Wednesday, August 24, 2005

La Schickele, La Schickula

Lileks mentioned one of my favorite musicians on his Bleat today and got me reminiscing. Peter Schickele is the premier comedic musician. There is none other like him. Prof. Schickele knows his music well. He has devoted his life to writing music that is funny under the pretense of having discovered music written by Bach's youngest brother, P.D.Q. Bach. The young Bach appears to have had a propensity for stealing music, writing terribly, misunderstanding the proper use of instruments and generally making a mess of things. I had the good pleasure of performing with Professor Schickele long ago when I was a concert musician (French horn) and found him beyond hysterical. Because I am a musician, I couldn't even tell you if he is funny to non-musicians, but it seems to me he must be funny to everyone on some level, but that perhaps the musicians get even more of the jokes.

I spent a summer at Interlochen and used my spending money to purchase the score to one of P.D.Q.'s operas. I spent the summer reading over it again and again, laughing out loud every time. The following is a small taste of P.D.Q.'s writing ability, which I hope you'll enjoy.

Monk’s Aria from Hansel and Gretel and Ted and Alice

Et expecto resurrecreation;
Et in unum Dominos and checkers;
Qui tollis peccata mundi morning.

Mea culpa kyrie elei-
Sonny Tufts et Allah in Pompeii;
Donna nobis pacem cum what mei;
Agnus and her sister Doris Dei;
Lord, have mercy on my solo.

Et in terra chicken pox romana;
Sic sic transit gloria mañana;
Sanctus estes Kefauviridiana
In flagrante delicto Svetlana;
Lord, have mercy on my solo.

Credo in, at most, unum deum;
Caveat nabisco mausoleum;
Coitus interruptus bonus meum;
Kimo sabe watchum what you sayum;
Lord, have mercy on my soul so low.


Anonymous barb said...

Oh,Jan. I remember when Dwayne first exposed me to PDQ Bach! We even saw him in concert, and Dwayne had seen him several times, I believe. What a great talent, and unbelievably hysterical! Thanks for bringing back some lovely memories....
Barb aka Lovely Wife

4:42 PM, August 24, 2005  
Blogger CGHill said...

I remember one concert that was billed as "P.D.Q. Bach vs. Oklahoma Youth Orchestra". It was a scream and then some.

It's out of production now, but Schickele had a wonderful one-hour radio show each week called "Schickele Mix." The reruns are still continuing, though.

8:42 PM, August 24, 2005  
Anonymous Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

I first saw him in Champaign-Urbana where he had an actual exploding calliope. Next I took Lovely Wife to see him in Tulsa where a tulsa motorcycle cop pulled him over for playing 6:8 in a 4:4 zone. Then one of the bass players accidentally got stabbed, EMSA backed onto the stage, pronounced him dead and a Bass player was sent in from the bull-pen. However, he was playing an electric bass.

He's one of the greats, right up there with Lester 'Roadhog' Moran & the Cadillac Cowboys, and Dave Bowan and the Tijuana Drum & Bugle Corps.

Remember, only he who is running, running, running, running.....knows.

10:03 PM, August 24, 2005  

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