|Johann Pachelbel was born in 1653 in Nürnberg and went to school at Lorenz church where he
began his musical instruction. He later studied at the Universities of Altdorf and Ratisbon before
moving to Vienna in 1671 for further education. Here he was the deputy organist at the Imperial
chapel. In 1677, he was organist in Eisenach for a year, and the following year he moved to Erfurt
where he taught Johann Sebastian Bach's older brother Johann Christian. Pachelbel was a close
friend of the Bach family, godfather to one of Johann Sebastian's sisters and music teacher to one of
his brothers. Pachelbel's first wife and baby died in the plague of 1683. In 1690, he became court
organist at Stuttgart, but fled in the face of French invasion in 1692.
He took his final post in Nürnberg, where he remained until his death in 1706. In Nürnberg, his
second marriage produced seven children. Pachelbel was one of the great organist composers of his
day. He wrote more than 200 organ pieces, as well as harpsichord suites and numerous vocal works.
Much of his liturgical organ music is relatively simple and written for manuals only, with no pedal
required. This is partly due to the Lutheran practice of congregants singing the chorales. St.Sebald's
church was built in the 13th- century, and its organ, the one Pachelbel played, had been the world's
oldest, dating from 1440.
As for his children, the first American concert of which there is any record is one which took place at
6:00 PM, January 21, 1736, at Robert Todd's House, a popular tavern in New York City. The cost
was four shillings and the performer was Theodore Pachelbel, the 46-year-old youngest son of
Johann Pachelbel who had been living in Boston for six years. He played the harpsichord and was
accompanied by local musicians and singers. Another concert followed on March 9th.
Theodore not only played keyboard instruments, he composed music, although only one of his
compositions survives, a choral Magnificat he wrote while still in Europe. It is thought that after his
father's death that he probably lived in England for some time since his name appears in a 1732 list
of subscribers to a volume of harpsichord music published in London. Theodore was called from
Boston by Trinity Church in Newport, Rhode in 1733 to install an English pipe organ, and he stayed
there two years as the organist. He gave two concerts in New York City and later lived in Charleston,
South Carolina where he worked at St. Philip's Church. He married soon after his arrival there and
had a son two years later. He donated money to the local "Negro School House" and actively
participated in Charleston's musical life, organizing the first public concert in the area on November
22,1737 of vocal and instrumental music. In 1749, he opened a singing school, but he died in 1750.
When he died, the primary assets in his estate were two slaves, valued at 330 pounds. He was one of
the first European composers to take up residence in the American colonies.
Theodore's elder brother stayed in Germany and went on to a minor career as a musician. The
second son also emigrated to America and worked here as a musical-instrument maker.
Pachelbel's oldest daughter Amalia Pachelbel (1688 – 1723) was a painter and engraver and her
interest in art pleased her father, who was always supportive of her. Amalia became known for her
watercolors, copper engravings and porcelain pieces. Seven years after her death, she was named in
Doppelmayr's 1730 encyclopedia of important mathematicians and artists of Nuremberg (Historische
Nachricht von den Nürnbergischen Mathematicis und Künstlern), as was her father. She was the
author of the first knitting pattern (formula) textbook in Germany.
|Johann Pachelbel - Easter
Cantata - Halleluja! Lobet