Music Composers

John Field-Part 1

Inasmuch as the year 1914 was the centenary of the nocturne (invented by an Irish composer, John Field), it may be of interest to give a short biography of that remarkable virtuoso, especially as no English memoir is as yet accessible. There are monographs in French, Italian, German and Russian, while the latest memoir is also in German, and was presented as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the University of Leipzig by Heinrich Dessauer in 1911. Let me at once say that all the existing notices of Field - even Dessauer's book and the notice in the new edition of Grove's Dictionary - contain no hint of his early triumphs in his native city of Dublin as a prodigy pianist. Recent research has unearthed much new material which, as here summarized, will prove useful to the future biographer of Field.

John Field - the son of Robert Field, of Golden Lane, Dublin - was born on July 26, 1782, and was baptized at St. Werburgh's Church on September 30 of the same year. His father had "conformed" to the Protestant Church, owing to the fierce penal laws against Catholics, and had set up a fashionable academy as professor of the violin. He was also ripieno violin in the orchestra of the Theatre Royal, Crow Street, and was one of the original subscribers to the Charitable Musical Society in 1787.

The Fields were certainly a musical family, as the grandfather of the inventor of the nocturne was organist in one of the city churches.

The Etude Magazine August 1915





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