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CrazyFruits13  » WELCOME TO CRAZY FRUITS BOOK CLUB » Charles Dibdin ( 4 March 1745 – 25 July 1814) was a British musician songwriter dramatist

Charles Dibdin ( 4 March 1745 – 25 July 1814) was a British musician songwriter dramatist

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With over 600 songs to his name, for many of which he wrote both the lyrics and the music and performed them himself, he was in his time the most prolific English singer-songwriter. He is best known as the composer of the song "Tom Bowling", which often features at the Last Night of the Proms.

The son of a silversmith  he was privately baptised on 4 March 1745 in Southampton and is often described as the youngest child of 18 born to a 50-year-old mother. His parents intending him for the clergy sent Dibdin to Winchester School, but his love of music soon diverted his thoughts from the clerical profession. 
He possessed 'a remarkable good voice' at a young age and was in demand for concerts even as a boy. Anthems were composed for him by Mr. Kent and his successor Mr Fussell organists of Winchester Cathedral where he was a chorister between 1756 and 1759. 

He went to London at the age of fifteen at his brother's invitation and was first employed tuning harpsichords in a music warehouse in Cheapside. Through Mr. Berenger he was introduced to John Rich (of whom he became a favourite) and John Beard and growing addicted to theatre-going.   
He became a singing actor at Theatre Royal Covent Garden. 

As his voice was not yet settled Rich thought he would become a bass, and marked out the pantomime roles of Richard Leveridge for him. Dibdin held back from this path but made the most of his introductions: when Rich died in 1761 and Beard succeeded him as manager and part-proprietor fresh opportunities arose.

With Beard's encouragement Dibdin wrote his first work both words and music of The Shepherd's Artifice, an operetta in two Acts which was produced as Charles's benefit at Covent Garden on 21 May 1762 and repeated in 1763. As an actor, Dibdin had constant opportunities to study Garrick's performances, and befriended his associates, notably his prompter who could remember Cibber. 
He enjoyed two seasons touring at the Vauxhall in Birmingham, and another at Richmond. Beard exercised a benign and encouraging influence over Dibdin's early career, choosing him in his first important appearance for the part of Ralph, in the 1765 premiere of Samuel Arnold's opera The Maid of the Mill at Covent Garden. 

He gained so much success over a run of more than fifty nights, that 'Ralph' handkerchiefs were worn in compliment to him. He agreed to article himself both as actor and musician to Beard for three years at a salary rising from three to five pounds a week: however his contract established a precedent by which actors were not paid in case of absence through sickness.

The script for The Maid of the Mill was by playwright Isaac Bickerstaffe who had written the libretto for Love in a Village the highly popular opera (called the first English comic opera) by Dr. Thomas Arne, produced in 1762. 

For Dibdin the next turning-point was in the 1767 premiere and short run of Bickerstaffe's Love in the City in which he played Watty Cockney and for which he produced a good deal of the music and airs. 

Dibdin's music was successful and was transferred into a play called The Romp.The association with Bickerstaffe continued in Dibdin's music for the play Lionel and Clarissa at Covent Garden in 1767 the year of Beard's retirement.

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