Music

Taking the Class out of Classics


Wednesday, July 23, 2014
photo courtesy of Peter Schickele

The motto of Peter Schickele’s late, lamented music program on public radio, Schickele Mix, was “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that certain je ne sais quoi.” Which just about sums up the protean musicologist, composer and parodist’s snoot-free embrace of music in all its variety, and gives a hint of his impertinent sense of humor. He’s best known for his satirical alter ego, P.D.Q. Bach, “the oddest of J.S. Bach’s 20-odd children,” in whose name he has composed a body of work that hilariously skewers the classical canon—from “The Magic Fruit” to “The Trite Quintet” and “Concerto for Bassoon vs. Orchestra” to “The O.K. Chorale” from Oedipus Tex. Marking a half-century since the first LP featuring “history’s most justifiably neglected composer” was “released on an unsuspecting musical public,” Schickele performs 50 Years of P.D.Q. Bach: A Triumph of Incompetence in the Berkshires this weekend.•

July 26, 8 p.m., Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, (413) 997-4444, berkshiretheatregroup.org.

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