Johann Pachelbel wrote in 1699 a remarkable bundle of variations, called the ‘Hexachordum Apollinis’ (the strings of Apollo). Pachelbel often is connected to the organ as a main instrument for his music, and surely the organ serves his music very well. For these suites however, I have the feeling it leans very natural to the ‘feel’ of a keyboard and they work like a charm on clavichord.
Very very very very strictly seen, my instrument is a few decades in time too modern for this music, but other than relate Pachelbel by definition to the unfretted clavichord, we must not forget that the first unfretted clavichords were documented exactly in this time, in this area.
I have played the first of this bundle on an unfretted clavichord built by Christopher Clarke (https://youtu.be/_8bRVtQQ_4Y). That Aria Prima is possible on such instrument, but not the complete Hexachordum. Only regarding temperament is Pachelbel leading the player to the sixth piece, the famous Aria Sebaldina, where keys are used that ask for a rather advanced temperament. We should not forget that the Werckmeister “Wohltemperierte Harmonia’, published posthumus in 1707, is only 8 years from these works.
I believe Pachelbel was reaching his arms way into the 18th century with these pieces and no wonder the influence on our beloved master J.S.Bach is not to be underestimated!
Recording made for release on CD/vinyl soon.
The fugue is an elegant translation of the pure mechanics of the left hand (Time) of the prelude. But strangely enough, Time cannot dance, it has a hard time (punch intended) to deviate from it’s rigidity which is imperative to inject movement with elegance. For that, it would need some human qualities which it hasn’t. Powerful, yes, but superior?
Not if we use it to our advantage!
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Recording n° 127
14 October 2017
Clavichord after Saxon Model ca 1750/70, Joris Potvlieghe 2009