Monday, April 06, 2009

Victor Borge


I found this today in the British Heart Foundation shop in Chester for a little over a pound. Its a 10 inch LP on the Philips label from the mid 50's recorded in concert in Boston. I have a other records and CD by him so surprised I havent featured him before now on this blog. Certainly an aquired taste but very funny use of language especillay his "Phonetic Punctuation" which sadly is not included here. I will have to upload that some other time.

Wikipedia says -

"Borge was born Børge Rosenbaum in Copenhagen, Denmark, into a Jewish family. His parents, Bernhard and Frederikke Rosenbaum, were both musicians (his father was a violinist in the Royal Danish Chapel, and his mother played piano), Borge took up piano like his mother at the age of 3, and it was soon apparent that he was a prodigy. He gave his first piano recital when he was 8 years old, and in 1918 was awarded a full scholarship at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, studying under Olivo Krause. Later on, he was taught by Victor Schiøler, Liszt's student Frederic Lamond, and Busoni's pupil Egon Petri.

Borge played his first major concert in 1926 at the Danish concert-hall Odd Fellow Palæet (The Odd Fellow Mansion). After a few years as a classical concert pianist, he started his now famous "stand up" act, with the signature blend of piano music and jokes. He married American Elsie Chilton in 1933, the same year he debuted with his revue acts. Borge started touring extensively in Europe, where he began telling anti-Nazi jokes.

When the Nazis occupied Denmark during World War II, Borge was playing a concert in Sweden, and managed to escape to Finland. He traveled to America on the USS American Legion, the last neutral ship to make it out of Petsamo, Finland, and arrived August 28, 1940 with only 20 dollars, three of which went to the customs fee. Disguised as a sailor, Borge returned to Denmark once during the occupation to visit his dying mother.
Even though Borge didn't speak a word of English upon arrival, he quickly managed to adapt his jokes to the American audience, learning English by watching movies. He took the name of Victor Borge, and, in 1941, he started on Rudy Vallee's radio show, but was hired soon after by Bing Crosby for his Kraft Music Hall.

From then on, it went quickly for Borge, who won Best New Radio Performer of the Year in 1942. Soon after the award, he was offered film roles with stars such as Frank Sinatra (in Higher and Higher). While hosting The Victor Borge Show on NBC from 1946, he "developed many of his trademarks, including repeatedly announcing his intent to play a piece but getting "distracted" by something or other, making comments about the audience, or discussing the usefulness of Chopin's Minute Waltz as an eggtimer. Or he would start out with some well-known classical piece like Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" op. 27 and suddenly drift into a harmonically suitable pop or jazz tune like "Night and Day" (Cole Porter)."

Discover more about Victor Borge HERE.


Victor Borge - Side One

Victor Borge - Side Two

4 comments:

mel said...

Thanks for the Victor Borge sides.

He was very funny.

I hope you will be able to post Phonetic Punctuation sometime soon.

Harpo in San Diego said...

Mel,

For the next couple of days, "Phonetic Punctuation" is available here:

http://www.diamondsforwomen.net/misc/VB_PP.mp3

Enjoy!

Harpo
 

wastedpapiers said...

Thanks mel and harpo. Glad to oblige and much appreciate the link.

mel said...

Harpo,

Thank you very much for the link.