||From the Vault...
© Telarc Records
Year of Release: 1989
Capriccio La Pucelle de
(The Maid Of
Prelude To Einstein On
The Preachers Of
Ballet In One
P.D.Q. Bach related sites:
P.D.Q. Bach is the brainchild of Peter Schickele, a musical satirist. Schickele
has emerged the "fictional composer" from the Johann Sebastian Bach family for four decades.
My first occurence of P.D.Q. Bach was discovering him in the Classical section of a local
music store. As a fellow DJ, two CDs were at this local record store, On The Air
and WTWP Classical Talkity-Talk Radio. Both albums focused on a radio DJ format,
using a standard radio show with DJ and Classical music. The gentleman who was at the counter
mentioned that P.D.Q. Bach was not your commonday arrangement of standard Classical music,
as previous customers complained of its comedical nature. P.D.Q. Bach should have really
been located in the comedy section of the record store.
On The Air is
truly a fantastic album, mixing the comedy with unique Classical music arrangements. I was
eager to listen and learn more of Peter Schickele's work. At the time, there weren't many of
the P.D.Q. Bach releases on CD. Now (in 2009), all of the recordings of P.D.Q. Bach are available
on CD, as this week we look at the 1989 release of the 1712 Overture And Other Musical Assaults.
No doubt, there are some Classical pieces throughout this album, such as the title
track. As you listen to this particular piece, there are short classical renditions of
"Yankee Doodle Dandy" and the Beatles' "Day Tripper." For the overall
Classical music lover, this piece can pass as a truly Classical work. It is actually a
parody of the 1812 Overture, by Peter Tchaikovsky.
"Bach Portrait" is a parody of Lincoln Portrait by Aaron Copland, and written
by Peter Schickele. Narration is also by Schickele, telling the story of Johann Sebastian
Bach. "Cappriccio La Pucelle de New Orleans" (The Maid Of New Orleans is more
of a comedy skit. Comedy mixed with Classical music has "Minuet Militaire," yet
"Prelude To Einstein On The Fritz" could pass as a regular Classical standard piece.
The 3-part "Preachers Of Crimetheus" combines the likes of "instruments", such as
the windbreaker, balloons, slide whistle, slide windbreaker, lasso d'amore, foghorn, bells,
and kazoo. The remaining two parts are extremely "musical"; not just in the Classical
sense, but more Comedy mayhem mixed.
The liner notes are as interesting (and hilarious) as the music: "Warning! The balloons
on track 2, "1712 Overture", the special sound effects on track 6, "Cappriccio La
Pucelle de New Orleans" and the foghorn on track 14 index 6, "The Preachers Of Crimetheus"
Variation 5 (foghorn, bells, kazoo) are recorded at a realistically high level. Damage could
result to speakers or other components if this program is played back at excessively high levels."
The works of P.D.Q. Bach is more for Comedy fans. It is quite interesting to listen to
the Classical pieces that can easily stand out as regular works for Classical related formats.
The introductions to each piece are comedic, and some of the Classical music is definitely
defined as Comedy. Yet P.D.Q. Bach is quite different, and may not be for all Classical
P.D.Q. Bach is not often heard on all-Classical stations. It easily fits more of the
Comedy format, such as hearing a song or two from his "works" on Dr. Demento, or any zany
comedy radio shows. WSVNRadio is "Everything in Music." And it is quite entertaining to
listen to something different than today's popular music. P.D.Q. is that difference, and
can easily give a breath of fresh air to today's standards, as Peter Schickele has been
entertaining his own audience for 40 years.
And by the way, P.D.Q. stands for "Pretty Damn Quick" or "Pretty Darn Quick."
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