“The Very Least of P.D.Q. Bach.”

New York’s Annual December Concerts, Now in January
 

  When:    

January 2, 2007 at 7:30 p.m.

       
  Where:   Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall
Broadway and West 65th Street
       
  What:   

A concert of P.D.Q. Bach’s biggest and baddest orchestral works.

       
  Who:     

Prof. Peter Schickele, pundit and practitioner, along with—get this—The New York Philharmonic—no, really!

       
  Why:     

Nobody Knows.

After forty almost completely consecutive years of annual P.D.Q. Bach concerts in New York City, you would think that by now you would know what to expect.  And for the most part, you would be right.  But this season’s annual New York City P.D.Q. Bach concert will have some slight differences.  For one thing, the concert will be a few days later than usual, putting it squarely on January 2, 2007, instead of the more traditional week between Christmas and New Year’s.  For another thing, Prof. Schickele has somehow managed to coax the city’s own house band, the renowned New York Philharmonic, into playing some of the Minimeister of Wein-am-Rhein’s most impressive orchestral works. 

But other things remain the same:  the concert will return to Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall after two years farther uptown, and the quality of the music hasn’t improved one bit.  Prof. Schickele describes the program as a “lollapalooza”, and it contains impressive near-misses such as the 1712 Overture for really big orchestra (the NY Phil certainly qualifies here) and the Pervertimento for bagpipes, bicycle, and balloons, featuring the same bagpiper (Maurice Eisenstadt) who played the work forty years ago at Philharmonic Hall (as it was then called).

Here’s what the New York Philharmonic is saying

The New York Philharmonic is somewhat pleased to announce that it has sufficiently recovered from its last P.D.Q. Bach program, twenty years ago, to gird its loins and present the good Professor and his discoveries once again. The management feels that, just as we study history’s villains as well as its heroes, we should listen to the worst composer as well as to the best. Who the best composer is, of course, is open to debate, but there is absolutely no question whatsoever as to the identity of the worst; in this contest P.D.Q. Bach wins hands down, directly on the keyboard, playing twenty-eight notes at the same time.

—Zarin Mehta, President and Executive Director


Replica of a postcard sent to unsuspecting New York Philharmonic subscribers

The Philharmonic (as it is still called) will also be performing the Prelude To “Einstein On The Fritz”, which proves that P.D.Q. Bach fathered minimalism as well as several rarely-talked-about offspring, plus the New York Premiere of Eine Kleine Kiddiemusik, featuring not just the usual solo musician playing a bunch of toys, but in this case three different solo musicians playing bunches of toys.  Rounding out the program will be P.D.Q. Bach’s Fanfare for Fred and Minuet Militaire, along with, due to demands from the orchestra, one work that is not by P.D.Q. Bach:  Haydn’s famous as well as popular Andante Cantabile, which, come to think of it, isn’t by Haydn either.

Remember:  This is Professor Schickele’s only P.D.Q. Bach appearance in New York City this season, and the Philharmonic has a faithful following who will faithfully follow them no matter whose music they are playing.  Act sooner rather than later!  Tickets are available through the Avery Fisher Hall (as it is now called) box office:  212-875-5656, or online at http://nyphil.org/pdq.  Ticket prices range from $90 to $30.

Read the complete list of works on the program.

Find out how the works on this program fit into the 40-year history of annual New York P.D.Q. Bach concerts.

 

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