Samuel Barber’s Nocturne, Op. 33: Aftertones of Chopin

Samuel Barber gave his Nocturne, Op. 33 for solo piano the subtitle, “Homage to John Field.” Field (1782-1837) was the Irish pianist and composer who is credited with inventing the nocturne. Barber’s piece, written in 1959, is as much a dreamy reflection on the Romantic nocturne itself, with all of its atmospheric allusions to the poetry of the night. Perhaps it is the spirit of Frédéric Chopin, whose twenty-one nocturnes pushed the …

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