||From the Vault...
"On The Air"
© Vanguard Records
Year of Release: 1988
|Bright And Early Show|
||ECHO SONATA FOR|
"DO YOU SUFFER?"
||NEW HORIZONS IN MUSIC|
Beethoven's Fifth Symphony
(with Robert Dennis)
|Dull And Late Show|
||SCHLEPTET IN E FLAT MINOR|
Larghissimo -- Allegro Boffo;
Menuetto con Brio ma senza Trio;
Adagio Saccarino; Yehudi
Presto Hey Nonny Nonnio
||FUGUE IN C MINOR (from the|
Toot Suite for calliope for hands)
||WHAT'S HAPPENING IN|
"IF YOU HAVE NEVER"
|* from Divers Ayres On|
P.D.Q. Bach related sites:
"On The Air"
Classical Music is outright outstanding... It is very calm, relaxing, and
can also be a great mood-setter. Appreciating the music of such Classical
giants as Bach, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky are always a treat. So, as I was
browsing through the Classical section at the local record stores, I couldn't
help observing the P.D.Q. Bach section. Two albums that were there were
On The Air, and Classical WTWP Talkity-Talk Radio.
Seeing that both these albums were formatted as radio shows, and being a huge
fan of radio broadcasting, I couldn't help but to grab these albums and listen
in. To my surprise, the gentleman at the register explained that the P.D.Q. Bach
albums were not like the common Classical albums. I bought them anyway, not only
because of the radio show format, but now I was really curious.
P.D.Q. Bach is the creation (yet they say that there was such a person as
P.D.Q. Bach), of
Professor Peter Schickele.
His observance of P.D.Q. Bach's music is easily described as Classical Music,
in a comedic atmosphere. And with last week's comedy review of
Steve Martin's A Wild And Crazy Guy,
it's a coincidence that one funny album would be reviewed on the WSVNRadio website,
followed by another.
First, let's see how this radio show is presented.
see selections listing.
The selections of this album were written as a radio show log,
which brought back memories for me, as I did the same for radio shows for
my Radio & TV course in High School. There are 6 tracks on this album, where
the first three consists of the Bright And Early Show, and the
remaining is the Dull And Late Show. The entire "broadcast" is
explained in the liner notes:
ON THE AIR
From Radio Station WOOF at the University of
Southern North Dakota at Hoople
PROFESSOR PETER SCHICKELE
brings you the chamber music of P.D.Q. Bach (1807-1742)?
with John Ferrante, countertenor
and I VIRTUOSI DI HOOPLE
(Peter Schickele, conductor)
on this week's installment of
REPORT FROM HOOPLE
The Bright And Early Show
The Signature Theme and Intro is an introduction as the
DJ (Peter Schickele) introduces the show to present the music of P.D.Q.
Bach. But as he prepares to play the song "Echo Sonata For Two
Unfriendly Groups Of Instruments" he experiences tape problems
throughout the entire song. In fact, the tape breaks on the air, yet the tape
gets fixed, but tape problems still persist. A Station Break is
then heard, followed by a Commercial -- Do You Suffer?".
This commercial is where we hear a woman singing opera, asking "Do you suffer
Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is the focus of "New Horizons In Music
Appreciation." Schickele explains that most classical music pieces are long,
and in most opera houses, the lights are turned down low, where people could not
read their programs while the music is playing throughout the concert.
P.D.Q. Bach's solution is heard, where as Beethoven's 5th is playing, we
hear a satire of two announcers (Peter Schickele and Robert Dennis) explaining
over the music what is going on. This reminds me of Spike Jones' "William
Tell Overture," where the descriptions and accounts are that of a sporting
event. Very funny selection... Time, Weather, News follows.
"Traumarai For Unaccompanied Piano" is the focus of the third track,
and it seems that as the song is playing, the microphones are left open, as we
can hear various crazy happenings going on. The Bright And Early Show
ends with a Station Break, Tag, and Signature Theme (as we heard
in the beginning of the show.)
The Dull And Late Show
Fun and music, and P.D.Q. Bach...
We hear "Schleptet In E Flat Minor," another classical piece, and this
one is more of a typical sounding classical piece, where this composition could
easily get radio airplay on "normal" classical radio stations, such as Chicago's
WNIB. (Note: WNIB changed its format to Classic Rock, and is now known as
97.1--WDRV-The Drive.) A Tag and Station Break follows.
"What's My Melodic Line?" is where listeners send in works of
composers from 1500-1750, and the musicians in the studio are expected to play
the compositions requested from the listeners. Two requests are correctly
identified. The last one was incorrectly identified. The Time and
News follows. The grand prize is where a listener who has "stumped"
the musicians, were to be entered, to where the winner would win the complete
works of Vivaldi, recorded on 45 rpm records, which would be sent once a week,
for the next 35 years.
"Fugue In C Minor" is a very comedical composition, where it really
sounds more Baroque/Calliope than Classical. "What's Happening In Home
Economics" is where a minor "stab" at Beethoven's music is compared to
Baroque/Calliope music. Suddenly, Peter Schickele was forced to admit that
he enjoys Beethoven's music, as if Beethoven's ghost had taken over forced
him, under Schickele's own free will (Beethoven's Revenge). A commercial,
and sign-off is heard, ending the program, and this very memorable album.
P.D.Q. Bach is more of a comedic look at Classical Music. This "radio
broadcast" has the style of another comedian, Stan Freberg. Throughout most
of the spoken dialogue, sound effects such as dogs barking, and dogs howling
are heard -- being the radio station call letters -- WOOF. As much as this
is a look at Classical Music in a much different way, there were die-hard
Classical Music fans who were offended that such a unique style of music was
handled in a comedic atmosphere. So, for the serious Classical Music fan,
depending on your sense of humor, this may or may not be an album that would
normally be recommended. Yet, for the humorist, and maybe for people who
do not especially like Classical Music, Peter Schickele's observance of P.D.Q.
Bach's music will bring laughter and many chuckles in listening to something that
Monty Python had always said... "And now for something completely different..."
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