The Theatre Career Of Thomas Arne by Todd GilmanThe Theatre Career Of Thomas Arne by Todd Gilman

The Theatre Career Of Thomas Arne

byTodd Gilman

Paperback | December 1, 2014

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This book concerns the life and theatrical career of the great native-born English composer and musician of the eighteenth century, Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-1778). Its purpose is three-fold. First, it provides a comprehensive biography and account of the performance and publication of Arne's works during his lifetime. Although Arne's childhood years get some attention, the book focuses on the period from 1732 to 1778, a time of great innovation for English opera and related genres. Second, it considers Arne's social context: his relationships with the many dramatists, actors, singers, and fellow composers and instrumentalists-including many members of his own family-with whom he collaborated on the London and Dublin stages as well as at the London pleasure gardens. Third, it offers analysis of eighty musical illustrations drawn from vocal works for the theatre spanning Arne's career, and readers can simultaneously study and listen to the musical examples on a companion web page that hosts media files produced using music notation software. The audio component constitutes a crucial supplement to a study of Arne because so much of his extant theatre music cannot otherwise readily be heard. Arne was the leading figure in English theatrical music of his day. Dr. Charles Burney, the great eighteenth-century historian of music, had a high opinion of the composer, especially of Arne's setting of Milton's Comus (1738): "In this masque he introduced a light, airy, original, and pleasing melody, wholly different from that of Purcell or Handel, whom all English composers had hitherto either pillaged or imitated. Indeed, the melody of Arne at this time . . . forms an era in English Music; it was so easy, natural and agreeable to the whole kingdom, that it [became] the standard of all perfection at our theatres and public gardens." Yet Burney's greatest compliment concerns Arne as a composer of secular vocal music: "He must be allowed to have surpassed [Purcell] in ease, grace, and variety." During his forty-six-year career Arne composed music for over 100 stage works-to say nothing of his myriad single songs, cantatas, and instrumental compositions. Yet despite a relative wealth of source material, scholars of theatre, drama, and music in our own time have almost completely ignored him. As a consequence, musicologists, theatre historians, and laypeople alike tend to evince a detrimentally limited sense of the magnitude of Arne's contribution to English music and especially to the history of English opera. To listen to musical examples that accompany The Theatre Career of Thomas Arne, please visit
Todd Gilman is librarian for literature in English at Yale University Library.
Title:The Theatre Career Of Thomas ArneFormat:PaperbackDimensions:644 pages, 9.12 × 6.14 × 1.49 inPublished:December 1, 2014Publisher:University of Delaware PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:161149544X

ISBN - 13:9781611495447

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Table of Contents

ContentsAcknowledgements Preface Musical Examples Polemical Introduction Chapter 1: Young Thomas Augustine Arne Chapter 2: Drury Lane 1735-40 Chapter 3: From Cliveden to Dublin Chapter 4: Young Charles Burney Chapter 5: Drury Lane 1744-50 Chapter 6: Divisions and Difficulties Chapter 7: Dublin Encore Chapter 8: The Brent; or, English Syren Chapter 9: Harmony in an Uproar Chapter 10: Arne's Orbit Chapter 11: The Great Stratford Jubilee Chapter 12: Arne's Last Operas Chapter 13: Poor Devil of a Crotchet Monger Chapter 14: Decline and Death Appendix 1: Letters between Arne and Garrick Appendix 2: Arne's Will Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

Dr. Gilman's book is a superb, in-depth study of a much neglected English master. It's packed with information, terrific music examples and fascinating quotes from Arne's contemporaries. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, may not know who wrote Rule Britannia but this work will set him right.