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Clay, Frederick

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The musician Frederick Clay was born in Paris on 3 August 1839, the son of the writer and Garrick Club member James Clay (see below). After some positions in political life, Frederick turned to music, collaborating with Sir Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert on several theatrical pieces: “Years Ago” (1869), “The Gentleman in Black” (1870) and “Happy Arcadia” (1872). He wrote music for a number of other operas, among them “Court and Cottage” (1862) and “The Merry Duchess” (1883). A few hours after conducting the first performance of his “The Golden Ring” at the Alhambra on 3 December 1883, he suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered. He died on 24 November 1889 at Oxford House, Great Marlow. Among Clay’s most successful pieces is ‘I’ll sing thee songs of Araby,’ a richly harmonised song that has always pleased. Clay became a member of the Garrick Club in April 1862. (DNB)
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