Johann Pachelbel

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About Johann Pachelbel

Just as Ravel regretted composing his popular Boléro (1928), so too did Pachelbel’s Canon (1680) overshadow his breadth as a composer. He is now recognised as a remarkably prolific and progressive writer of church and chamber music, who was widely sought after as an organist and teacher. Born in 1653, he worked in Vienna, Erfurt (where he had close contact with the Bach family), before finally returning to his home city, Nuremberg, where he died in 1706. His vast output of keyboard music for organ and harpsichord includes most forms of the day, from organ chorales for liturgical use to suites and sets of variations. His six suites for two violins and continuo (Musicalische Ergötzung, 1695) are a colourful mix of French, Italian and German styles. His large-scale sacred vocal music has a much wider range of dramatic expression: the text of Lobet den Herrn mentions many musical instruments—including five trumpets, recorders and harp—all employed by Pachelbel.


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