Monday, August 20, 2012

P.Q.Q. Bach - Oedipus Tex & Other Choral Calamities

While the 1712 Overture will always be P.D.Q. Bach's greatest work, there is still plenty of fun in the rest of his works. Oedipus Tex, a western-themed oratorio, is just as silly as anything else in the P.D.Q. Bach repertoire. The oratorio opens with the choir singing "Well, Oedipus thinks he's just an easygoing kind of guy. No point in warning him of T-R-A-G-E-D-Y." This kind of on-the-nose hilarity works well throughout the piece, and although Peter Schickele does not have the sort of voice you'd like to hear in more serious pieces, it's well suited to the comedy of Oediupus Tex.

Although the titular work on this album is very funny and well worth the price of purchase, I can't say the same for the ill-fated "Classical Rap." The advisory on the album cover reads, "Warning! Contains "Classical Rap." Pathetic Advisory. Inane lyrics." Even with this warning, your mind will hardly be ready for the horrors of Peter Schickele rapping. Not only does he rap, it's an 8 and one-half minute track. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five didn't even carry on that long. So yes, the "Classical Rap" is the sole blemish on an otherwise fine album.

The album rights itself with "Knock Knock," a compendium of cheesy jokes sung in a serious voice by the choir (one of the jokes is a personal favorite. Q: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? A: Only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change). The juxtaposition of the choir's sound and the jokes they are singing makes for exactly the sort of silliness you come to expect from P.D.Q. Bach.

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