John Speller's Web Pages Clarke, My Song Shall Be

John Speller's Web Pages

Clarke, My Song Shall Be
Jeremiah (or Jeremy) Clarke (1674-1707) was Organist of Winchester College 1692-1695, of Chichester Cathedral 1692-96 and of St. Paul's Cathedral 1699-1707. He was a fine composer, best remembered today for his "Trumpet Voluntary" (Prince of Denmark's March), often misattributed to Henry Purcell. Clarke's career cam to a sorry end in 1707. He fell in love with the daughter of a nobleman, and though the young woman reciprocated his feelings, the nobleman refused to countenance the marriage of his daughter to a lowly organist. Feeling that his life was over, he went out riding with his manservant and came upon a lake with a tree beside it. He told his manservant to toss a coin to decide whether to hang himself on the tree or drown himself in the lake. The coin landed on edge, so Clarke went home and shot himself. By an odd happenstance the organist John Reading was passing at the time and heard the shot. He rushed in, but it was too late.

Clarke's anthem "My song shall be of mercy and judgment" is found here in an arrangement by Dr. Lowell Mason (1792-1872).
The Bernard Smith Organ of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, installed shortly before Jeremiah Clarke became organist in 1699. The shutters over the fašade pipes were to keep out the dust
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