John Field (1782-1837)
Next week the Irish all over the world will be celebrating their patron saint's day.
What could be a better reason to resume our study of the British expatriates who lived in Russia at different periods of time - only this time focusing on the Irish, rather than the Scots!
Let's begin with a question: How many Irish composers do we know? Even to say 'not many' would probably be an exaggeration. But there is one composer and a pianist who is at least known to professional musicians. He is considered to be one of the most prominent - if not the most prominent - Irish composers in the history of the country, as well as the creator of nocturne as a genre. His name is John Field and he was a contemporary of Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Paganini, Schumann and many others, living in the golden age of romanticism.
John Field was born in Dublin in 1782 and received an early musical education in his family. Later, when his family moved to London, he became a pupil of Muzio Clementi and remained one for a long time. Together they traveled all over Europe and in 1802 ended up in St. Petersburg, where the 20-year-old Field decided to stay, even after his master had left. In St. Petersburg John Field got to know Griboyedov and Pushkin, and was Mikhail Glinka's teacher. Having become a renowned concert pianist, John Field was enjoying a concert life, giving concerts outside of Russia as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
In 1821 he moved to Moscow, which from then until his death in 1837 remained his hometown. John Field died in Moscow and was buried at Vvedenskoye cemetery, where all foreigners were buried.
There is John Field's bust in the Irish Embassy in Moscow.
Here's some of his music on the Russian theme.
This year - 2017 - marks John Field's 235th anniversary and 180 years since his death. The more reason to celebrate his glorious life this coming week!
My name is Elena Rafaelevna Watson, I have been teaching English as a foreign language for over 25 years now. I have also been translating and interpreting (English/Russian) for over 20 years.