15 May 2018

Classical music for comedy lovers

From Upbeat, 12:30 pm on 15 May 2018

The New Zealand Comedy Festival is in full swing around the country, attracting big international and local names to the stage.

Comedian Brendon Green

Comedian Brendon Green Photo: Supplied

Among them is talented wordsmith Brendon Green, whose show My Mates Dave is on in Auckland this week.

The 2014 Billy T nominee picks five classical tunes that have influenced  him and his comedy.

1. ‘Near light’ composed by Olafur Arnalds, performed by Mari Samuelsen

“I saw Mari Samuelsen perform with Max Richtor in the Auckland Arts Festival last month (in Vivaldi Recomposed) and was blown away with her performance,” Brendon says. “She used her whole body and made the music even more visceral. Also it was performed in the ASB Theatre, which is my dream venue to perform in.”


2. ‘Lux Aeterna’ composed by Clint Mansell performed by Kronos Quartet

“This is from the climactic scene in the film Requiem for a Dream, the only movie to give me an anxiety attack,” he says. “I like art that makes me feel things, which isn't always easy.

“I endeavour to have my comedy make people feel things they perhaps weren't expecting to feel, as well as making them laugh.”


3. Tchaikovsky’s Concerto no. 1 performed by Victor Borge

“It's a great mix of classical and comedy, by the best to ever mix the two,” Brendon says. “He was clever and accurate for classical fans, while funny enough for people who don't know classical music.

“Victor Borge was one of the first comedians I ever saw video of, and I loved him.”


4. ‘Punch Drunk Melody’ composed by Jon Brion from the film Punch Drunk Love

“This is a piece from my favourite director Paul Thomas Anderson, and it's such a light and wonderful piece,” he says. “The movie it's taken from is a comedy, with a lot of dark subtext, which I love.

“Also Jon Brion just played the Organ at Radio City Hall as part of John Mulaney's new comedy special (Mulaney is one of my favourite comedians and a big influence).”


5. ‘Stuff N Nonsense’ composed by Eddie Raynor & Tim Finn, performed by the NZSO

“This was the first bit of orchestral music I was exposed to as an individual. I loved this album. And I think my Mum was happy about that, because I liked some horrible music that I made her listen to on car rides,” Brendon says. “This is an NZ classic, and the lyrics hold up as some of my favourite.”

Get the new RNZ app

for easy access to all your favourite programmes

Subscribe to Upbeat

Podcast (MP3) Oggcast (Vorbis)