Pachelbel was not only a famous organist, but also a prolific composer. This recording offers the chance to hear his six suites entitled "Musical Delight". These pieces are true gems of 17th-century instrumental music, just like his famous "Canon and Gigue", in which Pachelbel skilfully combines his knowledge of counterpoint and his creativity in the field of variation
In 1981, when LP was published, Christopher Hogwood wrote:
"The fate of almost all "pops" is to be more frequently heard in adaptations, orchestrations and arrangements than in the original style and colours intended by the composers. This disc is an attempt by The Academy of Ancient Music to redress the balance a little by presenting some of the most admired masterpieces of the 18th century in their original sonorities, performed in a style and on instruments appropriate to the period."
What was written almost thirty years ago it is still truth today…
Johann Pachelbel was born in Nuremberg and was both a gifted organist and composer. He wrote prolifically not only for his own instrument but also for chamber ensembles of various kinds. His celebrated Canon and Gigue in D major for three violins and basso continuo come from a manuscript collection preserved in Berlin.
The violin was perhaps the most popular instrument of the 17th century. It turns up in nearly every Baroque instrumental genre, including the solo sonata, the concerto, and the immensely popular trio sonata (for two violins, often complimented by harpsichord, organ, or theorbo). Much less common, but equally compelling, are pieces for three violins with some sort of plucked or strummed accompaniment.
Arguably Pachelbel's masterpiece, "Apollo's Lyre" is a series of six arias, each of which consists of a set of highly contrasted variations on the initial theme. As a composer, Pachelbel was perhaps most interested in the variation principal, in direct contrast to his great successor, Bach, who used the form only rarely (but then typically wrote the greatest variation work ever–the "Goldberg Variations"). The musical argument is easy to follow, and the tunes themselves simple and memorable. John Butt frames the work with two mighty chaconnes. A chaconne is basically the same thing as a passacaglia, namely a series of variations over a constantly repeating bass line. Try this disc. You're in for a pleasant surprise.
Though the bass line of a certain celebrated Canon may have made Pachelbel the most frequently heard classical composer in the world, this sparkling program shows he was not just a "one hit wonder." It is built around suites for two violins and continuo from a collection called the Musikalische Ergötzung. The title means "musical delight," and indeed one cannot but be ravished by the extraordinary sonic hedonism displayed in these works. A few songs written for special occasions add further spice to this delightful recording featuring tenor Hans-Jörg Mammel and the ensemble Gli Incogniti led by Amandine Beyer.
"…As it stands, this is an issue that can be warmly recommended musically and technically without reservation—except perhaps to those who hanker after rich Romantic tone and find the characteristic sound of baroque violins wiry. Even they, however, could not fail to be stirred by the enormous vitality of these performances: the word 'routine' simply doesn't seem to exist in the vocabulary of this splendid team of virtuosi. Its Vivaldi, which brings home the point that the Folies d'Espagne was (as its name implies) originally a frenzied dance, is in itself worth getting the disc for; 'the' Pachelbel canon played in the proper style might wean slush-wallowers away from the soupiness in which it is usually drenched; but the Handel trio sonata (incorporating themes from various stage works) is also a delight; and the glorious sense of controlled freedom which permeates the Bach, meticulously phrased and stylishly ornamented, uplifts the spirit." ~Grammophone
Johann Pachelbel (baptised September 1, 1653 – buried March 9, 1706) was a German Baroque 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.