Classical pianist and humorist Victor Borge (1909-2000), born in Denmark, was one of early television’s first musicians to perform a stunning variety of classical pieces for a rapt audience, all while injecting a wonderful, dry humor into his performances.

In “My Favorite Comedies in Music” (Franklin Watts Publishing/1980) Borge offered his observations of the masters from centuries ago to modern day. Writer Benjamin Ivry called Borge a “musical jester…who melded Mozart and jazz.”

Here are some favorite quotes by Victor Borge:

The forerunner of what thousands of years later would become the clarinet first appeared when a caveman blew into a blade of grass which he held between a couple of fingers.

Hardly had the first song been composed before someone invented singing it out of tune.

The first trumpets sounded so horrible that they scared people out of their wits, which was precisely the idea.

When you go to a concert, you have to be grateful not only for the instruments that you do hear, but for the ones you don’t.

(Photo from Wikimedia Commons/no copyright, NBC-TV)