Crotch, William


He was born at Norwich and gave evidence in his early youth of great musical talent. When only two and a half years old he played on a small organ built by his father, who was a master carpenter, and when eleven he was assistant organist at Cambridge. At fourteen he composed an oratorio, The Captivity of Judah, which showed great talent. He studied for the church at Oxford, where in later years he was a professor of music. He lectured in the Oxford Music School and also at the Royal Institution, London, and was principal of the Royal Academy of Music. Among his works are two oratorios, Palestine, and The Captivty of Judah, which he elaborated and improved from an earlier work by the same name; anthems, glees, fugues and cantatas. He also wrote a treatise on the Elements of Musical Composition, one on Practical Thorough-bass and the Theory of Tuning, and many other works along the same lines. In his early youth he excited great interest among English musicians by his extraordinary precocity, and Dr. Burney and other writers commented on his musical attainments. It is generally agreed that he did more toward the spread of a broad musical knowledge than any other man of his day. Of his oratorios, Palestine interested musicians because of its departure from the conventional style of Handel. His organ concertos are good specimens of the old-time school of instrumental composition.