Rainer Hersch launches his brand new ‘Orkestra’ with The New Year’s Eve Bash on Saturday 31 December at 7:00 pm at the magnificent Cadogan Hall. Musical humour is at the root of Rainer’s hilarious shows so let’s hear out about his five funniest musical moments…
1) Andre Previn on Morecambe and Wise
This gave birth to the phrase ‘all the right notes, not necessarily in the right order’, with the wonderful Mr ‘Preview’ conducting. This became the title of two series I did for BBC Radio 4 about musical comedy.
2) Jerry Springer: The Opera
Words by Stewart Lee and music by Richard Thomas – both great mates of mine. Well before this, Richard appeared in my BBC Radio 4 series ‘All Classical Music Explained’ as a nutty avant guard musician under the title ‘Mad Modern Music’. Jerry Springer: The Opera was obscene of course but hilarious. Not everybody got the joke – in fact, its BBC Two television broadcast elicited 55,000 complaints!
3) Anna Russell explaining the Ring Cycle by Wagner
I met her once in Toronto. in 1997 – she was living in a retirement complex she had somehow helped raise money to construct. In gratitude, they had named one of the avenues after her, which she then lived on, leading to misunderstandings whenever she was asked by officialdom to give her details: “Name please.” “Anna Russell.” “Address?” “Anna Russell”. They assumed she was simply some dotty old woman who couldn’t tell one thing from another.
4) Patrick McCarthy taking over at the Proms
Kind of funny and a bit weird at the same time: In the middle of a Proms performance of Carmina Burana, one of the soloist singers collapsed. A music student who was standing with the prommers and knew the part went round the back to offer his services. They found him a jacket and on he went. The rest is Proms history. I had Patrick as a guest in one of my radio shows. Very nice man but you’ve got to stay on your toes – give him half a chance and he’ll take over.
5) Victor Borge running around the piano with Lee Hambro
I have done this routine many times myself as part of Rainer Hersch’s Victor Borge. Lee Hambro actually came to see it one time and he and I became friends during the last few years of his life. He and is wife Barbara came round my house a few times and we played duets. Victor Borge I met briefly back stage at the concert hall in Stockholm – a meeting I act out in Rainer Hersch’s Victor Borge.
And what better opportunity to experience Rainer’s musical humour for yourself at Rainer Hersch’s New Year’s Eve Bash on Saturday 31 December at 7pm.
‘At last a musical comedian with a difference – he is really funny’ The Daily Telegraph