Well over a year ago, I discovered someone on Twitter who kept posting about one specific composer: Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706), a German Baroque composer and organist most known for his Canon in D Major. With the hashtag #PachelbelSunday, travel writer and photographer, Jerome Shaw (@JeromeShaw), posts various versions of Pachelbel’s Canon. How many version can there be, you ask? Well – you’d be amazed because it seems limitless! He tweets anything from traditional versions to jazz to blues to rock to steel drums to any kind of version of Pachelbel’s canon you can possibly think of – and many that you probably can’t! I’m so impressed with the collection he has compiled!
Clearly his most famous surviving work, Pachelbel’s canon has in the last couple of decades become increasingly popular in weddings, so I know you’ve heard it. But to be on the safe side, I’m including a few versions here for you. For any of my readers who are not as familiar with classical music, I’ll start with what is not Pachelbel’s canon.
This is Pachelbel’s Canon. Christmas version on the piano.
And this – a New Age version.
And this – the Chipmunks’ version!
And this – a flamenco version,
And finally this, which is really in line with my post from yesterday! A Yngwie Malmsteen that some of my guitar-playing friends will appreciate!
For a lot more, you really should visit Jerome Shaw’s list of Pachelbel Canons. You’ll be impressed, I promise!
When I first asked Jerome if he’d mind my writing a post about his collection of Pachelbel’s Canons, he referred me to another lover of that particular piece of music, Mr. Simon Jordan of High Wycombe, UK. (@SJViolinPiano) Simon also plays the violin and performs all around the UK. In fact, when I first contacted him, he mentioned that he has played the violin and piano for over three decades and absolutely adores Pachelbel’s canon – something he was happy to be playing at an event later that same day!
Simon adores it so much that he has devoted an entire website to Pachelbel’s Canon. It’s absolutely filled with information both about the composer himself and his most famous work.
From what I’ve learned from Simon’s website, little is actually known about the Canon in D Major. It’s not known exactly when it was written – only an estimate is available. It has however, been rather influential in modern music. On his site, there’s a list of modern-era music in which Pachelbel’s canon is quoted. Groups from Green Day to Blues Traveler to Tupac have all incorporated this piece of baroque-era music into their own original compositions. Like Jerome’s list of Pachelbel’s Canons, this is equally as impressive, so I invite you to check this out as well.
As I understand it, a lot of Pachelbel’s chamber music has been lost to time as well and there’s also no real consistency in the cataloguing of his music. I’ve found a list of his surviving works and like J.S. Bach, he even has his own Toccata in D. Minor! (Pachelbel was an organist, remember?!)
Thanks to the efforts of music lovers Jerome Shaw and Simon Jordan, Johann Pachelbel’s work will continue to be shared with the world and work its way to the ears of first-time listeners and other people who aren’t as familiar with his works. Sure, they’re both concentrating on one specific piece of music, but I’ll bet that a fair amount of you are going to start following them on Twitter or are going to visit their sites today. Then, you’ll be curious and check out some other of Pachelbel’s works thus expanding your own horizon in the world of classical music. After that, who knows where you’ll go or what you’ll discover.
There’s so much great music out there. Enjoy it!