JOHANN CHRISTIAN HEINRICH RINCK (1770 - 1846)
Johann Heinrich Christian Rinck was born on 18 February 1770 at Elgersburg in Thuringia. He had his first musical training from his father, an organist and teacher, studying also with a number of other teachers in Thuringia and soon outstripping them. At the age of sixteen he went to Erfurt as a pupil of Johann Christian Kittel, himself one of Johann Sebastian Bachs most important pupils, who valued his talent so highly that he soon made him his deputy as organist at the Predigerkirche. By 1789 Rinck had reached the position of organist at the principal church in Giessen and shortly after being appointed director of music at Giessen University, he moved, in 1805, to the better paid position of cantor and organist at the principal church in Darmstadt, where he remained until his death on 7 August 1846. There he displayed his various abilities, as organist, teacher, an expert on the organ and as a composer. In spite of the limited number of his extremely successful concert tours in Germany, he won an important international reputation, earning many honours, among others appointment as court organist in Darmstadt and an honorary doctorate from the University of Giessen. His reputation as "the German Bach", notably in France and England, rested mainly on his many published, widely distributed and commercially successful compositions, including works not only for the organ but also vocal and chamber music. His organ pupils included Friedrich Hesse and he influenced a whole generation of organists in Germany and subsequently in France. His collection of music manuscripts, which includes several important sources for the music of Bach, received from his teacher Kittel, still retains its value for musicologist.
Although born twenty years after the death of Johann Sebastian Bach, Rinck was, nevertheless, strongly influenced by the latters style, while still accepting the revolutionary developments in the music of his time as represented by his exact contemporary Beethoven. The diversity of his own style may be partly explained by these divergent stylistic influences and partly by a commercial instinct for the market. Rincks popularity among the organists of his time is seen in the presence of his compositions in almost all of the numerous collections of organ music for liturgical purposes. In general his organ works adhere to a contrapuntal church style, with smaller forms prevailing. Especially in the shorter preludes, however, original, rhythmically interesting motifs and occasional surprising harmonic changes are to be found.