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William Crotch

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William Crotch
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William Crotch (5 July 1775, Norwich, Norfolk – 29 December 1847) was an English and . Born in Norwich, Norfolk to a master carpenter he showed early musical talent as a child prodigy. The three and a half year old Master William Crotch was taken to London by his ambitious mother, where he not only played on the organ of the Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace, but for King George III. The London Magazine of April 1779 records:

“He appears to be fondest of solemn tunes and church musick, particularly the 104th Psalm. As soon as he has finished a regular tune, or part of a tune, or played some little fancy notes of his own, he stops, and has some of the pranks of a wanton boy; some of the company then generally give him a cake, an apple, or an orange, to induce him to play again…”

Crotch was later to observe that this experience led him to become a rather spoiled child, excessively indulged so that he would perform.

He was for a time organist at Christ Church, Oxford, from which he was later to graduate with a Bachelor of Music degree.

His composition The Captivity of Judah was played at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, on 4 June 1789; his most successful composition in adulthood was the oratorio Palestine (1812). He may have composed the Westminster Chimes in 1793.

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