Johann Pachelbel was born on September 1, 1653 in Nuremburg, which, at the time, was a great center of learning and culture. He studied music with Heinrich Schwemmer and G. C. Wecker, attended lectures at the Auditorium aegidianum and entered the university at Altdorf in 1669, where he also served as organist at the Lorenzkirche. He was forced to leave the university after less than a year due to lack of funds, and became a scholarship student at the Gymnasium poeticum at Regensburg, taking private instruction under Kaspar Prentz. While at Regensburg, he began to make important contacts with musicians associated with the Austrian Court in Vienna. In 1673 Pachelbel went to Vienna and became deputy organist at St. Stephen's Cathedral. In 1677 he became organist in Thuringen at the Eisenach court, where he served for slightly over a year. This was an important move, since it was here that he became a close friend of the towns most prominent musician, Johann Ambrosius Bach, the future father of Johann Sebastian, and his family.
In 1678, Pachelbel obtained the first of the two important positions he was to hold during his lifetime when he became organist at the Protestant Predigerkirche at Erfurt, where he established his reputation as organist, composer, and teacher. Erfurt was, of course, the ancestral home of the Bach family, and there he met Ambrosius' eldest son, Johann Christoph, whom he knew from Eisenach and who lived in Erfurt from 1686 to 1689. Pachelbel undertook the musical education of the young man who, not many years later, would teach his brother Johann Sebastian all he knew when the latter came to live with his family following the death of their parents.
Pachelbel started a family in Erfurt. Later, after the unfortunate early death of his first wife and their child, he remarried. The couple had seven children: two would later become organists, including his eldest son Wilhelm Hieronymus who acted as Pachelbel's successor at Nuremberg for thirty-nine years, another son who became an instrument maker and a daughter who achieved recognition as a painter and engraver. Pachelbel left Erfurt some years later, apparently looking for a better appointment, appointed asmusician and organist for the Wurttemberg court at Stuttgart (1690-92), and then in Gotha (1692-95), where he was town organist.
During his three years in Gotha, he was twice offered positions in Stuttgart and at Oxford University. He declined both.
Pachelbel was by then a famous and influential figure in the world of music, his special skill in composition his infinitely inventive creation of chorale variations stressing the importance of cantabile and clarity of line proving especially popular and definitive in the world of organ music at that time. His many pupils included Johann Sebastian Bach's elder brother Johann Christoph, who was one of many to digest his methodology and carry his compositional message to others.
Meanwhile, in Nuremberg, when the St. Sebaldus Church organist Georg Caspar Wecker died on April 20, 1695, the city authorities were so anxious to appoint Pachelbel to the position that they officially invited him to assume it without holding the usual job examination or inviting applications from prominent organists from lesser churches. He accepted, was released from Gotha in 1695, and arrived in Nuremberg in summer, with the city council paying his per diem expenses.
Pachelbel retained his position as organist at the church of St. Sebaldus until his death in 1706.
Johann Friedrich Fausch
Johann Friedrich Fasch was born in Buttelstedt in 1688. He was a choirboy in Weissenfels and studied under Johann Kuhnau at the famous St. Thomas School in Leipzig and later founded a Collegium Musicum in Leipzig.
As director of the collegium musicum he had occasion to study a wide variety of music. The local ruler of his hometown, the Duke of Saxe-Zeitz, hired him to write a pair of operas (which are lost) for festivals held in 1711 and 1712. Fasch now began to travel widely. He arrived in Darmstadt in 1713 and studied composition with Graupner and Grünewald. He took a series of jobs: violinist in the court orchestra of Bayreuth (1714), municipal secretary of Gera (1715 - 1719), organist and municipal secretary in Greiz (1719 - 1721), and Kapellmeister to Count Morzin in the Bohemian town of Lukavec. He organized an orchestra there that Vivaldi had occasion to hear and proclaim excellent. He gained widespread fame, and was invited to compete for the post of Kantor at the Thomasschule in Leipzig against J.S. Bach, but apparently refused to do so. J.S. Bach held Fasch's music in high esteem, and copied out five orchestral suites of his.
He took up the post of Kapellmeister at the court of Zerbst, 40 miles north of Leipzig, in 1721, and remained there for the rest of his life.
Fasch died in Zerbst at the age of 70. He was the father of Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch, also a musician of note.
None of Johann Friedrich Fasch's music was printed in his lifetime, and much of it is lost. In the collection of music left by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was a whole set of church cantatas by Fasch. Several masses, a Requiem, eleven church cantatas and motets, one Passion-setting, various overtures, trios, sonatas, etc., are preserved in manuscript at Leipzig, Dresden, Berlin and Brussels.
He is credited with at least one Passion, 14 Masses, 2 Credo, 4 Psalms, some 100 Church Cantatas, 4 Serenades, 4 Operas, plus a quantity of concertos (about 60, structured like Antonio Vivaldi's), overtures/orchestral suites (about 90), trio sonatas and symphonies. Fasch's modern reputation rests on his overtures, symphonies, concertos, and chamber music. Unusual and progressive scorings feature in his orchestral music, and his output shows a transition from Baroque to early Classical style.
Pachelbel - Canon in D Major with Suites
Fasch - Concerto for Trumpet with two Symphonies
Jean-Francois Pailard conducts the Jean-Francois Pailard Chamber Orchestra