Friday, January 25, 2008

Field's Nocturnes and Moschele's Etude

John Field (1782-1837), an Irish composer. He is best remembered for his eighteen nocturnes which are single movement impromptu compositions for piano that maintain a single mood throughout. He is also the founder of the piano nocturne. Field’s nocturnes are further notable for their influence on Chopin.

Field’s Nocturnes are still not as popular as they should be, they may not be as musically complex as the more famous Romantic piano composers, but they are always beautiful.
His Nocturnes are dreamy pieces for the piano with original and charming melodic content, soft, singing lines, and rippling passagework.

Nocturne No.4 in A major, is perhaps the finest of all Field’s nocturnes. It shows a clear, definite idea of a new romantic style. The first theme is lyrical, with four perfectly balanced phrases above a simple accompaniment. The middle section becomes agitated and works up to a dramatic climax. The return of the first theme has the details elaborated. This is, for Field, an untypical composition.
Nocturne No. 5 in B-flat major, is an easy piece for performing, it has very beautiful singing tone. From this piece, you can see the thinner texture and easy left hand accompanying comparing with Chopin’s.

It is a good music to listen to it at dinnertime. Most people heard Chopin’s Nocturnes, but not Field’s. If some classical restaurant managers ask my opinion for the background music during the dinner time, I would suggest Field’ Nocturnes rather than Chopin’s.

Ignaz Moscheles (1794-1870), is a Bohemian composer.
I have never played his music. Today I seriously listened to his music and found out that He is a really good composer. In his etude Op.95, there are 12 pieces, and each one is like miniatures, has a title with different characteristics. Moscheles’ etudes are not Hanon or Czerny finger exercises, he follows Chopin’s example with technically advanced conceptions combined with equally significant music content.
Moscheles’ Op.95, No. 9, the title of it is ‘Terpsichore’. It sounds really like Fairy Tale. The beautiful melody on the top voice with staccato is like little jewels. He liked using the repeated notes, far range, and big dynamic contrast.
It is worth to use his etudes for advanced students, they are difficult to play and performer might feel nervous and insecure. It is also a good piece for recital encore.

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