January 2009 edition

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Our program, Music from Jeremiah Clarke’s “The Island Princess” (12 minutes and 9 seconds), features eight selections from this dramatic opera or semi-opera. Semi-operas developed in England between 1673 and 1710 and were performed with singing, speaking and dancing roles. When music was written, it was usually for moments in the play immediately following either love scenes or those concerning the supernatural. Jeremiah Clarke (1674-1707) was an English baroque composer and associate of Henry Purcell. Clarke was a pupil of John Blow at St Paul’s Cathedral. In “The Island Princess”, a group of Euopean voyagers travel to the Spice Islands and are astounded by the alien culture they encounter. The music, written in 1699, contains the first appearance of what has become known to us as the “Trumpet Tune” of wedding and graduation fame.

The incidental music for “The Island Princess ” includes:

  • First Musick/Jig
  • Minuet
  • Second Act Tune
  • Third Act Tune
  • Winter Dance with a stove, a Dutchman and an old miser
  • Spring Dance for Girles with Nosegaus
  • Summer Dance by Blacks
  • Autumn Dance by a French Clowne and a Country Woman in Wooden Shoe