Johannes Ringk, Prelude in C | Secrets of Organ Playing Contest, Week 122

This is my entry for the secrets of organ playing contest, week 122. I play a prelude by Johannes Ringk.


Johannes Ringk (1717 – 1778) was a German composer and organist. He studied organ with Johann Peter Kellner and was via this teacher, who himself was a pupil of J.S. Bach, familiar with the music of the Bach circle. Though Ringk composed organ music himself and was highly regarded by his contemporaries for his ability in organ playing, he is nowadays mostly remembered today for the numerous copies he made, often the only now remaining, of works by more notable composers.

Perhaps his greatest claim to fame is that he was the scribe of the oldest known copy of Bach's famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565. This Toccata is ascribed to Bach, because Ringk does so in his copy. Bach's authorship of this famous work is however doubtful, so it's a pity the source Ringk used for his transription is lost. Based on stylistical similarities Johann Peter Kellner, Ringk's teacher, seems a more likely composer of the Toccata BWV 565. However, if Kellner was the composer, it is a bit strange Ringk would write down Bach as composer.

That Ringk himself was an able organist is clear from this prelude. The pedals have a prominent role in this prelude. With all the rapid passages and motivic play it could well be called a Toccata itself. There belongs a fugue to this prelude as well. It is even more difficult that the prelude. The main reason not to play it however is that it is a bit boring to my ears. I found it too uninspiring to want to spend a lot a time practising it.

Perhaps one of my fellow contributors to the contest wants to give it a go? The score is available on my website:

The recording was done with the Hauptwerk software and the sampleset, made by Sonus Paradisi, of the Schnittger organ in the St. Martini-kerk, Groningen (