Back in 1966 Michael Flanders and Donald Swann brought their two-man show At the Drop of Another Hat to the O’Keefe Centre. It was the second of two revues – the first called, rather appropriately, At the Drop of a Hat – that they performed in for over four years before ending their partnership in 1967. They had teamed up in 1956 and over the next eleven years were to perform their witty songs and monologues over 2000 times in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Switzerland (?), the US and Canada.
In those days the O’Keefe Centre was almost my second home – I’ve honestly lost track of the number of musicals, operas, ballets and plays I saw from its opening in1960 until I left Toronto in 1976 but certainly I recall these two gentlemen and in particular their take on Mozart.
In the comments on Youtube someone wrote that hearing Flanders and Swann’s “Ill Wind” was their introduction to Mozart. I can’t say that but they did introduce me to the Horn Concerti and one of the great recordings of the second half of the 20th century. In November 1953 Dennis Brain, Herbert von Karajan and the Philharmonia Orchestra recorded the four concerti in what are still considered definitive performances to this day. Here’s the no. 4 that Flanders and Swann so freely – and amusingly – borrowed from.