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July 16, 2000

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The Schickele Mix

In celebration of Peter Schickele's birthday (7/17/2000), we offer a program of both his own compositions and works of P.D.Q. Bach discovered by his comic alter-ego, Professor Peter Schickele of the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople.

A few words about the real Peter Schickele: He was born on 7/17/1935 in Ames, Iowa and raised in Washington D.C. and Fargo, North Dakota. He graduated from Swarthmore College in 1957 as the only music major and went on to study composition under Vincent Persichetti at Julliard. He's an internationally-recognized composer with over a hundred works for symphony orchestras, choral groups, chamber ensembles, movies (including the score for the 1971 science fiction classic Silent Running and the film version of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are) and television. His numerous and varied commissions have come from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Audubon String Quartet and our own St. Louis Symphony. His radio program Schickele Mix (whence comes the title of today's show) is heard on Public Radio International (but not, of course, in St. Louis).

His comic alter ego, Professor Peter Schickele of the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople, has been discovering the justifiably-neglected works of the last and least of J.S. Bach's many children, P.D.Q Bach, since 1965, while the real Peter Schickele was teaching at Julliard.

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
Station ID; Introduction WTWP Classical Talkity-Talk Radio Peter Schickele, Donna Browne, Elliott Forrest Once again, Schickele parodies bad public radio (his first shot across the bow was PDQ Bach On the Air back in 1970)
Sam and Janet WTWP Classical Talkity-Talk Radio Ann Burton, Steven Kelly Jones, instrumental ensemble The hitherto-undiscovered first movement for P.D.Q. Bach's "Knock Knock" cantata
Angus Dei* (from Missa Hilarious, S. N20) Portrait of P.D.Q. Bach John Ferrante (bargain counter tenor), Harris Poor (basso blotto), Ransom Wilson and Diva Goodfriend-Koven (tape recorders, hand flutes, corrugahorn, nose flutes), Early Anderson (trombonus interruptus), Duh Brooklyn Boys Choir, New York Pick-Up Ensemble *No, that's not a misprint.
Who is Sylvia? (from the Liebeslieder Polkas, S. 2/4) Liebeslieder Polkas Anne Epperson, David Oei, Prof. Peter Schickele (five-handed piano), Swarthmore College Chorus One of ten poems by British authors set by P.D.Q., probably at the instigation of his friend Jonathan "Boozey" Hawkes during P.D.Q.'s "Soused" period in Wein-am-Rhein. P.D.Q. also wrote some additional lyrics for this one.
Aria and chorus: "Howdy There" Oedipus Tex and Other Choral Calamities Prof. Peter Schickele, chorus and orchestra cond. by Newton Wayland Oedipus Tex is a tragic cantata set in the town of Thebes Gulch, Texas. The manuscript was allegedly found at the Alamo, sewn into a shirt worn by Davy Crockett in a vain attempt to create a bullet-proof vest.
What's My Melodic Line? P.D.Q. Bach on the Air I Virtuosi di Hoople cond by Prof. Schickele Contestants try to stump I Virtuosi and win a plaster bust of Giuseppe Torelli
Molto Moderato Music for an Awful Lot of Winds and Percussion Turtle Mountain Naval Base Tactical Wind Ensemble From P.D.Q. Bach's Six Contrary Dances (S. 39)
from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (James Joyce); All the Pretty Little Horses (traditional); Childhood III (Arthur Rimbaud) Baptism - A Journey Through Our Time Joan Baez, Ensemble cond. by Peter Schickele From one of Schickele's serious efforts. Baptism consists of poems and prose selections read and sung by Joan Baez, who also picked out and edited the pieces. Schickele composed and conducted the music.
Quodlibet for Small Orchestra P.D.Q. Bach at Carnegie Hall Chamber orchestra cond. by Jorge Mester From the liner notes: "Written by Prof. Schickele while he was music critic for the Hoople (N.D.) Scoop, this piece illustrates the danger of exposing highly retentive and unoriginal minds to a great variety of musical fare." It raises plagiarism to the level of art.
Introduction; Royal March of the Lions; Hens and Roosters; Wild Asses; Tortoises Sneaky Pete and the Wolf Peter Schickele (narrator), Ralph Markham and Kenneth Broadway (pianists), Atlanta Symphony cond. by Yoel Levi From Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals, with verses written and read by Schickele. The notion of tacking humorous spoken introductions on to each of the movements originated with Ogden Nash. Offered the opportunity to update Nash's poems for a 1991 New Year's Eve concert by the New York Philharmonic, Schickele wound up writing a completely new set of verses. Also on this CD: Schickele's re-writing of the narration for Prokoviev's Peter and the Wolf, now titled Sneaky Pete and the Wolf and set in the wild west.

Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.

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