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Johann Pachelbel

Johann Pachelbel

The German composer and organist Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) helped to introduce the south German organ style into central and north Germany. Through his close connections to the Bach family, his style influenced and enriched that of Johann Sebastian Bach.

The musical education of Johann Pachelbel began in his childhood. In 1669, while at the University of Altdorf, he was organist in the church of St. Lorenz. The following year, at the gymnasium at Regensburg, and during his employment at St. Stephan's, Vienna, after 1672, he became familiar with the south German musical tradition of J. K. Kerll. In 1677 Pachelbel became court organist at Eisenach, where he met the local branch of the Bach family, in particular Johann Ambrosius Bach, who was one of the municipal musicians.

In 1678 Pachelbel accepted the important post of organist at the Predigerkirche in Erfurt. During this period Johann Christoph Bach studied with him for 3 years. During his stay at Erfurt, Pachelbel produced at least three of the four works listed by J. G. Walther in Musikalisches Lexikon (1732) as published during his lifetime: Musicalische Sterbens-Gedanken (1683), chorale varitions; Musicalische Ergetzung (1691), chamber music; and Chorale zum Praeambuliren (1693), an instruction book for organ. Here Pachelbel also composed two cantatas of homage for Karl Heinrich of Metternich-Wenneburg, other cantatas, and possibly other chamber music.

In 1690 Pachelbel accepted employment at the court at Stuttgart, which he fled in 1692 because of the French invasion. He became municipal organist at Gotha, but his activities are uncertain until 1695, when he became organist of the famous church of St. Sebaldus, Nuremberg. Here he was active as a teacher, and Walther speaks of his illustrious reputation. Two of Pachelbel's sons were important musicians: William Hieronymous at Erfurt and Nuremberg, and Carl Theodore at Stuttgart and Charleston, S.C.

Pachelbel was one of the composers of the movement leading to the adoption of equal temperament, making use of as many as 17 different keys in his suites. He applied the variation techniques of the secular suite to the setting for organ of Lutheran chorales (Musicalische Sterbens-Gedanken). He introduced to central and north Germany the brief, light keyboard fugue (as in his Magnificat fugues). He is particularly noteworthy for a style of chorale prelude of which he seems to have been the chief protagonist. In it a preliminary imitative passage on each phrase of the melody precedes the statement of the phrase, intact, in one part. His virtuosity as an organist is probably reflected in his toccatas, which emphasize elaborate manual figures and omit the fugal sections typical of the north German style.

Further Reading

Pachelbel's place within the music of his period is discussed in Manfred Bukofzer, Music in the Baroque Era (1947). See also Paul Henry Lang, Music in Western Civilization (1941). □

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Pachelbel, Johann

Johann Pachelbel (päkhĕl´bĕl, päkh´əlbĕl´), 1653–1706, German organist and composer, b. Nuremberg. He held a number of posts as an organist in German churches, returning to his birthplace in 1695, where he became the organist at St. Sebald's Church. As a composer he is best known for his chorale preludes and variations, and is famous for the haunting and much-recorded Canon in D Major. Pachelbel is credited with significant influence on the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Two of Pachelbel's sons, Wilhelm Hieronymus Pachelbel, c.1685–1764, b. Erfurt, and Carl Theodorus Pachelbel, 1690–1750, were also musicians and composers; they primarily followed their father's style. The younger son emigrated to the New World c.1730 and became a well-known musical figure in Rhode Island, New York, and South Carolina, and died in Charleston.

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Pachelbel, Johann

Pachelbel, Johann (b Nuremberg, 1653; d Nuremberg, 1706). Ger. organist and composer. Deputy org., St Stephen's Cath., Vienna, 1673–6. Court org. Eisenach 1677. Org., Protestant Predigerkirche, Erfurt, 1678–90. Court org., Stuttgart, 1690–2. Org., St Sebald, Nuremberg, 1695–1706. His comps. influenced Bach. Works incl. Hexachordum Apollinis (1699), 6 sets of airs and variations for hpd.; 78 chorale preludes (1693), incl. Ein' feste Burg, Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, Vom Himmel hoch, etc.; Aria Sebaldina, variations in F minor for hpd.; Canon and Gigue in D for 3 vns. and continuo; Chaconne and 13 variations for hpd., etc. His church music, for long disregarded, has been highly revalued, particularly his sacred concertos and his 13 settings of the Magnificat.

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Pachelbel, Johann

Pachelbel, Johann

Pachelbel, Johann, celebrated German organist, pedagogue, and composer, father of Charles Theodore (Carl Theodor) Pachelbel and Wilhelm Hieronymus Pachelbel; b. Nuremberg (baptized), Sept. 1, 1653; d. there (buried), March 9, 1706. He studied music in Nuremberg with Heinrich Schwemmer, received instruction in composition and instrumental performance from G.C. Wecker, and pursued his academic studies at the local St. Lorenz school; also attended the lectures at the Auditorium Aegidianum. He then took courses briefly at the Univ. of Altdorf (1669–70), and served as organist at the Lorenzkirche there. He subsequently was accepted as a scholarship student at the Gymnasium Poeticum in Regensburg, and took private music lessons with Kaspar Prentz. In 1673 he went to Vienna as deputy organist at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. In 1677 he assumed the position of court organist in Eisenach. In 1678 he became organist at the Protestant Predigerkirche in Erfurt, where he established his reputation as a master organist, composer, and teacher. He was a friend of the Bach family, and was the teacher of Johann Christoph Bach, who in turn taught Johann Sebastian Bach. On Oct. 25, 1681, Pachelbel married Barbara Gabler; she and their infant son died during the plague of 1683. He then married Judith Drommer on Aug. 24, 1684, with whom he had 5 sons and 2 daughters. In addition to Carl and Wilhelm, their son Johann Michael became an instrument maker and their daughter Amalie became a painter. In 1690 he accepted an appointment as Württemberg court musician and organist in Stuttgart. However, with the French invasion in the fall of 1692, he fled to Nuremberg; in Nov. of that year he became town organist in Gotha. In 1695 he succeeded Wecker as organist at St. Sebald in Nuremberg, a position he held until his death. Pachelbel was one of the most significant predecessors of Johann Sebastian Bach. His liturgical organ music was of the highest order, particularly his splendid organ chorales. His non-liturgical keyboard music was likewise noteworthy, especially his fugues and variations (of the latter, his Hexachordum Apollinis of 1699 is extraordinary). He was equally gifted as a composer of vocal music. His motets, sacred concertos, and concertato settings of the Magnificat are fine examples of German church music. He was a pioneer in notational symbolism of intervals, scales, and pitch levels arranged to correspond to the meaning of the words. Thus, his setting of the motet Durch Adams Fall is accomplished by a falling figure in the bass; exaltation is expressed by a rising series of arpeggios in a major key; steadfast faith is conveyed by a repeated note; satanic evil is translated into an ominous figuration of a broken diminished-seventh-chord. Generally speaking, joyful moods are portrayed by major keys, mournful states of soul by minor keys, a practice which became a standard mode of expression through the centuries. In addition to various separate editions of his works, major publications include M. Seiffert and A. Sandberger, eds., Johann Pachelbel: Klavierwerke, in Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Bayern, II, Jg. 11/1 (1901), M. Seiffert, ed., Johann Pachelbel: Orgelkompositionen, in Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Bayern, VI, Jg. IV/1 (1903), and K. Matthaei and W. Stockmeier, eds., Johann Pachelbel: Ausgewählte Orgelwerke (vols. 1–4 by Matthaei, Kassel, 1928–36; vols. 5–6 by Stockmeier, Kassel, 1972–74).

Works

chorales for organ:8 Choräle zum Praeambulieren (Nuremberg, 1693). FUGUES: Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein; Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder; Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht; Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund (may not be by Pachelbel); Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt (2 versions); Dies sind die heil’gen zehn Gebot; Es woll uns Gott genädig sein (2 versions); In dich hob’ ich gehoffet, Herr; Wo Gott zum Haus nicht gibt sein Gunst. three-part cantus firmus:Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (may not be by Pachelbel); Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam; Durch Adams Fall; Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott; Erhalt uns Herr, bei deinem Wort (may not be by Pachelbel); Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ; Gott Vater, der du deine Sonn; Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir; Ich hab’ mein’ Sach’ Gott heimgestellt; Ich ruf zu dir; Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der den Tod (2 versions); Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn; Lob sei Gott in des Himmels Thron; Meine Seele erhebt den Herren [tonus peregrinus] (2 versions); Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g mein’; O Mensch bewein dein Sünde gross; Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her; Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz; Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit; Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein; Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern; Wo Got der Herr nicht bei uns halt (2 versions); Wo Gott zum Haus nicht gibt sein Gunst. four-part cantus firmus:Gott hat das Evangelium; Gott Vater, der du deine Sonn’; Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist; Mag ich Unglück nicht wider-stahn; Nun lasst uns Gott dem Herren; Vater unser im Himmelreich. combination-form:Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein; Ach Herr, mich armen Sünder; Ach wie elend ist unsre Zeit; Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (may not be by Pachelbel); An Wasserflüssen Babylon (2 versions); Auf meinen lieben Gott; Christ lag in Todesbanden; Der Tag der ist so freudenreich; Durch Adams Fall; Ein feste Burg; Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl; Herr Christ, der einig Gott’s Sohn; Herr Jesu Christ, ich weiss gar wohl; Ich ruf zu dir; Nun komm der Heiden Heiland; O Lamm Gottes unschuldig; Vater unser im Himmelreich; Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her; Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz; Wenn mein Stundlein vorhanden ist; Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein; Wo Gott der Her nicht bei uns halt. bicinia:Durch Adams Fall; Es spricht der unweisen Mund wohl (may not be by Pachelbel); Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der von uns; Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit. other kinds:Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (2 versions); Nun lob, mein’ SeeV, den Herren; Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott. other: 95 Magnificat fugues; non-liturgical music for organ, including 26 fugues, 16 toccatas, 7 preludes, 6 fantasias, 6 ciacconas, 3 ricercari, etc.; additional keyboard music, including arias with variations known as Hexachordum Apollinis, sex arias exhi-bens...quam singulis suae sunt subjectae variationes (Nuremberg, 1699), about 17 suites, and the following chorale variations: Ach was soll ich Sünder machen, Alle Menschen müssen sterben, Christus, der ist mein Leben, Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele [Treuer Gott, ich muss dir klagen], Herzlich tut mich verlangen, Was Gott tut, das ist wohlge-tan, and Werde munter, mein Gemute. chamber:Canon and Gigue in D major for 3 Violins and Basso Continuo (the Canon is one of his most famous works, being extremely popular with modern audiences; it has been pubi, and republ. in numerous arrangements for various instruments); Musi-calische Ergötzung bestehend in 6 verstimten Partien for 2 Violins and Basso Continuo (Nuremberg, 1695); Partie in G major for 2 Violins, 2 Violas, Cello, and Basso Continuo. vocal: Motets For 2 4-part Choruses: Der Herr ist König, darum toben die Volker; Der Herr ist König und herrlich geschmückt; Gott ist unser Zuversicht; Jauchzet dem Herrn; Jauchzet Gott, alle Lande; Nun danket alle Gott; Singet dem Herrn; Tröste uns Gott; also the unfinished Der Herr ist König und herrlich geschmückt for 5 Voices and Basso Continuo. other: 2 Latin motets: Exsurgat Deus and Paratum cor meum. sacred concertos:Christ lag in Todesbanden for 4 Voices, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, and Basso Continuo; Der Name des Herren sei gelobet for 3 Voices, 2 Violins, and Basso Continuo; Gott ist unser Zuversicht for 4 Voices, 2 Violins, 2 Violas, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Gott sei uns gnädig for 5 Voices, 5 Trumpets, Timpani, 2 Violins, 4 Violas, Bassoon, Basso Continuo, and Organ; Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt for 5 Voices, 2 Oboes, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Viole, and Basso Continuo; Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt for 5 Voices, 4 Trumpets, Timpani, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Kommt her zu mir for 4 Voices, 2 Violins, 2 Cornets, and Basso Continuo; Lobet den Herrn in seinem Heiligtum for 5 Voices, 2 Flutes, Bassoon, 5 Trumpets, Trombone, Timpani, Cymbal, Harp, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Basso Continuo, and Organ; Meine Sünde betrüben mich for Voice, Chorus of 4 Voices, 4 Viole da Gamba, Bassoon/Viole, and Basso Continuo (fragment only extant); etc. Arias: Auf, werte Gast for Voice, 2 Violins, and Basso Continuo; Augen, streuet Perlen-Tränen for 2 Voices, 4 Violas, Viola pro Basso, and Organ; Das angenehmste Wetter for Voice, 2 Violins, and Basso Continuo (unfinished); Das Gewitter for Voice, 2 Violins, and Basso Continuo; Das Jahr fängt an for Voice, 2 Violins, 2 Violas, and Basso Continuo; Der Widder Abrahams for 2 Voices, 2 Violins, and Basso Continuo; Die freuderfüllten Abendstunden for Voice, 2 Violins, 2 Violas, and Basso Continuo; Es muss die Sinne ja erfreuen for Voice, 2 Violins, and Basso Continuo; Geliebtes Vaterherz for Voice, 2 Violins, 2 Violas, and Basso Continuo /Viole; Guter Walter unsers Rats for Voice, 2 Violins, 2 Violas, and Basso Continuo; Hör, grosser Mäcenat for Voice, 2 Violins, 2 Violas, and Basso Continuo; Mäcenas lebet noch for Voice, 2 Violins, 2 Violas, Trumpet, and Basso Continuo; Mein Leben, dessen Kreuz for Voice, 4 Violas, Viola pro Basso, and Organ; O grosses Musenlicht for Voice, 2 Violins, 2 Viole da Gamba, and Basso Continuo; So ist denn dies der Tag for Voice, Chorus of 4 Voices, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, 4 Trumpets, Timpani, and Basso Continuo; So ist denn nur die Treu for 2 Voices, Chorus of 5 Voices, 2 Flutes, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, and Basso Continuo; Voller Wonder, voller Kunst for 4 Voices and Basso Continuo (unfinished); Wie nichtig, ach for Voice, 3 Violas, and Basso Continuo; Wohl euch, die ihr in Gott verliebt for 4 Voices (unfinished). music for vespers:Ingressus in C major for 4 Voices, 2 Violins, Viola, and Basso Continuo; Ingressus in C major for 4 Voices, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Ingressus in C major for 5 Voices, 4 Trumpets, Timpani, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Bassoon, Basso Continuo, and Organ; Ingressus in D major for 4 Voices, 2 Violins, Viola, and Basso Continuo; Ingressus in D major for 4 Voices, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Ingressus in D minor for 5 Voices, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Ingressus in F major for 5 Voices, 2 Violins, 4 Violas, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Ingressus in G major for 4 Voices, 2 Violins, 3 Violas ad libitum, Bassoon ad libitum, and Basso Continuo; Ingressus in G minor for 4 Voices, 2 Violins, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Ingressus in G minor for 5 Voices, 2 Violins, Viola, 2 Viole da Gamba, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Ingressus in A major for 5 Voices, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Ingressus in A minor for 5 Voices, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Magnificat in C major for 5 Voices, 2 Oboes, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Magnificat in C major for 5 Voices, 4 Trumpets, Timpani, 2 Violins, Viola, 2 Viole da Gamba, Bassoon, Basso Continuo, and Organ; Magnificat in C major for 4 Voices, 2 Trumpets, 2 Violins, 2 Violas, and Basso Continuo; Magnificat in C major for 5 Voices, 4 Trumpets, Timpani, 2 Violins, Viola, 2 Viole da Gamba, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Magnificat in D major for 5 Voices, 2 Violins, 2 Cornets/Oboes, 3 Violas, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Magnificat in D major for Double Chorus of 5 Voices and Double Orch., each with 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Magnificat in D major for 4 Voices and 4 Violas ad libitum; Magnificat in E-flat major for 4 Voices, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Bassoon, Basso Continuo, and Organ; Magnificat in F major for 4 Voices, 2 Violins, Bassoon, and Basso Continuo; Magnificat in F major for 5 Voices, 2 Violins, and Basso Continuo; Magnificat in G major for 4 Voices, 2 Violins, and Basso Continuo; Magnificat in G minor for 4 Voices; Magnificat in B-flat major for 5 Voices, 2 Oboes, 2 Violins, 3 Violas, Bassoon, Basso Continuo, and Organ. other:Missa in C major for 4 Voices, 2 Violins, Clarino, and Basso Continuo; Missa brevis in D major for 4 Voices.

Bibliography

E. Born, Die Variation als Grundlage handwerklicher Gestaltung im musikalischen Schaffen J. Rs (Berlin and Frankfurt am Main, 1941); H. Woodward, A Study of the Tenbury Manuscripts of J. P. (diss., Harvard Univ., 1952); E. Nolte, The Instrumental Works of J. P. (diss., Northwestern Univ., 1954).

—Nicolas Slominsky/Laura Kaun/Dennis McIntire

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