Music Composers

John Field-Part 6

The promised visit to Paris of Clementi and his pupil had to be delayed owing to business engagements, and, in the meantime, Clementi published Field's Three Sonatas (in A, E-flat and C minor), dedicated to his master. At length - in the early part of August, 1802 - the two pianists set forth for the French capital. Field's playing of Bach's Fugues and of pieces by Handel and Clementi took Paris by storm, and he obtained a similar triumph at Vienna and Anspruch.

Triumphs in St. Petersburg

Towards the close of the year 1802, Clementi and Field arrived in St. Petersburg, where Clementi - with true commercial instinct - opened a showroom for the sale of pianos, retaining the services of Field to display the instruments to the best advantage. Under date of December 22, Spohr, in his remarkable autobiography, describes his visit to the music showrooms. He waxes enthusiastic over the superb playing of the young Irishman. Poor Field - at that date twenty years of age and still in an Eton suit, which he had much outgrown - a pale, shy individual, unacquainted with any language English; yet, as Spohr assures us, the moment that he started to play the piano all his gaucheries were ignored and the real artist displayed.

When Clementi left St. Petersburg in the early summer of the year 1803, he left Field behind him as a guest of General Markloffsky, and the young Irishman soon formed a large and aristocratic clientele, being also in much request for concerts. Evidently Clementi sold a grand piano to Field in exchange for certain musical compositions, as appears from a letter written by Clementi to Collard, dated Vienna, April 22, 1807: "Has Field sent you the concerto, the quintet and something more, as I had agreed with him for his grand piano? If not, pray write by Faveryear to him."

The Etude Magazine August 1915





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