Funeral Blues Auden Essay Step By Step Directions For Writing A Research Paper
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The music Britten wrote for the show evidently made a great impression on its original audience, not least because of its principal performer, a hugely talented singer called Hedli Anderson, whom Auden had known since the production of , in which she had appeared.
Britten was as struck by her as everyone else seems to have been; and he and Auden determined to write her a dozen cabaret songs, of which four have come down to us: ‘Funeral Blues’, ‘Johnny’, ‘Tell Me the Truth about Love’ and ‘Calypso’.
The heading is a nice one: Auden, who edited (1937), is not offering us ‘Light Verse’ exactly, merely ‘Lighter’.
Hannah reads the lines falteringly and with due poignancy: it is a touching portrayal of an intimate bereavement, and there is not a dry eye in the house. Anonymous photographer: This material is in the Public Domain. The music for the show was provided by the 22-year-old English composer Benjamin Britten, and his setting of the lines sung after the death of Sir James was a particular success.
In the wake of the film’s extraordinary success, the publishers Faber moved swiftly to produce a little paperback book called , which contained 10 of Auden’s poems including ‘Funeral Blues’. Britten cast the lines as blues (as Auden’s stage direction stipulates), a form of music which was an American import, recently popularised by Noël Coward’s ‘Twentieth Century Blues’, the hit of the epic stage show , which had run for almost a year between 19 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and was subsequently made into a film.
These lines draw less on the real traditions of blues than on the witty poems of the American songwriter Cole Porter, whose ingenious lyrics, often in the form of fantastical lists (‘You’re the tops, you’re the Colisseum, / You’re the tops, you’re the Louvre Museum’), Auden emulated in ‘Tell Me the Truth about Love’ and other poems.
But the feelings in ‘Funeral Blues’ are evidently very much other than merely larky; and in the new context of the volume , Auden is able to tune into the wavelengths of some of the neighbouring poems to complicate what might have seemed the lightness of their cabaret genre.