Music Composers

John Field-Part 10

An Unfortunate End

In the spring and summer of 1833 Field astonished various European centers, including Brussels, Toulouse, Marseilles and Lyons, frequently receiving triple recalls. On September 30 his grand concert at Geneva was a huge success, and a similar triumph was accorded him at Milan in November and December. After his appearance at Florence in 1834 he proceeded to Naples, where he became seriously ill and had to be operated on for fistula. He lay in hospital there for nine months and was reduced to a pitiable condition, accelerated by habits of intemperance. In June, 1835, the timely arrival in Naples of the Rachmanoff family - Russian nobles - rescued Field fro his sad fate, and the Rachmanoffs insisted that he should accompany them back to Moscow.

The last professional appearance of Field was at Vienna, where at the earnest request of Carl Czerny he gave three concerts at the Hof Theatre, on August 8, 11 and 13, delighting the fashionable audience by his beautiful playing. Whilst in Vienna he composed a new concerto and a new nocturne, and towards the close of August he returned to Moscow with the Rachmanoffs. A few months later Field became very ill, and in the first week of 1837 it was evident that the end was at hand. Even in his last moments his old humor did not forsake him, and when dying the following dialog ensued: "Are you a Catholic? - No. Are you a Protestant? - No. Are you a Calvinist? - Not that either," said Field, "Not a Calvinist, but a pianist!"

Field died on January 11, 1837, and was buried in the Wedensky Kirchhof, Moscow, on the 15th. The following inscription was engraved on his tomb:

John Field
Born in Ireland in 1782
Dead in Moscow in 1837
Erected to his memory by his
grateful friends and scholars.

The Etude Magazine August 1915

 

 

 

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