Johann Pachelbel, born in Nuremberg in 1653, a generation before Bach, is one of Southern Germany’s most important post-Reformation organ composers. His compositions were already widely known at the time. The most popular work today is probably the canon with ensuing gigue in D major. The canon – according to the source “a 3 Violinis con Basso c.” – is built up over an ostinato bass whose two bar figure is repeated a total of 28 times. The following short gigue is also in a strict contrapuntal style. It is not known when the work was composed. As with most of his other chamber music works, Pachelbel might have composed it during his time in Thuringia between 1677 and 1695. This pleasing work is also popular with amateur ensembles.
- Canon und Gigue for three Violins and Basso continuo D major
Only few works of what is commonly called “classical music” have attained a popularity comparable to that of the Canon by Johann Pachelbel (1653– 1706). On the Internet’s current “classical hit lists,” the Canon often ranks among the first ten pieces. It has been arranged countless times for a variety of ensembles that are as distant as one can conceivably imagine … more
About the composer
A German composer and organist of the Baroque era. As a representative of the Nuremberg school of organ playing and of the Southern German organ tradition his output was particularly shaped by the Lutheran chorale. As well as numerous choral transcriptions and variations he wrote larger-scale organ works such as preludes and toccatas, as well as cantatas, masses, and motets.
|1653||Baptized in Nuremberg on September 1. He receives his musical education from Heinrich Schwemmer and Georg Caspar Wecker.|
|1669||On June 29 he matriculates at the University of Altdorf.|
|1670||He switches to the Protestant Gymnasium Poeticum in Regensburg, and deepens his musical studies with Kaspar Prentz.|
|1673–76||A resident of Vienna, he was probably active as deputy organist at St. Stephen’s Cathedral.|
|1677||In May he is appointed organist at the court in Eisenach.|
|1678–90||As organist at the Predigerkirche in Erfurt he is tasked, among other things, with an annual public performance. His pupils include Johann Christoph Bach, a member of the Bach family, with whom he is on friendly terms.|
|1690||On December 2 he enters the services of Duchess Magdalena Sibylla at the court in Stuttgart.|
|1692–95||Due to war he quits Stuttgart and becomes municipal organist in Gotha.|
|1695||As the successor of Caspar Wecker, Pachelbel begins service as organist at the Church of St. Sebaldus in Nuremberg. Here, Johann Jacob de Neufville and Johann Georg Christian Störl number among his pupils.|
|1706||Dies in Nuremberg; buried on March 9.|
About the authors
Der Henle-Verlag ermöglicht nun mit seiner Urtextausgabe einen neuen, historisch gesicherten Zugang zu diesem Werk. Zwar ist das Manuskript wahrscheinlich verschollen. Doch eine Abschrift aus dem 19. Jahrhundert ist erhalten und wurde der Henle-Ausgabe zugrunde gelegt. Wer bislang den Kanon aus einer Ausgabe von Max Seiffert oder anderen modernen Editionen gespielt hat, wird überrascht sein. Er sieht den „nackten“ Notentext ohne alle Bezeichnungen. Doch gerade dadurch kann der Interpret befreit von Traditionen des 19. Jahrhunderts an diese Musik herangehen.