Most people know of Peter Schickele through his alter ego, PDQ Bach (1807-1742?), the apocryphal and humorous “twenty-first of Johann’s twenty children.”
This fascinating work shows off Schickele’s skill as a composer of choral music, and provides a fantastic showcase for a pianist. It also shows off the Singers in unusual ways, using voices to create rich textures, mellifluous lines and unexpected rhythms. The music is serious and demanding, but is not without flashes of Schickele’s humor, too.
I had the privilege to premier the piece in the Midwest with the William Ferris Chorale in 2002, with the composer present. Some of the singers who performed it then are part of MTS now. We are also able to bring back the excellent pianist Justin Kolb, to reprise his performance — we’ll ask Justin to contribute his thoughts in a future note.