Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow (1663 – 1712) was born in Leipzig. He probably received his first musical training from his father, the piper Heinrich Zachow, one of Leipzig’s town musicians in the Alta capella. In 1676 the family moved to Eilenburg. Here Zachow probably studied with town organist Johann Hildebrand. In 1684 Zachow became organist of the St. Marienkirche in Halle, a post he held until his death. He also conducted the city choir and town musicians and was required to perform cantats every third sunday of the month. His choral and organ pieces, often written for several voices, were dramatic and expressive. During his time at Halle he became particularly renowned as a composer of dramatic cantatas. In 1695 he was criticized by the pietists because of his excessive long and elaborate music, that could be only appreciated by cantors and organists.
Zachow was the teacher of Gottfried Kirchhoff, Johann Philipp Krieger and Johann Gotthilf Ziegler, but is best remembered as George Frideric Handel’s first music teacher. He taught Handel how to play the violin, organ, harpsichord, and oboe as well as counterpoint. Zachow’s teaching was so effective, that in 1702 at the age of seventeen, Handel accepted a position as organist at the former Dom in Halle.
When Zachow died in 1713, J.S. Bach was invited as Zachow’s successor.
The chorale prelude by Zachow on “Komm heiliger Geist, Herre Gott” was transcribed from manuscript Mus.ms. 22541 III owned by the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
The recording was done with the sampleset, made by Organ Art Media, of the Arp Schnitger organ in Steinkirchen.