- Nocturnes (18) for piano
Irish composer John Field was an influential pianist and composer in early 19th century Romanticism, particularly because of his set of "18 Nocturnes," which affected the keyboard music of Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, and most importantly, Frédéric Chopin, who came to compose the most famous nocturnes. Field was credited with inventing the form, though its antecedents can be found in some slow sonata movements of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, as well as in the flowing, freely ornamented lines of bel canto arias. Field gave the nocturne its calm and dreamy character, almost always employing freely contoured melodies in the right hand over arpeggiated chords in the left. Elizabeth Joy Roe has recorded Field's complete nocturnes for Decca, and her performances capture the rapt expressions and flowing grace of Field's style, with a judicious use of rubato and gentle gradations of dynamics. Because these pieces are all of a type and strongly resemble each other in their gestures and moods, listeners may feel that playing the whole CD through in one sitting is too much of a good thing, though the music is ideal for creating a peaceful atmosphere for quiet activities.