It is with great joy—and in a state of dazed half-belief—that I announce the following:

All of Rebecca Clarke’s remaining vocal music—the early songs that she wrote as an uninstructed amateur, her first experiments as a fledgling professional, her fabulous duets—will be published by ClarNan Editions, an imprint of Classical Vocal Reprints, in a series of volumes co-edited with Nicholas Phan, the brilliant Grammy-nominated tenor who has done so much for Clarke’s music in the concert-hall.

All of Clarke’s remaining music with strings—including the ensemble-version of Chinese Puzzle that she made for the Aeolian Players, and the violin teaching-pieces she wrote for one of her nieces—will be published by Sleepy Puppy Press, along with a volume for viola comprising Clarke’s arrangements of pieces by other composers, and her cadenza for the “Handel”/Casadesus concerto, co-edited by Caroline Castleton, whose doctoral work at the University of Maryland promises to transform our understanding of Clarke as a performer.

If current projections hold, this means that all of Clarke’s compositions known to exist in a completed state—excluding only sketches, drafts, and exercises—will have been published by the end of 2023. Thus, Clarke will join the likes of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Berlioz, and Palestrina in having virtually every note she ever wrote put before the public, but with one vital distinction: Clarke’s de-facto Complete Works Edition will exist, not as a monumental set that only large reference collections can afford to acquire, but as a series of practical publications available through normal commercial channels to the widest possible range of musicians, students, and music-lovers.

Once these projects are completed, along with a giant piece of research that I am determined to finish on the same schedule, I will be donating Clarke’s manuscripts and papers, and those of her husband, the great pianist James Friskin, “to the United States of America for the benefit of the American people and inclusion in the Library of Congress“—a phrase in the deed of gift that overwhelms me every time I think of it—where they will form a named collection, The Rebecca Clarke and James Friskin Papers, to which the aforementioned research project will serve as a key.

In 1982, Clarke’s heirs assigned her rights to me with the goal of “promoting such rights as a memorial,” and in the intervening forty-one years much ink has been spilled as to whether or not I have done so. Like Clarke, I am content to let my work speak for itself.

Library of Congress James Madison Building, Washington, D.C.,
exterior view, from corner of Independence Avenue and 2nd Street,
by Carol M. Highsmith, 2007,

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LOT 13908 (ONLINE)

When we started this whole Rebecca Clarke thing, we promised that we would not clog your in-box unduly, but somehow a silence lasting eighteen months seems excessive. We can only plead pandemic, and more tsouris than—well, as we say here in Brooklyn, you shouldn’t ask.

Still, as we set out the customary Christmas-Eve display of the year’s Clarke publications and recordings across the music-rack of the piano where she composed Dumka (and you’ll forgive the stuffed animals peeking out everywhere, as the latest generation was turning out in force the next morning, Dumka or no Dumka), we were struck with what an extraordinarily productive year 2022 had turned out to be, what with all of Clarke’s piano-music, and half of her vocal duets, being published and recorded in tandem—and if you don’t think vocal duets are a tough market to crack, try it, and then come back and tell us about it.

There were too many things to put face-out all at once. In addition to the larger items, which you can find out about on our Shop page, there were a compelling account of Clarke’s Viola Sonata set amongst some of the other great viola-works of 1919, a mesmerizing take on the related Untitled, outstanding performances of Tiger, Tiger and The Seal Man, and a terrific matchup of Cortège with Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor (trust us, this makes perfect sense, once you’ve heard it).

And if you look at the picture closely enough, you can just make a out a harbinger of what promises to be a blowout 2023: the first proofs of Clarke’s Violin Sonata in D, which Sleepy Puppy Press is bringing out very early in the New Year, along with the substantial opening movement that Clarke wrote towards an intended Violin Sonata in G (see our Shop page to pre-order either or both). These poor pieces—her first full-scale concert pieces, composed at the Royal College of Music in London, around 1909—were first scheduled for publication more than twenty years ago, but have been sidelined again and again, first by a corporate restructuring leading to a comprehensive shift in strategy, then by three serious illnesses, a lengthy hospitalization, a massive blizzard, one actual death, a corporate acquisition of uncertain scope and import, and finally by a contractual ambiguity that could only be resolved by the passage of time—and that’s just the publishers!

Suffice it say that Sleepy Puppy, which did such stellar work anthologizing the borderline-sublime slow-movement of the Sonata in D, is doing a bang-up job with the whole lot. These are wonderful pieces. Their publication will not only add two important works to the teaching- and concert-repertoires, but will mark the availability of all of Clarke’s major concert-works in print.

And a Happy New Year to you, too!