Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706) was an acclaimed Baroque composer, organist, and teacher who brought the south German organ tradition to its peak. He composed a large body of sacred and secular music, and his contributions to the development of the chorale prelude and fugue have earned him a place among the most important composers of the middle Baroque.

Pachelbel’s music was influenced by south German composers such as Johann Jakob Froberger and Johann Kaspar Kerll, Italians such as Girolamo Frescobaldi and Alessandro Poglietti, French composers and the composers of the Nuremberg tradition. Pachelbel preferred a lucid, uncomplicated contrapuntal style that emphasizes melodic and harmonic clarity. His music is less virtuosic and less adventurous harmonically than that of Dietrich Buxtehude, although like Buxtehude, Pachelbel experimented with different ensembles and instrumental combinations in his chamber music and, most importantly, his vocal music, much of which features exceptionally rich instrumentation. Pachelbel explored variation forms and associated techniques, which manifest themselves in many diverse pieces, from sacred concertos to harpsichord suites.

Pachelbel’s work enjoyed massive popularity during his lifetime, he had a large number of pupils and his music became a model for the composers of south and central Germany. Besides, he influenced greatly the work of one of the most important composers of the late Baroque, Johann Sebastian Bach, whose brother Johann Christoph Bach was his pupil. Today Pachelbel is best known for his Canon in D; which is fascinitating because of the fact that it was never produced during his lifetime. Apparently the powers that were felt it was too repetitive; this is somewhat amusing in the fact that the definition of canon is a musical composition that will repeat the initial theme. It is the only canon he wrote, and is somewhat unrepresentative of the rest of his oeuvre. In addition to the canon, his most well-known works include the Chaconne in F minor and the Toccata in C minor for organ, and a set of keyboard variations called Hexachordum Apollinis.

Edited by hjbardenhagen on 28 Apr 2012, 06:51

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Formed in
  • 1653
Split in
  • 1706

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