Benjamin Britten’s better half

Benjamin Britten’s better half


norman lebrecht

April 30, 2020

Since so many of you fell about over Dudley Moore’s Beethoven variations, here’s his take-off on Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears.

Followed by a pre-Cabaret take on Brecht-Weill.


  • Gray Bean says:

    Absolutely spot on! I didn’t think he could top the Beethoven. I was mistaken.

  • Stuart says:

    Hadn’t seen this in a while. I once thought the Britten parody nasty but now see it as clever and spot on. Takes a lot of understanding to hit the mark in this way. Loving parody. My understanding is that Pears thought it flattering and Britten flew into a rage. The Weill parody is far less accomplished.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    That little Britten sketch, ever since I first saw it, ruined Britten’s music for me. It tends to sound bit like that.

    • RW2013 says:

      Says more about your lack of taste than the quality of Britten’s music.

      • John Borstlap says:

        I don’t think so. There is a sour flavor to B’s music combined with something ‘homely’ that’s been profiled by Moore.

  • Dr Presume says:

    Still think his Schubert “Die Flabbergast” is the best of the lot…

  • Robert Roy says:

    Could you imagine a comedian doing that today? Very few people in the audience would have a clue who Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears were and would have no idea what was being sent up.

    Then again, perhaps Dudley Moore’s audience were very sophisticated.

    • Ian Smith says:

      So true! Can you imagine Dudley Moore (an adored comedian of the era) having much of a chance on the comedy circuit and TV these days? A well spoken,well educated chap; forgoing the use of bad language to get a laugh. A comedy act reflecting his ability as a pianist steeped in the culture of art music. Not really the sort of thing which appeals to the masses nowadays. How times change!

      • Symphony musician says:

        “forgoing the use of bad language”!
        Have you ever heard him on the Derek & Clive tapes? Not for the faint-hearted – you have been warned!
        Whatever his genre, he was fantastic.

  • NiceGy says:

    Ha! A wonderful opportunity for a company trying to cast Captain Vere!

  • Peter says:

    Have a look for Dud and Marion Montgomery.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    One of the best Kurt Weill takeoffs was “The Saga of Jenny” re-written by Sondheim as “The Saga of Lenny” and sung by Lauren Bacall at Bernstein’s 70th. God, it’s

  • Una says:

    Priceless! Never fails to bring a laugh.