If the name Rebecca Clarke is unknown to you, this tells me that 1) you are not a violist and 2) you have some glorious musical discoveries ahead of you. Christopher Johnson has been kind enough to supply the following biographical sketch:
"Born to a musical family in Harrow, England, in 1886, Rebecca Clarke learned the violin at an early age, and then went to the Royal Academy of Music, London, for further study. In 1908, she was accepted as Sir
Charles Stanford’s first female composition student, and entered the Royal College of Music. Stanford urged her to shift over to the viola because then she would be “right in the middle of the sound, and can
tell how it’s all done.”
Two years later, when family turmoil forced her to leave the College, she began to support herself as a violist, and soon became a much-sought-after supply player in orchestras and ensembles around London. In 1912, Sir Henry Wood hired her to play in his Queen’s Hall Orchestra, making her one of the first women to become regular members of a professional orchestra in London. She played chamber music with many of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, including Schnabel, Casals, Thibaud, Suggia, Rubinstein, Grainger, Hess, and Szell.
Billing herself “Rebecca Clarke, viola player and composer,” she became a fixture of recital halls in England and the United States, gave a concert of her own works at the Wigmore Hall, London, and made an
around-the-world tour. In 1919, she wrote one of the greatest extended works for viola: her Sonata, which tied with the Bloch Suite in an anonymous competition sponsored by the American patroness Elizabeth
Sprague Coolidge. The Sonata was published in 1921 and rapidly became a cornerstone of the viola literature. Many of Clarke’s finest songs and chamber works, including her now-classic Piano Trio, were in print by 1930.
Clarke’s output was numerically small—about eighty pieces, excluding early amateur efforts—but its power, brilliance, and poetic depth were widely acknowledged, and as early as 1920 Clarke's name and compositions began to appear in British, American, and European reference-works. As a performer, she remained a familiar presence in concert halls and recording studios, both in London and in New York, but her composing was disrupted by a painful love-affair in the 1930s, and again by World War II. With the postwar triumph of serialism, her essentially tonal idiom began to seem "old hat," as she put it, and her published works gradually went out of print.
By the 1970s, however, with tonality making a comeback and the women’s movement stirring up new interest in female composers, Clarke was ideally positioned for a revival. She allowed her works to be cataloged, and set about revising many of them. By the time she died in 1979, she had had several major New York performances and had taken part in an extended radio broadcast honoring her ninetieth birthday. The following year saw the first in what became a spate of commercial recordings. Virtually all of her mature compositions have now been either published, or recorded, or both, and many have become mainstays
of the concert and recital repertoires."
You can find the slow movement of Clarke's violin sonata, written when she was studying with Stanford, in the fourth volume of the anthology. The sonata, as well as some other works by Clarke, has been recorded by Lorraine McAslan. The full piece will be published by Prairie Dawg Press in the near future.