A few weeks ago in our Sunday Morning Music series, I looked at a popular song, "Surfin' Bird", and how it's passed through different genres of modern music. I was amused to see that it attracted a certain amount of rather startled reader comment, because it was far from my usual fare!
This morning I'd like to tackle a classical piece in a similar fashion. Johann Pachelbel's famous Canon in D (more properly titled "Canon and Gigue for 3 violins and basso continuo") is a baroque piece, but it's almost never heard today as it would originally have been played. That's because it was lost or ignored for a couple of centuries, before a 19th-century adaptation for the orchestra of that era gained renewed popularity. Its baroque origins have been largely neglected. Let's begin by setting that right. Here's a version of the Canon played in baroque style, on baroque-era musical instruments.
From those lovely beginnings, and later classical adaptations, things began to go wrong for poor Pachelbel in the 20th century. A lot of musicians decided that the Canon needed to be "improved", and did so with gusto (if not necessarily with fidelity to Pachelbel's musical vision).
Let's begin with a recording by the Youngstown State University's guitar ensemble in 2014. They take the Canon and reinterpret it according to numerous different musical styles. It's quite fun. They call it a "Loose Canon".
Next, The Piano Guys use the Canon as the foundation for a musical (?) excursion.
Here's a rather interesting percussion version of the Canon.
Taiwanese guitarist JerryC famously performed the Canon in heavy rock style. It's gained tremendous popularity.
And finally, how could we consider the Canon without taking into account Rob Paravonian's (in)famous musical rant about the piece?
That's telling 'em!