Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bedtime Music: An Old Favorite

This lovely piece, the Canon in D major (in form, a canonic variation on a ground bass, for the repeated eight-note figure in the bass), by the German Middle Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) was fairly obscure as recently as the 1970s, but became a favorite when it was revived by guitarist Jean-Francois Pallaird. It gained its greatest theme, however, as the main theme from the 1980 Academy Award winning film Ordinary People.

When I was in college chorale, in the early eighties, we sang a choral setting of the Canon in D. I only remember the opening:

In the silence of our souls, O Lord, we contemplate thy peace,
Free from all the world's desires, free from fear and all anxiety. . .

Lovely music for bedtime, no?

PS Some of you may recognize that the portrait that accompanies this video is of Mozart, born more than a century later than Pachelbel. Pay no mind; just enjoy the music.


  1. And you sing as well?

    Is there no limit to your skills?

    I'm amazed Pachelbel's Canon was an obscure piece until the 1970's. It is beautiful and haunting music.

  2. Same here, Moon. I love this piece--and looking for it led me to so many other classical pieces I would never have heard otherwise--Albinoni's Adagio, Bach, Purcell--great ones.

  3. Yeah, Barry--I'm not much of a cook (although I try), I'm hopeless about anything mechanical, and I failed every remedial math class going. ;) But yeah, I do sing quite well. Take that after my mom.