Johann Pachelbel

Canon and gigue, for 3 violins & continuo in D major, T. 337

    Description by Chris Morrison

    Johann Pachelbel was a well-known musician in his day. He composed a multitude of works for the organ (his native instrument), along with motets, sacred concertos, keyboard suites, and pieces in a variety of other genres. Of all these hundreds of compositions, however, far and away his best-known work is the Canon in D major, known colloquially as Pachelbel's Canon. This short piece has become a mainstay of chamber orchestras and other musicians and ensembles throughout the world. It has been arranged for almost any instrument or combination of instruments one might imagine, from synthesizer to brass quintet, and has been adapted for musical styles from jazz to new age.

    A canon is simply an imitative piece in which one instrument plays a melody, and part way into it another instrument joins in with the same tune, followed by one or more further instruments. In the case of Pachelbel's work, a two bar ostinato (or repeating melodic phrase) in the bass becomes the foundation for a set of 28 variations, in which three violins interact in canon with one another. Baroque convention would have this work performed in a moderate-to-fast tempo; however, the work is most often heard played slowly. Played thus, the Canon becomes a quite beautiful and meditative work. Only occasionally is the Canon played in tandem with the lively Gigue that Pachelbel intended to follow it.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Canon
    2. Gigue

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4796370
    2016 Warner Classics 554597
    2016 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4795983
    2016 Naxos 8578320-21
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2015 K-Tel 135928
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon 002894795229
    2014 Naxos Digital Compilations 900205
    2013 Warner Classics
    2013 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 Das Alte Werk 2564642238
    2012 Classic FM
    2012 Warner Classics 667007
    2012 Warner Classics 646639
    2012 Warner Classics 667000
    2012 Warner Classics 666000
    2012 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099960257
    2012 Warner Classics 654618
    2012 Naxos 8501061
    2012 DG Deutsche Grammophon 002894770055
    2011 Classics & Jazz / Universal / Universal Classics & Jazz
    2011 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2011 Decca
    2011 Warner Classics 2564632642
    2011 Warner Classics 632646
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4778094
    2010 ATMA Classique 2600
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 DG Archiv 4105022
    2010 Haenssler 98610
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon / DG Deutsche Grammophon 4778167
    2009 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 DG Deutsche Grammophon 477 8094
    2009 DG Deutsche Grammophon 477 809-4
    2009 RCA Red Seal 45827
    2009 Decca
    2009 Regis Records 1303
    2008 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4777531
    2008 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2008 Union Square Music 2020
    2008 ABC Classics ABC 4766487
    2008 Delta / Zebralution
    2008 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4777341
    2008 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099952210
    2008 Walter Rinaldi 5637521127
    2008 Decca 4800970
    2007 Virgin Classics 91340
    2007 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2007 Apex
    2007 Novalis 150739
    2007 Wellness 06020
    2007 DG Archiv
    2007 Apex
    2006 DG Deutsche Grammophon 477 5697
    2006 Naxos 8556833
    2006 Direct Source 5225
    2006 Warner Classics
    2006 Harmonia Mundi 1951539
    2006 DG Deutsche Grammophon 459208
    2005 DG Deutsche Grammophon 477 5464
    2005 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2005 Virgin Classics / Warner Classics 7243557876
    2004 BIS 311135
    2004 Café del Mar Music
    2004 St. Clair 93862
    2004 St. Clair 93972
    2004 Harmonia Mundi 2901539
    2004 Loft Recordings 1019
    2004 DG Deutsche Grammophon 2480
    2003 Cypres 1633
    2003 RCA / RCA Red Seal 55307
    2003 Decca / Universal Distribution 472768
    2003 Naxos 8 557124
    2002 St. Clair 3076
    2002 Warner Classics 7481742
    2002 Alia Vox 9820
    2002 L'Oiseau-Lyre 433523
    2001 Reference Recordings 2101
    2001 Teldec 85557
    2000 Amadis 7173
    2000 BIS 1135
    1999 Finlandia 25326
    1999 DG Archiv 427118
    1999 Hyperion 55001
    1999 Hyperion 55020
    1999 NPR Classics NPRCD0008
    1998 Harmonia Mundi 7907091
    1997 Philips 456 049-2PM2
    1996 Virgin 561304
    1996 Teldec 0630 15008-2
    1995 Linn Records 12
    1995 Naxos 8 553221
    1995 Novalis 150004
    1995 Harmonia Mundi 901539
    1994 Naxos 550104
    1994 Naxos 550008
    1994 L'Oiseau-Lyre 4432012
    1994 Alex / BELART 450138
    1994 Naxos 560001
    1993 RCA 61275
    1990 DG Deutsche Grammophon 413248
    1990 DG Deutsche Grammophon 419046
    1990 Naxos / Naxos International 8990019
    1990 Philips 416386
    1990 DG Archiv 4155182
    1989 Delta Distribution 15613
    1988 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4270492
    1983 L'Oiseau-Lyre 410553
    Philips 434787
    Virgo 759652
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 445027
    B&W Music 1
    DG Archiv 4153382
    Naxos 8 550035/6
    Naxos 506005
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 431541
    Walter Rinaldi
    Novalis 150740
    Denon Records 8088
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 427438
    Walter Rinaldi
    All Russia
    Virgin 59652
    Philips 412215
    DG Panorama / DG Deutsche Grammophon / Polydor 469 247-2GP2
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 423803
    Decca 475 8073DB5
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 469505