Piece of the Week – how I can’t get Pachelbel’s Canon out of my head…

There’s something very haunting about Pachelbel’s Canon. Yes, I know that for many its attraction has palled, and after all it is just based on a very standard 17th century bass line, the romanesca, but there is something about the inevitability of the harmonic shape that makes one feel warm and comfortable. At least, that’s how I felt when, quite a few years ago now, I was asked to write a new setting of ‘The Lord Bless you and Keep You’ for a wedding at my church. So I took Pachelbel’s famous piece, and wove some new canonic melodies over the top, overlapping and combining with each other, occasionally changing key and texture to give some variety and shape.

It’s recently resurfaced in The Oxford Book of Easy Flexible Anthems as, although it’s in three vocal parts, it’s possible to sing it with fewer: and it’s been enjoyable to revisit it.

If you have had enough of Pachelbel, you may not care for it, but if you’d like to listen, it’s here, performed by members of Commotio directed by Griselda Sherlaw-Johnson
And the page about it on this website, with various links, is here