The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

25 September 2005

Concerto for Horn and Hardart

Mister Snitch! remembers the Automat, and already I'm hungry.

The title, of course, is that of P.D.Q. Bach's three-movement concerto (S. 27), written during his Soused Period. The horn you know; the hardart is explained by musicologist Peter Schickele of the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople as follows:

One of the strangest instruments of the 18th century, the Hardart has a range of two almost chromatic octaves, with each successive tone possessing a different quality or timbre. The sound-producing devices include plucked strings, bottles which are blown and struck, and a cooking timer. Windows in the center section, which can be opened after inserting the necessary coins in the slots, contain the different mallets required to play the percussion devices, as well as sandwiches and pieces of pie which are particularly welcome during long concerts. A spigot on the front serves coffee which is, however, not recommended. The balloons which are burst at the end of the concerto with an ice pick and a shotgun add a festive touch. Due to its unusual length (over nine feet) and the great variety of motions necessary to produce its tones, the Hardart requires of its player a certain amount of athletic as well as musical ability.

(From notes to the first recording of the Concerto, as issued on Vanguard VSD 79195, 1965.)

Posted at 8:59 AM to Almost Yogurt , Tongue and Groove

Ahhh ... Four Bassoons.

Posted by: Mel at 10:49 AM on 25 September 2005

In passing, I'd just ran back across the older
Moog synth stuff performed by Dick Hyman, titles
such as "The Legend of Johnny Pot" and another
piece that an olde friend, Trevor Hulse, pointed
out to me was originally 'written' by James Brown.

Yes, "Give It Up Or Turn It Loose" was a James Brown
tune of some note, and hearing it performed on Moog
was probably one of the worst influences upon my
'musical career' ever, right up there with listening
to Jeff Berlin, Jaco Pastorius and Chris Squire..

Still, I wouldn't change any thing about my
musical influences, the Moog synth pieces like
PDQ Bach, which I have vinyl LP of still, are
still regularly thought of, hence the stirring
of neurons when I passed this prose perused..

Posted by: Captain And at 11:17 AM on 25 September 2005

How can something that touched people so deeply that it can be brought quickly to mind decades later, have vanished so completely? We have more fast food than ever, we have more automation than ever, but still we have no Automat.

We need a march or rally or a whole lotta links, or something.

Nice reference to Pretty Darn Quick Bach, who also remembers H&H. My favorite of his pieces also involved this part of this country: Hackensack.

O little town of Hackensack
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy seas of factories
The bright green clouds roll by.

Posted by: Mr. Snitch! at 6:12 PM on 25 September 2005

Not to mention "Iphigenia in Brooklyn," still well within the Tri-State Area.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:09 PM on 25 September 2005

My personal favorite:
"It's a beautiful night for a concert--there's not a cloud in the ceiling."


Posted by: fritz schranck at 7:49 PM on 26 September 2005