64. Thomas Augustine Arne [365 Composers for 2013]


5th March – Thomas Arne


Arne (12th March 1710 – 5th March 1778) is our composer for 5th March, to mark the day of his death.
Lifespan: 77 years
Genre: Classical
Education: Eton School
Fame Ranking: 2

Thomas Arne’s best known works are two of the most patriotic English songs – “Rule Britannia” and “God Save the King/Queen”.  Arne came from a wealthy family and was educated at Eton, and showed enthusiasm for music from an early age. According to legend he once hid a spinet in his bedroom, using a handkerchief to muffle the sound so that he would not be found out, and once snuck in to an opera performance disguised as a liveryman.

Arne worked in the theatre. At the time there was a great rivalry between the two nearby theatres at Drury Lane and Covent Garden. Sometimes they would even stage the same shows at the same time to compete for audiences. Arne worked for both theatres at one time or another and produced a large number of operas and masques with great success. Unfortunately for posterity, a vast amount of Arne’s manuscripts were destroyed by fire in the early 19th century.

Arne travelled to Ireland after a falling out with the Covent Garden management. He moved to Dublin with his wife and a young female student in tow, then abandoned his wife there and began a romantic liaison with his student, declaring that his wife was mentally ill. However, some time later the pair were reconciled and moved back to London, where Arne eventually died.

Here is a lesser known song by Arne, “The Morning”


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Listen to more works by Arne – click the box!




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