F.R.C. Clarke | The Canadian Encyclopedia


F.R.C. Clarke

F.R.C. (Frederick Robert Charles) Clarke. Organist-choirmaster, composer, teacher, administrator, b Vancouver 7 Aug 1931, d Kingston 18 Nov 2009; ARCT piano 1948, ARCT organ 1951, B MUS (Toronto) 1951, FCCO 1952, D MUS (Toronto) 1954.

Clarke, F.R.C.

F.R.C. (Frederick Robert Charles) Clarke. Organist-choirmaster, composer, teacher, administrator, b Vancouver 7 Aug 1931, d Kingston 18 Nov 2009; ARCT piano 1948, ARCT organ 1951, B MUS (Toronto) 1951, FCCO 1952, D MUS (Toronto) 1954. His teachers included Kenneth Ross (piano) in Vancouver, Eric Rollinson (organ) at the RCMT, and Healey Willan, S. Drummond Wolff, and George Laughlin (theory and composition) at the University of Toronto. Clarke was organist-choirmaster 1950-8 for several churches in Toronto and St Catharines. He also taught 1956-8 at the Hamilton Cons (RHCM) and conducted 1957-8 the St Catharines Civic Orchestra (Niagara Symphony Association). In 1958 he became organist-choirmaster at Sydenham Street United Church in Kingston, Ont, a position he continued to hold in 1991. He was also conductor 1958-77 of the Kingston Choral Society. He lectured 1959-69 at Queen's Theological College and joined Queen's University Music Department in 1964 to teach theory and other subjects. There he founded and conducted 1965-9 the Queen's Chamber Players Ensemble. He was head 1981-8 of the department and after it was renamed the Queen's University School of Music in 1988 he served 1988-91 as director.

Of Clarke's numerous compositions in the English tradition, Bel and the Dragon (1954) was written for his D MUS, Sing a New Song to the Lord (1960) was composed for the United Church of Canada in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Scottish Reformation, and Psalm 145 (1966) won the CBC (Ottawa) Choral Composition Prize in 1967. Clarke was chairman of the music subcommittee for The Hymn Book of the Anglican and United Churches (1971), to which he contributed 7 tunes and 18 arrangements. His Festival Te Deum (1972) and Reginae (1991) were written for the Kingston Symphony Association to celebrate the tercentennial of the founding of Kingston and the sesquicentennial of the founding of Queen's University respectively. Clarke completed and orchestrated several of Willan's works, including the Introduction and Allegro for string quartet, premiered in 1984 by the Vághy String Quartet, and the Dirge for Two Veterans and Requiem Mass, premiered in 1985 and 1988 respectively by the Kingston Symphony with the Kingston Choral Society. He was a contributor to EMC and an associate of the Canadian Music Centre.

Selected Compositions

Orchestra And Band
Bel and the Dragon, oratorio (Apocrypha). 1954. Sop, tenor, bar, 2 SATB, orch. Ms

Festival Overture. 1955. Orch. Ms

Sonata for Organ and Strings. 1958. Ms

Mini-Suite. 1971. Orch. Ms

Festival Te Deum. 1972. SATB, orch. Ms

Pastorale and Fugue on a Christmas Hymn. 1975. Str orch. Ms

Triptych. 1987. Arr for orch of Suite for Clarinet Choir. Ms

Reginae. 1991. SATB, orch. Ms

Some works for band


'Schubert's use of tonality: some unique features,' CAUSM J, vol 1, 1971

'The structure of Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony,' Music R vol 34, Feb 1973

'Two unpublished instrumental works of Healey Willan,' CUMR, 1, 1980

'Healey Willan's quest for a string quartet,' CUMR, 2, 1981

Healey Willan: Life and Music (Toronto 1983)

'They went to Canada,' British Opera in Retrospect (Upminster, Eng 1986)

'Some musical aspects of The Hymn Book, 1971,' Sing Out the Glad News: Hymn Tunes in Canada, ed John Beckwith, CanMus Documents 1 (Toronto 1987)

'Healey Willan's unfinished Requiem,' Musical Canada


Sonata for Cello and Piano. 1952, rev 1985. Ms

Two Antiphonal Pieces. 1981. 6 horn. Ms

Three Shakespeare Miniatures. 1984. Sop, fl, piano. Ms

Suite for Clarinet Choir. 1985. Ms

Three Pieces for Brass Quintet. 1987. Ms

Sonata for Viola and Piano. 1988. Arr of Sonata for Cello and Piano. Ms

String Quartet 'Music Comes'. 1989. Ms


Six Hymn Tune Voluntaries. Ca 1950-60. Org. Wat 1964

Simple Siciliano. 1954 (rev 1974). Pf. Wat 1974

Prelude. 1968. Org. GVT 1968

Introduction and Passacaglia. 1969. Org. Ms

A William Boyce Suite. 1970. Org. Nov 1973

Meditation on 'Primrose'. 1972. Org. GVT 1972

Introduction and Fugue on 'Concrete'. 1977. Org. Ms

Two Meditations on Plainsong Hymns. 1973. Org. Galaxy 1977

Also 2 suites for organ (1956, 1966), both manuscript. Other works for piano, including Five Easy Variations on a Theme, Ostinette, and Three Easy Pieces, all published by Wat

Choir and Voice

Christmas Cantata. 1955 (rev 1963, 1989). Sop, tenor, bass, SATB, organ. Ms

Psalm 145. 1966. SATB, brass, percussion or SATB, organ. Ms

A Prayer of St Francis. 1983. SATB, organ. FH 1983

Choral pieces published by Wat: 'Blessed Art Thou, Lord God of Our Fathers'; 'Breathe on Me, Breath of God'; 'Glory to God on High'; 'Hail Our Monarch, Son of David'; 'Hail, Thou Source of Every Blessing'; 'Let Every Soul Be Subject'; 'Lord of All Hopefulness'; 'Lord of Our Life'; Missa brevis; 'O Father, on Our Festal Day'; 'O Father We Praise Thee'; 'O Sing a New Song to the Lord'; 12 Introits for the Church Year; Westminster Missa Brevis; 'With Joy We Go Up to the House of the Lord'

12 songs for voice, piano (organ). 1950-57. All manuscript