Pachelbel’s Canon in D is one of the best-known and loved pieces of classical music in the world. It’s so well-known it’s a surprise when someone plays it so well it sounds brand new again, but that’s what Lee Jaehyung has done. Unfortunately, although he does have a YouTube Channel, not much is known about this incredibly talented young pianist.
As many of his videos are recorded in Seoul, South Korea, it seems likely that he lives in this area. His YouTube channel has a relatively modest 29,000 subscribers, but some videos of his performances on other channels have gone viral. The video of him playing Pachelbel’s Canon on Daily Busking has been viewed 20.2 million times!
The video starts at Sinchon station in Seoul. It’s not an impromptu performance, as the cameras are already set up, but it’s still incredible. Jaehyung sits down and starts to play, and it’s immediately obvious that this young man is a virtuoso. He plays flawlessly and so quickly that his fingers seem to be dancing across the keys.
It seems unfair that, at first, no one is paying attention to this fantastic performance. They glance over but seem too busy to actually stop and listen. Those who passed by will regret their decision if they watch this video. They’ll realise that they missed the chance to hear a master at work.
Many piano students are told always to play as if they were performing a recital, and Jaehyung certainly takes this to heart. He plays with such skill and passion he could be playing at Carnegie Hall or Sydney’s Royal Opera House rather than in a train station. This commitment begins to draw a crowd as commuters realise something special is occurring.
Pachelbel’s Canon is very widely used as a wedding march, so it is famous even among those who do not listen to classical music. It was composed by German composer Johann Pachelbel somewhere between 1680 and 1706. Strangely, the exact date of composition is unknown. It was written during the baroque musical period between 1600-1750. Many canons were written in this period, but Pachelbel’s is by far one of the most famous.
As the gorgeous melody floats around the station, people begin to pay attention. It is not one of the most challenging pieces to play, but Jaehyung’s speed and precision mark him as an expert. It is this skill, combined with the beauty of the piece, that draws a small crowd towards the piano. Soon the inevitable mobile phones appear, and spectators start to record this once-in-a-lifetime performance. A young boy also starts to dance, which adds a quirky element to the recording.