Chestnuts being roasted: Pachelbel’s Canon by PaGAGnini


Johann Pachelbel was a fine composer. He wrote lots of music. Why does it seem like the canon from his Canon and Gigue for 3 violins and basso continuo is the only piece he wrote? Why is it that when a radio announcer says that music by Pachelbel is coming up, it’s always the Canon–unless the announcement specifically says that it will be something besides the Canon?

Anything that’s overexposed on the radio also appears on too many live performances. Orchestras can do it once in a season and be done with it, but pity the poor string group that makes its living playing for weddings. They have to play it practically every week! Every freelance group of any description probably has pieces in its book that all the members get tired of playing. They would love to have fun and play it disrespectfully.

At least from Gerard Hoffnung through P.D.Q. Bach and on to the present, classical musicians with excellent performance skills have turned classical music and its conventions and chestnuts into a source of humor. Especially any string players who suffer from playing the Canon too often, enjoy this sendup by the Madrid-based group PaGAGnini. The most amazing thing about this performance is that, through all the hijinks, they are always perfectly in tune and together rhythmically.


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