One of my favourite times of the year when I was growing up was, oddly enough, when PBS held their fundraising drives. While I wasn’t a fan of the part where people asked me for money–it didn’t occur to me that TV didn’t just happen automatically–I loved that I was pretty much guaranteed to catch a rerun of Victor Borge and his hilarious classical music routines.
Victor Borge (born Børge Rosenbaum) was originally Danish, and was one of the extremely fortunate Jewish people to escape the Nazis in World War II. While he didn’t speak any English at all when he arrived in the United States, he learned by immersion and quickly became a huge success.
And it’s not hard to see why, either! Here’s one of his routines, where he plays Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 with the help of a friend who I believe is Armenian composer and pianist Şahan Arzruni (this specific video doesn’t say who he is, but Borge had done the routine with Arzruni on other occasions).
There are plenty more examples of Borge’s musical comedy on Youtube, and I highly recommend checking them out. If you do, keep an ear out for that sneaky “Happy Birthday” –you’ll see what I mean!