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Pachelbel, Johann
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Biography
Johann Pachelbel [Bachelbel]

(Born; Nuremberg, bap. 1 Sept 1653; Died; Nuremberg, bur. 9 March 1706). German composer and organist. He was taught by two local musicians, Heinrich Schwemmer and G. C. Wecker. In 1669 he entered the university at Altdorf and was organist of the Lorenzkirche there, but left after less than a year for lack of money and in 1670 enrolled in the Gymnasium Poeticum at Regensburg, where he continued musical studies with Kaspar Prentz.

After about five years as deputy organist at St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna (1637-7), and a year as court organist at Eisenach, Pachelbel was appointed organist of the Predigerkirche at Erfurt in June 1678, where he remained for 12 years. During this time he was outstandingly successful as organist, composer and teacher (his pupils included J.S. Bach's elder brother, Johann Christoph) and was twice married. He left Erfurt in 1690 and, after short periods as organist in Stuttgart and Gotha, returned to Nuremberg, where he was organist at St Sebald until his death.

Pachelbel was a prolific composer. His organ music includes Circa; 70 chorales (mostly written at Erfurt), 95 Magnificat fugues (for Vespers at St Sebald) and non-liturgical works such as toccatas, preludes, fugues and fantasias. His preference for a lucid, uncomplicated style found fullest expression in his vocal music, which includes two masses and some important Vespers music as well as arias and sacred concertos. His modest contributions to chamber music include a canon that has become his best-known work.

Organ music: Circa;70 chorales; 95 Magnificat fugues; over 60 toccatas, preludes, fugues, ciacconas, fantasias, ricercares.

Other keyboard music: 21 suites; 7 sets of chorale variations; 10 arias with variations, incl. 6 in Hexachordum Apollinis (1699).

Chamber music: Musicalische Ergötzung, 6 suites (1695); Partita, G; Canon and Gigue.

Sacred music: 11 concs.; vespers music, incl. 13 Magnificats; 2 masses; 11 motets; arias.

© Groves Dictionaries, MacMillan Publishers Limited, UK

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