Pachelbel's Canon is one of the most famous pieces of classical music, and his name will be remembered forever thanks to this short 5-minute piece. However, reducing Pachelbel's works to this single tune would be a mistake, as this recording can testify. Here, Roland Wilson tries to bring this unknown side of Pachelbel to the public, with a selection of sacred music for Easter. The different works on the CD are grouped as to create a vesper service that could have been heard during Pachelbel's time at any given Lutheran Church in Germany.
Two different types of cantatas are featured on the recording: the first type uses large forces (2 choirs, strings, brass, timpani, and basso continuo) and reminds us of the bright cantatas by Bach. The second type is more introvert (single choir, with strings and continuo) and is used for the works played on Good Friday. The selection is thus varied, and the order of succession of the tracks in the CD produces a well-balanced sound.
The first track, "Deus in adjutorium", belongs to the first category. With its majestic opening sinfonia, it puts the listener in the mood of rejoicing for the Easter season. The second work, "Christ lag in Todesbanden", is a Passion cantata, and we can definitely hear the similarities with one of Bach's cantatas bearing the same title (Bach was actually inspired by Pachelbel to write his own version of the work). "Hallelujah Lobet den Herrn" is the setting of Psalm 150. Here, Pachelbel uses the different instruments to illustrate each aspect of the text (for example the setting of "praise him with the harp" uses a double-harp to accompany the voices). In comparison, "Christ ist erstanden" is scored for soprano solo, violin, and continuo, thus being a more intimate work. "Jauchzet dem Herrn" is a Thanksgiving, dance-like cantata. No trumpets or timpani in this one, but the graceful oboes and violins are enough to give dynamics to the text. The cantata also includes a setting of "Nun danket alle Gott", more familiar to us in our church hymnals with the title "Now Thank We All Our God". Finally, the "Magnificat" acts as a majestic finale to this Easter service, including the whole forces of Musica Fiata in a glorious song of rejoicing. Pachelbel explores the different sound possibilities with the ensemble, varying between tutti and soli, and using various groups of instruments throughout the text to give more support to the voices.
This recording is simply a jewel, and you should definitely go for it. And if you like it, there's another CD you should check out, it also has the two tracks "Christ lag in Todesbanden" and "Jauchzet dem Herrn". Christ Lag in Todesbanden
- Performer: Pachelbel, Wilson, Capella Ducale, Musica Fiata
- Audio CD (April 20, 2004)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: CPO
- ASIN: B0001M64WK
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,536 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)