John Field

John Field (1782 – 1837) was an Irish pianist, composer and teacher widely credited as the creator of the nocturne. While other composers were writing in a similar style at this time, Field was the first to use the term 'Nocturne' specifically to apply to a character piece featuring a cantabile melody over an arpeggiated accompaniment.

He was born into a musical family, in Dublin, and received his early education there, in particular with the Italian composer Tommaso Giordani. The family moved to London in 1793, where Field studied under Muzio Clementi, and under whose tutelage Field soon became a famous and sought-after concert pianist. Together, master and pupil visited Paris, Vienna, and St. Petersburg. Ambiguity surrounds Field's decision to remain in the former Russian capital (Saint Petersburg), but it is likely that Field acted as a sales representative for the Clementi Pianos.

Field was very highly regarded by his contemporaries and his playing and compositions influenced many major composers, including Felix Mendelssohn, Frédéric Chopin, Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann, and Franz Liszt. Although little is known of Field in Russia, he undoubtedly contributed substantially to concerts and teaching, and to the development of the Russian piano school.

Notable students include Prussian pianist and composer Charles Mayer, the Russian composer Alexandre Dubuque, and Polish pianist and composer Antoine de Kontski.


You'll find more information about John Field on Wikipedia.

Compositions by John Field appear on

Summer Waves

A collection of short piano works performed by Len Vorster by composers such as Gershwin, Grieg, Debussy, Ravel and four others.