The Definitive Biography of P.D.Q. Bach

The Definitive Biography of P.D.Q. Bach

Peter Schickele

Language: English

Pages: 264

ISBN: 0394734092

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

What little-known son of a famous genius has been called:

"A musical blight"

"A one-man plague"

"History's most justifiably neglected composer"

"The worst musician ever to trod organ pedals" "A pimple on the face of music"

In this long-awaited hoax, possibly the most unimportant piece of scholarship in over two thousand years, Professor Peter Schickele has finally succeeded in ripping the veil of obscurity from the most unusual -- to put it kindly -- composer in the history of music: P.D.Q. Bach, the last and unquestionably the least of the great Johann Sebastian Bach's many children.















As they stepped into the empty tower their host pressed a button marked DOWN, which caused the bottom of the shaft to be filled with 500 pounds of goose feathers, thus averting an unpleasant end to an otherwise enjoyable evening. In this castle began the climactic event of P. D. Q. Bach’s life in Wein-am-Rhein. On the 30th of April 1807, about a month after P. D. Q. turned sixty-five, Prince Fred honored him with a concert, billed as a “P. D. Q. Bach Retrogressive,” in the Great Hall of the

town; as soon as she heard about P. D. Q.’s new whereabouts, Betty-Sue hurried to his floor-side, and not a moment too soon. For on the day after her arrival, at exactly eleven o’clock in the evening, May 5, 1807, P. D. Q. leaned over to Betty-Sue and said in a hoarse whisper, “Time, gentlemen.” With these closing words, “the walking pub,” as he used to be called in London, fell back and, at the age of sixty-five, exchanged this world for the next. PLATE 50 Since P. D. Q. was a wealthy man

that of P. D. Q.; she drank and ate and played the piano exactly as he had two centuries earlier. Unfortunately she did not inherit his constitution, and shortly after this photograph was taken she died at the age of twenty-nine. One of P. D. Q. Bach’s closest friends was an Alsatian artist named Hans-Jacques Pferdemerde; the page, in a 1780 sketchbook, on which these drawings occur is inscribed “chez le komponist P. D. Q. Bach, en attendant ihnen venir à” (“at the home of the composer P. D.

not known whether or not P. D. Q. completed The Musical Sacrifice; this ambitious six-voice fugue is the only part of it that has been found. The idea of the whole work is either an homage to or stolen from The Musical Offering, one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s last major works, whose thirteen parts are all based on the theme given to Bach by Frederick the Great when Bach visited Potsdam in 1747. The theme, or subject (or theme), of The Grossest Fugue was given to P. D. Q. by a burglar who passed

rarely bathed, at least in water, and he undoubtedly reasoned that since he didn’t use his shower hose for showering, he might as well use it for something else. Its tone is cleaner than that of the French horn, which in other respects it resembles to an upsetting degree. (Serenude, The Seasonings) Slide whistle. The slide whistle has been called a poor man’s trombone. Like the kazoo, it is nowadays mostly thought of, when it is thought of at all, as little more than a toy. In spite of its

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