The J. Peterman Company Owner’s Manual No. 44b



Performance time: ca. 14 mins; Forces: Mixed chorus, multi-clarinetist, piano; Language: English; Dedication: To the Westminster Singers, Allen Crowell, conductor 
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[Recorded in concert by The Westminster Singers, Allen Crowell, conductor]

A catalog set for some catalog advertising: seven musical styles setting seven clothing items: Bernstein meets Ellington; Mozart sonata; 1930s popular music; atonal avant-garde; 1980s funk; fandango; Copland-esque Americana

If your only acquaintance with J. Peterman is through reruns (or original broadcasts!) of Seinfeld, you’ve missed something. The J. Peterman Company is a direct-mail and internet retail clothier founded in 1987 by the aforementioned Mr. Peterman, and back in the day, when this music was written, the US Postal Service was delivering Peterman’s quirky, oblong catalog monthly to your mailbox, with its evocative hand-painted illustrations and romantic/impressionist/surreal merchandise descriptions that very nearly made the $5 handkerchief, say, worth the $25 they asked for it. Many of these descriptions seemed plainly obvious to me as subjects for musical text painting; I selected seven from catalog #44 (their “owner’s manual”) to make a small musical gallery—enjoy the tour!