Peter Schickele is scheduled to be a guest on the WNYC radio program Soundcheck this Monday, December 22, 2003, at 2:00 p.m. Soundcheck host John Schaefer will very likely ask Mr. Schickele, or even Prof. Schickele, about the upcoming P.D.Q. Bach concerts in New York City, as well as about Mr. Schickele’s own music. If you’re already in the greater New York City area at that time, you can listen in on WNYC-FM at 93.9 on your radio dial. If you’re not there at that time, you can listen in over the Internet at http://www.wnyc.org/music/. If that time has already passed, WNYC usually posts archives of these broadcasts a few days later, and they might very well do the same thing with this one. Or if that time isn’t here yet, you can revisit WNYC’s archive of last year’s Soundcheck appearance while you’re waiting. That time again: 2:00 p.m., December 22, 2003.
Last year there was an announcement in this space about the world premiere of Peter Schickele’s chamber music piece for children, The Emperor’s New Clothes. That premiere went so well that immediately thereafter the musicians (An die Musik) and narrator (Pe ter Schickele) were rushed into a recording studio so that now a year later this charming new adaptation of the classic children’s story could be released on CD and announced in this very same space. The recording is part of An die Musik’s series Timeless Tales and Music of Our Time, and you can read more about it and even hear audio clips at Ye Old Schickele Shoppe.
You can also read more about and hear audio clips from the Joan Baez album Baptism, which consists of poetry sung and spoken to Peter Schickele’s original music. That’s the last in a trio of Joan Baez/Peter Schickele collaborations which Vanguard Records has been reissuing in shiny new packages digitally remastered from the original tapes. For Baptism—Original Master Series you can even hear the audio clips from the three bonus tracks, never-before-released cuts from the original recording sessions containing poems by William Blake, James Joyce, and Henry Treece. New liner notes by historian Arthur Levy put this album in historical perspective, along with the other two Joan Baez/Peter Schickele collaborations, Noël, and Joan, which as a trio he calls “one of those once-in-a-lifetime synergies that worked.”
Another recording being reissued in a new form is the Audiobook edition of The Definitive Biography of P.D.Q. Bach. Although the CD’s and cassettes of this Grammy-nominated recording still remain as out-of-print as ever, an alert Web site visitor has pointed out that the audiobook is now available for downloading from audible.com and iTunes. So you can’t buy it on CD, but you can download it and burn it on CD yourself; I mean, if you have to do that much work yourself, why not just read the original paperback book? But as a service to those who missed buying the CD or cassette, or who just like downloading audio, we’re now including instructions for downloading on the Definitive Audiobook page.
Another alert visitor wrote in with the answer to the question posed in
the Peter Schickele Scrapbook last month: who is the mystery photographer
of the “Fragile” picture? The answer turns out to be one of the
members of the Armadillo String Quartet, the hosters of the annual “Music
of Peter Schickele” concerts in Los Angeles. This startling
revelation also prompted updating the Concert
Schedule Page to announce that this year’s “Music of Peter
Schickele” concert will take place on April 19th, at Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in downtown
Los Angeles. So if you were planning on checking out the new Walt Disney Concert Hall which has been so much in the news lately, be sure to walk across the street and visit Zipper Hall and the Armadillo String Quartet on April 19th too. Or in case you aren’t going to be in Los Angeles in April, we’ve also added new listings for all of the other Peter Schickele concerts through May of 2004, including special event concerts with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York and Orchestra 2001 in Philadelphia, as well as recently scheduled concerts in Omaha, Nebraska, and the one in Chicago, Illinois which many different alert visitors have been asking about. Or in case you aren’t going to be in any of those cities, we’ve included updated listings for the upcoming Schickele Mix broadcasts, through March of 2004, and also another mention of the previously mentioned new CD’s.
Two new features have been added to this Web site, one informative and the other entertaining. The second of them is a kind of audio visual photo album/art gallery/listening booth/page-with-a-bunch-of-stuff-on-it called The Peter Schickele Scrapbook. As miscellaneous as its name implies, this new page contains some artwork related to Mr. Schickele, various photographs of Mr. Schickele in various places, and various audio files, including, for the first time ever, a streaming audio recording of a complete Peter Schickele composition not available anywhere else except in The Peter Schickele Scrapbook.
Also new to this Web site are some pages with lyrics to P.D.Q. Bach compositions. This is in response to numerous inquiries received from people who had a hard time understanding such lyrics when hearing them in concert or on recordings. We’ve collected together those lyrics for those P.D.Q. Bach pieces which had received the most inquiries, or which were hardest to understand, or which were easiest to find, and put them on the P.D.Q. Bach lyrics pages in a stylish presentation that’s, if not suitable for framing, at least easier to understand.
Then on one of the old pages we’ve added some new information about Mr. Schickele’s appearance on the radio program From The Top. Frequent readers of these news items are already aware that the live taping of this radio program can be attended by going to Troy, New York this coming Friday, November 7, 2003. But those of you who aren’t going to Troy this weekend and prefer just listening to radio programs on the radio may be interested in learning that the program will be broadcast on public radio stations starting the week of January 19, 2004. If so, some suggestions on how to find a broadcast in your area or on the internet can be found on the newly updated Concert Schedule Page.
Last year began a new trend of having the annual New York City December P. D. Q. Bach concerts in additional places other than New York City, starting with a New York concert in Philadelphia. This year that trend continued, with previously-announced New York concerts scheduled for New Jersey, and even Utah. And now that trend has started to spiral out of control, with a new addition to the concert calendar which makes the New York concerts truly an event that reaches to the entire other side of the country: a December 12th concert in San Francisco, California. This concert contains the same works as the other New York concerts, including Variations on an Unusually Simple-Minded Theme and the “Safe” Sextet, but whereas the New York Pick-up Ensemble was willing to pick up and take their act on the road to New Jersey, they aren’t able to take it on an airplane to California, so Prof. Schickele has managed to find a local band to fill in for them—some of you may have even heard of the San Francisco Symphony, which will be conducted by Edwin Outwater, although the singers will still include Michèle Eaton and David Düsing, and the other singer will still be Prof. Peter Schickele, as will be the piano soloist and host for the evening.
While you’re visiting San Francisco in December, you can still listen to Schickele Mix, at least if you’re in a part of San Francisco that can pick up the broadcasts on KRCB (Sundays at 4:00). And if you’re wondering which episode of Schickele Mix will be broadcast that weekend, the Schickele Mix Program Sequences page now lists all of the programs through almost the end of December. There are programs on clarinets, tangos, and transitions, all leading up to the aforementioned almost end of December when, appropriately, some of the classic Christmas programs will be broadcast. Now San Franciscites can use the Program Sequences page to plan their Fall listening schedule. Actually, you can listen to these radio broadcasts even if you aren’t in San Francisco (if all else fails, you can still find an Internet broadcast at http://www.publicradiofan.com), just like you can attend the annual New York P. D. Q. Bach concerts even if you aren’t in New York.
A new crossword puzzle has been added to the Peter Schickele Web Site, and this one is very timely, as it celebrates a Golden Anniversary. Yes, this month, August of 2003, is the anniversary of an event so significant (at least to the nostalgia-minded among us), so momentous (in an historical trivia sort of way), so downright important (at least to its small circle of friends), that it actually inspired the creation of a crossword puzzle about it! If you already know what happened in that August of bygone lore, then you will already have a head start in solving this puzzle (either the interactive version or the printable version). If you don’t know now, you’ll get to see some relevant historical information when you are done solving it.
Last December we announced that Vanguard Records was gradually reissuing its entire series of Joan Baez recordings with digitally remastered sound, additional tracks, and new liner notes, starting with Noël, a collection of Christmas carols arranged by Peter Schickele. Last month this project reached the eighth Joan Baez album, and the second one arranged by Mr. Schickele. Joan, as the 1967 album and Ms. Baez are both called, contained arrangements of popular songs by popular song-writers including Lennon & McCartney, Paul Simon, Tim Hardin, and Richard Fariña. This 2003 reissue contains, in addition to the remastered sound, two new tracks, including Mr. Schickele’s arrangement of Autumn Leaves from the original Joan recording sessions. New liner notes by historian Arthur Levy provide an inside look at the making of the recording and the burgeoning short-lived trend of folk singers recording with classical orchestras.
Also of historical interest is the original poster promoting the Schickele Mix radio program. This poster, incorporating the Periodic Table of Musics, was originally offered by Public Radio International to Schickele Mix listeners who wanted to be able to look at Schickele Mix and not just listen to it, but for many years the poster has been unavailable an account of there weren’t any left. But recently an alert PRI employee stumbled upon an entire bunch of these posters, which had lain hidden unsuspected somewhere in the PRI offices. The entire bunch has now wound its way to our own lavish warehouse facilities in Swanton, VT, and are being offered for sale by our own Ye Olde Schickele Poster Shoppe. And these babies are bargain priced, available at the same price as the much smaller posters that were already being sold there, and also included in a money-saving package with all of those other posters. You can see a picture of and get more information about this old poster or the new Joan CD at Ye Old Schickele Shoppe.
Several eager Web site visitors have asked about the upcoming annual December New York P.D.Q. Bach concerts, wanting to know when, and in some cases, where they will be this time around. Even fewer people have asked about the concerts on the road the following year. So even though we don’t usually post this information until we’re sure it’s correct (usually about September or so), as a public service to that part of the public which will be served by this information, we’ve fearlessly posted all of the upcoming 2003-2004 season concerts so far on the Concert Schedule Page.
Here’s a brief overview: the annual December New York concerts are December 26 and 27 at Lincoln Center in New York, December 28 at NJPAC in Newark, New Jersey (a suburb of New York City), and December 18th through 20th in Utah (conveniently located nowhere near New York). They are called P.D.Q. Bach Strikes Back, and feature Variations on an Unusually Simple-Minded Theme and a newly-discovered orchestral version of the Twelve Quite Heavenly Songs. The 2004 season contains the world premiere of Peter Schickele’s own clarinet concerto in January, many different performances of P.D.Q. Bach and Peter Schickele: the Jekyll and Hyde Tour across the country during February through April, and a couple of miscellaneous concerts that feature some Schickele classics here and there, now and then.
Of course, the downside of posting this information so far in advance is that many of the listed links to concert halls where you can buy tickets are actually links to concert halls that are not yet selling tickets. But at least you can plan now and start camping out in front of the theater even if you can’t buy the tickets until the fall, or whenever it turns out to be.
One other downside of posting information too soon is that often new details surface which have to be added later. For example, earlier this month we listed the concert in Woodstock which includes Mr. Schickele narrating Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat plus a performance of Mr. Schickele’s Knight of the Burning Pestle, and now the listing has to be updated with more details because it turns out that this concert is a special 100th anniversary concert for the Woodstock Guild, and as befits the occasion they have assembled a stellar cast of performers, including not just musicians, but dancers and actors, to make this into a rarely seen full stage production. This updated listing now contains an entire page of information containing the cast list, program notes on both pieces, and a message from the producer. Now there is no other Web site around which includes this much information on this Woodstock Beat concert, or on P.D.Q. Bach Strikes Back, or on, in fact, the entire 2003-2004 Schickele season.
Peter Schickele’s appearances on the radio are not limited to Schickele Mix. Recently, two different radio programs invited Peter Schickele to be a guest on their shows, and both of these programs will be taped in front of live audiences. One of these programs is hosted by Christopher O’Riley, last seen on these pages as the famous concert pianist on P.D.Q. Bach’s The Short-Tempered Clavier. As part of his recovery program from playing the largest ever P.D.Q. Bach keyboard work (from memory, no less), Mr. O’Riley has been presenting the performances of young musicians on From The Top, the Public Radio International series broadcast weekly on many fine public radio stations. This Fall, his two worlds will collide as Peter Schickele, the man who discovered The Short-Tempered Clavier in the first place, will be Mr. O’Riley’s special guest on an upcoming episode of From The Top. The performance will be recorded before a live audience in Troy, New York on November 7th, 2003, and broadcast over many public radio stations starting on December 22nd, 2003.
Another program which is recorded on Fridays and broadcast on public radio stations shortly thereafter is, uh—Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!—yeah, that’s it. This NPR news quiz show is usually recorded on Friday mornings in a Chicago studio, but a special series of live tapings is taking place on various Thursday evenings in various cities that were among the first to air the program, including, amazingly enough, a program in Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Power Center on June 26, 2003, the day right before the Peter Schickele Meets P.D.Q. Bach concert in the very same theater (yes, the Power Center is a theater). This serendipitous convergence prompted the Wait, Wait gang to invite Mr. Schickele to be a guest on their show, I mean, since he was going to be there anyway.
To attend either of these radio program tapings in person, follow the links on the Concert Schedule Page to the proper ticket buying information. If you can’t attend them, catch the broadcasts on public radio shortly thereafter. If your local public radio stations don’t carry From The Top or Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!, you could look for a public radio station which does and also broadcasts over the Internet. A good resource for finding such Internet broadcasts is http://www.publicradiofan.com. (This also happens to be a good way of finding Schickele Mix broadcasts.)
Between those two radio programs, Mr. Schickele will also be a guest at a concert which is not being broadcast over the radio. Woodstock Percussion has invited Mr. Schickele to narrate one of his favorite works, Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale). To round out the concert, they’ve also scheduled one of Mr. Schickele’s own works: The Knight of the Burning Pestle. The place is Brydcliffe Theater in Woodstock, New York, and there is a choice of dates and times between July 18th and July 20th. Details of this concert, the two radio programs, and the previously mentioned Ann Arbor concert, are all listed on the Concert Schedule Page, along with two concerts from May that have already passed but haven’t yet been removed from the page. (Concerts after that, including the annual December concerts in New York, will be announced in September, if not sooner.)
The Chicago-based Orion Ensemble has just released a new recording of chamber music, including Peter Schickele’s Serenade for Three. This is the piece for clarinet, violin, and piano which crosses crossover boundaries by including a set of Peter Schickele variations on a theme by P.D.Q. Bach. This sparkling new CD is already hard to find—“not available in many stores”—but the Orion Ensemble has given us permission to sell it right here at Ye Olde Schickele Shoppe. We have also included sample audio clips from this CD so that you can compare it against the previous recording of Serenade for Three before buying. Or if you’re trying to complete your collection of Peter Schickele recordings, you can always get both of them and do the comparison on your own reliable stereo system.
And for those trying to complete your collection of Peter Schickele recordings, you are probably aware that there are recordings that are even harder to find than the new Orion Ensemble Serenade for Three. And so you’ve probably been thinking that it would be very helpful to know what you’re looking for. Even though we can’t always find the recordings themselves, now there is (at last!) a list, at least, of long lost Peter Schickele recordings. With the Hard To Find Recordings Page, you have a handy roadmap on your arduous trek in search of missing records.
Similarly, this Web site also now contains a Hard To Find Books Page, which does for books what the Hard To Find Recordings Page does for recordings, kind of just like you might expect. But one book that you won’t find on the Hard To Find Page is The Lexicon of Musical Invective, that intriguing compendium of bad reviews of good music (or vice versa, depending on what you like). The reason it isn’t on that page is not because it was written by Nicolas Slonimsky—in fact, this edition contains a new Foreword by Peter Schickele—but because it’s not hard-to-find; you can find it right here at Ye Olde Schickele Shoppe, and even pick up a copy of it while you’re ordering the new Orion Ensemble CD. This edition with the new foreword was actually published a few years ago, but for some reason we are only now getting around to selling copies of it.
For some other reason, we are also only now getting around to selling copies of the Where The Wild Things Are and Other Maurice Sendak Stories DVD. We had announced back in December that the classic animated version of Where The Wild Things Are (with the Peter Schickele score and narration), available on a videotape with other Maurice Sendak works such as In The Night Kitchen (with Peter Schickele narration), was being repackaged and also being made available on DVD for the first time. Now all of the details have been worked out so that if you didn’t get tired of waiting for us and buy it somewhere else, now you can buy it at Ye Old Schickele Shoppe while you’re picking up a good book and that oft-mentioned brand-new Orion Ensemble CD.
When P.D.Q. Bach wrote the lyrics “autumn is over and winter is gone; pardon me please, my good friends, if I yawn; ev’ryone acts as if spring were some big deal...” he might well have followed it by “it’s the summer concert schedule I want to know about.” Why he didn’t do this is a question left to those who will analyze his score for Four Curmudgeonly Canons in more detail, but you can bet it’s due to some musical technicality like “it doesn’t rhyme” or “it doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of the piece” and not because the summer concert schedule only rarely includes P.D.Q. Bach concerts, the usual touring season being January through May. But in fact, there is only one concert scheduled for the upcoming summer season, a performance of Peter Schickele Meets P.D.Q. Bach with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra on June 27th, at, in an amazing but irrelevant coincidence, this Web site’s webmeister’s own alma mater, the University of Michigan. So if you are not going to be in A2 for the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, you’re off the hook, P.D.Q. Bach concert-wise, until this December.
The summer schedule of Schickele Mix programs is much more comprehensive, with a different program scheduled to be broadcast every week of the season. The complete list is now available on the Schickele Mix Program Sequences page. This season contains a good selection of past programs, including several programs on waltzes and conductors (on separate programs, of course; not waltzing conductors), but perhaps the highlight of the season, for those interested in Mr. Schickele’s work before Schickele Mix, will be the two programs on music which composers wrote when they were very young, including First Things First, which included the original premiere radio broadcast of P.D.Q. Bach’s Sanka Cantata, recorded back when Prof. Schickele was still young enough not to know better.
A short march written by Peter Schickele a couple of years ago will make its premiere this year in March. The composition, Finish Line at the Rat Race, was written for Les Misérables Brass Band (you may remember Les Misérables Brass Band from Schickele Mix program number 19, which was broadcast on the radio a few weeks ago) to use as part of The March Project, a large collection of small marches from many different composers. Les Misérables Brass Band has spent the last couple of years collecting these short marches and finally has enough of them to present The March Project at Symphony Space in New York City (you may remember Symphony Space from Selected Shorts, which is broadcast on the radio every week). Mr. Schickele will be there too, and may even say a few words of introduction. The time of march is 8:30 p.m., one week from today, March 14, 2003. This concert has been added to the Concert Listing page, and just in time, too.
Is there a Fugue in your future? There is if you listen to Schickele Mix program number 55, the one that not only asks this question but answers it too. This program will be broadcast the week of April 23rd, but don’t take my word for it—check the Schickele Mix Program Sequences page, which has recently been updated to include the programs scheduled to be broadcast in the Spring of 2003. On this page you can find out about not only this fine fugue program but two other programs on fugues and nine more programs that are, alas, free of fugues, but instead are about other important musical topics such as yodeling and bassoons.
Meanwhile, two more concerts have been added to the Concert Listing page, and they are coming up pretty quickly. The first one of these to hit the concert halls is a presentation of P.D.Q. Bach & Peter Schickele: The Jekyll and Hyde Tour in none other than Akron, Ohio on March 15th, 2003. This concert will be held at the E. J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, which is on the University of Akron campus and not to be confused with B. J. Thomas, who not only isn’t a concert hall but isn’t in Akron; he’ll be in Rochester, Washington that day. The other recently added Peter Schickele concert is on April 2nd, 2003. It’s a gala benefit concert for Chicago Chamber Musicians and will include music by Prof. Schickele, Mr. Schickele, P.D.Q. Bach, and Mozart, but no B. J. Thomas fugues.
Even whilst the 2002-2003 Concert Season is already underway and Peter Schickele is already traveling to Wisconsin and Florida, new concerts are being added to the schedule and new travel arrangements are being made. Now the travel arrangements include flying to Los Angeles, riding on a ship around Manhattan and staying in one place for a three-day residency at Eastern Michigan University. The Los Angeles event is the annual “Music of Peter Schickele” concert, which the Armadillo String Quartet has been presenting since 1991 and which this year will take place on March 5th. The EMU Music Now Fest will include a full schedule of lectures, open rehearsals, and concerts featuring Mr. Schickele’s music during the last three days in February. The ship is the World Yacht, home to a gala benefit concert on May 17th featuring music of P.D.Q. Bach and Peter Schickele performed by Mr. Schickele, Michèle Eaton, and David Düsing, who have taken their act to the water to support Music For All Seasons. But if hearing P.D.Q. Bach on the water makes you seasick, you can stay on dry land in Manhattan and hear Mr. Schickele’s Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano on May 15th. All of these events are now listed on the Concert Listing page, along with all of the previously listed concerts, already in progress.
The new year has pointed out that sometimes Peter Schickele can be heard on the radio in programs that are completely unrelated to Schickele Mix. On New Year’s Day, he was the guest on the WNYC radio program Soundcheck. During the hour-long interview, he told John Schaefer about the recent P.D.Q. Bach concerts in New York City, even giving a complete description of the newest work on the program, a violin sextet. A few days before that, WNYC rebroadcast Mr. Schickele’s June 2002 appearance on Survival Kit. And speaking of the recent P.D.Q. Bach concerts in New York City, the other new work on that program was P.D.Q. Bach’s Two and a Half Variations on “In Dulci Jubilo,” which was first heard on A Prairie Home Companion. In case you missed any of these broadcasts, you’ll be glad to hear that all of them have been archived on the Web and can be heard online. Our radio broadcast page has now been expanded to include descriptions of these broadcasts and links to the sites where the archives can be found.