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Johann Pachelbel

(1653 - 1706)

Johann Pachelbel was born on August 28th, 1653 in Nuremberg, Germany (the exact date of Johann's birth is unknown).

During his early youth, Pachelbel received musical training from Heinrich Schwemmer.

In 1673 Pachelbel moved to Vienna, where he became a deputy organist at the famous Saint Stephen Cathedral (Stephansdom).

Pachelbel spent five years in Vienna, absorbing the music of Catholic composers from southern Germany and Italy, whose styles contrasted with the more strict Lutheran tradition he was bred in.

In some respects, Pachelbel is similar to Haydn, who too served as a professional musician of the Stephansdom in his youth and as such was exposed to music of the leading composers of the time.

In 1677 Pachelbel moved to Eisenach, where he found employment as court organist under Kapellmeister Daniel Eberlin.

He met the Bach family and became a close friend of Johann Ambrosius and tutor to his children

In June 1678, Pachelbel was employed as organist of the Lutheran Preacher's Church (Predigerkirche) in Erfurt, succeeding Johann Bach (1604-1673), the eldest son of Hans Bach.

Pachelbel remained in Erfurt for twelve years and established his reputation as one of the leading German organ composers of the time during his stay.

The chorale prelude became one of his most characteristic products of the Erfurt period.

In 1695 he moved to Nuremberg sometime during summer and his road expenses were paid by the Nuremberg city council.

Pachelbel remained in Nuremberg for the rest of his life.

His late Nuremberg period saw the publication of Musikalische Ergotzung.

He composed during these final years were numerous Italian-influenced concertato Vespers pieces and a set of more than ninety Magnificat fugues.

Pachelbel died on March 3, 1706, aged 52 (fifty-two).

Pachelbel was the last great composer of the Nuremberg tradition and the last important southern German composer.

His Canon in D major is the most familiar.

A piece of chamber music scored for three violins and basso continuo and originally paired with a gigue in the same key.

It experienced a tremendous surge in popularity during the 1970s, which made the Canon in D a universally recognized cultural item; it is one of the most recognized and famous classical compositions.

Numerous musical adaptations and arrangements of the canon for diverse ensembles exist and the main theme (or the associated harmonic sequence) is frequently adapted by pop music artists, much like the opening of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565.

The gigue that originally accompanied the canon never received the same amount of popularity, even though it is a lively energetic dance.



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