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Colin and Phoebe was such a popular pastoral love song that it really helped to establish Arne’s reputation at Vauxhall Gardens. Music historian Charles Burney reported about its popularity and the inclusion of vocal music in the summer programme of 1745:
‘On this occasion the orchestra was enlarged, and Mr Arne’s ballads, dialogues, duets and trios, were performed here with great applause, and circulated all over the kingdom. During this first summer, his little dialogue of Colin and Phoebe, written by the late Mr. Moore, author of Fables for the Female Sex, was constantly encored every night for more than three months, successively’.
This was performed at Vauxhall by soprano Mrs Cecilia Arne (née Young), tenor Mr Thomas Lowe and very possibly the bass Mr Henry Theodore Reinhold. All three sung regularly at Vauxhall and were highly esteemed performers; according to Burney, Cecilia Arne had a ‘good natural voice and fine shake’ and ‘her style of singing was infinitely superior to that of any other English woman of her time’ and Thomas Lowe had ‘the finest tenor voice’.
from notes by Bridget Cunningham © 2015