The first modern edition of one of Jeremiah Clark's Eight Songs with Instrumental Parts, op.2, 1775.
Jeremiah Clark was born in Worcester and spent all his working life in the Midlands. His father was a lay clerk at Worcester Cathedral, which may go some way to explain why his son was named after Jeremiah Clarke, the contemporary of Purcell, whose anthems were still being published in church music anthologies decades after his death. Jeremiah’s formative years were spent as a chorister at the cathedral, but he evidently learnt the harpsichord and violin from a young age and by the time he was sixteen he was performing alongside his father in local concerts. Following the publication of his first book for eight songs in 1763 he gained the position of organist at St Philip’s, Birmingham, and he remained in the post until 1805. He was dismissed from St Philip’s due to the number of times he got his official duties covered by deputies, in order that he undertake freelance work across the region. The following year saw him gain the organist job back at Worcester cathedral before ill health forced him to retire to Bromsgrove shortly before his death. Whilst in Birmingham, Clark was a busy freelancer, appearing at numerous concerts in the growing industrial town as well as in Wolverhampton, Lichfield and Derby. He also oversaw the summer musical entertainments at fashionable Duddeston Gardens to the north of Birmingham. During the 1790s he was principal second violin in the Three Choirs Festivals in Worcester, Gloucester and Hereford, performing alongside virtuoso violinist W.B. Cramer, and after his appointment as organist, conducted the 1806 festival at Worcester. An obituary describes him as ‘a man of great eminence in his profession, and author of several justly-admired musical productions’. These ‘musical productions’ were a further two books of songs (opp. 2 and 4) and a collection of six harpsichord sonatas with accompaniments for two violins and a violoncello (op. 3). The lists of subscribers to all four of his publications reveal that Clark was a well- connected musician who no doubt had many private students across the region and was well respected by his organist-composer colleagues across the country. Eight Songs with Instrumental Parts in Score, Op. 2, was published in 1775 by the London printing partnership of Straight and Skillern. The texts are Arcadian in style and most of them can be found in song anthologies over the previous twenty years set by other composers.
See Myra, see the lily fair, the blushing Rose just newly blown;
Then view thy lovely face and there, you’ll find that beauty’s all your own.
But ah! how soon their colour fade, and all their fragrant scent decay.
So will your charms my blooming maid for sprightly youth soon hastes away. But with virtue then improve your mind that beauty time can ne’er deface, In that, unfading charms you’ll find when robb’d of ev’ry other grace.
Clark - Song: 'To Myra'. Digital Download
Scoring: Soprano, 2 violins, continuo (cello, harpsichord)
Contents: Full Score - 15 pages, 3 parts - 7 pages.
- Violin 1, Violino 2
- Basso Continuo
- Basso Continuo realisation
Total pages: 22
File size: 3 MB
Work duration: 7'30''
Catalogue number: CK0036