Johann  Pachelbel
Chorale Partita
"Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan"

Click on the links below to download a PDF booklet
available 09/2023
music score:

N.B. Regarding the experimental score layout: it has been formatted in two separate PDF files, one for the four-page cover and notes, and the other for the pages of  music.  It has also been also presented in a horizontally oriented (i.e. landscape) legal paper size (8 ½" x 14"),  and will require a 90º rotation when opened or printed out in hard copy.


 Johann Pachelbel's Chorale Partita on "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan" exemplifies southern German mid-Baroque keyboard variations as a genre. Pachelbel [b. 1653 in Nuremberg, d. 1706, also in Nuremberg], can be seen to have adopted — and adapted to his own use — idiomatic, regional and historically practiced compositional skills. The composer's timeline precedes by one generation that of Johann Sebastian Bach and the culmination of the Baroque era in musical arts. Pachelbel was a friend of the Bach family, and at one point he provided musical instruction to Johann Christoph Bach (of Ohrdruf), who subsequently tutored his younger second cousin, Johann Sebastian Bach.

Pachelbel's command of variational techniques is revealed in this partita; overall the style is more traditionally con-servative than found in his partitas on secular tunes and melodies.  His use of a two-stave keyboard layout stems from commonly practiced regional tradition, but also serves to hint that the chorale partitas might have been intended for generic keyboard instruments, with organ — and pedaling — as one of various options. 

This performance publication makes practical use of a three-stave organ score layout for three of the variations. It includes occasional suggestions for ad lib. ornamentation, also for the application of terraced dynamics within the phrases and repeats of each variation [see N.B., p. 9]. The tenth and concluding variation — an abbreviated chorale fantasia — is proposed as an editorial improvisation serving to round out the diverse collection; it is reminiscent of similar fantasia settings for keyboard from Pachelbel and his contemporaries, a genre later adopted by J. S. Bach.

The inspiration for the unusual landscape orientation of this score stems from university student years, and from memories of unique volumes of Bach organ works as prepared by the collaborative efforts of two notable luminaries and musicians, both of them organists: Charles Marie Widor and Albert Schweitzer. Their meticulous creations were published and printed by G. Schirmer Inc. and have found their way into the hearts of countless future organists embarking on an extraordinary career, whether by avocation or profession.