Next on the Countdown, it’s the original one hit wonder. (I’m apparently channeling the late Casey Kasem right now… a throwback to my misspent youth.)
While a working organist, composer, and teacher most of his life, German musician Johann Pachelbel produced more than 200 pieces throughout his lifetime, earning himself a place as one of the most important composers of the middle Baroque era. But as prolific and popular as he was, he only ever hit the charts with his Canon in D.
Here’s a version on original instruments:
Our chaconne, based on the Canon in D, uses the word “alleluia” for vocalizing. It is a rather lovely way to honor the hit in voice. It’s laid out in a way that should make sense for leading a congregation, but it would require some teaching and strong leading. I’d start it with the choir, and then get them to help the rest of the congregation.
Alleluia, alleluia. Alleluia, alleluia.
Aleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
That is, if you’re not sick to death of the piece.
I admit to having loved it a lot, so much so that I bought an album called Pachelbel’s Greatest Hit, which features 14 different versions, by artists ranging from Arthur Fiedler to Isao Tomita. And then I got sick of it. Not as sick as comedian Rob Paravonian, but pretty sick of it. I leave you with the hysterical rant from Paravonian, because we all need something to laugh about now and then:
Image is the cover of the CD, drawn by cartoonist Patrick McDonnell, who draws the popular comic Mutts.
I love the video/audio of the quintet playing the Canon on original instruments, though I could do without the light pole bisecting the long shot. (Really, couldn’t the photographer have done better than that?) I think (for me) this is the answer to what I would play (though NOT on endless loop) if I needed a music break, per Meg Riley’s FB question today. Also some Handel organ concertos.
It is so overplayed that probably even Pachelbel’s ghost doesn’t want to hear it anymore. The great thing about the Alleluia Chaconne, though, is that we all get a chance to SING it. Because it’s familiar, people aren’t afraid to break into parts, and the really brave singers will add riffs that they know from the full version. (Is it okay to call them riffs, or will the Baroque police come in their lace-trimmed uniforms and drag me away to the special room in hell where nothing ever plays but the Brandenburg concertos?) We’re singing it Sunday, for Easter! Alleluia!