Why We Improvise

Jonathan Bellman

More comedy here. Here’s Dudley Moore sending up Britten and Pears in about four different ways. The opening lick is actually an English song from before 1400, one of the few surviving fragments of medieval music in the English language—“Brid one Brere” (Bird on Briar). I don’t think every last member of English audience got all the jokes and references, but clearly they got lots.

As a student, I always wanted to be such a good improviser—both a hot player and witty, full of ideas, one after the other—but I never could. Oh, well; the aim of my youth, the despair of my middle years, the comfort of my old age, to paraphrase slightly what Rossini said about Mozart.

Now, for a more developed satire, here’s Moore doing Beethoven. OK, the second theme may be more the flaxen-haired Hungarian boy on whom Beethoven supposedly bestowed a benedictory kiss, but who’s counting?

Victor Borgia has never done it for me as he has for others. THIS, on the other hand…

About jonathanbellman

Professor of Music History and Literature and Head of Academic Studies in Music at the University of Northern Colorado. Author, *The _Style Hongrois_ in the Music of Western Europe* (Northeastern University Press, 1993), *A Short Guide to Writing About Music* (2e, Longman, 2008), *Chopin's Polish Ballade: Op. 38 as Narrative of National Martyrdom* (Oxford University Press, 2010), Editor, *The Exotic in Western Music* (Northeastern University Press, 1998), author of bunches of articles and reviews and so on. Likes to play the piano, the mandolin, and even guitar sometimes. A. M. and Jo Winchester Distinguished Scholar at UNC, 2011.
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One Response to Why We Improvise

  1. drabauer says:

    Thanks for the links! These were up on youTube last year then removed for “copyright violation.” See them while you can!

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