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Christian Heinrich RINCK (1770–1846)
Gott sorgt für uns, Op. 98 [13.06]
Postludium in F, Op. 55 [3.07]
Lobe den Herrn, Op. 88 (1828) [6.33]
Postludium in g, Op. 55 [3.07]
Christmas Cantata, Op. 73 (1823) [15.13]
Monika Mauch (soprano) Angela Froemer (alto) Andreas Post (tenor) Sebastian Klein (bass)
Peter Scholl (organ)
Collegium vocale Siegen/Ulrich Stötzell
rec. 28-29 September 2006, Martinkirche, Siegen
Experience Classicsonline

At the time of his death in Darmstadt in 1846, Christian Heinrich Rinck was one of the most respected composers of church music in Germany. He was best known for his organ works which were considered most suitable for religious worship. Rinck’s view of such pieces was that they should be earnest and dignified.
Rinck was born a dozen or so years after Mozart in Elgersburg in Thuringia. His first lessons were with his father, himself a director of the local church choir. He eventually started lessons with the organist Johann Christian Kittel in Erfurt. Kittel was a pupil of Bach’s. Rinck spent three years with him receiving a good grounding in organ playing and composition, as well as becoming familiar with the works of Bach and other Lutheran composers.
He took up post in Giessen, but found the money, the state of the organ and the artistic stimulus all rather inadequate. Eventually, in 1805, he moved to Darmstadt first as Town Organist and then as organist in the Schlosskirche.
He wrote extensively for the organ, but also composed for piano and chamber music. His choral music was all written for practical use within the church.
Rinck occupies a position between Bach and Brahms. He writes his choral pieces in the same chorale tradition as Bach, but is less inclined to the adventurousness shown by Brahms when he came to this genre. There is certainly no hint of influence from Rinck’s great contemporary Beethoven.
This new disc of Rinck’s choral music comes from the Collegium Vocale Siegen, a sub-grouping of the Siegen Bach Choir which numbers some thirty voices. They are directed by Ulrich Stötzel who founded the Siegen Bach Choir.
Rinck’s works are essentially practical works; rarely does he ever push his singers. The pieces are well made and interesting with an attractive melodic cast. Rinck is heavily dependent on the choral-based nature of his art, producing music that is charming if predictable, tuneful but which never challenges us.
The most complex work on the disc is probably the motet Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, published in 1828. Here Rinck alternates between soli and chorus and indulges in some stylish fugue-making.
The Thanksgiving cantata Gott sorgt für uns is rather simpler. In his introduction to the work Rinck suggests that the piece is intended for smaller country choirs who need a piece accompanied by organ. The resulting organ part is quite extensive and Rinck varies the textures by inserting an attractive solo and a duet.
The Christmas cantata is based on the hymn Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe. Like the Thanksgiving cantata it is multi-part mixing choral, solo, duet and trio.
Attractive though it is, Rinck's music can often be rather short-breathed, his fugues in particular. And the lack of any real chromatic development means that the music can seem a little too relentlessly good natured at times.
The disc is rather short measure and it is a shame that time could not have been found to record some more of Rinck’s organ works, so that we could gain a better opinion of his art. The CD booklet contains an informative article about Rinck along with texts and translations for the pieces performed.
The works on this disc form a fascinating picture of Lutheran church music in the early 19th century. They are given confident and stylish performances by Collegium vocale Siegen. Though whether pieces on the disc are strong enough to be of interest to a wider public, I am not sure.
Robert Hugill


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