Wednesday, January 24, 2024

P.D.Q. Bach: The New York Mills Philharmonic vs. Heiliger Dankgesang, Conductor



Composer, music educator and parodist Peter Schikele passed away last week at the age of 88. Me may be best known for playing music by the P.D.Q. Bach, in concert and recordings. One of the first comedy records I ever listened to was P.D.Q. Bach On the Air. I was maybe nine years old and I have no idea why on Earth I borrowed the LP from the Lawrence, Kansas Public Library, but I did. Maybe it was the cover with a guy eating a sandwich and talking into a microphone. A guy who had brought his lunch in to the radio station. Ha ha ha. 

When I was nine years old, I was already drawing and known "as the kid that cartoons" at school and I loved comics and even pooled my money together and had dear old Dad write a check to the people at Mad Magazine for a subscription. (A subscription to the magazine was cheaper than the 40 cent cover price back in the day and I was keen to (a) save some money by ponying up in advance and (b) never missing an issue. It was hard, but I amassed the money and gave it to my Dad. I can still remember asking Dad to write the check and then posting the subscription coupon and check in the mail. It was so hard saving that money. But I did it. I loved Mad Magazine, and I was able to, a couple of decades later, tell Mad editor Nick Meglin this story at an NCS convention with my Dad standing next to me. Nick extended his hand to my father and gave a grand faux apology for "warping" me. But I digress.) 

So, thanks to Mad, I knew what a parody was and thanks to Dad, I knew what a Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was. (Thanks, Dad!) I also knew what a sports play-by-play announcer sounded like. With those elements in place in my nine year old brain, I "got" the Beethoven Symphony No. 5 Sportscast featuring the New York Mills Philharmonic vs. Heiliger Dankgesang, conductor sketch. Here it is from the record, as I heard it back in the day. I was also fortunate to see Peter Schikele live at Carnegie Hall some years ago, making the whole place laugh. 

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