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emo Stephen Foster

Stephen Foster

Stephen Foster’s 1850 tune Ah! May the Red Rose Live Alway (mp3) is both death-obsessed and over-the-top pussy, like a Hallmark card that says “So sorry you’re rotting in the grave!” Very emo.

Lulled be the dirge in the cypress bough,
That tells of departed flowers!
Ah! that the butterfly’s gilded wing
Fluttered in evergreen bowers!
Sad is my heart for the blighted plants–
Its pleasures are aye as brief–
They bloom at the young year’s joyful call,
And fade with the autumn leaf:
Ah! may the red rose live alway,
To smile upon earth and sky!
Why should the beautiful ever weep?
Why should the beautiful die?

The way it slips briefly from major to minor during the instrumental hook is chilling.

About the musicians here, that floaty singing is a gal named Merja Sargon. The accompanist is a fellow named Bernard Rose, who I think is using a genuine 1850 piano.

Can’t say I like the famous Stephen Foster tunes. Mainly they get on my nerves. But this one is awesome.

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