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Classical Composers A-Z: John Field

Peter Wintersgill tells us of John Field, an Irishman who spent most of his life in Russia and originated the term nocturne.

Born
July 1782 in Dublin

Childhood
Had piano lessons from his father and from Tomasso Giordani in Dublin and later from Clementi in London. He gave his first concert at nine, later toured with Clementi, demonstrating his pianos in France and Germany.

Adult Life
He played later in Russia, where, apart from a three-year concert tour he stayed for the rest of his life.
He had many pupils including Glinka. He originated the term ‘nocturne’ and wrote twenty of them, anticipating Chopin by twenty years. He also wrote seven piano concertos and four sonatas, besides sundry rondos and fantasias. His smooth and gentle style of playing was admired by Schumann, Chopin and Liszt.
He retired from ill health in 1823 and finally died 23rd January, 1837, in Moscow, aged 54.

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