Clara Edwards (composer)

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Clara Edwards (April 17, 1880 in Decoria Township, Minnesota[1] – January 17, 1974 in New York, New York) was an American singer, pianist, and composer of art songs.[2] She also used the pseudonym Bernard Haigh.[3]


She was born Clara Gerlich in Decoria Township, Blue Earth County, Minnesota. She received her education from the Mankato State Normal School and the Cosmopolitan School of Music in Chicago.[4] She married physician John Milton Edwards before finishing her degree, and the couple moved to Vienna, where she continued musical studies and had a daughter. In Europe she prepared for a career as a singer, and gave concerts in both the United States and Europe[5] before moving to New York City in 1914. Two years later her husband died, leaving her a single mother in New York city with no steady income.

Out of financial necessity, Edwards began her career as a composer and songwriter in the 1920s,[6] joining the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1925. She toured in Vaudeville at about the same time, and organized the Chautauqua Concert Company in 1934.[7] She often collaborated with Jack Lawrence, but also wrote many of the lyrics to her own songs.


Edwards composed over 100 works and published over 60 songs.[8] Several of her songs are sacred, and she wrote choral arrangements for some of them. She also composed music for solo piano, for children's marionette plays and animated films. Her songs have been recorded and issued on CD and used in film soundtracks and animations.[9]

Her songs were "quickly taken up by publishers",[10] and many famous singers performed them, including soprano Lily Pons and baritones John Charles Thomas and Ezio Pinza. They also became more successful when performed on the popular radio show The Bell Telephone Hour.[11] They are "distinguished for their tasteful and truly lovely melodies" and considered some of the "best of the ballad style concert song[s]".[12] They "successfully blended the styles of art song and the sentimental popular ballad".[13]

Perhaps her most successful song was "With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair", with text by Jack Lawrence. First published in 1930, it became a hit a decade later.[14] Two of her other well-known songs are "By the Bend of the River" and "Into the Night"; the latter is frequently used by voice teachers as a training piece, and is included in several song anthologies.[15]

Published songs

published by G. Schirmer unless noted

  • After (A Song of Contrasts), 1927
  • All Thine Own, Carl Fischer, 1935
  • At Twilight, 1944
  • At Your Window, 1951
  • Awake! Arise! (a Song for Easter), Oliver Ditson, 1927
  • Awake, Beloved!, 1925
  • A Benediction, 1927
  • Birds (text by Moira O'Neill), 1958
  • Bring Back the Days, Oliver Ditson, 1945
  • By the Bend of the River, 1927[16]
  • Can this be Summer? (A Song of Longing), 1926
  • Clementine, 1927
  • Come, Love, the Long Day Closes (A Song of Devotion), 1928
  • Cradle Song
  • The Day's Begun, 1930
  • Dedication (Sacred Song), 1961
  • Dusk at Sea (text by Thomas S. Jones), Jack Mills Inc., 1923
  • The Eastern Heavens are all aglow (Christmas Song), 1927
  • Evening Song, 1934
  • Every One Sang (A song of exultation) (text by S. Sassoon), 1921
  • Fear Ye Not, O Israel (Sacred Song), 1942
  • The Fisher's Widow (text by Arthur Symons), 1929
  • Forward We March, Galaxy Music Corp., 1940
  • Gipsy Life, 1932
  • I Bring you lilies from my Garden, Oliver Ditson, 1927
  • I Dream of You, 1952
  • In the Moonlight, 1951
  • Into the Night (text by the composer), 1939
  • I've Lived and Loved, Unknown publisher, 1941[17]
  • Joy (text by T. Hollingsworth), 1943
  • Lady Moon (text by Thekla Hollingsworth), Oliver Ditson, 1927
  • Little Shepherd's Song (13th Century melody) (text by William Alexander Percy), Jack Mills Inc., 1952
  • Lonesome (text by N. R. Eberhart), 1926
  • The Lord is Exalted (Sacred), 1940
  • Love Came to Me
  • A Love Song, Oliver Ditson, 1945
  • Morning Serenade (A Reveille) (text by Madison Julius Cawein), 1928
  • My Homeland, 1934
  • My Little Brown Nest by the Sea (text by T. Hollingsworth), Jack Mills Inc., 1923
  • My Shrine (Wedding Song), 1948
  • O Come to Me
  • O Magic Night of Love, 1927
  • Ol' Jim, 1952
  • Out of the Dusk (A Reverie), 1927
  • A Prayer (Sacred), 1932
  • The Snow, 1962
  • Sometimes at Close of Day (A Pensive Song), 1925
  • Song of my Soul
  • Song of the Brooklet (text by V. McDonald), 1932
  • Spain (España), 1929
  • Stars of the Night, Sing Softly (text by T. Hollingsworth), 1929
  • 'Tis Enough (text by Kenneth Rand), Jack Mills Inc., 1923
  • To a Little Child, 1954
  • To Stars and You
  • To Thee, Divine Reedemer, 1948
  • The Twenty-Seventh Psalm (The Lord is My Light), 1938
  • We Walked in the Garden, 1939
  • When I am Gone, Beloved
  • When I Behold, 1929
  • When Jesus Walked on Galilee (Sacred), 1928[18]
  • When the Sun Calls the Lark, Oliver Ditson, 1929
  • When You Stand by your Window, 1944
  • The Wild Rose Blooms, 1940
  • With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair (text by Jack Lawrence), 1930, reissued Paramount Music Corp., 1940
  • A Yesterday
  • Your Picture, Chappell Music, 1952

Published piano solos

published by G. Schirmer unless noted

Published choral arrangements

published by G. Schirmer unless noted

  • Awake! Arise! (Easter Anthem) (arr. by William Stickles), mixed voices, 1958
  • By the Bend of the River, multiple arrangements
  • Clementine, women's voices
  • Come, Love, the Long Day Closes, men's voices
  • Dedication (text by John Oxenham), mixed voices, 1960
  • The Eastern Heaves are all Aglow (arr. by William Stickles), mixed voices, 1962
  • The Herder's Song, women's voices, 1946
  • Into the Night, multiple arrangements
  • I Will Lift Mine Eyes, mixed voices
  • The Lord is My Light, mixed voices, 1940
  • A Prayer, mixed voiced
  • Sometimes at Close of Day, men's voices
  • A Song of Joy, women's voices
  • Song of the Brooklet, women's voices
  • The Twenty-Seventh Psalm, mixed voices
  • When I Behold, mixed voices
  • When Jesus Walked on Galilee (arr. Carl Deis), mixed voices, 1951


  1. A copy of Clara's birth certificate was reissued in 1997 to clear up confusion about her birthday and location
  2. Baker's Biographical Dictionary, p. 479
  3. Cohen, p. 214
  4. Grattan, p. 12
  5. Grattan, p. 12
  6. Villamil, p. 153
  7. Kimble, Jami. "Clara Edwards' Life". Retrieved 22 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Villamil and others claim 50 published songs, but there are over 60 listed here.
  9. IMDB listing
  10. Villamil, p. 153
  11. Villamil, p. 153
  12. Villamil, p. 153
  13. Finn, New Grove American, p. 21
  14. Grattan, p. 12
  15. Such as Taylor, Songs by 22 Americans and Boytim, The First Book of Soprano Solos, both published by G. Schirmer.
  16. She also arranged this song for piano trio, also in 1927, and for cornet or trumpet and piano in 1946
  17. World Cat accessed 13 Sept 2011
  18. Included in the popular Fifty-Two Sacred Songs You Like to Sing, published by G. Schirmer.


  • Baker, Theodore (1992), "Charles, Ernest", in Slonimsky, Nicolas, Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Eighth Edition, New York: Schirmer Books, pp. 479–480, ISBN 0-02-872415-1<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  • Cohen, Aaron I. (1987), "Edwards, Clara", International Encyclopedia of Women Composers, Second Edition, 1, New York: Books & Music (USA) Inc., p. 214, ISBN 0-9617485-0-8<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  • Finn, Robert (1986), "Edwards, Clara", in Hitchcock, H. Wiley and Stanley Sadie, The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, II, London: Macmillan Press, p. 21, ISBN 0-943818-36-2<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Grattan, Virginia L. (1993), American Women Songwriters: A Biographical Dictionary, Westport, Connecticut, and London: Greenwood Press, p. 12, ISBN 0-313-28510-1<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Villamil, Victoria Etnier (1993), A Singer's Guide to The American Art Song 1870-1980, Lanham, Maryland, and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., p. 153, ISBN 0-8108-2774-3<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>