Peter Schickele Celebrates P. D. Q. Bach in Symphony Space 'Retrogressive'

Classic Arts News   Peter Schickele Celebrates P. D. Q. Bach in Symphony Space 'Retrogressive'
At Manhattan's Symphony Space starting tonight, Professor Peter Schickele will mark the 40th anniversary of his first performances of music by the fabled, if fictional, composer P. D. Q. Bach with a three-day "retrogressive."

The music of P. D. Q. Bach, the "last and least" of Johann Sebastian Bach's children, was first heard at Town Hall in 1965. His music has since been inflicted upon audiences at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Symphony Space in regular Christmastime concerts.

Tonight, tomorrow, and on December 29, Schickele will lead such "discoveries" as Two Madrigals From The Triumphs of Thusnelda, the Liebeslieder Polkas, and the String Quartet in F major ("The Moose").

According to a press release, Schickele "has assembled an array of able yet willing collaborators" for the concerts, including the Canticum Novum Singers under Harold Rosenbaum and "the Armadillo Quartet under a restraining order."

Schickele, who is also known as a composer of concert music under his own name and as the host of the radio program Schickele Mix, first uncovered P. D. Q. Bach's music in 1954. In that year, according to his web site, "Professor Peter Schickele, rummaging around a Bavarian castle in search of rare musical gems, happened instead upon a piece of manuscript being employed as a strainer in the caretaker's percolator. This turned out to be the Sanka Cantata."

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