Born in 1678, William Croft was a chorister at the Chapel Royal under John Blow, who exerted a very strong influence over all composers of this period from Purcell forwards; most of them passed through his hands at the Chapel Royal. At the age of twenty-two Croft became Organist of St. Anne's, Soho, and in the same year became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal.
A year later he became joint Organist of the Chapel Royal with Jeremiah Clarke, assuming sole responsibility in 1707 on the death of Clarke. In 1708 he succeeded his master, John Blow, as Organist of Westminster Abbey and Master of the Children and Composer to the Chapel Royal, retaining these positions until his death in 1727. He was buried in Westminster Abbey in the north aisle, where his monument can still be seen. Croft is perhaps best remembered today for his church music; several of his hymn tunes are still in use today, and some of his anthems can be found on cathedral service lists. In fact he is remembered almost exclusively as a composer of church music.
The Violin Sonatas were published in 1700 by John Walsh in a volume entitled: 'Six Sonatas or Solos, Three for a Violin and Three for the Flute, with a Thorough Bass for the Harpsichord, Theorboe or Bass-Viol. Composed by Mr. Wm. Crofts and an Italian Mr.' The three Flute Sonatas are presumably by the Italian Mr.', but the Violin Sonatas are all ascribed specifically to Croft. They are, in fact some of the earliest examples of English sonatas for solo violin. An opening Adagio is followed by an Allegro, then a slow movement followed by a Gigue.
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