Arnold, Samuel

, an English musician and composer of considerable eminence, was born in London about 1739, and received his musical education at the chapel royal, St. James’s, under Mr. Gates and Dr. Nares, who discovered in him the most promising talents, which ho afterwards cultivated and strengthened by constant study. In 1760 he became composer to Covent-garden theatre, of which the celebrated Mr. Beard was then one of the managers, and had the advantage of having his compositions introduced to the public through the medium of the vocal abilities of that popular singer and h’is associates. For them he composed the “Maid of the Mill,” which has ever been a favourite with the public. But in 1767 he tried his skill in a higher species of composition, the oratorio, setting to music Dr. Brown’s “Cure of Saul,” in which it was universally confessed, that he was eminently successful. This encouraged him to proceed in the same style; and he produced “Abimelech,” “The Resurrection,” and “The Prodigal Son,” the various merits of which have been justly applauded by the best musical critics. The latter became so much’a favourite, that when, in 1773, it was in contemplation to instal the late lord North chancellor of the university of Oxford, the stewards appointed to conduct the musical department of the ceremony, applied to Mr. Arnold for leave to perform the Prodigal Son. His ready compliance with this request, which, however, it would have been very imprudent to refuse, procured him the offer of an honorary degree, and his refusal of this did him real honour. He was not insensible of the value of a degree, but determined to earn it in the usual academical mode; and conformably to the statutes of the university, received it in the school-room, where he performed, as an exercise, Hughes’ s Poem on the Power of Music. On such occasions, it is usual for the musical professor of the university to examine the exercise of the candidate, but Dr. Wiiliam Hayes, then the professor at Oxford, returned Mr. Arnold his score unopened, saying, “Sir, it is quite unnecessary to scrutinize the exercise of the author of the Prodigal Son.

About 1,771 he purchased Marybone gardens, for which | he composed some excellent burlettas and other pieces, to which he added some ingenious fire-works. This scheme succeeded; but in 1776, the lease of the gardens expired, and they were let for the purposes of building. We find Dr. Arnold afterwards employed by Mr. Colman, then manager of Covent-garden, as musical composer, and when he purchased the Haymarket theatre, Dr. Arnold was there engaged in the same capacity, and continued in it for life. On the death of Dr. Nares, in 1783, he was appointed his successor as organist and composer to his majesty’s chapel at St. James’s; and at the commemoration of Handel in Westminster Abbey in 1784, was appointed one of the sub-directors. In 1786, he beu,an to publish an uniform edition of Handel’s works, and about the same time published four volumes of cathedral music. In 1789, he was appointed director and manager of the performances held in the academy of ancient music, a post of honour in which he acquitted himself with the highest credit. In private life, he is allowed to have possessed those virtues which engage' and secure social esteem. He died at his house in Duke-street, Westminster, Oct. 22, 1802, in his sixty-third year. His published works amount to, four Oratorios, eight Odes, three Serenatas, forty-seven Operas, three Burlettas, besides Overtures, Concertos, and many smaller pieces.

In 1771, Dr. Arnold married the daughter of Dr. Arch. Napier, Mus. D. by whom he left two daughters and a son. The latter has already distinguished himself by much excellence both in music and painting. 1


Gent. Mag. 1802. Europ. Mag-, from an account by Dr. Busby.