‘Witty, genius, obscene, maverick, cuddly, unique’ are just some of words that are often used to describe my musical hero Dudley Moore. His career was tragically cut short by a long and brave struggle with the brain degenerative illness PSP. The stage director, Jonathan Miller, insists that despite all Dudley’s success in show business, he was first and foremost a musician. Having won an organ scholarship to Magdalen college, Oxford, Dudley Moore soon became a leading light alongside Peter Cook in the satirical stage revue Beyond the Fringe. He also performed an extraordinary range of music as both a composer and pianist, working on TV documentaries with conductors Sir George Solti on Overture and Michael Tilson Thomas on Concerto. He played piano in a jazz trio with Cleo Laine and John Dankworth. A shameless philanderer, more funny, more talented and a little less sober than most, Dudley Moore for me encapsulated everything that an entertainer should be. My regret was never meeting him as he has been such a great source of inspiration to me.
I hope you enjoy this clip of Dudley at his most brilliant. After this ‘Beyond the Fringe‘ performance it was said that his impression ‘sounded more convincing than Peter Pears’s himself’ and apparently Benjamin Britten was so offended by the impression, he never spoke to Dudley again!
Dudley Moore performs Britten’s ‘Little Miss Muffett’ (2:52) and ‘The Ballad of Gangster Jo’ by Weill/Brecht (4:23); Introduced by Dr. Jonathan Miller.
The post originally ran on March 30, 2016.