New, forthcoming, noteworthy, or just plain fun stuff, with links to the nice folks who create it.
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
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, so she could hand-deliver it to us in Brooklyn. It was worth all the trouble that now you won’t have to go to.
“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
“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)
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
David Bynog’s long-awaited 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.
A must for violists, and certainly one of the finest and most accurate accounts of the Sonata for the general reader.
The double-debut album of up-and-coming organist/conductor/broadcaster Anna Lapwood and the Choirs of Pembroke College, Cambridge, features a glorious performance of Clarke’s Ave Maria by the College’s Girls’ Choir, which was founded only two years ago but already figures as one of the UK’s leading youth ensembles. Details of the extraordinarily adventurous program are here, and our comparison with previous recordings of Clarke’s Ave Maria is here. You can order here, here (with audio-clips) or here. There’s also a charming video preview, and Presto has just put up an interesting interview with Lapwood.
Tanglewood’s 2020 Online Festival is available again—all nine programs for the bargain price of $25. The high-point for Clarke aficionados is a very fine performance of the Sonata (described here), available through October 24, but the whole season rewards attention. Details here.
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.