The best thing that has happened since sliced bread must have been the arrival of a certain musician in a corner of Europe. His name is Rainer Hersch and he is a musician and comedian from Britain. While most people possess multiple talents or passions and are able to pursue parallel, often-disparate careers, Rainer must be one of the few who are able to blend the two into one. Not only does Rainer do that, he does it exceptionally well, to the extent that he is able to turn this combined talent into a seamless whole and present the resulting performances in a fun way to concert-lovers. Suddenly, people who would otherwise not have known anything about music sit up and take notice.
In May 2014, a video clip of a performance appeared on the Internet. It was a recording of a concert which he had been part of. He had been the conductor for the Philharmonia Orchestra and the event had taken place in the Royal Festival Hall in London. While the names of the orchestra and the venue seemed innocent enough, the people present knew that it was anything but. They were quickly sent into fits of laughter when he got the orchestra to perform sounds that must have been familiar to everyone present. For the first time in the lives, the audience heard the orchestral versions of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system jingles. When Rainer was done with the Windows startup, mail arrival, abrupt stop and shutdown sounds, he proceeded with a waltz that was cleverly composed of these familiar pieces. While the roaring applause that followed was testimony of Rainer’s comedic talent, this concert was just one of many that had cemented his reputation as a comedian-musician.
Rainer Hersch was born in November 1962. In his own words, “As everyone knows, I’m half German, half English which means I’d like to take over the world but I’m too polite.” This statement alone is enough to tell the reader of Rainer’s comedic roots. Rainer took an interest in comedy from an early age, having already been drawn to Monty Python while being a schoolboy. By 14, he had started taking piano lessons and before long, had taken it upon himself to run a school concert society. Even though he studied economics in university, this did not stop him from pursuing a career in music and comedy upon graduation. He found himself moonlighting as a stand-up comedian and soon, he started to pursue comedy as a career. Rainer hit the sweet spot when he found a way to creatively combine comedy and classical music.
There are many talented musicians around the world. The difference between Rainer Hersch and others is that he is funny while they are mostly not. When one attends Rainer’s concerts, one does not watch him perform. What one witnesses is the result of Rainer’s comedic talent manifested in the beautiful sounds that emanate from the orchestra’s instruments. In one of the performances, also performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra, Rainer reproduces the familiar British Airways commercial, accompanied by a humourous verbal script that had the audience roaring in their seats. A very humourous description of orchestra formations that followed similarly brought laughter to those present. Through this and many other performances, Rainer has incoroporated the elements of fun and laughter into the otherwise serious world of classical music.
Rainer Hersch is truly a gift to the world and should be credited for having brought classical music to the masses through his innovative combination of music and laughter. His YouTube fan channel can be found here.