Nowadays, Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) is known for a single work, the Canon in D (usually known simply as the “Pachelbel Canon”), which has been recorded countless times and is a staple of buskers and wedding musicians everywhere. Born in Nuremberg, Pachelbel travelled widely in German-speaking lands – he held positions in Vienna, Eisenach, Erfurt, Stuttgart and Gotha – before returning to Nuremberg for the last two decades of his life. An organist and composer, Pachelbel wrote a large quantity of sacred music (most of it for the Lutheran confession), as well as non-liturgical organ works and keyboard suites. As for the celebrated Canon in D, when and where and why it was written remain a mystery. But there is no mystery is to how it became famous over the past half century. This can be attributed to the recording industry and the dissemination of music on radio, LP/CD and in film. It all started with a 1968 recording by the Jean-François Paillard Chamber Orchestra. The rest, as they say, is history.
© Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra