- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Random House; 1st Paperback Edition edition (August 12, 1977)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0394734092
- ISBN-13: 978-0394734095
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,257,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Definitive Biography of P.D.Q. Bach Paperback – August 12, 1977
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"Absolutely grossing reading...I loved every minutiae of it. I recommend it to all with a bent ear."
-- Pinchas Zukerman
"As with all of Peter Schickele's musical musings, this is superb humor reflecting a boundless knowledge of the world of music."
-- Victor Borge
An "eminently readable and vastly enjoyable book."
-- Isaac Stern
"But how can I explain to outsiders the humor so delicate, the mirth evanescent, the je ne sais quoi of this handsome and hilarious book?"
-- Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times
From the Inside Flap
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.
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Playing off themes of classical music snobbery, the real life quirks of many performing musicians, and the cult of Bach, Schickele pokes gentle fun at musical institutions while at the same time subtly introducing the less musically literate to classics of the repertoire -- with which the works of P.D.Q. Bach are liberally salted. I highly recommend this book as a companion to the various P.D.Q. Bach recordings out there, many of which are available at Amazon, including a complete collected works package, the "Dreaded P.D.Q. Bach Collection".
Some reviewers apparently found problems with the paperback version of this book. I own both paperback and hard cover editions, and while the hardcover is a bit larger, I had no trouble with lack of clarity or excessively-reduced photos in my paperback copy. It is possible, I suppose, that more than one paperback edition has been released. In any case, I would say, don't let the packaging prevent you from enjoying the content of this exceedingly well executed effort in musical humor.
Bottom line -- maybe not for everyone, but a delight for those who get a grin just looking at the cover!
Some of the humor is as blunt as a baseball bat. Other humor is quite subtle. It is presented as a standard biography complete with footnotes. The first line of the body is "It was a dark and stormy night" with "It" getting the book's first footnote.
I bought 2 copies of this as presents for friends. Give yourself a present if you're a classical music lover with a sense of humor.
I was privileged to be a student of Schickele's in the Juilliard School of Music's Extension Program in the early 1960s. He was a funny guy even in the classroom.
At the time he was a young composer whose work I had heard at a Cooper Union concert, which inspired me to take his class in basic music theory. If I recall correctly, he used to organize at Juilliard a series of humorous concerts, after the example of the immortal Gerard Hoffnung's Interplanetary Music Festival in England.
It was with surprise and delight that, years later, I saw Schikele rise to public acclaim (he would say "public disdain"), transformed into his alter ego. I'll always be thrilled that "I knew him before."