Born in 1653, baptized on September 1, 1653
March 3, 1706 in Nurnberg, Germany
Also Known As:
Master of the organ, teacher, German composer especially known for his organ works. Pachelbel met the Bach family
in Eisenach and became the teacher of Johann Christoph Bach, the older brother of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Type of Compositions:
He is known for his organ music; he also wrote church, vocal and chamber music
Pachelbel studied at St. Lorenz high school. Soon after, his father hired two music instructors who taught Pachelbel privately; the organist Georg Caspar Wecker and Heinrich Schwemmer. Pachelbel was a good student, not only in music but also in other academic subjects. At 15 he entered the Universität Altdorf
and briefly became organist at Pfarrkirche. At 16 he was admitted to the Gymnasium Poeticum; school officials also arranged for him to receive music instruction under Kaspar Prentz. By 1673 Pachelbel was in Vienna, immersing himself in their history and culture which will prove beneficial to him as a composer in the long run.
In Vienna he became organist at the Stephanskirche. Then upon his return to Germany in 1677, he was appointed court organist for Prince Johann Georg of Sachsen-Eisenach. When the prince died, he moved to Erfurt where he became organist at the Protestant Predigerkirche. By 1690 he left his post at Erfurt and moved to Stuttgart where he became court organist for Duchess Magdalena Sibylla of Württembe. He moved to Gotha in 1692 working as town organist. He was offered a post as organist at Sebalduskirche in Nürnberg after the death of Georg Caspar Wecker. Pachelbel held his position there until his death in 1706.
Although Pachelbel's most known work is undoubtedly the "Canon in D Major
" he also wrote other pieces such as "Hexachordum Apollinis," numerous works for the organ such as preludes and fugues
, vocal pieces such as motets
and pieces for various instruments.
He was a friend of the Bach family. He was even asked by Johann Ambrosius Bach to be Johanna Juditha's godfather. He also taught other members of the Bach family including, Johann Christoph. Pachelbel married twice and had three sons; William Hieronymus, Johann Michael and Carl Theodor.
Pachelbel's "Canon in D"
One of my favorite pieces and probably one of the most recognizable piece of classical music. Many different versions have emerged for this particular piece; from simple solo arrangement for the piano to more elaborate arrangements for different instruments, not to mention the version for electric guitar most of us have seen on YouTube. It has been used in various films like "Father of the Bride" and is a favorite choice for those who are tying the knot. What makes "Canon in D" so endearing is its simplicity. The chord progression (for the guitar it's Dmaj-Amaj-Bmin-F#min-Gmaj-Dmaj-Gmaj-Amaj) has been used in various songs; this video
sheds a humorous light on this fact. Surely, Pachelbel could never have envisioned, as he was writing "Canon in D" during the 1680s, that it will endure to this day. "Canon in D' continues to be a favorite of many music lovers and I believe it will remain so. Is Pachelbel a one-hit wonder? Well, even if you think he is, considering "Canon in D' is still appreciated more than 300 years since it was first written, perhaps Pachelbel wouldn't mind.
Listen to Canon in D
courtesy of YouTube.
Various music sheets
of Pachelbel's works.