L to R: Dr Thomas Röder, Prof Wolfgang Hirschmann (editor), Prof Walter Werbeck, Dr Katharina Larissa Paech (editor), Dr Wolfgang Thein (Bärenreiter-Verlag), Wolfgang Riedelbach (instigator of the complete edition)


Finalisation of the Complete Edition of the Vocal Works of Johann Pachelbel

On 10 July 2015, in a ceremony at the historic Rathaussaal in Nuremburg, the Complete Edition of the Vocal Works of Johann Pachelbel was formally finalised with the presentation of the eleventh and last volume, Magnificat III. Prof Walter Werbeck (Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universität Greifswald) gave the ceremonial lecture. Jan Kobow (tenor) und the London Baroque ensemble performed arias and instrumental chamber music by Pachelbel. The following day a concert took place in the Sebalduskirche, where Pachelbel worked. This performance was part of Musica Franconia, a festival focusing on large-scale vocal works.

The Complete Edition was compiled between 2008 and 2015, on behalf of the Julius-Maximilian Universität Würzburg Institute for Music Research (until 2008 the Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg Institute for Music Research) and the KUG Institute for Church Music, by Prof Wolfgang Hirschmann (Halle), Dr Katharina Larissa Paech (Graz) and Dr Thomas Röder (Würzburg). The academic groundwork formed a not insignificant part of the dissertation completed by Dr Paech at our institute in 2006, “Johann Pachelbel. Sacred Vocal Music”, which includes detailed source studies and a catalogue of Pachelbel’s works (PWV) (supervisor: Prof Franz Karl Prassl). The eleven volumes of the Complete Edition were published by Bärenreiter-Verlag. Each volume includes an in-depth critical review alongside the musical score.

For a long time, Pachelbel was seen purely as an organ composer and originator of the world-famous Canon for three violins and basso continuo. Like some of his contemporaries, he has often been reduced to a “predecessor of Bach”. This edition of extensive vocal music provides an opportunity to rectify that single-sided view. The virtuoso concerti on psalm texts and the large-scale Magnificat settings demonstrate that Pachelbel is one of the most significant German composers of the second half of the 17th century. His music combines influences from Catholic southern Germany and Austria with the Protestant tradition of central Germany and elements specific to Nuremberg in a way that is highly convincing both artistically and tonally.

The Complete Edition provides researchers with an excellent basis for academic analysis of Pachelbel’s vocal works, and musicians with a reliable source text for performances in concerts or services.

The edition was sponsored by theFuture Foundation of the Nuremberg Savings Bank (Zukunftsstiftung der Sparkasse Nürnberg), the district of Middle Franconia, the VG Musikedition Culture Fund, the Bayerische Volksstiftung Karl Graf Spreti Special Fund, the Musica Franconia e.V. of Nuremberg, and the Landgraf Moritz Foundation.