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Hexichordum Apollinis (Arias & Variations) (Pachelbel)

(Johann Pachelbel)

This collection of music written by Johann Pachelbel is a set of 6 arias with variations that was published in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1699 by Johann Christoph Wiegel.   There are still 10 surviving copies in several international libraries.

Pachelbel was one of the first European composers to explore the idea of secular variations and these six arias are:

  • Aria Prima with 6 variations
  • Aria Secunda with 5 variations
  • Aria Tertia with 6 variations
  • Aria Quarta with 6 variations
  • Aria Quinta with 6 variations
  • Aria Sexta Sebaldina with 8 variations

The name has a loose translation of “Six Strings of Apollo” and the publications describesit as “six arias to be played on the organ, or harpsichord, to those simple melodies are added variations for the pleasuse of Friends of the Muses”.   Pachelbel dedicated the works to Ferdinand Tobias Richter and Dietrich Buxtehude and stated that he hoped one day that his eldest son, William Hieronymus would be taught by either one.

The preface in the collection also includes Pachelbel’s thoughts on how music is an art that affects human desires and emotions and also the popular belief that it emanated from “Dreimal-Heilig (Three Times Holy)”.

The works have been recorded several times with the entire collection appearing on Hexichordum Appolinis 1699 by the artists Edoardo Bellotti.

Musica Antiqua Koln recordings
Archiv 427 118-2 (CD: Buxtehude/Pachelbel Kammermusik, Chamber Music)