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Classical Composers A-Z: Albinoni And Arne

When he retired after a lengthy career as a family doctor Peter Wintersgill decided to learn all he could about the lives of the great classical composers. His researches produced a series of talks to a University of the Third Age study group. Those talks eventually resulted in an informative book, Music Makers - Maladies and Melodies.

Week by week, Open Writing will feature extracts from Peter's book. He, and we, hope that after you have learned something of the lives of these gifted composers you will be inspired to listen to their music.


Born 8th June 1671 in Venice.

Adult Life - Wrote over 50 operas, many sonatas and concertos, mainly violin or oboe. Some of his themes were used by J.S. Bach, who wrote variations on them. In 1964 he wrote his first
opera Zenobia and 12 trio sonatas.

Very few of his works survive, except the Adagio in G minor for organ & strings, which was largely written by the Italian Remo Giazotto in this century, based on an Albinoni theme. He wrote little or nothing after the age of 60.

He died 17th January 1751 in Venice aged 79.

THOMAS ARNE, 1710 - 1778

Born 28th May 1710 in London

Father - an Upholsterer.

Family - Sister, Susannah, later Mrs. Cibber, one of Handel's soloists.

Childhood - Had violin lessons with his sister from Michael Festing.

Adult Life - His first work was the masque Dido & Aeneas (1734). In 1737 he married the singer Cecilia Young. His son Michael (b. 1740) was also a composer and wrote The Lass with the Delicate Air. His wife appeared in his opera Comus (1738). He later wrote the masque Alfred (1740) which includes the tune for Rule Britannia. Other works include the oratorios The Death of Abel (1744) and Judith (1761) and the operas Thomas and Sally (1760) and Artaxerxes (1762). He later wrote the incidental music for As You Like It and The Tempest, which contains Where the Bee Sucks. He died in London 5th March 1778 aged 67.


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