Ritter, August Gottfried



Famous German organist; born at Erfurt; studied under Fischer in his native place, later under Hummel at Weimar, and completed his studies under Berger, Rungenhagen and A. W. Bach at Berlin. From 1837 to 1844 he lived again in Erfurt as teacher and organist, then went to Merseburg as Cathedral organist, and in 1847 took a similar position at Magdeburg as Mühling's successor. He toured Germany in concert and also made frequent successful appearances as pianist in addition. His organ works are ranked with the standard literature for that instrument, and include four important sonatas, a number of preludes to chorals, four collections of chorals, also variations and fugues, and other lesser compositions. He also wrote a piano concerto; a quartet for piano and strings; three overtures, and two symphonies; and published collections of songs for soprano, contralto and barytone. His Geschichte des Orgelspiels im 14-18 Jahrhundert (History of Organ-Playing in the Fourteenth to Eighteenth Centuries) is considered an important historical work, while the Kunst des Orgelspiels (Art of Organ-Playing), in two volumes, went through nine editions. From 1844 to 1848 he edited the Urania, an organ journal, and later assisted in the editing of the Orgelfreund and Orgelarchiv.