Canon in D Major – Johann Pachelbel

Johann Pachelbel

As a young-en, I was so in awe of this, but after hundreds of listens I’m not as enamored as before. I still like it, lets say, on the odd occasion. This piece is one of the most admired and reproduced classical pieces in popular culture in the last 50 years, but interestingly the dates and circumstances of the composition of Pachelbel’s Canon is unknown. Suggested dates range from 1680 to 1706, and the oldest surviving manuscript copy of the piece dates from the 19th century.

The Canon was popular during Pachelbel’s lifetime, but the piece went out of style like it did with my tastes, where it remained in obscurity for centuries. A 1968 arrangement and recording of it by the Jean-François Paillard chamber orchestra gained popularity. From the 1970s to the late 2010s, elements of the piece, especially its chord progression, were used in a variety of pop songs. Since the 1980s, it has also been used frequently in weddings and funeral ceremonies in the Western world.

In his lifetime, Pachelbel was renowned for his organ and other keyboard music, whereas today he is also recognized as an important composer of church and chamber music. 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. Hans-Joachim Schulze, writing in 1985, suggested that the Canon may have been composed for Johann Christoph Bach’s wedding, on 23 October 1694, which Pachelbel attended. Johann Ambrosius Bach, Pachelbel, and other friends and family provided music for the occasion.

1. Pachelbel’s Canon – Wikipedia

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Music
7 comments on “Canon in D Major – Johann Pachelbel
  1. Bruce says:

    I agree – enamored for the first 100 times! and then slowly growing tired. But what a wedding that must’ve been!

    • Weddings aren’t really my cup of tea, but with those Musical giants in attendance, it must have been a Hoot!

      • Bruce says:

        Of course, Mozart wrote his own Requiem but died before he could finish it

      • That’s where the Canon and the Requiem differ for me. I have heard the Requiem more times than the Canon, but I never (EVER!) get bored of it, on the contrary, I admire it more each and every new listen. It’s probably the greatest music I’ve ever heard along with Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 Mov. 2.

        How you doing anyway Bruce?

      • Bruce says:

        I’m doing fine – except for very little work coming in, thanks Matthew. We live a pretty normal life and forget that there are others in the world still coping under forms of lockdown – such as yourself. I don’t think I’d have your resilience.

  2. Reely Bernie says:

    Great write-up on this infamous, innate piece. I am alone on this, but I still think Robert Redford’s use of this music as his back score to Ordinary People revived the piece to its fashioned fame of today. I’m fine being alone on that belief, haha!

    • I don’t think I have seen that movie and perhaps you are right that it was revived because of it. When I first heard it, I was enamoured. I prefer the quaint adaption as presented in the post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: