Every few months, my sister and I learn a few piano and violin duets. Canon in D major by Johan Pachelbell, happens to be one of my favorite duets. It’s hard to imagine a time when this piece wasn't a wedding favorite as it is commonly. What is really interesting about this piece is that it is not a happy, high energy piece, nor is very melancholy, but it gives the feeling that it is being performed for a very special occasion.
Not much is known about Canon in D major even though it is Pachelbel’s most famous piece. We don’t even know the exact date it was composed, although historians think it was composed around 1680. Some people believe that the music was written for Bach’s brother, Johann Christoph’s wedding, on October 23, 1694. Parts of the bass piece was used in Handel’s, Haydn’s, and Mozart’s compositions.
Pachelbell was born sometime in August 1653 in Nuremberg, Germany and died around in early March 1706. He wrote over 500 classical music pieces during his lifetime and composed in the baroque period. He was an organist in his hometown of Nuremburg, and even taught the man who became Bach’s teacher.
This piece has a lot of emotion to it and also a lot of challenging parts to it. When playing a duet, both players have to listen to each other in order to play the piece well. Sarah and I always have trouble with that as we both want to be in charge, however for this piece, the piano set the beat. I am glad that in the end we succeeded in working together well. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Have you ever heard this piece at a wedding?
Which piece did you choose for your wedding?