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Frederic Clay

Frederic Emes Clay (3 August 1838 – 24 November 1889) was an English composer known principally for songs and his music written for the stage. Although from a musical family, for 16 years Clay made his living as a civil servant in HM Treasury, composing in his spare time, until a legacy in 1873 enabled him to become a full-time composer. He had his first big stage success with Ages Ago (1869), a short comic opera with a libretto by W. S. Gilbert, for the small Gallery of Illustration; it ran well and was repeatedly revived. Clay, a great friend of his fellow composer Arthur Sullivan, introduced the latter to Gilbert, leading to the Gilbert and Sullivan partnership.

In addition to Gilbert, Clay's librettists during his 24-year career included B. C. Stephenson, Tom Taylor, T. W. Robertson, Robert Reece and G. R. Sims. The last of his four pieces with Gilbert was Princess Toto (1875), which had short runs in the West End and in New York. Clay's other compositions include cantatas and numerous individual songs. His last two works were both successful operas composed in 1883, The Merry Duchess and The Golden Ring. He then suffered a stroke that paralysed him at the age of 44 and ended his career.

The historian Kurt Gänzl has called Clay "the first significant composer of the modern era of British musical theatre", but even his most successful stage works were soon eclipsed by those of Gilbert and Sullivan. During his lifetime he was best known for his parlour songs, which were familiar throughout Britain. Clay's music was widely regarded as not particularly original or memorable, but musicianly and pleasing.

Birth and Death Data: Born August 3, 1840 (Paris), Died November 24, 1889 (Buckinghamshire)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1898 - 1928

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 42 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Berliner 3670 7-in. 10/7/1898 I’ll sing thee songs of Araby Dorothy Yale Female vocal solo composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1248 7-in. 2/11/1902 I'll sing thee songs of Araby Herbert Goddard Baritone vocal solo composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1248 10-in. 2/11/1902 I'll sing thee songs of Araby Herbert Goddard Baritone vocal solo composer  
Victor A-514 7-in. 10/7/1903 Gypsy John Adolf Dahm-Petersen Male vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor B-514 10-in. 10/7/1903 Gypsy John Adolf Dahm-Petersen Male vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-3454 12-in. 6/12/1906 I'll sing thee songs of Araby Harry Macdonough Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-3860 10-in. 10/8/1906 She wandered down the mountain side Corinne Morgan Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-4726 12-in. 7/30/1907 Gipsy John Victor Orchestra ; Herbert Witherspoon Bass vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-12760 10-in. 1/2/1913 I'll sing thee songs of Araby John McCormack Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-18500 12-in. 9/26/1916 She wandered down the mountainside Alma Gluck Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-23873 10-in. 3/29/1920 Gypsy John Dom J. Zan Male vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor B-29430 10-in. 2/1/1924 Gipsy John Royal Dadmun Male vocal solo, with cello and orchestra composer  
Victor BVE-29430 10-in. 10/6/1927 Gipsy John Royal Dadmun Baritone vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor BVE-36113 10-in. 8/10/1926 I'll sing the songs of Araby The De Reszke Singers Male vocal quartet, with piano composer  
Victor CVE-45180 12-in. 5/25/1928 The sands o' Dee Reinald Werrenrath Baritone vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor [Trial 1919-05-29-02] Not documented 5/29/1919 I'll sing thee songs of Araby Walter Pontius Male vocal solo, with piano composer  
Columbia 61 7-in. ca. 1901-Sept. 1902 I'll sing thee songs of Araby Artists vary Male vocal solo, with piano composer  
Columbia 61 10-in. ca. 1901-Sept. 1902 I'll sing thee songs of Araby Artists vary Male vocal solo, with piano composer  
Columbia 3951 10-in. between 1908 and April 1909 I'll sing thee songs of Araby Alan Turner Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 19905 10-in. 5/24/1912 She wandered down the mountain side Charles Harrison Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 80139 10-in. 1/17/1922 I'll sing thee songs of Araby Tandy MacKenzie Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 30051 12-in. between 1906 and February 1907 I'll sing thee songs of Araby Henry Burr Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 30293 12-in. ca. Jan.-Nov. 1909 Gipsy John Kirk Towns Baritone vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 30311 12-in. 10/9/1909 Gipsy John Kirk Towns Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 48570 12-in. 1/27/1916 Gipsy John Henri Scott Bass vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
(Results 1-25 of 42 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Clay, Frederic," accessed May 27, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103980.

Clay, Frederic. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 27, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103980.

"Clay, Frederic." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 27 May 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103980

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