Beethoven and Borge

I still don’t seem able to shake off this cursed cold that I’ve had for nearly a week. I resorted to finding some of my favourite clips on youtube to cheer myself up. Actually these are so funny I think I’m quite likely to have a relapse. If there’s anyone else out there in the blogosphere who’s feeling a bit under the weather, I thought I’d share a couple of uplifting cultural moments with you.

The first is by the brilliantly talented musician and comedian Dudley Moore, who performs this hysterically funny parody of a Beethoven Piano Sonata. Dudley Moore was best known as a comedian and actor but music was his first love, and he was a wonderful pianist who could play lovely jazz as well as classical pieces. His only fault was probably that he never really acquired a style of his own. Playing Jazz, he usually sounded like Errol Garner and on the classical side he was much disposed to affectionate piss-takes like this. I particularly love the drawn-out ending which seems to take up about half the track! I wonder what old Ludwig Von would have thought of this? I suspect he would have loved it. Don’t believe everything you hear about Germans having no sense of humour.

The second is by the Danish comedian (yes, there are such things), Victor Borge. Playing half of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody. It says on Youtube that it’s No. 2 but I think it’s great.

6 Responses to “Beethoven and Borge”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Get well soon Peter…

    You don’t need to be ill to waste time on YouTube! I have spent many hours climbing up my own history by watching music clips from the 1960s and 70s; also sporting events from the same era such as the Muhammad Ali – Henry Cooper fights. I remember well the marvellous Dudley Moore parody of a Beethoven sonata which you think is ending dramatically but then carries on.

    If you arm virtually the entire population with digital cameras (in their mobile phones) then events which were rarely caught on video before will become common viewing. My favourites are close lightning strikes, which of course the person filming was not expecting to be THAT close. To do these clips justice you need decent speakers with your computer. “Crash test” and “base jumping” are other good things to put into YouTube’s search facility.


  2. Anton

    I was going to put up the superb Dudley Moore piss-take of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears “Little Miss Britten”, but it doesn’t play properly on my machine for some reason.

    I also came across a clip of Morecambe and Wise singing “Bring me Sunshine” which brought back lovely memories.


  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    Presumably the Britten pisstake is on YouTube itself?

    As well as being a magnificent opera composer (Peter Grimes is superb), Britten was no mean pianist; his recording with Pears of Schubert’s Winterreise triggered a renewed interest in lieder in the English-speaking world.


  4. A few years ago I bought every available video of Victor Borge I could get my hands on. He was a genius in my opinion, funny and an extraordinarlily talented musician. Unfortunately, the climate here destroys video tape after a few years and I’ve been thinking about replacing some of my more treasured tapes. Thank you for reminding me that in the meantime I can still find his talent on youtube!

  5. telescoper Says:


    My mum is a great fan of Victor Borge, especially his “phonetic punctuation” routines which are very droll. I hadn’t realised what a great musician he was, though. If you look on youtube you will find a lovely clip of him (as a very old man) playing Debussy’s Clair de Lune which is realy touching. He died in 2000, aged 91.


  6. […] Beethoven and Borge from In The Dark […]

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