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P.D.Q. Bach

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  • Born: Leipzig, Germany
  • Died: Wein-am-Rhein
  • Years Active: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s


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Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

The unfortunately prolific alter ego of composer Peter Schickele, P.D.Q. Bach is the last and least of the many children of Johann Sebastian Bach -- at least according to Schickele, reputedly the Professor of Music at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople. Releasing the beast of P.D.Q. Bach's music upon a drowsing world in the year 1965, Schickele set upon a course of performing and recording the composer's works as they were, like some kind of musical zombie, disinterred. The music has required some creativity in the development of instruments such as the left-handed sewer flute, the slide music stand, the windbreaker and others.

The works of P.D.Q. Bach have, over the years, included an opera, The Abduction of Figaro, which has been broadcast on television and made available on home video (this work includes the infamous aria, "Found a Peanut") and early attempts as stylistic fusions such as the bluegrass cantata "Blaues Grass, Grune Himmel." Curiously enough, many of the world's greatest orchestras have consented to perform the composer's work, but this may simply mean that there is no accounting for taste, even when there is no taste for accounting.

The works of P.D.Q. Bach continue to be performed worldwide, particularly by the Semi-Pro Musica Antiqua, with occasional recordings erupting on the Telarc label. Schickele's parody compositions are generally spot-on, with hilarious results, though once in a while he does tend towards self-indulgence, a sin quite easy to forgive considering the whole body of work.