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Lange Winckler Tampa, florida / United States, Male, 71
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  • POEM: Alabama Song by Bertolt Brecht (6/5/2004 4:35:00 PM)

    This is perhaps the most memorable of the song lyrics written by Brecht for his experimental musical, 'The Rise and Fall of the City Mahagonny.' The music by Paul Hindemith was the only time the two men collaborated.

    The musical was a sardonic commentary on a world ruled by money and its influence. Brecht, who was perhaps the best of all the Communist ideologues writing for theater, constantly poked at social customs of both fascists and capitalists, and he did not fail to lampoon Communism's failures, either. In this song, he depicts the shallow values of those who pursue only money and pleasure.

    In the play from which this song came, Brecht predicts the excesses and materialism of Las Vegas. He wrote this piece decades before Las Vegas became the place it is today, but he would have clapped his hands and laughed in malicious glee. The play is long, long overdue for a revival, but it needs a much better translation first. This song, by the way, was originally written in English, a rare departure for Brecht!

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