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April Fool’s Music: Victor Borge: April 3, 2012

This past Sunday, on April 1, people in various countries around the world celebrated the annual day of pranks known as April Fool’s Day. The tradition of playing pranks and practical jokes to friends and loved ones on April 1 dates back to at least the Middle Ages, when Geoffrey Chaucer, in his Canterbury Tales (1382), included the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” – where the proud rooster Chauntecleer is tricked by the Fox on April 1. Music isn’t necessarily a prevalent part of the April Fool’s tradition, but in honor of this light-hearted holiday (and the week that follows), Classical Archives is pleased to offer a bit of musical humor with the grand prince of musical pranks, Victor Borge (1909-2000). Though starting as a traditional concert pianist in his native Denmark, by his early 20s, Borge had begun a stand-up routine mixing comedy and piano music; by the late-1950s, Borge – now an American citizen – had become an international star, celebrated for his outrageous improvisations and faux-compositions by Mozart and others. In this classic routine, Borge is joined by his steady “straight-man”, Armenian pianist Şahan Arzruni, in their hilarious 2-piano version of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 in C#-. We hope this video brings a smile and a hearty laugh to your week, and inspires you to plan some clever pranks of your own for next year!

Victor Borge and Şahan Arzruni “perform” Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody

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