"The most dangerous musician since Nero"
-- Prof. Schickele
P.D.Q. Bach was the youngest, and oddest, of J.S. Bachs' 20 children. He was born on April 1, 1742, and his childhood was uneventful (practically nonexistent, in fact). He disliked music, but as he seemed unable to succeed at anything else, he eventually took to composing. He hoped that his family name would make up for his lack of talent and motivation. It didn't.
"As a teenager he did assist in the construction of the loudest instrument ever created, the pandemonium, but he wisely skipped town before the instrument's completion, having sensed with uncanny accuracy, that the Pavilion of Glass was perhaps not the most felicitous location for the inaugural concert."
-- Prof. Schickele
PDQ sunk into well-deserved obscurity for over two hundred years. Finally, Peter Schickele of the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople began hunting down PDQ's manuscripts. In today's enlightened and somewhat bored world P.D.Q. Bach's music met with moderate success, with the emphasis on moderate. Professor Schickele is now the worlds leading (and in fact, only) expert on PDQ's life and works, and is solely to blame for the release of PDQ's music to the public. He is for the most part retired, but he still occasionally accepts commissions to discover further works by PDQ Bach.
The reemergence of PDQ's atrocities all started in 1954, when Peter Schickele traveled to Bavaria in search of musical curiosities. He happened across the original manuscript of a Sanka Cantata by P.D.Q. Bach, which was being used as a coffee filter by a museum caretaker. Many music lovers wish it had been left there in Bavaria, being certain that it would make better coffee than music, but unfortunately, they were unable to convince P. Schickele of this, and with the misguided support of the U. of S.N.D. at H. and an otherwise reputable recording company, he has since discovered more than 40 of P.D.Q. Bach's works in a number of unlikely and unverifiable places.
The well known and ever popular "Safe Sextet" was found in a motel safe in Scandinavia. While Peter Schickele was staying at the motel the safe was broken into, and everything of any value was taken. But Schickele noticed that the paper lining the safe contained a smeared musical score, and asked the manager if he could look at the paper, only to find that it was a P.D.Q. Bach sextet.
In yet another outrageous sling of outrageous fortune, Schickele found the score to Oedipus Tex while visiting the Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas. While looking at Davy Crockett's uniform, he noticed some torn and ragged pages sticking out of the shirt (a crude form of shoulder padding). Following a wild hunch, he got permission from the curator to look at them, and with a little reconstructive surgery, he was able to save the piece.
Schickele has been surprisingly fortunate in his searches and researches; the above stories are not included because they are exceptional, but because they are standard operating procedure. He has an almost preternatural ability to uncover these works.
"The only original places in his music are those places where he forgot what he was stealing."
-- Prof. Schickele
The main criticism of PDQ is that he seems to have plagiarized from anyone who had more musical talent than he did (i.e., everyone). Fortunately his works have a playful, even drunken, inventiveness to them which helps to redeem them in the eyes of his playful, drunken fans.
No, I am not making this up. For much more information, go to: http://www.schickele.com/pdqbio.htm (and yes, this is where I got all of the quotes found in this writeup).