A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Clark, Jeremiah

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CLARK, Jeremiah, [App. p.591 adds that "he is said to have been born in 1669, but that the date is probably much earlier"] was a chorister in the Chapel Royal under Dr. Blow. After leaving the choir he became, for a short time, organist of Winchester College. In 1693 hia master, Dr. Blow, resigned in his favour the appointments of almoner and master of the children of St. Paul's Cathedral. About 1695 he was appointed organist and one of the vicars choral of St. Paul's. On July 7, 1700, Clark, and his fellow-pupil, William Croft, were sworn in as gentlemen extraordinary of the Chapel Royal, with the joint reversion of an organist's place, whenever one should fall vacant, a contingency which happened on May 15, 1704, by the death of Francis Piggott, on which Clark and Croft were on May 25 sworn in as joint organists. Clark, having the misfortune to become enamoured of a lady whose position in life rendered his union with her hopeless, fell into a state of despondency, under the influence of which he shot himself. The precise date of his death has not been ascertained, but it was, doubtless, shortly before Nov. 5, 1707, when Croft was sworn into the full place of organist of the Chapel Royal. Clark composed several anthems, chiefly of a pathetic kind, but not deficient either in force or dignity. He was the original composer of Dryden's famous ode, 'Alexander's Feast,' which was performed at Stationers' Hall on the occasion for which it was written, the feast on St. Cecilia's day, Nov. 22, 1697, and at two or three concerts shortly afterwards; but the music was not printed, and seems now irretrievably lost. In the same year [App. p.591 "1699"] Clark (in conjunction with Daniel Purcell and Richard Leveridge) composed the music for the opera 'The Island Princess,' and (jointly with Daniel Purcell) for the opera 'The World in the Moon' [App. p.591 "1697"]. He also furnished music for 'The Fond Husband' (1676), Sedley's 'Antony and Cleopatra' (1677), 'Titus Andronicus' (1687), and 'A Wife for any Man,' [App. p.591 adds "'The Campaigners,' 1698; 'The Bath,' 1701; 'All for the better,' 1702, and 'the Committee,' 1706"] besides composing an ode in praise of the Island of Barbados, a cantata called 'The Assumption,' some lessons for the harpsichord, and numerous songs published in the collections of the day. [App. p.591 & 2 adds "Since the publication of the article in the Dictionary of National Biography, from which the above additions are taken, its writer, Mr. W. Barclay Squire, has succeeded in establishing the date of Clark's death, concerning which authorities have hitherto been at variance. The printed copies of Hawkins's History give Nov. 5 as the date, but in a copy corrected by Hawkins himself, now in the British Museum, this is altered to Dec. 1, 1707; a contemporary news-sheet has been found which confirms this date beyond a doubt. For the detailed account of the occurrence, and for the process by which the true date has been established, the reader is referred to the Athenæum of April 2, 1887."]

[ W. H. H. ]