#ClassicsaDay #ClassicalHumor Week 4

 This month’s Classics a Day theme is a tribute to the late Peter Schickle. Schickle was a talented composer of both classical and film music. He’s best remembered, though, for his alter ego, PDQ Bach.

PDQ Bach was the youngest and least talented of Johann Sebastian Bach’s children. The music by him that Peter Schickle “discovered” is musical humor at its most sublime. The more one knows about classical music, the funnier PDQ Bach pieces are. The works reference virtually every aspect of classical music, from familiar themes to nomenclature. 

But Schickle wasn’t the first composer to have some fun with “serious” music. The challenge this month is to post examples of musical humor in classical works. Although most of my posts are PDQ Bach, an equal number aren’t. Here are my posts for the fourth week of #ClassicalHumor.

04/22/24 Franz Reizenstein “Let’s Fake an Opera”

In 1949 Benjamin Britten wrote “Let’s Make an Opera,” an audience-participation play that turns into a one-act opera. Reizenstein’s mash-up of grand opera references that work, and was a hit at the 1959 Hoffnung Festival. 

04/23/24 PDQ Bach: Knock, Knock Cantata, S4-1

Everyone knows the knock-knock joke is old. But until this late 1700s cantata by PDQ Bach was discovered, no one thought it was THAT old.

04/24/24 Malcolm Arnold: A Grand, Grand Overture

For the inaugural Hoffnung Festival in 1958, Arnold wrote this overture for an orchestra, three vacuum cleaners, and a floor polisher.

04/25/24 PDQ Bach: The Seasonings, S.1/2 tsp.

Franz Joseph Haydn’s “The Seasons” is one of the greatest secular oratorios ever written. PDQ Bach’s “The Seasonings” isn’t even one of the longest (mercifully).

04/26/24 Joseph Horovitz: Horrotorio

For the 1961 Hoffnung Festival, Horovitz “rediscovered” this oratorio. Singing roles include Dracula’s Daughter (soprano), Dowager Baroness Frankenstein (contralto), Edgar Allen Poe (tenor), Count Dracula (bass).

Next Month:

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