Field: Nocturnes

Florent Albrecht de Meglio piano (1826)
Editions Hortus 197

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Long-time BBC listeners may remember Anthony Hopkins Talking about Music. One of those programmes explored a Field piano concerto (he wrote seven) as well as including the usual ‘inventor of the nocturne’ credit. Well, here are those nocturnes, played on a piano that Field certainly had the opportunity to play, even if we are not absolutely confident that he did so. The instrument has had only deliberately ‘light touch’ restorative work but retains great tonal charm, including the ability to deliver more HIP sustaining pedal use than we often hear (broadly, leave it down for longer).

As well as being the performer, Florent Albrecht has also undertaken the complex task of establishing a credible version of the musical texts and his deep involvement with the overall project results not only in playing of great technical accomplishment and musical judgement, but also and above all, of love. The piano also sounds very happy: its fragile treble positively glitters through all the filigree writing and we hear this most emphatically as ornamentation rather than ornate melody.

The booklet (in French and English) gives a comprehensive account of the project, including comments on the piano and the composer. I wouldn’t class myself as a ‘romantic piano music’ fan, but I absolutely loved this!

David Hansell

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