Will French music survive this Dud?

Will French music survive this Dud?


norman lebrecht

January 16, 2021

One of the fringe inspirations of the irrepressibly musical Dudley Moore.

Watch to the end and you’ll find he does German, too.



  • Greg Bottini says:

    Brilliant!!!! There is no other way to describe this than BRILLIANT!!!!
    Dudley Moore was a great musician, and his gift of the classical music send-up rivaled that of Victor Borge.
    I particularly enjoyed “Gangster Joe”. I have been for decades a devotee of the music of Kurt Weill, and only someone who knows and loves Weill could have done what Dudley did as well as he did it.
    The Britten “Miss Muffet” was also a side-splitter.
    And the Colonel Bogey March veered precipitously between Beethoven, Liszt, and ????
    (Dudley was a hell of a “straight” pianist, too.)
    Thank you, Dudley, for all the belly laughs, here and in your many other entertainments.

  • sam says:

    The parody of Britten is spot on.

  • Micaelo Cassetti says:

    “I was walking down the street one day” remains a benchmark…

  • V.Lind says:

    Not only does it take a capable (and educated) musician to do this, it also presupposes something as rare these days — an audience that would “get” the references.

  • Patrick says:


  • Rob Keeley says:

    Less celebrated than the Britten and Schubert parodies, this is an exquisite and extremely subtle take – off of the slightly enervated feyness of the French ‘mélodie’- perhaps originating in an undergraduate stylistic exercise Fauré/Debussy (“H & C”)? I suspect too, that every night of BtF Dudley varied them (I’ve heard him do ‘Little Miss Muffet’ much more slowly, for example.) Ou sont les neiges etc….

  • J Barcelo says:

    Great stuff! The Fantasy on Colonel Bogey is wonderful. This kind of humor is sadly practically extinct. And so are audiences who can “get it”.

  • Duncan says:

    Just brilliant. And Britten of course loathed the take-off of his style, though Peter Pears was apparently more forgiving! Comedy gold like this never dates.

  • Ben G. says:

    More British comedy can be found in this parody clip of “The Very Best of Jazz” presented by Louis Balfour.

    Don’t miss the intervention of “Piles” the Trumpeter and a fabulous rendition of John Cage’s “Silence”.

    Guaranteed to put a smile on your face during these gloomy times:


  • Mimi T says:

    A blur of octaves in the Colonel Bogey.
    Sadly missed and irreplaceable.

  • Peter says:

    Wonderful singing!!! Not the most beautiful tenor voice, but then neither did some of the more famous FRENCH singers!

    Comic GENIUS! Such a good pianist! So amazing…

  • Peter says:

    10:18… The subtlest cry for “Help!”… I’m ROLLING… He DOES understand Beethoven as well as any musician…


  • JJC says:

    I played the Beethoven Triple with Dudley once, the other two being Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman. He kept up his end of things very nicely!

  • E says:

    He shaped the humour of that era and beyond.
    The right hand attack before beginning the Schubert… and, yes, the Britten is spot on. I second Greg Bottini praise.

  • K says:

    Thank you – I needed that! Wow!

  • Hmus says:

    Musically surpasses even the great Anna Russell, and also the occasional ventures of Peter Ustinov into this uniquely British field of … high-art-comedy (?) for lack of a better term. I’m disappointed to read in the comment here that Britten didn’t appreciate it, but perhaps he took umbrage at the sly (but tasteful) parody of Pears’ singing rather than appreciating how well understood his compositional style had to be to for Moore to get that close.

  • marcus says:

    Dont suppose we are going to hear the “Bo Dudley” sketch anytime soon on here?

  • Sue Sonata Formb says:

    Truly that Britten and Pears musical combo was dreadful; thanks Dud for demonstrating that!!

    Dudley Moore was brilliant and funny, but somehow sad.

  • David A. Boxwell says:

    In today’s parlance, Dud “destroys” Faure, Britten, Pears, Liszt, and Weill.

  • Violin Accordion says:

    His finest musical moment was “jump, you f**ker, jump,
    Paraphrase of a psalm…..

  • Nick2 says:

    I saw Beyond The Fringe at the Fortune Theatre in London some time after their appearance at the Edinburgh Festival. The night I was there the audience response to Dudley Moore’s tour de force was even more enthusiastic. Decades later I recall seeing him work with Solti on a very good television series titled Orchestra! which introduced audiences to classical music.

    I was not nearly as enamoured of his career as a comedian and actor, although he was extremely good in 10 and Arthur. His many marriages did not seem to bring him much happiness and the many lingering illnesses over several years must have led to much sadness prior to his death at age 66. A troubled genius.

  • John Borstlap says:

    The Fauré satirical pastiche is a piece of genius.