Born in Nuremberg on September
1, 1653, Johann Pachelbel began his musical instruction under Schwemmer
and later the Universities of Altdorf and Ratisbon. In 1671, Pachelbel
moved to Vienna where he became a student and deputy organist to Kerll
at the Imperial Chapel. He studied in Nuremberg, Altdorf and Regensburg
before becoming the organist of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna,
Austria in 1674. In 1677, he returned to Germany as the court organist
at Eisenach. The following year he moved to Erfurt where he was the
organist at the Predigerkiche, remaining there for twelve years. While
in Erfurt, he taught Johann Christoph Bach, Sebastian Bach’s older
brother. Pachelbel also served in the courts at Stuttgart (1690) and
Gothe (1692), and returned to his hometown in 1695 as organist of St.
Pachelbel wrote both free works (toccatas, fantasies and fugues) and
chorale settings. His development of the cantus firmus chorale
is perhaps his greatest contribution. It consists of the chorale in
long notes, one phrase at a time, each phrase preceded by fore-imitation
in the accompanying voices. This compositional pattern influenced many
other composers and eventually became a standard form. Pachelbel’s
repertory is the stylistic ancestor of J. S. Bach’s, particularly
his technique of chorale variation. Carl Philip Emanuel named Pachelbel
as a composer whose works his father had admired.
Pachelbel died in Nuremberg on March 3, 1706, aged 52.