Uploaded on Sep 2, 2008
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Johann Pachelbel's beautiful interweaving of melody & harmony--one of the great works of music!
Performed on original instruments by San Francisco Early Music Ensemble Voices of Music. Featuring Katherine Kyme, Carla Moore & Cynthia Freivogel, baroque violin; Tanya Tomkins, baroque cello, Hanneke van Proosdij, baroque organ; David Tayler, theorbo.
About the performance: the canon is played using not only the instruments but also the bowing techniques from the time of Pachelbel. As you can see from the video, especially if you look at the high definition version, the string instruments are not only baroque, but they are in baroque setup: this means that the strings, fingerboard, bridge and other parts of the violin appear just as they did in Pachelbel's time. No metal hardware such as chinrests, clamps or fine tuners are used on the violins, allowing the violins to vibrate freely. A good example of baroque bowing can be seen in the extended passage of repeated notes: the musicians play these notes on one bow—the shorter & lighter baroque bow—to created a gliding effect. The players also hold the bow very differently which affects the balance and touch. Both the style and the amount of vibrato are based on baroque treatises which describe the methods for playing, bowing & articulation in the late 17th century. The narrow, shimmering vibrato blends with the baroque organ. The organ used is made entirely of wood, based on German baroque instruments, and the pipes are voiced to provide a smooth accompaniment to the strings, instead of a more soloistic sound. The large bass lute, or theorbo, provides a complement to the organ not only in the texture of the chords but also the long strings which occasionally sound the bass notes an octave lower. The continuo players play supporting chords and voices to the canon, carefully avoiding parallels and doublings of the parts.
Another feature of the video is the subtle differences in not only the sound and color of the instruments, but also the different techniques of the players. All three are playing baroque violins with baroque bows, yet each person has her own distinct sound and bowing style—each bow has a different shape and balance. If you look at paintings of 17th century players you will see that they are all different, because that individuality of sound and technique was highly valued. This allows the players and the listeners to hear and appreciate the "Voices of Music."
Many comments refer to the pitch. D Major is a key, not a pitch; this piece is in D Major at A=415.3 Hz. We chose a baroque pitch and temperament from the time of Pachelbel.
Detail of the interior of the baroque organ used in this recording
Recorded in St. Stephen's, Belvedere, California