Clare texts set to music

Bibliography of John Clare pieces set to music

Arnold, Malcolm
Song of Praise (Warm into praises, kindling muse)

Solo song
Arnold, Malcolm
The John Clare Cantata
Mixed choir and piano duet

Ayres, Paul
The Music of the Past – “The past it is a magic word …”
Commissioned by Hull Ladies Musical Union, 2001 – manuscript

SSA and piano
Beckwith, George
O Wert Thou in the Storm, manuscript
Solo voice

Bennett, Richard Rodney
The Birds’ Lament
The Insect World
Clock a Clay
The Early Nightingale


Bird, Geoffrey
John Clare’s Seasons, manuscript, 2002
8 songs for medium voice

Blyth Daubney, Brian
Song’e Eternity and Hidden Love, composed by Brian Blyth Daugney, a Lincolnshire composer, in 1992 at the request of the English Poetry and Song Society – appear in Volume 2 (1970 – 1992) published by Summerfields Press in 1996 (Blyth Daubney’s own publication)

Solo voice and piano
Britten, Benjamin
The Evening Primrose, 5 flower songs, op. 47, Boosey & Hawkes

Britten, Benjamin
Spring Symphony, Op. 44: Part 1(4) The Driving Boy (the text comes from Clare’s May and contains a few changes by George Peele

Clayton, Vicky
Set some of John Clare to music in the mid 90s.  She sings with Fairport Convention as well as being a solo artist

Copley, Ian

Corri, Haydn
The Meeting, bassoon obblig. by
Graham Foulkes, manuscript, 1820

Solo voice
Dab Hand (folk group:  tom McConville, Gordon Tyrrel and Tom Napper
Married to a Soldier
LP record CM025

Deacon, George
Dream Not of Love
-       17 compositions

Voice, harmonium and violin
Deacon, George
John Clare and Folk Tradition
(book but contains mass of Clare material with tunes more closely related to his musical heritage plus reproduction of part Here We Meet Too Soon to Part set by Haydn Corri, plus ref to Sweet the Merry Bells Ring Round set by F W Crouch (British Lib G806a-45), plus The Banks of Bromsgrove set by James Power.

Deadman, Terence
The Midsummer Cushion:
-       A Beautiful Sunset in November
-       Birds and Spring
-       Night Wind

Manuscript, 2003

Solo voice
Deadman, Terence
Little Trotty Wagtail

Deadman, Terence
Clock a Clay, manuscript, 2003

Solo voice
Deadman, Terence
Evening Primrose, manuscript 2003
High voice and piano
Dodgson, Stephen
Four Poems of John Clare

Voice and guitar
Dyson, Gordon
Mary (It Is the Evening Hour)

Solo voice
Gooch & Thatcher
Musical Settings of Early and Mid Victorian Literature, 1979

Gurney, Ivor
Ploughman Singing (Here Morning in the Ploughmans Songs)

Solo voice
Hold, Trevor
Composer’s Debt to John Clare, John Clare Society Journal no. 1, 1982

Hold, Trevor
A Little Song Book for John Clare
-       Evening Schoolboys
-       A Mother’s Lullaby
-       Married to a Soldier
-       Clock a Clay
-       The Tell Tale Flowers

Solo voice

Hold, Trevor
A John Clare Song Book
-       Break of Day
-       Country Letter
-       Dying Child
-       Love’s Riddle
-       Lost as Strangers
-       Drinking Song
-       Evening
-       What is Life
Thames Publishing (Elkin Music Services, Norwich), 1999 (1980 manuscript)

Solo voice
Hurd, Michael

Shepherd’s Calendar

-       Withering and Keen the Winter Comes
-       Come, Queen of Months
-       O Love is So Deceiving
-       Harvest Awakes the Morning Still

Jeffreys, John

Little Trotty Wagtail

Solo voice
Palmer, Roy


Ridout, Alan

Love Songs

(four poems of John Clare) for Ct. gui (6/11/72) – details from Father Anselm Cramer, Ampleforth (email

Ridout, Alan

The Shepherd’s Calendar (Set 1)

(six pieces 17/3/91 – Emerson)

Four bassoons and narrator
Ridout, Alan

The Shepherd’s Calendar (Set 2)

(six pieces 19/5/91 – Emerson)

Four bassoons and narrator
Rubbra, Edmund

Little Trotty Wagtail (no. 2 of Three Bird Songs), 1938

Treble and piano
Rubbra, Edmund

Bonny Mary O, 1938

Mixed choir and piano

Shaw, Martin


Shaw, Pete & Robinson, Eric

Woman, Sweet Witchingly Woman an entertainment based upon John Clare’s songs and poems on the theme of the female race, words edited by Eric Robinson, music by Pete Shaw or trad. Arr. By Pete Shaw.  The songs are Something New, O Woman, Sweet Witchingly Woman, If Kitty’s rosy Presence Now, The Mother’s Caution, Ere the Church Bell, When I met her, Sports of the Village, Winter Winds Cold & Bleak, Give me the Hour that Puts to Bed, My Old Lover Left Me, Here’s a Health Unto thee, Come Give Us the Health

Solo voice or chord accompaniment, performed in Peterborough Cathedral, 3 July 1993
Standford, Patric

A John Clare Cantata

Solo soprano, women’s voices and orchestra

Sterndale Bennett, William

Winter’s Gone, 12 songs, op. 23 and 35, Novello, c. 1850

Solo voice
Swann, Donald, and Smith, Alison

The Songs of Donald Swann.  The Poetic Image:  a Victorian song cycle for medium voice and piano (Albert House Press 1991) – contains settings/songs by several poets including Clare’s An Invite to Eternity.

Tate, Phyllis

Glad Christmas is Come, two part setting

Tyler, Malcolm

My Early Home, manuscript

Solo voice
Tyrrel, Gordon

A Distance From the Town: a musical appreciation of the work of the poet John Clare – contains a number of tunes clare would have played as written down by himself.  Fellside records FECD129, 1998

Vocals, guitar, whistles, flute, cello, concertina, melodeon, fiddle
Waite, Michael

Six Bird Songs, manuscript

Warlock, Peter

Little Trotty Wagtail, Oxford Choral Songs, 1923

Solo voice
Wilson, Andrew

Clare’s Calendar – a song cycle consisting of Autumn, Emmonsail’s Heath in Winter, Spring, and Come We to the Summer
Soprano, 2 violins, and organ

Wilson, James

The Birds Are Gone to Bed (Bucolics, op. 28)

Solo voice
Wood, Chris

Trespasser – cd – theme is the impact of enclosure of country people – the track Mad John opens with the first 4 lines of The Flitting

Wood, Royston (of the folk group The Young Tradition)

No Relation

Includes his setting of The Cellar Door
Transatlantic Records TRA 342 recorded jointly with Heather Wood

Young, Bill

A Pleasant Place – the sheet music for Bill Young’s setting of this Clare poem can be downloaded at

Incomplete (of course)...

No comments:

Post a Comment