Classical videos don't often go viral on YouTube, but the duo of violinist and singer Alexsey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo offers a hilarious send-up of highbrow and pop culture. Clips from their first comedy classical music show, "A Little Nightmare Music" — which includes a classical take on Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" — have logged millions of views.
The pair, who both trained at the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School in London, had teachers who actually encouraged them to be "complete madmen," as Igudesman tells Weekend Edition's Liane Hansen. And they found additional inspiration in such comedic forefathers as Victor Borge and P.D.Q. Bach, composer of the opera A Little Nightmare Music.
But the pair says that even "serious" classical music is full of funny stuff. "The ceremony surrounding classical music has very little to do with the spirit in which it was originally created," Igudesman says. "And we didn't understand why it's legal to cry in a concert hall, but not to laugh. There are so many moments in Haydn, Mozart, Shostakovich, Beethoven that, in the hands of the right performer, are hilarious."