Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow, Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (LV 5) | Secrets of Organ Playing Contest, Week 98

This is my entry for the Secrets of Organ Playing Contst, Week 98. I play Zachow's chorale prelude to "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" (LV 5).


As I am in the midst of restarting my publishing efforts with a series of chorale preludes by Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow, I thought I might as well take the one I'm working on right now and turn it into an entry for the SOP Contest.

The source for these chorale preludes is manuscript Mus Ms 40037, owned by the Staatsbibliothek Berlin. The scribe of this manuscript was probably/possibly Zachow's pupil Gottfried Kirchhoff as there are several preludes by his hand as well in this manuscript.

Zachow was well versed in counterpoint, as most of his chorale preludes show. It is therefore a bit puzzling that in several of the chorale preludes in this manuscript the polyphony is not stricly maintained. The chorale prelude "Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ" is a more or less four voiced composition. Most of the time, however, only two or three voices are sounding. And there are spots where clearly a note was omitted by error. It makes me wonder how much of Zachow's original voice leading is missing from these transcriptions. For most of these compositions this manuscript is the only source, so we'll never know how close these transriptions are to the lost original autograph.

Nevertheless, this chorale prelude is a nice piece. It is a fugue with it's theme based on the first notes of the choral melody. Zachow fills the two gaps in this choral melody with sixteenth notes, creating a theme with a lively atmosphere. Near the end of the composition the final entry of the fugue theme in the bass voice carries the annotation "Ped.". It is not clear from the manuscript till which point the bass voice should be played with the pedals. As there is a sixteenth notes run in the bass voice a few bars further, it is clear that the pedals are not to be used till the end. I choose to just play the fugue theme with the pedals and the rest with the hands. A different choice is of course equally valid.

As registration the trumpet of the pedals on this organ is to loud to my taste for this composition. So I choose the Bazuijn 16' and played the notes an octave higher. As it is such a nice stop to use, I played the two last notes of the bass voice with this stop as well, in the same octave as they are written. The final e of the lowest octave give a nice punch to the conclusion of this composition.

The recording was done with the Hauptwerk software and the sampleset, made by Sonus Paradisi, of the Hinsz organ in the Reformed church in the Midwolda (

Score available here:


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The only Zachow I know is the In dulci jubilo. Good for me to hear some other chorale preludes.

Thanks for your entry!