What with all the recent drama, both political and COVID-related, we’ve barely had time to keep up with concurrent musical activity, so let’s strap on our snazzy Rebecca Clarke masks from Arty Margit, and see what’s going on.

Now through November 29: BBC Radio 3’s broadcast from Northern Ireland Opera Festival of Voice 2020 turned out to be a total wow, with one of the best performances of The Seal Man ever, by baritone James Newby and pianist Simon Lepper. The Seal Man starts at the 3:20 mark, but you owe it to yourself to listen to the entire opening group, to texts by John Masefield—if you don’t listen to the entire program, which you should, so there.

Now through November 29: The Gould Piano Trio’s performance of Clarke’s Trio at Wigmore Hall also turned out to be an absolute high-point. This is one of those pieces that needs to be seen as well as heard, and the Hall’s visual production is on the same high level as the Goulds’ playing. Details of the webcast, and of the Goulds’ just-released audio-recording—both of which are highly recommended—are on our Shop page.

November 15: Baltimore’s venerable Chamber Music by Candlelight series presents Clarke’s spectacular “duo concertante” Dumka, performed by Kevin Smith, violin, and Colin Sorgi, viola, both of the Baltimore Symphony, with Daniel Pesca, piano, as part of a demanding program that also includes Gabriela Lena Frank’s Tres Homenajes: Compadrazgo, for piano quintet, and Smetana’s string quartet “From My Life”. The current edition of Grove’s Dictionary suggests that Dumka was something of a parlor-piece, when, in fact, it ought to come with a strong warning: “PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS ON CLOSED COURSE. DO NOT ATTEMPT AT HOME.” The burn starts at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (check here for your local equivalent), and continues through December 15.

November 15: The Endler Concert Series at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University presents Lynn Rudolph and José Dias in a nifty program that features Clarke’s Viola Sonata, and works by Bach, Nadia Boulanger, and Hendrik Hofmeyr (details here). The video debuts at 4:00 p.m. South African Standard Time (check here for your local equivalent) and remains available until November 22.

December 8: Clarke’s Sonata also headlines a concert in Wigmore Hall’s terrific new Live Stream Series, 95 years after the composer herself presented it there, but this time with Natalie Clein and Cédric Pescia performing Clarke’s version for cello, a carefully-considered freestanding work—not just a transcription—that amply bears out one of Clarke’s most perceptive contemporaneous critics, who assigned the Sonata “a foremost place among the best written for ‘cello and piano.” The program debuts at 7:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (check here for your local equivalent) and remains available through January 7, 2021. Sign-in required, donation requested, and well worth it.

Stay home. Stay safe. Stream Clarke.

Ordinarily, we would have acted like a reasonably sober composer-website and led off with a slightly less lurid, more informative headline, but “Rebecca Clarke, Viola-Player and Composer—Meeting All Your Family’s Rebecca Clarke Tchotchke Needs Since 2020!” ran a little long, even for the debut of our new Shop page.

Be that as it may, if you ever feel moved to regale yourself, or those you love, with Rebecca Clarke socks, leggings, miniskirts, iPhone cases, laptop skins, greeting cards, throw-pillows, bathmats, or a host of other useful and amusing products, then Arty Margit is your go-to place. The brainchild of Margit van der Zwan, a cellist and artist based in Manchester, England, Arty Margit sells a vast line of composer-related products through Etsy and Redbubble, covering just about everyone who’s great and cool, from Hildegard of Bingen to Arvo Pärt and Kaija Saariaho, in really snazzy designs and terrific colors.

Margit’s design for Rebecca Clarke—based on one of Clarke’s most striking publicity-shots, by Louis Langfier, of 23 Old Bond Street, W., London, dating from around 1923—brings out the strong profile and commanding presence of a highly public figure who stood nearly six feet tall in her prime, and reportedly “strode on stage like a goddess.”

And lest you think there’s anything even slightly out-of-character about this, remember that Clarke was a committed clotheshorse who swanned through everything from Vogue, to the style-page of The Sphere (“The Empire’s Illustrated Weekly”), to “Pall Mall”’s syndicated gossip-column, to the front page (above the fold) of Honolulu’s Pacific Commercial Advertiser, and was known to pop off lines like, “Oh, no, darlings!”—this to her goggle-eyed nieces—“You must save your white gowns until after you’ve come back from the South of France!”

You might want to start with Arty Margit’s basic print, sold here, but after that the sky’s the limit, with everything from travel-mugs to a (regrettably) up-to-the-minute face-mask, sold here (and be sure to scroll down the page and click on the arrow following “Available on +48 products”).

We’re not sure what Clarke would have made of all this, but she was never one for postponing joy, so why should you? Besides, it’s not every day you get to patronize an artist who has actually played the Kit Kat Klub.