Valdosta Daily Times


September 19, 2012

VSU Music hails the comic return of P.D.Q. Bach

VALDOSTA — EDITOR’S NOTE: An article on a past P.D.Q. Bach performance inadvertently ran in Wednesday’s paper editions of The Times. This is the correct information for this weekend’s shwo. The Times regrets the error.

VALDOSTA — P.D.Q. Bach twists Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony No. 3 into the “Erotica Variations.” Valdosta State University Music will present a humorous program featuring the works of this mythical composer.

For starters, there wasn’t really a person named P.D.Q. Bach. He is the fictional creation of Peter Schickele, a masterful composer of serious works, as well as the man who gave classical music a Spike Jones twist with P.D.Q. Bach.

The fictional biography behind P.D.Q. Bach is that he is the 20th son of famed composer Johannes Sebastian Bach. P.D.Q. is referred to as “the last and least son” of Bach.

In truth, Johannes Sebastian Bach was both prolific in music and children. He really did have 19 children. Several of his sons followed their father into music. These sons are known by the initials in front of their more famous, shared last name.

So, in the late ’60s and early ’70s, when Schickele wanted to have some fun and burst the bubble of pomposity that sometimes surrounds classical music, he claimed his spoof compositions were the works of the fictional P.D.Q. Bach.

Through numerous performances and albums, Schickele’s P.D.Q. Bach garnered a national following with the general public, but especially with classical musicians who got Schickele’s musical jokes on several levels.

In creating P.D.Q. Bach, Schickele didn’t just make fun of the real Bach’s works but has used the fictional P.D.Q. to have fun with the music structures of all classical composers.

So, a P.D.Q. Bach concert allows the serious musicians of the VSU music department and the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra to have some musical fun, all for the good cause of raising money for music student scholarships.

VSU’s recital will “expose” faculty and student performers from across the music department and university, as well as a variety of special guest artists from the community.

Making their P.D.Q. debut this year will be Nancy Warren, Bob Goddard, Hudson Hardesty Hsu, and The Valdosta Daily Times’ Dean Poling. Assorted canine “artists” will also be featured in a rare performance of PDQ’s “Wachet Arf,” with castrato soloist Kirby Matos North, very loosely based on the great Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata, “Wachet Auf.”


Valdosta State University Music’s P.D.Q. Bach concert is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, Whitehead Auditorium, VSU Fine Arts Building, corner of Oak and Brookwood. Admission: $10, with proceeds benefiting VSU Music student scholarships; free, VSU students with valid ID.


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