February 6, 2021

Appreciating John Field


Tomoko performed a variety of classic composers, and her repertoire included not only the big names such as Mozart and Chopin but also lesser known composers such as John Field.

John Field was born in Dublin in 1782, and started performing publicly on the piano at age nine, and composed his first piano sonatas at age sixteen. In his twenties he toured through Europe, and even impressed Beethoven. Impressed with the artistic culture of Saint Petersburg, Field decided to settle there, and started creating piano compositions based on Russian folk songs. He continued to perform and compose until his death in 1837.

Field was known especially as writing the first Romantic nocturnes, which evoked the nighttime – and were typically played a late evening parties. His nocturnes popularized solo pianos in this genre, which were structured with songlike melodies supported by broken chord accompaniment. Several composers were clearly inspired by him: Chopin, Fauré, Satie, and Bartók.  

Tomoko’s CD album Baroque – 20th century includes Field’s “Nocturne in B flat major, No. 5”, alongside Scarlatti, Beethoven, and Chopin. He certainly belongs in such company.