Archive for Dudley Moore

R.I.P. Jonathan Miller (1934-2019) – The Piano in Question

Posted in Music, Television with tags , , on November 27, 2019 by telescoper

I was very sad to read just now of the death of writer, humorist, director and polymath Dr Jonathan Miller who has passed away at the age of 85. The papers are already filled with tributes to Jonathan Miller to which I’ll add a personal recollection that made a big impression on me when I was young and which makes me remember Dr Miller with great fondness.

While I was at school I was captivated by the BBC TV series, directed and introduced by Jonathan Miller, called the Body in Question.

This episode, first broadcast in 1978, shows Dr Miller at the piano with Dudley Moore, his old friend from Beyond the Fringe. They’re exploring the mysterious process by which pianists manage to put their fingers on the right keys without apparently consciously thinking about the mechanical operations involved or even looking at the keyboard. Practice seems to program the hands so that the translation from sheet music to sound becomes second nature, but to those without the ability to effect the transformation (like myself), the process still seems almost miraculous.

R.I.P. Jonathan Miller (1934-2019)

Goodbye-ee!

Posted in Biographical, Music, Television with tags , , on January 30, 2013 by telescoper

The Piano in Question

Posted in Music with tags , , on April 27, 2012 by telescoper

Here’s a trip down memory lane for me. While I was at school I was captivated by the BBC TV series, directed and introduced by Jonathan Miller, called the Body in Question. This episode, first broadcast in 1978, shows Dr Miller at the piano with Dudley Moore, his old friend from Beyond the Fringe. They’re exploring the mysterious process by which pianists manage to put their fingers on the right keys without apparently consciously thinking about the mechanical operations involved or even looking at the keyboard. Practice seems to program the hands so that the translation from sheet music to sound becomes second nature, but to those without the ability to effect the transformation (like myself), the process still seems almost miraculous.

Beethoven and Borge

Posted in Music with tags , on November 25, 2008 by telescoper

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.