William Croft

On Blow’s death in 1708, William Croft succeeded him not only as the organist of Westminster Abbey, but as Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal and Composer to the Chapel Royal. Thus he was, until Handel’s rise to fame, the most eminent musician in the land. His main duties as Composer were to provide anthems and services for the Chapel Royal. The composition of odes for New Year’s Day and the sovereign’s birthday was the responsibility of John Eccles, who had been appointed ‘Master of Musick’ in 1701. It appears however, that during the period 1712 to 1715 Croft and Handel were preferred over Eccles. Thus Handel was commissioned to write a birthday ode for Queen Anne, and later a Te Deum and Jubilate celebrating the Peace of Utrecht, 1713. In the same year Croft wrote a Birthday Ode for Queen Anne, and later another for King George. Later, Croft had the two odes published in a handsome volume entitled Musicus Apparatus Academicus. This was probably a ‘vanity’ publication, but Croft attributed its production to his friends’ insistence. In his introductory remarks, after acknowledging gratitude “to that Famous University for the favourable Reception they [the odes] there met with”, he goes on to say “From that time [of their performance] forward they have lain by neglected, as having done their Work and answered the end for which they were Compos’d, and had still done so, had not the Importunity of some Friends…..prevailed with me to make them publick.” It is claimed that, as a result, this is the earliest example of a doctoral submission to survive in its entirety.

With Noise of Cannon
Songs with Violins
By Purling Streams
Ye tuneful numbers
A Hymn to Divine Musick
A Thanksgiving Anthem - Rejoyce in the Lord