New, forthcoming, noteworthy, or just plain fun stuff, with links to the nice folks who create it.
BLACK FRIDAY AT BOOSEY’S
Through November 29, The Shop at Boosey.com is offering 20% off everything, including their complete list of Clarke titles and a broad array of Clarke items from other publishers. Time to replace that tattered copy of the Trio, or perhaps find out what all the fuss over The Seal Man is about. Enter Code BF2020 at checkout.
SPECIAL DISCOUNTS THROUGH NOVEMBER 30
Presto Sheet Music is offering up to 25% discount on selected Oxford University Press titles, including 15 of Clarke’s finest. Choral pieces qualify for an additional quantity-discount. Presto’s international fulfillment has remained swift and affordable, even under COVID, so this is a bargain well worth considering.
RELEASES DECEMBER 1
David Bynog’s guide to key pieces from the viola repertoire features a crackerjack chapter on Clarke’s Sonata, based on a meticulous survey of the primary sources, including Clarke’s diaries and the manuscript she submitted to the 1919 Coolidge competition. As a special bonus, the book includes Pomposo, an albumblatt Clarke composed in her ninetieth year, published here for the first time. You can pre-order here (cloth), here (paper), here (Apple Books), or here (Kindle).
“A must-have for every viola student and teacher….What a gift it is to the viola community to have this wonderful research and analysis all in one place!” —Carol Rodland, The Juilliard School
“A captivating treasure-trove of unexpected insights into every composer’s life, each composition, and its place now in history. A must for all who love the viola!”—James F. Dunham, Rice University, Shepherd School of Music
As predicted, this new recording of the Trio enters our discography as one of the best ever. You can buy or download it here, and until November 29 you can stream the Goulds’ mesmerizing performance last month in Wigmore Hall, which offers a comprehensive visual demonstration of Clarke’s technical wizardry with all three instruments.
“Pioneers such as Amy Beach and Rebecca Clarke…made significant contributions to America’s cultural heritage, crossing aesthetic and social boundaries to create something new and distinctive….[Clarke’s Trio], which shows how a whole musical cosmos can develop from small melodic cells, also impresses with its rhythmic complexity….A better case for these three works could not have been made.”—Dr. Thorsten Stegemann, Osnabrücker Wissen (November 19, 2020)
★★★★☆ “[Clarke’s] originality is perhaps even more compelling [than Ives’s]….It is wonderful how she spins a rhythmic motif out of the opening hammer-blow….Outstanding performance.”—De Volkskrant, Amsterdam (November 12, 2020)
“♥︎♥︎♡ [Clarke’s Trio] is bolder than her usual, less insistently lyrical than Dumka, harmonically more sophisticated, but just as passionate, heir to les fièvres romantiques….This highly original program, very well served, absolutely deserves a listen!—David Le Marrec, Carnets sur sol (November 3, 2020)
“[Clarke’s] Palestrina-influenced Ave Maria is a joy (and listen to the fine tuning of the choir here)….A simply lovely disc.”—Colin Clarke, Classical Explorer (November 11, 2020)
In a recent Gramophone Podcast, editor Martin Cullingford speaks with Anna Lapwood about her double-debut album with the Choirs of Pembroke College, Cambridge. On the same page, you can preview the entire disc. Program-details are here, and our comparison with previous recordings of Ave Maria is here. You can order here, here, or here.
This thrilling disc, from the Paris-based independent label Skarbo, crept in under the radar, at least in Anglophone markets, and we hasten to give you the essential links—here, here, and here—with the hearty recommendation that you snap it up at once and ask questions later. Clarke’s Two Movements for String Quartet were never more riveting, and as for the Adagio, which you can download here?—absolument passionant! Here’s our considered impression, along with some vital background information.
NOW AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE
“Beautifully recorded…. Ruman and Hučková’s playing is engaging and casts a fascinating spell. I’ll be returning to it many times.”—Stephen Greenbank, MusicWeb International
This lovely all-Clarke recital is now available outside the E.U. through Europadisc. Consider yourselves lucky: we had to get our Polish friend’s sister-in-law in Krakow to order it from Pavlik Records in Slovakia, so she could give it to her husband the next time he flew to New York, so he could give it to his sister in Greenpoint, so she could hand-deliver it to us in Brooklyn. Trust us: it was worth all the trouble that now you won’t have to go to.
“The finest, weightiest item here is the Clarke Sonata, of which there are over 20 competing accounts currently available. This newcomer is as strong as any of their main rivals, with Zemtsov’s warmly expressive playing matched by Fedorova’s nuanced accompaniment. Their playing compels attention throughout. What tips the balance is Channel Classics’ demonstration-quality sound—noted already by the disc’s featuring favourably in October’s High Fidelity review.—Guy Rickards, Gramophone (Awards 2020)
The first publication of Clarke’s long-lost, recently-discovered third duet for viola (or violin) and cello—a heart-melting setting of the tune best known as “Londonderry Air.” For a preview of the piece’s fascinating history and back-story click here.
To order, and to see a sample of the music, click here.
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music features five works by Clarke in its 2020-2023 grade exams. For viola: I’ll Bid My Heart Be Still (grade 5); Lullaby (grade 6); and Morpheus (grade 8). For cello: I’ll Bid My Heart Be Still (grade 7); and Passacaglia on an Old English Tune (grade 8).
Performance-materials and complete information about syllabuses are available here.
REBECCA CLARKE GEAR
Arty Margit’s take on the famous portrait by Louis Langfier (c. 1923), reproduced in a host of useful and amusing merchandise. For prints of the graphic, click here. For framed prints, clothing, accessories, totes and carry-alls, cases and skins for your devices, stationery, housewares, mugs, regalia, and (God help us) COVID-worthy face-masks, click here.
Graphic: Copyright © Margit van der Zwan. Reproduced by permission.
POÈTE, PRENDS TA TASSE!
Try your favorite warm beverage in this snazzy mug from Alto Clef Gifts, emblazoned with the opening salvo of Clarke’s Viola Sonata. Comes in two sizes: 11 ounces and 15 ounces.
Clarke was an avid tea-drinker. Her brew of choice was Jacksons of Piccadilly in the big blue tin, an ambrosial concoction of which only a dim simulacrum survives today. We recommend these instead, or, in a pinch, this.