D. Wijngaarden | Nijmegen, The Netherlands | 11/06/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"P.D.Q. Bach's completely written narrative for "Peter and the Wolf" matches the music very well, even if it's completely silly. The story is nothing more than a cheezy, sleazy Western cliche, but Schickele creates a cast of caricatures and innuendos guaranteed to raise some hearty laughter. I'd still rate it "G" (or "PG13" at worst), by the way.Carnival des Animaux does not wear Schickele's silliness quite as well, suffering from bad puns and failed tricks. Still, compared to some narrators I've heard Schickele is mildly distracting rather than plain awful. More importantly, the orchestra plays with an exuberant joy which actually makes this one of the better recordings I've heard. It's by no means a subtle performance - but I believe that that would also miss the point in a piece that's traditionally considered "Classical music for young children". The same is true for Peter and the Wolf - this recording can't be beat for simple joy in music! (Although Prokofiev's music is complex enough to benefit from a more dynamically varied performance.)Try to find "Schickele Mix" on your local radio station! Peter Schickele is not only very funny, he has a deep understanding of music and performance."
A brilliant "humor break"
Jonathan D. Rabson | Penfield, NY United States | 02/04/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Schikele's revamping of "Peter and the Wolf" is a brilliantly entertaining reinterpretation of Prokofiev's musical imagery. There is much fun in taking leitmotifs that seemed so perfectly suited for one thing, and making them represent something completely different. Except for one brief moment toward the end where an entrance of the "cat" motif is unaccounted for, everything fits, with an ingenious sense of humor.Do not be misled into thinking that this is suitable for the same audiences as the original, however. Whereas Prokofiev's original story was equally suited to adults and very young children through its simultaneous wit and simplicity, Schickele's version is clearly aimed at a more adult audience.Schickele's version of "Carnival of the Animals," while delightful, is slightly less successful. Ironically, the liner notes say that the original idea for the recording came from a belief that Ogden Nash's poetry needed some updating. Nash's version has a certain timeless, artistic quality that is lacking here. While Schickele is a great humorist, this rendition resorts to really, really "bad" puns and lacks Nash's artistry. Still it is quite funny and, most of all, "cute."I must say that in order for "Carnival of the Animals" to be realized to its fullest potential, the interruptions should be as brief as possible. With the excessive length of some of the narration, certain things in the music that usually lend significant additional wit and overall coherence are completely lost in this recording. I would recommend making an extra effort to concentrate on what happened at the end of each previous movement; however, one is unlikely to want to have to "work" so hard when listening to such a lighthearted recording.Nevertheless, the playing is quite good, and I find myself listening to this recording of the Carnival, despite its flaws, when I need a good "humor break.""
PDQ Bach does it again
J. Martin | Toledo, OH | 11/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Peter Schickele (PDQ Bach) is one of the few classical music satirists and probably the best. I heard part of this work on public radio about a year ago and was introduced to Mr. Schickele's works. Translating the Russian story into a western is magic and reminicient of The Prairie Home Companion. I highly recommend this fresh look at an old friend"
Not P.D.Q. Bach, but not bad either
M. ZALESKI | Jackson, NJ USA | 03/24/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Some of the reviews and the product review hint that this is a P.D.Q. Bach work, which it is not. It is Peter Schikele performing other original and interesting material. Think of this like the material that Peter Shickele typically includes in the P.D.Q. Bach albums "just for some relief"; in fact it is really better than that material.
I think anyone who enjoys the P.D.Q. Bach series will enjoy this CD. Just be aware that there is no P.D.Q. Bach narrative or reference anywhere on it except in the liner notes to bring our attention to the fact that Peter Shickele also created P.D.Q. Bach.
So why only 3 stars? Compared to my favorite P.D.Q. Bach albums, this is just not as entertaining. Okay, but it lacks the greatness of the best. "
Hamid Moham | Los Alamitos, CA | 03/28/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Well, Peter (PDQ Bach) has written his own texts for both pieces. The Prokofiev is simply out of place & time. I do'nt know what it means. The Animals are a bit better, containing a few amusing moments. As a whole, the thing seems quite irrelevant & disappointing."