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Repertoire for a "Parodies and PDQ" Concert

Hello colleagues!
I have an 85-voice SATB chorus with a concert in May that will focus on Parodies and PDQ Bach.  I can choose the PDQ literature and am looking for a varied set of repertoire to accompany that.  Selections that don't constantly tip the "cheese meter" and give us some lush and depth to work with as well if that's possible.  Perhaps you have some different angles on what could be considered a parody.  Thoughts and suggestions welcome!  
Thanks all!
Replies (30): Threaded | Chronological
on February 4, 2014 2:44am
I put together two short songs for such a concert: "The Love of a Soldier", Shakespeare, from Merry Wives of Windsor (Falstaff forgets to whom, Mistress Ford or Mistress Page, he talks)  and "I stood and saw my mistress dance" (how could she move so nimbly, with a marble heart..) by James Shirley, a 17th century poet.  Somewhat challenging, perhaps.
Good luck! 
William Copper
on February 4, 2014 2:50am
Here are a couple more you may wish to include:
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 4, 2014 4:55am
You might want to look at "Three Limericks" by Arthur Frackenpohl, there is a neat "Lob der Faulheit" by Gotthold Lessing which becomes "In Praise of Laziness" by Franz Joseph Haydn, also the Lessing/Haydn "Die Beredsamkeit" / "Rhetoric", and Mark Schweizer's "The Weasel Cantata" mixes muical and text humor nicely.  Consider also "Food, glorious food" from Oliver, Rutter's "Banquet Fugue", and the Toch's "Geographical Fugue".  There's a bunch of folk songs of the "Whistle Maggie Whistle" and "Old Woman" ilk that might fit in.
This is always the most difficult sort of concert for me.  The audience usually gets the musical humor, but humor in the text demands that every word be understood -- that means precise articulation in our native language that choruses frequently lack.  It's pretty gut wrenching to look out upon an audience sitting passively through a section which should have them giggling in the pews.  The humour repertoire seems to carry better from smaller madrigal size groups than full chorus.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 4, 2014 6:06pm
Hello, Jennifer,
I would like to offer several things from my catalog:
The Garlic Blessing (I assume you know the Rutter reference) with piano
The Chocolate Carol (also a version for Valentine's Day, "Love and Chocolate") with piano and optional flute
The USAF Fugue (TTBB) based on "Off We Go Into The Wild Blue Yonder" ,a cappellla
The first 2 are largely homophonic, to help make the humor Very Clear.
Normally I paste in descriptions, but I'm in haste, running off to my son's 30th birthday party. Just go and look and listen here:
And let me know off-list what you think.
I publish in inexpensive .pdf./copy fee.
Best of luck with the program.
David Avshalomov
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 5, 2014 8:42am
We did at piece called "The Argument" a few years back.  Don't have the composer's name to hand.  SA's and TB's square off for a hilarious argument.  We added some physical comedy to punch it up.
My students and the audience loved it.
on February 6, 2014 3:18am
Please consider The Fervid Hokey Poke, my SATB setting of Jeff Brechlin's hilarious award-winning poem, written as if William Shakespeare had written The Hokey Pokey.  You may listen to a recording and download a free perusal PDF score on my website:
on February 6, 2014 4:05am
Thought of another.
Hal Leonard publishes a song from Monty Python's SPAMALOT with songs by Eric Idle and John duPrez.
The song THIS IS THE SONG THAT GOES LIKE THIS is a brilliant parody of everything ever written by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
It might be called THE SONG THAT GOES LIKE THIS.
on February 6, 2014 10:00am
Check out my composition "Oh Dear!  What Can the Meter Be?" for mixed chorus published through NAtional Music Publishers/Fred Bock and distributed by Hal Leonard.....lots of tricky meter changes and full of humor......I have a college group's recording if,  Vijay
on February 14, 2014 1:46pm
Thanks for the replies so far!  Keep them coming if you think of more!  One that I'm currently trying to track down...I saw a YouTube of a choir "singing" a song that was actually silence.  They had scores and the conductor was conducting (with various meter, dynamic and tempo changes) and the choir was expressing, but there was not a single audible sound!  Can't find it now when I want it - does anyone know?
on February 14, 2014 2:02pm
It might have been John Cage's 4'33", which a number of choral and instrumental groups have performed over the years. Here's a typical performance. 
on February 15, 2014 2:12am
Probably 4'33" as Frank said
But your description reminds me also of "Audiences We've Known And Loved" (I think by Brock McElheran?), where the conductor conducts in the direction of the audience, while the choir seated behind her/him behaves like a particularly unruly audience. Scored for 'choir and optional dog'
on February 15, 2014 8:34am
Hi Jennifer,
I have hesitated to reply and step on toes until now- but I truly don't understand the title of your concert and the suggestions that have been made through this thread. Although parody and PDQ alliterate and thus your concert title is attractive, it sounds like people are confusing parody for humor. A parody is a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule. There are musical parodies (of musical style) as well as choral pieces which employ parodies of well-known texts. So my question is- are you really looking for parodies or just humor?
Paul Carey
on February 19, 2014 12:54pm
Hi Paul -
I really am looking more for parody than humor.  And, for many of the PDQ Bach pieces that I'm considering (though I'm finding them WAY more elusive than I expected!) - they fit with the theme of parodies of various classical styles.  I'm not really keen on those of his that are simply humorous.  I guess I would say that, in general, I'm open to considering humor, if I can find a good programming flow and reason, but would rather not broaden the concert that much.  Thanks for clarifying!
on February 19, 2014 5:01pm
Re PDQ Bach:
"I'm not really keen on those of his that are simply humorous."
I haven't seen anything of PDQ Bach, in any genre, that is simply humorous and not parody (parody in the contemporary-usage sense, not as in JS's Christmas Oratorio). But you have to be able to recognize what's being parodied.
Best regards,
Jerome Hoberman
on February 16, 2014 6:00am
To give the singers a break, if you have a good pianist available you might like Dudley Moore's brilliant parody of Beethoven's piano sonatas: 'Colonel Bogey Sonata'
on February 21, 2014 12:44pm
Hi Derek - 
This is a great suggestion and I'm not seeing sheet music for it in my initial search - do you know how to get it?  Thanks!
on February 16, 2014 6:19am
This is delicious, particularly if you are doing it at Christmastime:
There's always Weird Al Yankovich
We have done several parodies at Northwest Senior Theater: Blew By You (involving a toupee blowing in the wind), One on We Three Kings. I've written one called They Tried to Sell Us Egg Foo Young.
on February 16, 2014 8:38am
"Lambscapes" by Eric Lane Barnes immediately comes to mind -- verses based on "Mary Had a Little Lamb" set in styles of various composers, that get rather twisted in their humor. ELB has additional variations beyond the published edition (Shawnee) -- you probably could get these thru his Website
on February 17, 2014 4:29am
Love Lost - Paul Sjolund - lush harmonies, marvelous texts, four short movements.
Auction Cries - John Biggs  - not a parody... he used a farm auction bill from Emporia, KS for the text.  A fun patter song.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 17, 2014 7:22am
Norman Luboff, "Much Ado About Nothings" and "Much More Ado About Nothings," two sets of "Paradoxical Pithy Paraphrases for Punaccompanied Pchoir." Walton Music. Two collections of very short and humorous epigrams, proverbs, etc., with twists at the end. Two examples: "I love the evening, I adore the night, but most of all, I think I'm allergic to morning," and "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise, and dull, and a terrible bore." Very clever.
on February 17, 2014 10:27pm
I recently heard a high school group do "Give Me a Choral Medley" by Andy Beck and I thought it was an absolutely hilarious satire on what we do.
If you're up for a TTBB piece then "Manly Men" by Kurt Knecht does the same thing.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on February 20, 2014 12:41am
you might consider "Messyah" - a rewritten version of Handel's Messiah by Paul Ayres
sometimes parody (in both senses), sometimes humorous
Kate S
on February 20, 2014 3:08am
While not a parody, I would suggest a great opening or "theme" piece is Robert Starrer's "A Little Nonsense"  The whole text : "A little nonesense now and then is relished by the wisest men"
on February 21, 2014 12:46pm
Hi Mark -
I'm interested!  Can't find any audio or visual record of it to you happen to have or know of somewhere I can get an idea of it?
on February 22, 2014 6:41am
There IS a recording of the work on iTunes 2011 Michigan State Honors chorus.  Good performance.  Work was one we did at Wisconsn under Robert Fountain.  It is not too difficult ut fun
on February 21, 2014 3:38am
Im probably sure that this may not apply but Alice Parker's wonderful Phonophobia billiantly funny and tough at the same time
on February 22, 2014 1:33pm
Take a look at Eric Whitacre's Animal Crackers.  There are to sets.

on February 24, 2014 12:33am
Have a look at Purcell's "Catches" - "Fie Nay Prithee John," which portrays a quarrel in a pub, is a popular one.  Caveat: some of them are more than a bit raunchy!  
Good luck with your project
on February 26, 2014 6:55pm
I'm late to see this quest, but if you're still looking, you might enjoy a parody I wrote to "Tradition" from Fiddler On the Roof, about the (underappreciated) roles of each of the 4 sections of a chorus, basses, altos, tenors, sopranos (instead of the pappas, mamas, sons, daughters).  You can see/hear it here on a Youtube clip
and I'll be happy to send the notated score if you or anyone wants it.  Great fun in a choral concert.
For score, contact me at joanne(a)
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