Christmas, 2008/9

Crotch, William (1775-1847) - funny name of

William Crotch has a funny name. I know this because choristers laugh when you say it. Also, on a few copies of the choristers' music, his last name is circled.

So, ha ha. Very funny. But who is this William Crotch exactly? Well, turns out his name may be funny, but Crotch was a serious musician.

The son of a carpenter (like Jesus?), Crotch was a musical child prodigy. At 18 months, he was already picking out tunes on the family house organ (also like Jesus?)

Now, back in the time of Crotch (is that a good name for a band, or what?), the circus was a popular form of entertainment. Unlike today, however, circuses (pronounced: SIR-cuh-sees) consisted not of animal entertainment, but mostly child entertainment. It is for this reason that persons with Dwarfism were often employed by later circuses: they were the new "children" in an era of oppressive child-labor laws.

HIDDEN (a Crotch size clarification): There's nothing small about our Crotch. He eventually reaches full size.

In the circus, William Crotch resided in a tent that contained an organ, whereupon he would bedazzle his listeners with his improvisations. These were probably not great musical feats, but for a two year old to improvise chords to a melody learned by ear is certainly something. Also, he got free cotton candy.

HIDDEN (inappropriate remark): One wonders if this tent had a fly, and whether it was open or closed.

Today's "soccer moms" descend from a league of overbearing "circus moms" who enlisted their young children in these precocious presentations of prodigy. Crotch's mother, Isabella, accompanied Crotch and the circus on a grand world tour.

HIDDEN (another one): It was in this way that her young Crotch gained much exposure.

Anyway, long story short. Crotch the freak-show boy-wonder grew up to be Crotch the mildly adequate composer. Though he did play the organ at Kings College, Cambridge, which is pretty cool.

Incidentally, when I program my own concerts, I want to end up with a poster that looks like this:

selections from Palestine
also, music by Bach, including his

Air on the G String

Crotch also may have provided the basis for Louis Vierne's Carillon de Westminster if he did indeed design the Westminster Chime.

Crotch the painter: Crotch's talent didn't limit itself to music. He was also a painter.

Alma mater tangent: It is with not a small amount of pride and a tinge of nostalgia that I note that an image search for crotch brings up a number of unflattering pictures of Paris Hilton and photo taken in an Oberlin music theory classroom.

Labels: , , , , ,

This is the most amazing article you have ever written. Truly brilliant. This is already a contender for the "Best of 2007."
Post a Comment

The page you're reading is part of

©MMVIII a site for fun and prophet

Organ music, esoteric liturgics and a site that changes color with the liturgical year.


(via Twitter)


Hungry? Try the Liturgical Guide to Altoids Consumption

Thirsty? Try the Tibia Liquida

The Eric Harding Thiman Fan Page: The greatest composer you've never even heard of.

Infrequently Asked Questions

picture of a chicken

Questions? Problems? email the sexton.


The author of this website is an organist whom the New York Times calls "repeatedly, insisting that he pay for his subscription". He likes to read parking meters, music, Texas Monthly and weather forecasts in Celcius, particularly whilst wearing cassock and surplice. He serves lasagna, overhand, as an example to many and on ecclesiastical juries. He takes photos, lots of dinner mints, and a little bit of time to get to know.



Anglicans Online
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Book of Common Prayer
conjectural navel gazing: jesus in lint form
The Daily Office
The Lectionary Page
Ship of Fools
Stop Global Warming: Virtual March on Washington
Sluggy Freelance
This Blog Will Change the World


Andrew Kotylo - Concert Organist
Friday Night Organ Pump
Halbert Gober Organs, Inc.
in time of daffodils
Kastenbalg News
Like a Fox
My Life as Style, Condition, Commodity.
Raw Story
Ryan is in Atlanta
This Side of Lost



Advent (Medfield MA)
Atonement (Bronx NY)
Cathedral of All Saints (Albany NY)
Christ Church (Bronxville NY)
Church of St. Stephen (Hamden CT)
Congregational (Belmont CA)
First UMC (Lancaster SC)
Gloria Dei ELCA (Iowa City IA)
Immanuel Lutheran (Webster NY)
John Knox PCUSA (Houston TX)
St James's (Lake Delaware NY)
St John's (Plymouth MI)
St Matthew and St Timothy (NYC)
St Paul's (Cleveland Heights OH)
St Paul's Cathedral (Buffalo NY)
St Peter's (Lakewood OH)
St Peter's ELCA (NYC)
St Thomas (New Haven CT)
St Thomas ELCA (Bloomington IN)
Second Presbyterian Church (Indianapolis IN
Trinity (Indianapolis IN)
Trinity on the Green (New Haven CT)


BBC Radio 3 Choral Evensong
Grace Cathedral (San Francisco CA)
St John's College (Cambridge, England)
St Thomas (New York NY)


Like the site? Buy the shirt.

Areyou . . .

selling diphthongs?
Yes, but they're not the kind you buy on Wheel of Fortune.

on the faculty of The University of Blogaria?

the owner of a bower at Bucklesfordberry?
Full daintily it is dight.

interested in touch lamps?
And fountain pens.

this site used to be better:

March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008

Liturgical Alert Level:
Liturgical Alert Level

Come and Grow

RSS feed