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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

Gerd Wachowski - Pachelbel: Organ Works

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During Lent, I usually program some organ music, and expect a pair of posts this week and next (for our Fifth Tuesday montage) where I will do just that.

Johann Pachelbel was an acclaimed 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. Pachelbel's work enjoyed massive popularity during his lifetime, and he influenced greatly the work of one of the most important composers of the late Baroque, Johann Sebastian Bach, whose brother Johann Christoph Bach was his pupil.

Today Pachelbel is best known for his Canon in D; which is fascinating because of the fact that it was never performed during his lifetime (Apparently the powers that were felt it was too repetitive!) It is the only canon he wrote, and is somewhat unrepresentative of the rest of his oeuvre.

Pachelbel preferred a lucid, uncomplicated contrapuntal style that emphasizes melodic and harmonic clarity. His music is less virtuosic and less adventurous harmonically than that of his contemporary, Dietrich Buxtehude.

The modest sampling of Pachelbel's organ music proposed this week first came to my attention on YouTube. Unfortunately, as it happens from time to time, the video has since disappeared, which explains why exceptionally thus week I only have a version I uploaded for you on the Internet Archive. The original CD also contained a pair of unspecified Fugues in C which the YouTube clip failed to share - so this is really a "nearly Cover2Cover" share. According to the information I found on the Web, Mr. Wachowski uses three different configurations of the Great Rieger Organ at Rothenburg's Jakobskirche.

Happy Listening!

Johann PACHELBEL (1653-1706)

Prelude, for organ in D minor, T. 222
Fugue, for organ in D minor, T. 276
Ricercare, for organ in C major, T. 291
Chorale Prelude "Meine Seele erhebt den Herren" (Magnificat; I), for organ, T. 55
Chorale Prelude "Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her" (I), for organ (Choräle 6), T. 6
Chorale Prelude "Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr," for organ (I), T. 14 (also attrib. Buttsett)
Chorale Prelude "Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ," for organ, T. 38
Chorale Prelude "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern," for organ (Choräle 7), T. 7
Fantasia, for organ in D minor (Dorian; I), T. 252
Fantasia, for organ in A minor, T. 256
Ciacona, for organ in F minor, T. 206
Fantasia, for organ in G minor (Dorian), T. 255
Prelude & Fugue, for organ in E minor, T. 228
Toccata, for organ in C major (IV), T. 234
Toccata, for organ in G minor, T. 246
Fugue, for organ in G minor, T. 282
Toccata, for organ in E minor, T. 240
Fugue, for organ in E minor, T. 277

Gerd Wachowski
Rieger Organ, St.-Jakobs-Kirche, Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, Germany
MDG ‎– 606 0273-2
Released: May 1997
Discogs -

Internet Archive -