William Croft [Crofts]

(1678 - 1727)

William Croft

English composer. As a chorister in the Chapel Royal was a student of John Blow. In 1700 he collaborated with Blow, Jeremiah Clarke, Francis Piggott, and John Barrett in a Choice Collection of Ayres for the Harpsichord or Spinnet. Organist of St Anne's, Soho (1700 - 1712). From 1700 a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal and from 1704 also organist of the Chapel (jointly with Jeremiah Clarke until 1707, then alone). When Blow died in 1708, Croft succeededWilliam Croft him as composer and Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal and organist of Westminster Abbey. Croft wrote sacred and secular vocal and instrumental music, but concentrated chiefly on sacred compositions (many with some sort of instrumental accompaniment) after the first few years of the 18th century. The sacred music includes morning, communion, evening, and burial services, numerous anthems (a few full, most verse), and several hymn tunes that are still in use. Of these works, the anthems in particular show a grasp of late baroque idiom that was new to England. An interest in an older polyphonic choral style is also evident. Perhaps the most substantial of the secular compositions are those written for the degree of D.Mus., received from Oxford in 1713: two odes for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra, published in 1715 as Musicus apparatus academicus. The 2-volume collection Musica sacraconsists entirely of Croft's sacred music, engraved in score (a novelty in printed polyphony) and published by the composer in 1724. It contains thirty anthems and a setting of the Church of England burial service that is still in use.

VIIA: Henry Purcell and his Contemporaries | A Partial William Croft Discography