Thomas Linley, the younger

>> Saturday, January 7, 2006

Thomas Linley, the Younger, was born on May 7, 1756, in Bath England, the same year as Mozart. The two met one another while in Italy studying and performing. Thomas was a brilliant violinist and composer and like Mozart, a prodigy. The friendship that ensued between them was fast and deep, and Mozart vowed that one day he would return to England and strike up a musical partnership with Linley.

Thomas returned to England in 1771 and became a leading figure in the London musical world. Through his father's appointment, he became the director of the Drury Lane theatre orchestra as well as musical director for the theatre. It was during this time that the Linleys probably became close friends with the Storaces. There is even some speculation that the Linleys and the Storaces were in the process of arranging a marriage between Thomas and the Storaces' young daughter, Anna "Nancy", after she became of age. However none of this would come to pass as Thomas died tragically in a boating accident at Grimsthorpe Castle on August 5, 1778, at the age of twenty-two. (At the time, Nancy was touring and singing in Italy, and Mozart was still living in Paris, after the death of his mother in July of that same year.) Peter Holman notes that Linley's early death was a tragedy for English music, as Mozart recognised. He told Michael Kelly in 1784 that 'Linley was a true genius' who 'had he lived, would have been one of the greatest ornaments of the musical world'.



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