This Sunday you’ll be able to hear Peter Schickele talking to Elliott Forrest on radio station WQXR. It will be a great way to find out more about 40 years of annual New York P.D.Q. Bach concerts, including the upcoming ones at Symphony Space, and perhaps other topics such as the recent concert where Prof. Schickele recorded a DVD. It may also be a good way to recreate the experience of the WTWP: Classical Talkity-Talk Radio recording where Peter and Elliott were both disk jockeys on that venerable radio station. But now Elliott Forrest has left WTWP for the New York-based WQXR, which means that instead of hearing this on a CD, you can hear it live at 11:00 a.m. EST on December 18th at 96.3 on your FM dial or online at http://www.wqxr.com. (The online streaming is hosted by Radio@AOL, so get there early in case you have to download new software or something.) You won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear Prof. Schickele talking to the man who pioneered the idea of putting classical music radio personalities on the sides of city busses, inspiring the WTWP CD cover art.
The November 2005 Crossword Puzzle has been posted on this Web site. In fact, as its name implies, it was posted in November, but we are only belatedly getting around to pointing out that fact. As always, this puzzle was written by Peter Schickele himself, in his unique Peter-Schickele-himself style, and also as always, it is available in both an interactive solve-it-online version and a more traditional print-it-out version, and as never before, the puzzle is called “don’t just situate there—do something”, which is good advice in addition to being an intriguing clue.
More recently posted on this Web site—in fact, just this very minute—is a page filling in the missing details about the previously-mentioned but still exciting concert that is being filmed for a DVD release: P.D.Q. Bach in Houston: We Have a Problem! This page contains everything we didn’t know about the concert when we first announced it, including lists of some of the pieces being performed and some of the performers performing the pieces being performed. If you’ve been unsure whether you should see this in the theater or wait for it to come out on DVD, get the details from the Houston DVD Concert page.
And while Prof. Schickele is in Houston, P.D.Q. Bach’s music is making its way all the way back to Europe. The Harmonie Municipale Dudelange has bravely programmed the Grand Serenade for an Awful Lot of Winds and Percussion in their gala concert in Luxembourg, a location closer to P.D.Q. Bach’s final resting place in Baden-Baden-Baden than any other concert ever that anybody’s bothered to write to this Web site to tell us about. See the details on the page of concerts that anybody bothered to write to this Web site to tell us about.
Yes, this year marks the 40th anniversary of very-nearly-yearly concerts of the music of P.D.Q. Bach in New York City. To put this in perspective, consider that this is two years longer than it took Brian Wilson to finish one record album. Also to put this in perspective, a retrospective of music from these concerts is being presented at Symphony Space this year, thus becoming one of these annual concerts while at the same time paying tribute to them. Also paying tribute to this amazing run of concerts is a new feature on the Web site, a complete timeline of information about all 40 years of concerts, including lists of music played, and sometimes including photos from concert flyers that haven’t been seen in many years and authentic radio commercials that haven’t been heard in almost as long. This informative and educational yet interesting presentation is certain to put the 40 years of concert making and this year’s retrospective in perspective.
Two concerts have been added to the schedule while nobody was looking. The first is a performance of P.D.Q. Bach and Peter Schickele: The Jekyll and Hyde Tour in Troy, New York, at the very same hall where Peter Schickele was a guest on a live taping of From The Top two years ago. In fact, it’s so first, it’s only two weeks away, on November 6th.
The other concert takes place on December 9th in Houston, Texas with Peter Jacoby leading Orchestra X (no, that’s their real name, not a pseudonym to hide their involvement in a P.D.Q. Bach concert). This concert is a collection of old favorites that might be called P.D.Q. Bach’s Greatest Hits, pieces which are so popular that Acorn Media will be bringing their video recording equipment to the concert hall to capture the visuals along with the audios, so that both can be included on a future DVD release. The line-up includes Iphigenia in Brooklyn (whose “Trumpet Involuntary” was considered too visual to be included on the recording of the first public P.D.Q. Bach concert but is not too visual to be included on the DVD), New Horizons in Music Appreciation (the Beethoven 5th Symphony Sportscast), and other pieces that have to be seen to be believed.
And you can see it and believe it yourself, without waiting for the DVD, by being in the audience for this historic concert, just like visionary pioneers who were in the audience at the 1965 Town Hall concert. Everybody who has written to this Web site asking which CD contains the Beethoven Sportscast, or asking for concerts in Texas, or who wants to drive their Studebaker to Stude Hall, this is your chance to see history in the making, P.D.Q. Bach in Houston: We Have a Problem!
And speaking of people writing to the Web site about concerts, it turns out that the new page listing concerts of music by Peter Schickele and P.D.Q. Bach presented by people other than Peter Schickele has become quite popular, with several people who are not Peter Schickele sending in information about upcoming concerts. Although no camera crews will be there, you may want to check out these concerts too, which range from North Carolina to Montana to California. Meanwhile, the Winter 2006 list of upcoming Schickele Mix broadcasts has been posted too.
Two recently released CD’s may be of interest to readers of this news column as they both contain music by Peter Schickele. One of them is from the flute duo Married Flutes, who released a CD of music for two flutes and piano, including the first ever recording of Peter Schickele’s Trio Serenade. This piece has five movements which Mr. Schickele describe as ranging “from a gentle pastoral to a gutsy rustic dance”, by way of “a rather jazz-tinged Mexico, a mysterious jungle and a kaleidoscope.” The CD also contains works by Steven Van Wye, Caesar Giovannini, Gabriel Fauré, and Gary Schocker.
The other new CD of interest contains a recording of Monochrome III for nine clarinets. In this case, the nine clarinets are played by Bryan A. Crumpler, Bryan A. Crumpler, Bryan A. Crumpler, and six more Bryan A. Crumplers, all of whom were so inspired by the sounds in this piece that they named the whole CD Monochrome and included multi-track recordings of other multi-clarinet pieces by Yvonne Desportes, Gerard Bertouille, and Desire Dondeyne, plus a clarinet choir arrangement of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.
These two new recordings are not sold at Ye Olde Schickele Shoppe, but instead are available directly from the artists’ Web sites. To make these recordings easier to find, the Hard To Find Recordings page has been updated to include links to these sites, where you can find complete track listings and audio samples along with instructions on ordering.
A previous news item a few months ago (see below) promised that the 2005-2006 concert season would be announced in a few months, and since then is now, this is it. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Afterwork Masterworks lecture/concerts were so successful last season that not only has the CSO asked Mr. Schickele to present some more of them this season, but the New York Philharmonic has arranged its own lecture/concert series called Inside the Music with Peter Schickele. In both cases you can hear an informative and entertaining lecture on music ranging from Rossini’s Overture to “William Tell” to Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, with music samples provided by a world class symphony orchestra.
Another lecture series that is continuing this year is the one at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City, where this year Mr. Schickele will explain Why Mozart’s “The Man”. But Mr. Schickele’s own music has not been forgotten; his eagerly-awaited Concerto for Viola and Orchestra will receive its world premiere with The Pasadena Symphony and Danielle Farina, viola.
In addition, several of Prof. Schickele’s P.D.Q. Bach concerts will be presented around the country. P.D.Q. Bach and Peter Schickele: the Jekyll and Hyde Tour will make an oft-requested appearance in Texas and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will host a special New Year’s Eve performance of P.D.Q. Bach Strikes Back. There will be performances of P.D.Q. Bach: The Vegas Years in Arkansas and Los Angeles and, by either popular demand or an amazing coincidence, even a concert in Las Vegas this season. As the number of different shows available for concert tours has grown, so has the Web site’s section describing them, now including information about the latest program P.D.Q. Bach: 40 Years of Musical Mayhem as well as audio clips from all four different concert programs.
The times, dates, locations, and other information about the above concerts, as well as about a week-long residency at Skidmore College and a concert of Mr. Schickele’s chamber music by Lyric Chamber Music Society, can be found on the newly-updated Concert Schedule page, along with a promise of another concert announcement in yet another few months, this one for the 2005 New York P.D.Q. Bach concerts, the 40th anniversary of annual December concerts.
Another group celebrating a 40th anniversary is The American Chamber Ensemble, who has marked the occasion by recording an all-Schickele CD featuring music for a clarinet with other instruments or other clarinets. The most clarinet intensive of them all is Monochrome III, the first recording of any piece from his Monochrome series of music for groups of a single instrument, in this case nine clarinets. The CD also includes rousing renditions of the Octet, scored for the same eight instruments that Schubert used in his own famous Octet, as well as two of the most popular recorded Peter Schickele pieces: the Serenade for Three and the Quartet for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano. In case it is hard to imagine what nine clarinets sound like, the new page for the aptly titled The American Chamber Ensemble Plays Peter Schickele CD includes several audio samples to go with the complete track listings.
Peter Schickele will be a guest on a live broadcast of Garrison Keillor’s radio program, A Prairie Home Companion on July 2, 2005 at 6:00 p.m. The show will be broadcast from Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts (the fabled home of the Boston Pops) and can be heard on many public radio stations across the country at the same time. (If you can’t attend in person or hear a local broadcast, find an internet broadcast through http://www.publicradiofan.com/.) It is difficult to know ahead of time what Mr. Schickele will be doing on this show, but on one previous appearance on Garrison Keillor’s show 15 years ago he played the roles of Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky and an aging Rock & Roll star in addition to performing some of his own pieces, including Songs From Shakespeare, with David Düsing. Mr. Düsing will be on hand for this performance too, which is fortunate, as the Boston Pops won’t be around that evening.
Speaking of large bands from Massachusetts, the Metropolitan Wind Symphony has been commissioning new music for winds for many years, including Peter Schickele’s Metropolitan Wind Serenade in 1995. They have recently put these pieces together on a new CD called Spanning The Century. The Schickele work is in five movements, all evocative of life in the big cities. Although the CD cannot be ordered directly from this Web site, it can be ordered even more directly from the MWS themselves. A link to their order form has been added to our Hard To Find Recordings page.
In other news, old friends The Armadillo String Quartet are planning a triple-header concert, containing one piece each by Peter Schickele, Prof. Schickele, and P.D.Q. Bach. Even more impressive, for this event they’re striking out on their own, playing all of these pieces without Prof. Schickele traveling out to California to help them. To encourage such independent thinking and fearless concert planning, we have created a new page to list concerts with the music of Peter Schickele and P.D.Q. Bach that are performed by ambitious groups without Mr. Schickele. Now with this new page you will be able to find out about other concerts that we find out about, or help others find out about your own concerts that contain Schickele’s music. So, for more details on the Armadillo’s July 18th concert, see this brand new page of Mr. Schickele’s Nonappearances, which is a great counterpart to the old page of Peter Schickele’s Appearances where we’ve listed the July 2nd A Prairie Home Companion (or the Schickele Mix program schedule page which was recently updated to include the programs for Summer 2005).
Our last announcement of newly scheduled concerts told about concerts on both the East and West coast of the United States (including the NJIO benefit concert, which I just can’t mention often enough). This new announcement of even-newer-ly scheduled concerts completes the picture by telling about concerts on the North and South Coasts, but even more so. In fact, in both cases, the concerts are just beyond the coasts, across the water, on the next body of land: Ottawa, Ontario, just north of the North Coast, and Amelia Island, just off the East Coast of Florida, which is part of the South Coast of America. Or even if that’s poor map-reading, there’s no disputing that both of these concerts are part of larger chamber music festivals, each containing a full concert of P.D.Q. Bach music and another concert with some Peter Schickele music.
The rest of the summer concert season is rounded out with a concert by the U.S. Air Force Band of the West in San Antonio, Texas containing both P.D.Q. Bach and Peter Schickele music; a performance of P.D.Q. Bach and Peter Schickele: The Jekyll and Hyde Tour in Great Barrington, Massachusetts; and Peter Schickele and his wife narrating Carnival of the Animals and Facade at the delightful outdoor Maverick Concert Hall in the woods near Woodstock, New York. (I won’t even try to explain what coasts those concerts are near.) This shows that June, July, and August will contain an impressive list of concerts this year, especially considering that the usual concert season ends in May. (The 2005-2006 concert season will be announced in a few months.)
And if the schedule of upcoming concerts is hard to predict, that’s nothing compared with trying to predict when new crossword puzzles will be posted. There’s generally a new puzzle posted on this site every Spring and every Fall, though exactly when (or if) this will happen varies unpredictably. And this year, unlike most of the previous years, is no exception, with the new Spring puzzle being posted sooner than anyone would ever expect. In fact, it’s there now, and as with previous puzzles, this one, titled “BB x 3”, is available both in an interactive version to solve on-line and a printable version to solve with pencil or pen.
Also newly available is the recording of Peter Schickele’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra. It’s a sumptuous recording by the people who commissioned the work and premiered it last year. Robert Spring handles the virtuoso clarinet part, and the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra with Timothy Russell conducting provides the required accompaniment, including trombone solo, celesta glissandos, and a dixieland band. If that’s something that must be heard to be believed, check out the sample audio clips. And hey, since the recording of the Concerto for Oboe is still as out-of-print and hard to find as ever, and both the Concerto for Bassoon and the Concerto for Flute have still never been recorded at all, why not get this sparkling new recording of the Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra?
Two concerts have been added to the Spring concert schedule, one each on the East and West Coast of the United States. The one coming up soonest and furthest to the west is the annual “Music of Peter Schickele” concert by the Armadillo Quartet. This series has been going on for 15 years now, and this year’s concert features guest clarinetist Michelle Zukovsky and guest pianist Guy Hallman joining Peter Schickele and the Armadillos in playing such Peter Schickele works as Serenade for Three and String Quartet No. 1 “American Dreams”. Unlike previous years, this year’s concert also has the distinction of being performed two different times: on April 4th at Caltech and April 5th at a secret location in Brentwood.
In contrast, the concert on the East Coast is only being performed once, which is probably a good safety precaution, considering it consists entirely of the music of P.D.Q. Bach. This concert is on May 21st at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, a mere 22.67 miles and five months from the last P.D.Q. Bach concert in New York City. This concert also features the same stellar performers as that New York concert—off-coloratura soprano Michèle Eaton and tenor profundo David Düsing—but this time performing completely different pieces, including A Little Nightmare Music. This opera in one irrevocable act is based on a dream that P.D.Q. Bach had the night of December 4, 1791, the night that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died and Antonio Salieri didn’t. Prof. Schickele will be playing the role of Antonio Salieri and Todd van Beveren will try to survive the night in the role of Mozart. This concert is a gala benefit for the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra, who will be supplying several musicians to be Mozart’s chamber orchestra, a few people to play other P.D.Q. Bach works such as the Schleptet and Fuga Meshuga, and one measly keyboard player to play all four different keyboard instruments in the Twelve Quite Heavenly Songs, including calliope and push-button chord organ.
More information on both of these concerts, including links for ordering tickets, can be found on the concert schedule page. If it’s difficult to choose between concerts on opposite coasts, the decision can be based on whether you live east or west of the Mississippi River. And on both sides of the Mississippi you can listen to broadcasts of Schickele Mix—if not on a local radio station then on stations that broadcast over the Internet—whose Spring program schedule has just been added to the Schickele Mix schedule page.