I went to a wedding. The young girl walked up the aisle with an old man as an organist played Pachelbel’s Canon and later the young girl walked down the aisle with a young man in time to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. The music was not particularly well played but the familiarity of the music made up for any deficiency in the performance.
Pachelbel wrote many pieces of music and most of them are lost but with the Canon, written more than three hundred years ago he donated a great work to humanity; we play it at weddings and funerals, at great events or perhaps like Funtwo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xjJXT0C0X4) at home on an electric guitar. The notes and rhythms of the Canon move our emotions from one place to another. Much of Pachelbel’s work seems to have been lost forever, as music goes in and out of fashion, but his Canon has endured.
Felix Mendelssohn wrote the Wedding March less than two hundred years ago and today thousands of musicians play the notes every week as church weddings end. Mendelssohn came from Jewish stock, and as a consequence in 1936 the Nazis pulled down his monument in Leipzig in a typical act of cultural vandalism that extremists regularly undertake in all parts of the world where they gain some purchase. However, Mendelssohn’s music has never been destroyed and it lives still to bring pleasure to those at weddings, as well as those in concerts.
There were two pieces of beautiful immortal music badly played on a rainy day as a couple got wed. That did not matter. I thought about the music and what it must be to have left such pieces of music to humanity, the pleasure that so many get from listening to it and the pleasure so many feel from trying to play it. Immortality is not what you can be but it can be what you leave. To have left the canon or the wedding march is true immortality because it lies in the music. If I could leave just one thing like Pachelbel I would dream after bringing feelings good dream good again.
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