New, forthcoming, noteworthy, or just plain fun stuff, with links to the nice folks who create it.
TICKETS WHILE THEY LAST
“Inspired by the personal and musical life of Rebecca Clarke, as told through her memoirs and diaries” this new stage-show features a brilliant script by poet and dramatist Maria Grazia Calandrone, read by actress Ilaria Fratoni, with music by Clarke, Bach, Brahms, and Bloch played by a trio led by pianist Gioia Giusti, the guiding spirit behind the whole operation. March 12, 2023, at 9:00 p.m., in the Saloncino of Florence’s historic Teatro della Pergola, where Duse still haunts the dressing-rooms.
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
First scheduled for publication more than twenty years ago, Clarke’s two big concert works for violin and piano are finally “forthcoming,” in the true commercial sense of the word—proofs in hand, press-time booked—from Sleepy Puppy Press. The three-movement Sonata in D is scheduled for late January, with the “Sonata in G” (in quotes because an imposing first movement is all she ever completed of it) following shortly thereafter. Carefully edited from Clarke’s manuscripts and autograph performance-materials, these glorious pieces now bid fair to join the standard repertoire.
You can pre-order here. Details, sample pages, and other fun to follow. Stay tuned.
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
Scheduled for release on March 2, 2023, Leah Broad‘s group biography of Clarke, Ethel Smyth, Dorothy Howell, and Doreen Carwithen draws on a vast range of documentary sources—especially newspapers, trade-magazines, and concert-advertising—in order to set Clarke in the context of the professional world where she lived, breathed, and worked. The first full-length study of Clarke in two decades, Quartet promises to revolutionize the field.
A “MUST-HAVE RECORDING” WITH A THRILLING NEW SEAL MAN
Editor’s Choice: “The disturbing darkness of Rebecca Clarke’s scena-like ‘The Seal Man’ is communicated vividly….A must-have recording, not only for those who are devoted fans of Williams’s art but also those who are entranced by this wonderful repertoire.”—Jeremy Dibble, Gramophone (January 2023)
“★★★★ The orchestration of all these songs is as careful and perceptive as one would expect from a musician who interprets them with such finesse…. No other singer today inhabits this repertoire so completely and movingly.”—Andrew Clements, The Guardian (December 1, 2022)
This “new English songbook” by baritone Roderick Williams offers a version of Clarke’s “The Seal Man” that has to be heard to be believed, along with Vaughan Williams’s House of Life and Butterworth’s Housman cycle, and selections by Ireland, Boyle, Browne, Gipps, Dring, Burton, and Farrar. Don’t even stop to think: here, here, here, or wherever else you like to buy. Details and credits here.
ONE OF THE TOP 10 RECORDINGS OF THE YEAR! (Opera News and Presto Music Awards 2022)
“The Best of 2022….Essential.”—Opera News (January 2023). “Star power, especially in the brilliant selections by Rebecca Clarke….Critic’s Choice. ★”—Maria Mazzaro, Opera News (October 2022)
“Schultz emerges as a master storyteller….In addition to her instinctual projection of words and eloquent phrase-shaping, her vocal colour morphs seamlessly from one register to another, each more alluring than the last.”—David Patrick Stearns, Gramophone (July 2022)
One of the best recital-discs in living memory features landmark performances of four of Clarke’s most important songs—Down by the Salley Gardens; Tiger, Tiger; Cradle Song; and The Seal Man—by two of the finest performers in the world today. Buy now. If you need persuading, here‘s an interesting interview with Schultz.
JUST OUT IN PRINT AND ON DISC!
Famous in her time for the power and brilliance of her piano-parts, Clarke wrote very little for the instrument alone, but what she did write was choice, as amply demonstrated in this pair of new releases by Simon Callaghan, for whom no praise is adequate.
Callaghan’s edition of the works themselves (shown at left, available here, here, and from fine retailers worldwide) is carefully drawn from the original manuscript sources, reproducing Clarke’s fascinating fingerings of her transcription from Bach’s Magnificat in D.
And in a ravishing CD (Lyrita SRCD408, available here or here), Callaghan pairs all three pieces with the complete piano works of William Busch, for whom Clarke wrote Cortège. “Callaghan…serves these pieces as they so richly deserve, with a fineness of touch that conveys all the sensitivity in which they abound. Paul Conway’s erudite program-notes give real pleasure.”—Jean Lacroix, Crescendo Magazine (10 December 2022)
THREE OF CLARKE’S FINEST VOCAL DUETS— PUBLISHED AT LAST!
“This lovely anthology of duets by women composers from the Baroque era to the mid-twentieth century is a gold mine, especially for the voice teacher or music educator, and for those creating vocal ensemble or chamber music programs….Of special interest are three hitherto unpublished works by Rebecca Clarke [Nacht für Nacht, Sleep, and Hymn to Pan]….Includes phonetic and poetic translations,…pictures of each composer, their biographic information,…[and] resources for the performer desiring to delve deeper.”—Kathleen Roland-Silverstein, Journal of Singing (November/December 2022)
A WORLD PREMIERE—AND A NEW STANDARD
“Béranger’s big-boned tone and pleasantly bottom-heavy instrument …are a delight in the Viola Sonata….The gently hypnotic Morpheus and gravely beautiful Passacaglia are equally attractive, and the Dvořák-ish Dumka is great fun.”—Katherine Cooper, Presto Editor’s Choices (August 2022)
“All of the works on this recording are beautifully crafted, and played in exemplary fashion….A welcome addition to the Clarke discography. I recommend it with the utmost enthusiasm.—Ken Meltzer, Fanfare 46/2 (November/December 2022)
Now the benchmark collection of Clarke’s music featuring viola, this magnificent disc also includes Chinese Puzzle, Two Pieces for Viola and Cello, and the world-première recording of the recently discovered third piece for that combination, Irish Melody (see the next item, below). Available here and here, where there’s a truly cool split-screen video of the scherzo.
“Open harmonies laden with parallel fourths and thick luscious doublestops in both parts…. Arrives at a time in which performers can console audiences remotely, evoke nostalgia, and mitigate a yearning to connect with loved ones in person again…. A cathartic outlet sorely needed in these challenging times.”—Gregory K. Williams, Journal of the American Viola Society (Fall 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. Order here.
“All violists owe a debt of gratitude to David Bynog for this masterful book, which will serve as an inexhaustible resource for decades to come.”—Andrew H. Weaver, Journal of the American Viola Society (Spring 2021)
“Bynog…is uniquely qualified to introduce his instrument’s repertoire to all interested readers regardless of background….Footnotes and an up-to-date bibliography complete this indispensable publication.”—Carlos María Solare, The Strad (August 24, 2021)
“He knows the music inside-out and is the ideal guide….Will be invaluable to program-note writers and casual music lovers.”—Laurence Vittes, Strings Magazine (May 17, 2021)
Bynog’s crackerjack chapter on Clarke’s Sonata, based on a meticulous survey of all the known primary sources, includes the first publication of Pomposo, an Albumblatt Clarke composed in her ninetieth year. Available in cloth, paper, Apple Books, or Kindle.
“The three songs by Rebecca Clarke impress with their dramatic intensity and heartfelt interpretation.”—Sven Godenrath, Ihr Opernratgeber (May 22, 2021)
“[The] readings are transparent, dynamic, vehement and, most importantly, made with great dramatic force.”—Marçal Borotau, Sonograma (April 29, 2021)
This new release by the Gemini chamber ensemble features one of the best-ever performances of Clarke’s Prelude, Allegro, and Pastorale, by Ian Mitchell and Yuko Inoue.
“A most attractively balanced and paced recording. [Mitchell and Inoue] get the deft folkloric drift and project it with just the right weight of significance…. [In the Pastorale, they] strike an almost perfect balance.”—Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International (March 31, 2021)
“Rigorous and exuberant, [the Allegro] reminds us of the magnificence of Clarke’s music….A fine recording and presentation that is both beautiful and comprehensive.”—Colin Clarke, Classical Explorer (March 13, 2021)
ASSOCIATED BOARD TITLES
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.
AND FOR THE YOUNGER SET…
…there’s a concise and totally on-point account of Clarke’s life and career in the latest installment of Lucy Warner’s nifty Superheroes of Music series, for readers aged 4–10. That’s Clarke in the crown (“Zap!”), teaming up with Bob Marley (“Roar!”) and Lully (“Tap!”). Inside, there’s Hildegard, Marianna Martines, Liszt, Bizet, Puccini, Bartók, Prokofiev, Django Reinhardt, and Ravi Shankar, along with a glossary, a timeline, Q&A, and other cool stuff.
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.