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Pachelbel - Canon in D Major (Original Version)

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Published on Jul 10, 2008

JOHANN PACHELBEL (1653-1706)

Canon and Gigue for three violins and basso continuo in D major

1. Canon

2. Gigue

Performed by Hesperion XXI
Directed by Jordi Savall

*Those of you who have never listened to a period instrument performance of Pachelbel's famous (or for cellists, infamous) canon in D major may be surprised by the rather sprightly tempo of this interpretation. This is because the version we know of today was popularized by Jean-François Paillards recording made in 1970. This performance is very much in the romantic style, which is rather unfitting considering piece written in the middle Baroque. The original score of the piece has no tempo indication for the canon, however the time-signature, the notation of the piece, and the playing style and methodology of Pachelbel and the Baroque era does not suggest that the piece should played at the characteristically romantic "largo molto" tempo most people are used to today. The musicians of Hesperion XXI, known for their authentic, highly informed, and frankly beautiful performances do not try to sound different and stylish, but rather attempt to perform the piece the way Pachelbel himself would have intended it to be performed back in the 1680s on instruments he himself would have been familiar with.

**The chord sequence (I V vi iii IV I ii V7) in this canon is one of the most popular chordal progressions in western music. As well as being found in various classical music pieces, this sequence can also be found in modern pop and rock music. Some examples are the Beatles' "Let it Be" and Vitamin C'c "Graduation" (which uses the exact same chordal progression as Pachelbel's canon).

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