last concert in March 1836 and died of pneumonia the following year.

His most famous piece was Nocturne, to which he was not credited with until after his death. (Chopin was apparently accidentally credited with it).

Further Reading & Musical Downloads

On music-scores.com we have a download of John Field’s Nocturne No.05. For further information take a look at Wikipedia or Britannica.

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