Jeremiah Clarke

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Jeremiah Clarke (c. 1674 – 1 December 1707)[1] was an English baroque composer and organist.


Thought to have been born in London around 1674, 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.[2] From c. 1878 until the 1940s the work was attributed to Henry Purcell, and was published as Trumpet Voluntary by Henry Purcell in William Spark'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.[3] 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.[4][5]

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.[6][7]

Clarke's suicide[edit]

"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 therefore chose suicide by firearm.[8][9] 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[10] (though other sources state he was buried in the unconsecrated section of the cathedral churchyard).[11]


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


  1. ^ Gascoigne, Bamber (1994) Encyclopedia of Britain p. 653. Macmillan.
  2. ^ Norris, Gerald (1981) A musical gazetteer of Great Britain & Ireland p. 61. David & Charles.
  3. ^ Grove V, Vol. VIII, "Trumpet Voluntary"
  4. ^ Fox, Dan (2007) World's Greatest Wedding Music: 50 of the Most Requested Wedding Pieces p. 7. Alfred Music Publishing. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  5. ^ Lefevre, Holly (2010) The Everything Wedding Checklist Book: All You Need to Remember for a Day You'll Never Forget p. 127. Adams Media.
  6. ^ Matthews, Bette (2004) Wedding for All Seasons p. 119. Barnes & Noble.
  7. ^ Cudworth, C., & Zimmerman, F. B. (1960). The trumpet voluntary. Music and Letters, 41:341–348 (see p. 347). Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ Hawkins,, John (1875). "Book XVII, Chapter CLXIV". A general history of the science and practice of music. Vol.2 (Revised ed.). London: Novello, Ewer. p. 784. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "Jeremiah Clarke",
  11. ^ "Jeremiah Clarke (1674–1707)", Find A Grave Memorial

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Isaac Blackwell
Organist of St Paul's Cathedral
Succeeded by
Richard Brind
Preceded by
John Blow
Almoner and Master of the Choristers of St Paul's Cathedral
Succeeded by
Charles King
Preceded by
Francis Pigott
Joint First Organist of the Chapel Royal with William Croft
Succeeded by
William Croft