Monday, August 14, 2006

J S Bach, Bohemian

J S Bach speaks:

There I was, at the spinet, noodling away at a little vamp for an old church hymn called 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring', when who should walk in but Freddy "GeeGee" Handel. GeeGee to his friends, Freddy to you. I knew GeeGee from way back, since we'd worked the courts down in the Bohemian town. He was a real fine organist - one of the best.

"Joey," says he, which was his way of saying Hi, how are you?
"GeeGee, my man!" I said. "What's a Bohemian like you doing in a no-good place like this?"

Turns out GeeGee had news; they were playing some gigues down at the Dukes. We called him the Duke because he was one, you understand. Only, they were short two men for a few nights; would I be able to come along? Well, I had not much else to do and no place else to go, so I said alright. Turns out he'd got quite a line-up there, some top-range stars, including Corelli, Vivaldi, Pachelbel, Albinoni and even Jos 'Dizzy' Desprez. Called themselves 'The Mannheim Sinfonia All Stars' and MAN! - were they doing some whacked-out shit! GeeGee would say go; and they'd pull out some three, four, five, even six-part fugues: real heavy stuff. GeeGee says jump, they say, how high?
So pretty soon, the Duke and his folks were looking pleased, and GeeGee turns to me, says, "Hey, Joey baby. Whyn't you come up on stage 'n show 'em what you got?"
So I jumped up there, and started working the crowd on the Hammond Pipe Organ, doing Gavottes, Minuets, as well as the odd Cantata. I didn't have too much new stuff, but I didn't want to lay my old shit on them - so I pretty much made it up as I began, and went on that way. That's how it was in those days.

Well, the show went good and the Duke and his boys got up to leave. We decided to take a breather and do a few more sets, just for the crowd.
There was one kid there called Dizzy. He was real smart, an up and comer from Flanders or somewhere, but weird: real weird. He was from GeeGee's brass section, and he had got this crazy horn. It had a curl in it, and I think he said it came from France. Anyway, GeeGee and me and saw him there in the corner, smoking something out of that horn of his. Pretty soon he turns to us, and says, "What do you think this horn's for? Music?" So we go over there and joined him.
I still don't know what was in that horn, but it tasted good. Pretty soon, we were all laughing, and GeeGee turns to me, and says, "Joey, my friend - what are you doing with yourself these days?"
So I answer him back, "I don't know, GeeGee. I'm getting pretty tired of all this polyphony stuff, perpetuo moto, ossia, con moto, Da Capo al Fine, all the time, all the time! I want to live the jive, man, I want to talk the walk!"
"What are you saying?" asks GeeGee then.
"I want to be a poet," I say.
"A poet!" says he. "Well, la-di-da, Mr Shakespeare!" But then he sees I'm serious, so he goes then; "Well, let's hear some of your business, word man."
So I get up on stage, and GeeGee and Dizzy get into a groove on the basso continuo, and I start scatting to the audience, telling them the wisdom:

Don't want no oratorio,
Biblical allegory, no,
Classic history, no,
No, baby, no.

Just give me Antonio
Vivaldi, Archangelo
Corelli, and Pachelbel, Jo -
My own Broadway show!

Schu be do be dop bop
Schu be do be bop.

Schu be do be dop bop
Schu be do be bop.

So we go on this way for a while, and when I'm done, GeeGee ups and asks me, "Man! JS, that is some crazy scheissen you got there. Just what do you say you call it?"

And I say, "Baroque and roll, baby. Baroque and roll."


GeeGee was going to get me to play again, the night after. But his guys came back, so that fell through. I don't know if I'll give words a go again. Words are words, you know what I'm saying? But fugues are where the real money's at. Polyphony, baby, polyphony!


TimT said...

Tried to put some umlauts into that song, but for some reason, they showed up all screwy when I published.

Anyone know what the problem is? Is it something weird with my template?

Tony.T said...


TimT said...

Yoü möck me!

Splatterbottom said...

You are both baching mad!

TimT said...

Get a hold of yourself - you're flying off the Handel!

Tony.T said...

Gluck off the both of you!

Kathy said...

Ahhhh Why don't you all Rachmaninoff. eh!!!!!

TimT said...

I'll give you all a Haydyn, I'm warning you!

Ella said...

Did you just change your tagline? I like it.

Gauchegirl said...

All the puns are a bit Cornysh don't you think?

TimT said...

Perhaps we'd all better Purcell our lips.

Ella - no, haven't changed it at all, though I do have a 'randomised quote' function operating at the top of the blog.

Splatterbottom said...

This is a dog of a thread. Do your friends Offenbach like this? I feel like Depussy. Everything on this thread is unRavelling.

TimT said...

Let's not get rowdy. Telling one another to fugue off or to blast their way out of a canon can be a little Desprez-ing after a while. I'd ask you all to Holst-er your guns before things get really out of hand ...

Rebekka said...

Oh my. This reminds me of my favourite Goon Show joke:
"Min, what are you doing in the piano?"
"I'm hidin'"
"You fool, Haydn's been dead for hundreds of years..."

I am very confused about the spelling of Pachelbel now, too. My CD of the Canon has it spelled Pachebel, but it seems from the interweb that it's spelled Pachelbel. Tres confusing.

TimT said...

We had a dog called Bella who got the idea into her head that whenever we were talking about Pachelbel, we were really talking about her - responding to the last syllable in the guy's name.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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