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Thomas Arne
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    (March 12, 1710-March 5, 1778)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Composed scores for 90 stage works, including plays, masques and operas
    Wrote the music for the songs 'A Hunting We Will Go' and 'Rule, Britannia!'
    Pressured by his father, he worked as a solicitor for three years before taking up music professionally.
    While separated from his wife, he conducted an affair with one of his voice students.
    The scores for many of his works were lost in a fire at Covent Garden (1808).
    During an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, Prime Minister David Cameron misidentified the composer of 'Rule, Britannia!' as Edward Elgar (2012).
    To get around his father's restrictions, he smuggled a spinet into his room and would dampen the sound with a handkerchief so he could secretly practice at night while the rest of the family slept.
    He filed one of the first successful copyright suits, suing a London bookseller for printing copies of his theatrical songs without permission (1741).
    Along with Handel, he was a founding member of the Royal Society of Musicians.
    Richard Wagner said that the whole character of the British people was embodied in the first eight notes of 'Rule, Britannia!'

Credit: C. Fishel

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