The late Victor Borge became hugely successful in the USA, but he never forgot where he came from. He was also very popular in his native Denmark, where whe performed often, sometimes even for Queen Margrethe II. Among the many honours he received was the Order of the Dannebrog. In 1999, a biography was published about him in Denmark. Born Børge Rosenbaum to a Jewish musical family Copenhagen, Victor Borge’s father was a member of the orchesta belonging to the Royal Court of Denmark and his mother was a pianist. When Hitler occupied Denmark, he was performing in Sweden. He was able to escape to the USA through Finland. The USA benefitted greatly from many European exiles from the war and post-war periods. Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, Ernst von Dohnanyi, and Paul Hindemith were some of the notable composers who came to America during and after World War II. (Ernst von Dohnányi, one of the greatest European pianists who was also a protegé of Brahms, is an especially tragic case. He had to flee Hungary once before when the first Communist government of Béla Kun came to power right after World War I. Seeing that his homeland was going to fall under Communist rule once more, he fled into Austria and eventually into the USA. Hungarian leftists accused this great Hungarian musician and patriot of being a fascist, something he most certainly was not. He resigned as president of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in protest against the anti-Jewish laws passed there. He had to dog allegations of being in league with the Nazis for the rest of his life, despite the fact that one of his sons was executed for his role in the plot against Hitler and that he used his own personal prestige to help Hungarian Jewish musicians. His grandson is the famous conductor Christoph von Dohnányi.)
The video I’m posting is in only in Danish, I’m afraid. Here he accompanies the Danish recorder player Michaela Petri in a performance of Csardas. I was amazed at how Marilyn Mulvey, the opera singer who often performed with Borge, managed to keep her composure during Borge’s funnier moments. Michaela Petri had a harder time keeping her composure, as you will see.
For those who missed his earlier performances with Marilyn Mulvey, I attach that video as well.