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Posts Tagged ‘William Crotch’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Lucy Anderson
12 December 1797 – 24 December 1878

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Lucy Anderson

Lucy Anderson was the most eminent of the English pianists of the early Victorian era. She is mentioned in the same breath as English pianists of the calibre of William Sterndale Bennett.

She was born Lucy Philpot in Bath, Somerset in 1797, the daughter of John Philpot, a music seller, who is also described as “a professor of music” or “an obscure double bass player”. Grove has it that her sister Fanny, a piano teacher, married into the Loder family, which was prominent in Bath’s musical community. However, genealogical research suggests that this was in fact Frances Elizabeth Mary Kirkham, step-daughter of Lucy’s sister, Jane Harriet Philpot who became the wife of flautist George Loder, the brother of violinist John David Loder. Lucy had lessons from her cousin, a Mr. Windsor of Bath, and from William Crotch. She first achieved recognition as a pianist in Bath, moving to London in 1818. In July 1820 she married a well-known violinist, George Frederick Anderson.

Lucy Anderson was the first woman pianist to play at the Philharmonic Society concerts. She appeared 19 times between 1822 and 1862, and was the first pianist to play Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with the society. She championed Beethoven’s concertos and played them more often than any other English pianist up to 1850. In 1843, she was piano soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, conducted by Ignaz Moscheles. In 1869 she became an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society, a rarely awarded honour.

In 1830, Johann Nepomuk Hummel composed a “Grand Military Septet” in C major, Op. 114, for violin, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, trumpet and piano. One source says this was dedicated to Lucy Anderson, although another says it was dedicated to Madame Adolphe de Lanneau.

In 1837 the publisher Alfred Novello gave Lucy Anderson exclusive rights for six months to play Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in England. This was a condition of an interest-free loan of £30 from her husband, the money being needed by Novello to publish the concerto.

She is described as “formidable” and “a manipulator of wide patronage”. Two queens appointed her as their pianist, Queen Adelaide in 1832 and Queen Victoria in 1837, Anderson having been Victoria’s piano teacher from 1834 or earlier. She taught the piano to Victoria’s children, as well as to other high-born ladies. She was a teacher of Arabella Goddard.

In 1848 her husband George Frederick Anderson was appointed Master of the Queen’s Music. Lucy Anderson retired in 1862, and died in London on 24 December 1878.

Her portrait by Richard James Lane is in the National Portrait Gallery.

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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

William Crotch
5 July 1775 – 29 December 1847

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William Crotch

William Crotch was 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.

In 1797 Crotch became Heather Professor of Music at Oxford University, and in 1799 he acquired a doctorate in music. While at Oxford, he became acquainted with the musician and artist John Malchair, and took up sketching. He followed Malchair’s style in recording the exact time and date of each of his pictures, and when he met John Constable in London in 1805, he passed the habit along to the more famous artist.

In 1834, to commemorate the installation of the Duke of Wellington as chancellor of the University of Oxford, Crotch penned a second oratorio titled The Captivity of Judah. The 1834 work bears little resemblance to the oratorio he wrote as a child in 1789.

In 1822, Crotch was appointed to the Royal Academy of Music as its first Principal, but resigned ten years later. He spent his last years at his son’s house in Taunton, Somerset, where he died suddenly in 1847. Among his notable pupils were William Sterndale Bennett, Lucy Anderson, Stephen Codman, George Job Elvey, Cipriani Potter, and Charles Kensington Salaman.

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