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CD of the Week: Elizabeth Joy Roe's Complete Nocturnes of John Field

Elizabeth Joy Roe

This week's CD of the Week on Classical 90.5 is the new release from pianist Elizabeth Joy Roe. She recorded the complete nocturnes of 19th century Irish composer John Field.

The classical world is full of canonical works with which even the casual listener is familiar. There are also countless lesser known but no less important musical works. The output of composer John Field is among the lesser known compositions. The Dublin-based composer wrote a series of works inspired by the night. He dubbed these 18 pieces for solo piano his nocturnes.

On her second Decca Records release, Ms. Roe dives into the repertoire from this largely forgotten 19th century Irish composer. The clarity of the recording deserves repeated listens so as to absorb all the nuances and emotion contained in the nocturnes mostly written during Field's time in Russia.

Especially noteworthy is Roe's recording of Field's Nocturne No. 12 in E major. The piece begins with a jaunty series of notes that returns repeatedly to a more introspective place as if the composer dares the listener to settle into the reverie of the work's quieter moments. The Nocturne No. 1 in E flat major is almost lullaby-like under Roe's pacing. A deeper listen reveals the layers that exist within Field's first named nocturne. While Field may have invented the nocturne as a style of composing it was Frederic Chopin - who was aware of and admired Field's compositions - who made it his own and remains associated with the nocturne-style of works for piano.

Listen for tracks from our CD of the Week between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. each morning this week on Classical 90.5FM.

Trevor serves as KBIA’s weekday morning host for classical music. He has been involved with local radio since 1990, when he began volunteering as a music and news programmer at KOPN, Columbia's community radio station. Before joining KBIA, Trevor studied social work at Mizzou and earned a masters degree in geography at the University of Alabama. He has worked in community development and in urban and bicycle/pedestrian planning, and recently served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia with his wife, Lisa Groshong. An avid bicycle commuter and jazz fan, Trevor has cycled as far as Colorado and pawed through record bins in three continents.