TGR: Pachelbel’s Canon in D

Betcha never thought you’ll see something so classy being reviewed on this blog. Ha.

One of my earliest memories of childhood is of classical music. My parents had this one CD (remember those shiny, circular, metal things that spun round and made music?) of classical tracks specifically put together to lull energetic young punks to sleep. Each track, as I recall, even had additional calming sounds – waves swishing against the shore, birds chirping, leaves rustling … you get the idea. Till today, whenever I hear the sound of waves breaking the bustle of thoughts in my head quieten down and I am enveloped in a strange but wonderful sense of peace.

My second earliest memory of music is of the Can Can. But that’s a whole story on its own so let’s save that for another day.

Of all the masterpieces that swirled around in my curious young mind as I gently dozed off at night, the one that struck me the most was always, always, Canon in D. 20 years on, that single piece of music never fails to make something deep in my consciousness tremble ever so slightly, like faint ripples in the wake of a tiny pebble piercing the surface of a pond. When the first notes begin, I am always rendered speechless for a second or two. It’s like my heart is fully enraptured every time, even though it’s a familiar tune; so much so that I can call it to mind whenever and never miss a note. It’s just so beautiful. That one song, that one arrangement of musical notes, is to me the kind of beautiful that always leaves you wanting more. It is never consummate and it will never be because then it wouldn’t be as beautiful and intoxicating as it is. It warms the parts in my heart that normally sit cold; it invigorates me so I feel like someone has just walked into the room that is my mind, taken a little brush and cleaned out the dusty corners that no one notices or cares for.

I’ve read and been in discussions a lot about the sublime, most famously extolled by the philosopher Kant, and which is basically the quality of overwhelming greatness, or a terrible beauty. Funnily enough, I’ve seen a great deal of art, but nothing visual has ever moved me in the same way Canon in D does; nothing comes closer to fulfilling the quality that is the sublime. Sure, I’ve heard the stories of people breaking down and crying when faced with a Rothko, or sobbing uncontrollably under the gentle gaze of Marina Abramovic, but for me, experiencing artworks are more often than not an intellectual engagement – I think, but I don’t really feel. Music is always the one able to penetrate deeper into my soul, pick up the core of my emotions and shake it up. Great scenery can also do that to me. I sometimes think that looking out the window on a train into the countryside is a pretty sublime experience as it is.

Maybe you’re thinking, wow, a 22 year old that listens to classical music? FAKE FANCY. She probably also has really neat hair all the time and can name every instrument in an orchestra. Well, both those assumptions are very false. Today I came across the mention of a trombone in the book I’m reading and realised I have no idea what a trombone looks like. (Just googled it – voila, TROMBONE) Nah, I listen to everything from pop to hip hop to praise and worship to spanish music. Not kidding – here‘s some really good spanish music for you. Seriously, that song by Jesse and Joy is so amazing. Give it a listen. Anyway, the point is that I listen to classical music in phases – namely when I have to concentrate and write essays and don’t want Taylor singing about starbucks lovers in my head – although I always have time for Pachelbel’s Canon. And sometimes, things are better experienced without words. Maybe it’s that you feel more strongly and more freely without having a word prescribed to that emotion, whatever it may be. Or just that classical music is a pretty damn awesome genre.

Me thinks: I’m quite convinced that my deep, profound connection with Canon in D is quite likely very exclusive to, well, me, but I hope this makes you think a little about listening to more classical music, if you don’t already! If you truly consider the things that are being sung about in mainstream music today, far too many songs are ridiculously shallow, or worse, crude and promoting all sorts of bad stuff. Sometimes words just don’t do justice to music, emotions or the beauty out there in the world – but a classical tune just might. 🙂

Cheers (to Johann Pachelbel, and the greatness of a legacy that moves hearts till this day!) x

Of course, I couldn’t possibly end without THIS:

Enjoy. According to the title of the upload this is ‘the best version’ so obviously it must be.

Goodnight from London!


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