Composer of the Week: Johann Pachelbel
Johann Pachelbel was a German composer, organist and teacher who lived during the Baroque period. He was born in Nuremberg, Germany in 1653 to a middle-class family. Pachelbel was very talented musically and academically, but he wasn’t considered a child prodigy. He eventually completed his studies in Nuremberg, having accepted a scholarship to the University of Altdorf. Around the same time, he was hired to be the organist for a major church in the city.
Pachelbel moved around quite a bit during his life. He lived in Vienna, Austria for a time, and continued composing and playing the organ there. He later moved to Eisenach, Germany and became good friends with several members of the Bach family. In fact, Johann Christoff Bach (J.S. Bach’s eldest brother) was Pachelbel’s student. He even lived in another Bach family member’s house for a time.
Pachelbel composed many pieces for organ, choir and chamber orchestra. His most famous piece is entitled “Canon in D Major.” Interestingly, the piece is NOT in the canon form (a canon is like a musical round). The piece is often played for wedding processions. It became popular in the 1970’s…more than two hundred years after Pachelbel died in 1706 of unknown causes.
Map of Nuremburg, Germany
Pachelbel's MusicPachelbel's Canon in D is still being used in modern times: