Composer: Johann Pachelbel
Date of Birth: baptised 1 September, 1653
Date of Death: buried 9 March, 1706
Period/Era/Style: middle Baroque era
Contribution(s): Pachelbel was a German 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 era.
Pachelbel’s music enjoyed enormous popularity during his lifetime; he had many pupils and his music became a model for the composers of south and central Germany. Today, Pachelbel is best known for the Canon in D, as well as the Chaconne in F minor, the Toccata in E minor for organ, and the Hexachordum Apollinis, a set of keyboard variations.
He was influenced by southern German composers, such as Johann Jakob Froberger and Johann Caspar Kerll, Italians such as Girolamo Frescobaldi and Alessandro Poglietti, French composers, and the composers of the Nuremberg tradition. He preferred a lucid, uncomplicated contrapuntal style that emphasized melodic and harmonic clarity. His music is less virtuosic and less adventurous harmonically than that of Dieterich 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 many variation forms and associated techniques, which manifest themselves in various diverse pieces, from sacred concertos to harpsichord suites.
- 1653–1674: Early youth and education (Nuremberg, Altdorf, Regensburg)
- 1673–1690: Career (Vienna, Eisenach, Erfurt)
- 1690–1706: Final years (Stuttgart, Gotha, Nuremberg)
- Posthumous influence
- Popularity of the Canon in D