Thought to have been born in London around 1673, Clarke was a pupil of John Blow at St Paul's Cathedral. He later became an organist at the Chapel Royal. After his death, he was succeeded in that post by William Croft.
Clarke is best remembered for a popular keyboard piece: the Prince of Denmark's March, which is commonly called the Trumpet Voluntary, written about 1700. From c. 1878 until the 1940s the work was attributed to Henry Purcell, and was published as Trumpet Voluntary by Henry Purcell in William Sparkes's Short Pieces for the Organ, Book VII, No. 1 (London, Ashdown and Parry). This version came to the attention of Sir Henry J. Wood, who made two orchestral transcriptions of it, both of which were recorded. The recordings further cemented the erroneous notion that the original piece was by Purcell. Clarke's piece is a popular choice for wedding music, and has been used in royal weddings.
The famous Trumpet Tune in D (also incorrectly attributed to Purcell) was taken from the semi-opera The Island Princess, which was a joint musical production of Clarke and Daniel Purcell (Henry Purcell's younger brother)—probably leading to the confusion.
"A violent and hopeless passion for a very beautiful lady of a rank superior to his own" caused him to commit suicide. Before shooting himself, he considered hanging and drowning as options, so to decide his fate, he tossed a coin—however the coin landed in the mud on its side. Instead of consoling himself, he chose the third method of death, and performed the deed in the cathedral churchyard. Suicides were not generally granted burial in consecrated ground, but an exception was made for Clarke, who was buried in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral (though other sources state he was buried in the unconsecrated section of the cathedral churchyard).
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Clarke's works include:
- Harpsichord and Organ Music.
- Masses and other religious music (including 20 anthems and several odes).
- Prince of Denmark's March, popularly known as "Trumpet Voluntary". (From the Suite in D Major.)
- Trumpet Tune in D, from The Island Princess.
- King William's March.
Other Jeremiah Clarkes
There were two other, lesser known British organists of the same name, who lived later but whose dates of birth are uncertain. One published four volumes of music between 1760 and 1791, and the other was the organist of Worcester Cathedral from 1806–1807.
- Gerald Norris (1981) A musical gazetteer of Great Britain & Ireland p. 61. David & Charles, 1981
- Grove V, Vol. VIII, "Trumpet Voluntary"
- Dan Fox (2007) World's Greatest Wedding Music: 50 of the Most Requested Wedding Pieces p. 7. Alfred Music Publishing, 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2011
- Lefevre, Holly (2010) The Everything Wedding Checklist Book: All You Need to Remember for a Day You'll Never Forget p. 127. Adams Media, 2010
- Bette Matthews (2004) Wedding for All Seasons p. 119. Barnes & Noble Publishing, 2004
- Music & letters, Volumes 40–41 p. 347. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 4 January 2011
- Piggott, Solomon (1824). "Remarkable Modes of Suicide". Suicide and its antidotes: a series of anecdotes and actual narratives, with suggestions on mental distress. J. Robins and Co. p. 175. Retrieved 4 August 2009.
- Jeremiah Clarke: Classical.com
- Jeremiah Clarke (1673–1755) – Find A Grave Memorial
- Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Fifth ed. Vol. II, p. 333. St. Martin's Press, 1973.
- Free scores by Jeremiah Clarke in the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)
- Free scores by Jeremiah Clarke at the International Music Score Library Project
|Organist of St Paul's Cathedral
|Almoner and Master of the Choristers of St Paul's Cathedral
|Joint First Organist of the Chapel Royal with William Croft