- Robert Hoskins
(b London, Aug 10, 1740; d London, Oct 22, 1802). English composer, conductor, organist, and editor. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, a commoner, and, according to some sources, the Princess Amelia (she was certainly his patron). Arnold received his education as a Child of the Chapel Royal (December 1, 1748 to August 31, 1758), where he was occasionally noticed by Handel (something he ‘remember’d with delight & spoke of with a starting tear’), and on leaving became known as an organist, conductor, and teacher, and composed prolifically. In autumn 1764 he was engaged by John Beard as harpsichordist and composer to Covent Garden; there he compiled several pastiche operas, including the popular The Maid of the Mill (1765), which is among the supreme examples of the form. In 1769 Arnold bought Marylebone Gardens, and during the next six summers produced several short all-sung burlettas, composing or at least contributing to four new examples (now lost). These productions were simply written (from the literary point of view at least) and would have appealed to an audience with no previous experience of operatic music....