P.D.Q. Bach: The Dreaded P.D.Q. Bach Collection—The Complete Vanguard Recordings, Volume 1

P.D.Q. Bach

1996: Vanguard 159/62-2

Disc 1:

  1. In the Vanguard Vault, Part I

  2. Introduction
    Concerto for Horn and Hardart (S. 27)
  3. Allegro
  4. Tema con Variazione
  5. Menuetto con Panna e Zucchero

  6. Introduction
    Cantata: Iphigenia in Brooklyn (S. 53162)
  7. Aria
  8. Recitative
  9. Ground
  10. Recitative
  11. Aria

  12. Introduction
    Quodlibet for Small Orchestra, by Professor Schickele
  13. Allegro
  14. Adagio
  15. Allegro

  16. Introduction
    Sinfonia Concertante (S. 98.6)
  17. Serh Unruhig Mit Schmalz
  18. Andante Senza Moto
  19. Presto Nicht Schleppend

  20. Introduction
    Oratorio: “The Seasonings” (S. 1/2 tsp.)
  21. Chorus: “Tarragon of Virtue is Full”
  22. Recitative: “And there were in the same country”
  23. Duet: “Bide thy thyme” (soprano and alto, with slide whistle, windbreaker, and tromboon)
  24. Fugue for Orchestra
  25. Recitative: “Then asked he”
  26. Chorale: “By the leeks of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept”
  27. Recitative: “Then she gave in”
  28. Aria: “Open sesame seeds” (bass with kazoos, windbreaker, and slide windbreaker)
  29. Recitative: “So saying”
  30. Duet: “Summer is a cumin seed” (soprano and alto, with slide whistles and shower hose)
  31. Chorus with Soloists: “To curry favor, favor curry”

Disc 2:

  1. Introduction
    “Unbegun” Symphony, by Professor Schickele
  2. III. Minuet
  3. IV. Andante—Allegro

  4. Introduction
    Pervertimento for Bagpipes, Bicycle, and Balloons (S. 66)
  5. Allegro Moulto
  6. Romanze II (Adagio Sereno)
  7. Minaret and Trio
  8. Romanze I (Chi Largo)
  9. Presto Changio

    P.D.Q. Bach on the Air

    Bright and Early Show
  10. Signature Theme
  11. Echo Sonata for Two Unfriendly Groups of Instruments
  12. Station Break
  13. Commercial: “Do You Suffer?”
  14. Intro
  15. New Horizons in Music Appreciation: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (with Robert Dennis)
  16. Time
  17. Intro
  18. Traumarei for Unaccompanied Piano
  19. Station Break
    Signature Theme

    Dull and Late Show
  20. Signature Theme

    Schleptet in E Flat Major
  21. Larghissimo—Allegro Boffo
  22. Menuetto con Brio ma Senza Trio
  23. Adagio Saccharino
  24. Yehudi Menuetto
  25. Preseto Hey Nonny Nonnio


  26. Tag / Station Break
  27. What’s My Melodic Line?
  28. Time
  29. Fugue in C Minor (from the Toot Suite for calliope four hands)
  30. Tag / Station Break
  31. What’s Happening in Home Economics (Beethoven’s Revenge)
  32. Commercial: “If You Have Never”
  33. Sign-off / Signature Theme

Disc 3:

  1. Introduction
    The Stoned Guest
  2. Overture
  3. Aria: “Let’s fact it—I’m lost”
  4. Recitative: “Boy!”
  5. Aria: “Now is the season”
  6. Recitative: “Gesundheit!”
  7. Duet: “Woe”
  8. Recitative: “Hark!”
  9. Aria: “Look at me”
  10. Recitative: “That’s the end”
  11. Trio: “I’m sure I’d be”
  12. Intermission Feature: Opera Whiz
  13. Plot Synopsis
  14. Recitative: “I hate to interrupt”
  15. Quartet: “Don Octave”
  16. Finale: “O saviour”
  17. Announcement

    Two Madrigals from The Triumphs of Thusnelda
  18. “The Queen to me a royal pain doth give”
  19. “My bonnie lass she smelleth”
  20. Final Announcement

Disc 4:

  1. Introduction
    Hansel and Gretel and Ted and Alice (S. 2n - 1)
    An opera in one unnatural act
  2. Overture
  3. Aria: “I am a quaint old innkeeper”
  4. Aria: “Like a lonely pilgrim”
  5. Aria: “My name is Hansel Hunter”
  6. Aria: “I’m the village idiot”
  7. Aria: “Et expecto”
  8. Aria: “There’s something about a monk”
  9. Duet: “Do you love me?”
  10. Interlude: Medical examination
  11. Aria: “I hope you’ll take this friendly advice”
  12. Aria: “Teddy Nice is my name”
  13. Duet: “Jump not to conclusions”
  14. Finale: “Just tell me what your name is”


  15. The O.K. Chorale from the Toot Suite for calliope four hands (S. 212°)

  16. Introduction
    “Erotica” Variations (S. 36EE) for banned instruments and piano
  17. Theme: Windbreaker
  18. Variation I: Balloons
  19. Variation II: Slide Whistle
  20. Variation III: Slide Windbreaker
  21. Variation IV: Lasso D’Amore
  22. Variation V: Foghorn, Bell, Kazoo, Gargle

  23. Introduction
    The Art of the Ground Round (S. 1.19/lb) for three baritones and discontinuo
  24. Loving is as easy
  25. Please, kind sir
  26. Jane, my Jane
  27. Golly golly oh
  28. Nelly is a nice girl
  29. Encore (Nelly is a nice girl)


  30. In the Vanguard Vault, Part 2
  31. The “Sanka” Cantata
  32. In the Vanguard Vault, Part 3

Well this is basically an opportunity to bust your ass laughing if you recognize ANY classical music themes, or for that matter American folk classics—“By the Leeks of Babylon” being a fine example of how immediate the musical joke can be. I am especially fond of the Sinfonia Concertante and the way the bagpipes cut into the proceedings there like a buzz-saw (albeit a melodic buzz-saw, if that counts for anything) and even manages trills appropriate to the milieu if not the vehicle.

Other favorites I could wax lyrical about include The Seasonings and Iphigenia in Brooklyn, pieces which have forever burned lines and associations into my brain, notably the “die-dee-die-dee-die-dee-die-dee-die” sequence in the latter and “If you’ve got the money, honey, I’ve got the thyme” in the former, all performed (in live recordings, thankfully) with utter formality…or at least as much as can be managed under the circumstances, I suppose.

Hansel and Gretel and Ted and Alice seems to delve into some odd subconscious territory of the composer, actually, though it does give us the famous-among-those-who-know-of-it “Et Expecto” monk’s aria amid the goofy-ass rumpus the piece as a whole constitutes (and yes I am well aware of all the Freudianisms I probably just sprinkled across that sentence).

Other not-so-strong stretches include The Stoned Guest and most of Disc 2, actually. Where this stuff shines is often (but not always, the rounds and Christmas pieces being good exceptions) in the live recordings with particularly responsive audiences, some of which seem to be attuned to the material being parodied and therefore quicker on the uptake and bigger with the laughs than a random audience might be. Then again it would have been hard for any audience to not dissolve in laughter when those bagpipes first kicked in (with a steadying wheeze, yet) on the Sinfonia Concertante.