JOHN FIELD (1782-1837)
Piano Music, Volume 2: Nocturnes and
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The first volume of this series (Naxos 8.550761) mixed the first two sonatas
of Field's Op. 1 with the first nine Nocturnes. The Sonata Op. 1 No. 3 in
C minor logically appears on this second volume, in a most successful
performance. Dedicated to Clementi, the first movement shows distinct tendencies
towards 'Sturm und Drang'. Neither movement is fast: the concluding Rondo
(marked Allegretto scherzando) is bursting with wit and charm to balance
the stress of the first. This piece alone justifies the modest outlay for
The remaining tracks, the next nine Nocturnes in the series, demonstrate
Frith's sensitivity. Importantly, he shows a laudable restraint with the
sustaining pedal. His sweet cantabile is the result of an acute musical
sensitivity, and he never overblows the scale of these miniatures. Thus No.
10 in F minor and No. 13 in D minor emerge as languorous, melancholy outpourings.
He manages to sustain the length of No. 14 in C well (it lasts just under
ten minutes) and he enjoys the filigree decorations of No. 17 in E. Some
of these pieces appear in other guises elsewhere: No. 12 in G is also the
slow movement to Field's Piano Concerto No. 7, and No. 16 in F also exists
in a version for piano and strings. The quiet, restrained closing 'Midi'
Rondo (Nocturne) in E is the perfect quiet, satisfying end to a disc that
will bring pleasure.
The recording captures the treble of the piano particularly well, although
it deals less well with the louder dynamics (luckily infrequent in this