Jeremiah Clarke

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Jeremiah Clarke (* around 1674, † December 1, 1707 in London ) was an English composer and organist of the Baroque.


Jeremiah Clarke was first mentioned in 1685 as the choirboy of the Royal Chapell on the occasion of the coronation of James II. When he was 17, he was fired for a broken voice with a pension of £ 20. In the same year he became organist at Winchester College , which he held until 1695. In 1699 he was appointed vicar chorale at St Paul's Cathedral , where he also worked as an organist. During this time the choir was under the direction of John Blow , who had a strong musical influence and whose offices Clarke took over in November 1703. Together with William Croft , he was sworn in as a gentleman-extraordinary of the Royal Chapel in July 1700 , in order to take over the organist's position after the death of the incumbent Francis Pigott . In May 1704 both took up this position.

Clarke composed mainly church music, he also wrote songs for the stage and triumph music for the victory celebrations of the Duke of Marlborough in the War of the Spanish Succession . Clarke died in London in 1707, allegedly because of an unrequited love for a woman of higher rank, by suicide with a pistol. He was buried with a special permit in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral, as this was not allowed for "suicides" at the time.

Jeremiah Clarke has been identified as the composer of the Prince of Denmark March , the popular piece of music that has long been mistakenly attributed to Henry Purcell under the name Trumpet Voluntary . It was often heard on the BBC during the Second World War (in connection with broadcasts to Denmark) and then at the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana in 1981, and it was mainly because of this that it became world famous. It sounds daily as a chime on Skamlingsbanks . Another well-known piece, the Trumpet Tune in D , comes from the semi-opera The Island Princess , a musical collaboration between Clarke and Daniel Purcell , Henry Purcell's younger brother. It was previously attributed to Henry Purcell as well.

Works (selection)

Clarke wrote several masses and other sacred vocal music, including about 20 anthems and psalm and hymn melodies, some of which are still in use today. For festive occasions he composed various odes with orchestral accompaniment, such as the Come to Death Henry Purcell's Come, Come along for a Dance and a Song (1695), Ode on His Majesty's happy Deliverance (1696), Ode on the occasion of the Peace of Ryswick (1697), a birthday code for Queen Anna (1706), a New Year code for O Harmony, Were's Now Thy Power (1707), Cäcilienode Alexander’s Feast, or The Power of Music (1697).

He also composed overtures and inter-act music, some of which have been lost. Other instrumental music is mainly composed for harpsichord or organ, with the exception of a few solo pieces for flute or violin, some of which were arrangements of well-known melodies.

The two arrangements for trumpet and organ are popular

  • Trumpet Voluntary (original title: The Prince of Denmark's March , Rondeau)
  • Trumpet Tune in D (from the semi-opera The Island Princess , together with Daniel Purcell)


  • Solomon Piggott: Remarkable Modes of Suicide, Serious and Burlesque - Arguments against It. In: Solomon Piggott: Suicide and Its Antidotes, A Series of Anecdotes and actual Narratives, With Suggestions on Mental Diseases. J. Robins, London 1824, pp. 173-186, here p. 175.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ( Memento from December 2, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  2. ^ François-Joseph Fétis : Biography universelle des musiciens et bibliographie génèrale de la musique. 1861, p. 312, ( digitized versionhttp: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D~IA%3Dbiographieunive16ftgoog~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3Dn319~ double-sided%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D )