Monday, June 25, 2012

Miscellaneous Music Jokes, Victor Borge's Quotes & Famous Musician Anecdotes


Q: Why did Mozart kill his chickens? 
A: Because they always ran around going "Bach! Bach! Bach!"

These jokes are so bad I can't Handel them.
They make me Lizstless.
They can be too Mendlesohm.
You'd better go out Bach and stay in Haydn

"Music is spiritual. The music business is not." 
Van Morrison 

 "Country music is three chords and the truth."
Harlan Howard

A pianist is playing in a seedy, Mafia-owned tavern in South Jersey...
it's 11:55 PM, and he's 5 minutes away from the end of his gig. 

The owner's assistant comes up to the pianist and says:
"Da boss wants you should play Strangers In Da Nite."
The pianist says: "Okay, no problem."

The henchman continues: "Da boss wants you should play it in F#"...
The pianist says "I usually play it in F, but no problem!"

The henchman goes on: "Da boss wants you should play it in 5/4 time."
The pianist says "But the song is in 4/4 time...How am I supposed to do that?"

Henchman asks him: "Look, you want paid or not?"
So the pianist improvises an introduction,
and as he gets to the opening notes of the song, 
he hears, in a really ugly, raspy voice behind him:
"Strangers in-da-friggin' night...exchanging glances; 
Strangers in-da-friggin' night ..."


"I only know two pieces; 
one is 'Clair de Lune' and the other one isn't."

"I do not have a single white note on my piano; 
my elephant smoked too much."

"I wish to thank my parents for making it all possible...
and I wish to thank my children for making it all necessary."

"In my youth, I wanted to be a great pantomimist,
but I found I had nothing to say."

"Did you know that Mozart had no arms and no legs? 
I've seen statues of him on people's pianos."

"Beethoven wrote in three flats a lot. 
That's because he moved twice."

When asked the difference between a violin and a viola, 
Victor replied, "a viola burns longer."

Borge's mischievous sense of humor was manifest from an early age. 
Asked as a child to play for his parents' friends he would announce 
"a piece by the 85-year-old Mozart" and improvise something himself.

Borge came to America to escape the Nazi occupation of Denmark in World War II. 
Starting to re-build his career, he was excited to get a booking at a large club in Florida, 
for which he was to be paid one dollar for each member of the audience. 
Three hundred guests saw his show, which was a tremendous success. 
When it came time to be paid, 
Borge pointed out to the management that 
the club's 40 waiters had also greatly enjoyed his performance. He got $340.

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990),
American conductor, composer and pianist. 

On one occasion, Bernstein's father was criticized
for not having given his talented son more encouragement when he was a child.
The father protested, "But how was I to know that he would grow up to be Leonard Bernstein?"

Alexander Borodin (1833-1887),
Russian professor of chemistry and medicine, 
who also composed music in his spare time.

There was a suit in which two young composers sued each other,
each accusing the other of plagiarism.
Borodin was called as an expert witness.
Both compositions were played and the court asked Borodin who was the injured party.
He answered, "My friend Mussorgsky."

Aaron Copland (1900-1990),
US composer.

One day Copland was in a bookshop when he noticed that a woman was buying two books
a volume of Shakespeare, and Copland's What to Listen For in Music.
As the customer turned to leave, he stopped her and asked,
"Would you like me to autograph your book?"
The woman looked blankly at the proud composer and asked, "Which one?"

Vernon Duke (1903-1969),
US composer, born Vladimir Dukelsky in Russia
among his famous songs is April in Paris.
Inspired by Duke's famous song,
a friend of his decided to spend three weeks in Paris one April.
The weather was appalling, and when he returned he told Duke so.
"Whatever possessed you to go to Paris in April" asked the composer.
"The weather in Paris is always horrible in April."  The astonished friend said,
"But, I went there because of your song!"
 "Oh," said the composer apologetically.
We really meant May, but the rhythm required two syllables.

Albert Einstein  (1879-1955),
German born physicist
He lived in the US after 1933 in Princeton, New Jersey,
Einstein played violin in a string quartet.
He thoroughly enjoyed it, but the other musicians were less enthusiastic.
One of the other players confided, "He can't count."

Will Rogers (1879-1935),
US comedian, vaudeville performer, film actor and radio personality. 
Will Rogers received may requests for testimonials for products of all sorts.
He refused to endorse any product that he personally could not put to the test.
When a piano manufacturer asked him to endorse their products,
he wrote, "Dear sirs: I guess your pianos are the best I ever leaned against.
Yours truly, Will Rogers."

Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908),
Spanish violinist and composer.

A wealthy hostess invited Sarasate to a dinner,
in the hope that her guests might be treated to a free recital by the great player afterward.

During the meal, she broached the subject,
asking Sarasate whether he had brought his violin with him. 
"No, madame," he replied,
"my violin does not dine."

In the latter part of his career,
Sarasate received a visit by a famous music critic, who proclaimed him a genius.
Sarasate commented later, "For thirty-seven years I've practiced fourteen hours a day,
and now they call me a genius!"

Erik Satie (1866-1925),
French composer of songs and piano pieces.

Satie attended the premiere of  Debussy's La Mer,
the first part of which is titled From Dawn to Noon on the Sea.
After the performance, Debussy asked Satie what the thought about the new work.
Satie replied, "I liked the bit about quarter to eleven."

George Shearing (1919- )
Jazz pianist, born in Britain. Came to the USA in 1947. He was blind from birth. 

Asked by an admirer whether he had been blind all his life, Shearing replied, "Not yet."
One afternoon at rush hour, Shearing was waiting at a busy intersection
for someone to assist him in crossing the street.
Another blind man tapped him on the shoulder
and asked if Shearing would mind helping him to get across.
"What could I do?" said Shearing later.
"I took him across, and it was the biggest thrill of my life!"

Sir Arthur S. Sullivan (1842-1900),
British composer and conductor 

Sullivan returned home one night after a lively party 
at which the wine had flowed freely.
His house was one in a row of identical terraced houses on his street,
and he realized that in his inebriated state he couldn't tell which house was which.
His solution to the problem?

He walked along the street,
and in front of each house he kicked the metal shoe scraper that was installed there.
One rang a familiar note. "E-flat, that's it,"
he said quietly to himself, and walked confidently into his own house.