P.D.Q. Bach: Discography

P.D.Q. Bach was born in 1742, last and by far the least child of the great Johann Sebastian Bach. Although he had managed to ignore the child for five years, the great J.S. was eventually forced by his wife give him a name, so he finally relented and gave not a name, but initials. Asked by his family what the initials "P.D.Q." stood for, he replied "Absolutely nothing" (which could indeed be said of the child himself later in life).

At the end of his life P.D.Q. had accumulated a fair share of wealth, and was therefore buried in an elaborate mausoleum. But most of his surviving relatives did not want people to think that the great Johann Sebastian could have sired him, so they referred to him (when they referred to him at all) using backward dates: 1807-1742.

Here are some of the extant recordings by this great composer, most of whose life was spent in his so-called "Soused" period:

An Evening with P.D.Q. Bach
1965: Vanguard VMD 79195
Concerto for Horn and Hardart (S. 27) [15:47]
Iphigenia in Brooklyn cantata (S. 53162) [10:20]
Quodlibet for Small Orchestra [10:01]
Sinfonia Concertante (S. 98.6) [14:57]
An Hysteric Return at Carnegie Hall
There is a technique on the keyboard, of playing a chord, of rolling it, which is called a arpeggio or "broken chord". Now, P.D.Q. Bach developed a way of doing this on the pedals of the organ, a technique which became known as the "tootsie roll".
Vanguard VMD 79223
Oratorio: The Seasonings (S. 1/2 tsp)
Unbegun Symphony
Pervertimento for Bagpipes, Bicycle, and Balloons (S. 66)
P.D.Q. Bach on the Air
Vanguard VMD 79268
Signature Theme
Echo Sonata for Two Unfriendly Groups of Instruments (excerpts only; complete version appears on a later album)
Station break
Do You Suffer (commercial)
New Horizons in Music Appreciation: Beethoven's Fifth Symphony
Traumarai for Unaccompanied Piano
Station break
Signature theme
Signature theme
Schleptet in E-flat major
Station break
What's My Melodic Line?
Fugue in C minor (Toot Suite for caliope four hands)
station break
What's Happening in Home Economics (Beethoven's revenge)
If You Have Never (commercial)
signature theme
Portrait of P.D.Q. Bach
Vanguard VMD 79399
Missa Hilarious (S. N_2 O)
Eine Kliene Nichtmusik
Echo Sonata for Two Unfriendly Groups of Instruments (S. 9999999999)
A Consort of Choral Christmas Carols (S. 359)
    Throw the Yule Log On, Uncle John / O Little Town of Hackensack / Good King Kong Looked Out
From Schickele Mix 56: Those of you who might be listening who are PDQ Bach freaks, you know who know all the recordings, might be interested to know that on the album where I make a bunch of mistakes and you hear the producer's voice from the studio saying ``Go ahead, go ahead, just go ahead, we'll cut that out later,'' and then they never do; that's Rick Applegate's voice. (He really says, ``Uh professor, I think maybe we should stick to the ... script?'' ``We can edit that out, right?'' ``Sure, just pick it up where you left off'' ``OK. Now don't forget to do it! [chuckle]''
The Stoned Guest
1970: Vanguard VMD 6536
Introduction [1:13]
The Stoned Guest (part one) [23:39]
Opera Whiz [4:24]
Plot Synopsis [3:59]
The Stoned Guest (completion) [8:24]
Two Madrigals from the Triumph of Thusnelda: [6:22]
    The Queen to Me a Royal Pain Doth Give / My Bonnie Lass She Smelleth
The Intimate P.D.Q. Bach
And your face like the sunset over Pittsburgh, USA. - Jane from the Art of the Ground Round
1974: Vanguard VMD 79335
Hansel and Gretel and Ted and Alice (S. 2^n - 1) [24:35]
The O.K. Chorale from the Toot Suite (S. 212 degrees) [3:10]
Erotica Variations (S. 36EE) [10:40]
The Art of the Ground Round (S. 1.19/lb) [11:13]
Black Forest Bluegrass
Vanguard VMD 79427
Liebeslieder Polkas
Vanguard VMD 79438
Music You Can't Get Out of your Head
Vanguard VMD 79443
A Little Nightmare Music
1983: Vanguard VMD 79448
A Little Nightmare Music - an opera in one irrevocable act (S. 13) [18:42]
    What Sweet Music (aria) / Nature gave us eyes (aria) / Uh Oh (duet) / What hutzpah! (finale)
Octoot for wind instruments (S. 8) [7:35]
    Vite, tout de suite / Lent, tout au moins / Minuet et, tout a l'heure (trio) / Toute l'annee, hey, hey, hey (chanson) / Tout a coup le bout
Royal Firewater Musick (S. 1/5) [15:37]
    Long; neat; long / March on the rocks / Minute with a twist / Sarabande straight up / One for the road
1712 Overture and other Musical Assaults
1989: Telarc CD-80210 1990 Best Comedy Recording Grammy
Introduction [1:35]
1712 Overture (S. 1712) [11:33]
Introduction [1:12]
Bach Portrait [14:32]
Introduction [1:12]
Capriccio La Pucelle de New Orleans (S. under 18) [3:25]
Introduction [1:12]
Minuet Militaire (S. 1A) [3:41]
Introduction [1:12]
Prelude to Einstein on the Fritz (S. e=mc^2) [6:37]
Introduction [1:12]
The Preachers of Crimetheus - Ballet in one selfless act (S. 988) [12:27]
    I. Prologue (Bottomless Sorrow; Topless Gaiety) / The Lamentations of Jerry Maja / Finale: Special Deliverance
Oedipus Tex and other Choral Calamities
Telarc CD-80239 1991 Best Comedy Recording Grammy
Oedipus Tex (S. 150)
    Introduction / Tragedy (prologue) / Well (recitative) / Howdy There (aria with chorus) / And it wasn't long (recitative) / My Heart (duet with chorus) / But (recitative) / You murdered your father (aria) / When Billie Jo Heard (recitative) / Goodbye (aria with chorus) / When Oedipus Heard (recitative) / Chorale and Finale
Classical Rap (S. 1-2-3)
Knock, Knock choral cantata (S. 4/1)
    Introduction / Knock, Knock (recitative and chorus) / How Many Psychiatrists (recitative and chorus) / What is the question? (recitative and chorale) / So this guy (recitative and chorus)
Birthday Ode to Big Daddy Bach (S. 100)
WTWP: Classical Talkity Talk Radio
1991: Telarc CD-80295 1992 Best Comedy Recording Grammy
Getting Ready [1:42]
Theme song; opening [2:44]
Canzon Per Sonar a Sei - Count them - Sei [3:06]
Pledge plea [3:26]
Four Folk Song Upsettings [9:16]
Station ID [0:16]
Classical Kwickie-Kwiz [2:23]
"Sam and Janet" [1:45]
Weather report [4:49]
Hound Dog [2:29]
Flip side Intro [0:27]
Love Me [2:23]
Station ID [0:25]
Cadenza [4:14]
"Safe" Sextet [8:45]
Introduction [0:27]
Oo-La-La: Cookin' French like the French Cook French [2:39]
Station ID [0:14]
Introduction [0:30]
Canzonetta "La Hopplina" [2:15]
Wrap-up [1:22]
Theme Song (Pachelbel Canon) [5:40]
Music for an Awful Lot of Winds and Percussion
1992: Telarc CD-80307 1993 Best Comedy Recording Grammy
Introduction [1:22]
Grand Serenade for an Awful Lot of Winds and Percussion (S. 1000) [11:13]
    Grand Entrance / Simply Grand Minuet / Romance in the Grand Manner / Rondo Mucho Grando
Introduction [1:04]
"Dutch" Suite (S. -16) [10:25]
    Mr. Minuit's Minuet / Panther Dance / Dance of the Grand Dams / The Lowland Fling
Introduction [0:54]
Six Contrary Dances (S. 39) [10:20]
    Maestoso animoso / Daintissimo / Allegro, but not too mucho / Molto moderato / Vivace cucarace / Moving right alongo
Introduction [0:56]
Lip My Reeds (S. 32') [4:31]
Door Prize Scene: Fanfare for Fred [2:20]
Introduction [0:48]
March of the Cute Litle Word Sprites (S. Onesy Twosy) [3:51]
Introduction [0:50]
Last Tango in Bayreuth [2:42]
Closing [0:32]
Two Pianos are Better Than One
1994: Telarc CD-80376
Introduction [3:38]
Concerto for Two Pianos vs. Orchestra (S. 2 are better than one) [24:50]
    Shake allegro / Andante alighieri / Presto changio
Introduction [0:32]
Trio (sic) Sonata (S. 3(4)) [6:10]
    Antemezzo / Mezzo / Intermezzo / l'Altro Mezzo
Introduction [0:53]
The Musical Sacrifice (S. 50% off) [15:21]
    Fuga Meshuga / Sort of Little Trio Sonata: Andante; Allegro molto; Lento; Vivace / Three Canons / Chorale Prelude: ``Da kommt ja der Schurke'' / Four More Canons / The Grossest Fugue
Closing [0:18]
The Short-Tempered Clavier and others
1995: Telarc CD-80390
Opening / Introduction [4:50]
The Short-Tempered Clavier (Preludes and Fugues in all the Major and Minor Keys Except for the Really Hard Ones (S. easy as 3.14159265) [36:33]
    C major / C minor / C-sharp minor / D major / D minor / E-flat major / F major / G minor / G major / A major / A minor / B-flat major
Introduction [3:16]
Little Pickle Book (S. 6) [9:42]
    Toccata et Fuga Obnoxia / Chorale Prelude (Ave Maria et Agnus Dei) / Fantasia sopra ``Fräulein Maria Mack'' / Lullaby and Goodnight
Introduction [1:16]
Sonata Da Circo (Circus Sonata) (S. 3 ring) [8:51]
    Spiel Vorspiel / Entrada Grande / Smokski the Russian Bear / Toccata Ecdysiastica / Calliope Frustration
Introduction [1:07]
Three Chorale-Based Piecelets (S. III) [8:52]
    Chorale: ``Orally'' / Chorale Prelude on an American Hymn for the Last Sunday Before the Fourth Day of the Seventh Month After New Year's Eve / Chorale Variations on ``In der Nacht so Hell, der Petrus ist mein Freund
Epilogue [1:24]
Many of these can be ordered directly from the Vanguard and Telarc publishing companies.

Info about Schickele Mix radio show, Theodore Presser's P.D.Q. Bach page, Theodore Presser's Peter Schickele page, the Random Factors PDQ Bach discography, AMC's list of Scores by Peter Schickele, and concerts in New York City are also available.