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Ame, Michael

song composer london alchemy

Ame, Michael, English composer and keyboard player, illegitimate son of Thomas Augustine Arne; b. London, c. 1740; d. there, Jan. 14, 1786. He was reared by his aunt, Susanne Maria Cibber. His musical talent manifested itself at an early age and, while still young, he publ. The Floweret (1750), the first of seven song collections, which included the highly popular song The Highland Laddie . Arne became active as a keyboard player and composer at various London theaters and pleasure gardens. In addition to his operas, he contributed numbers to many dramatic scores. His song The Lass with the delicate air (1762) became his most successful work. In 1766 he married the singer Elizabeth Wright, a principal member of London’s Drury Lane Theatre. On Jan. 2, 1767, she sang in the premiere of Arne’s opera Cymon there, which scored a notable success. About this time he became engrossed in alchemy, but his experiments proved costly and landed him in debtor’s prison. In 1771-72 he toured Germany, during which time he conducted the first public performance of Handel’s Messiah in that country on May 21, 1772. While in Dublin for a production if his Cymon in 1777, he once more was ensnared by his interest in alchemy and once again landed in debtor’s prison. Upon his release, he returned to London and was a composer for Co vent Garden from 1778 to 1783. His fortunes were variable and he died destitute.

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