Magazine article Gramophone

Field: Complete Nocturnes

Magazine article Gramophone

Field: Complete Nocturnes

Article excerpt


Complete Nocturnes

Elizabeth Joy Roe pf

Decca (F) 478 9672 (86' * DDD)

Not one but two sets of Field nocturnes have come my way this month (Ewa Poblocka's period-instrument set is reviewed on page 68). That in itself is pretty remarkable, for these are, even today, more written about than recorded. The Korean-American pianist Elizabeth Joy Roe has previously recorded Britten and Barber concertos for Decca (5/15) but this is her first solo outing on the label. She writes passionately about the music in her booklet-note and has clearly done her research in terms of editions.

The danger of a disc devoted to the 18 Nocturnes is that, unlike Chopin's with their huge gamut of expression, Field's are altogether simpler in demeanour and so their range is inherently narrower. What they don't need is spacious tempi, which are the kiss of death, and one to which pianists such as Miceal O'Rourke succumb too readily. Roe is anxious at every turn to make poetry from this music, and she has a suitably haloed sound. Everything is very thoughtful, and she can be delicate, too, in response to Field's filigree flights of fancy. …

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