Plain Milwaukee Beer - (2016)
for baritone and piano
You may say that Lachrymæ Christi
Is a potion most divine;
You may praise the wine of Asti,
Or claret of ’59;
You may talk of your golden sherry,
Of Heidsieck, dry and clear,
But a good drink and a merry
Is plain Milwaukee beer.
’Tis a strong yet mild potation,
But let that merit pass—
Its noblest commendation
Is, “Just five cents a glass!”
Away with your costly Rhenish!
With Chablis, good but dear,
And, waiter, my glass replenish
With plain Milwaukee beer.
3 pages, circa 1' 15"
The humorous text is found in The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes, 1906. The encyclopedia mentions the text as of Anonymous, in 'The Williams' Argo'." Of the first wine mentioned, one reads from Wikipedia: "Lacryma Christi, (also Lachryma Christi of Vesuvius, literally 'tears of Christ'), is the name of a celebrated Neapolitan type of wine produc"ed on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius in Campania, Italy. White Lacryma Christi is made mainly from Verdeca and Coda di Volpe grapes, with smaller proportions of Falanghina, Caprettone and Greco di Tufo included. Red Lacryma Christi is made from Piedirosso and Sciascinoso grapes. It is also, as archaeologists have discovered, the nearest equivalent to wine drunk by the Ancient Romans, having analysed microscopic residue left on the taps of the casks." From the perspective of college students, that seems likely a pricey purchase.
The rollicking setting should be somewhat raucous and with rubati as the performers feel it.
Inflation in the time of this text's publication showed itself, as today, with 'Just five cents a glass!' moving to fifteen in short order. Such is life, and seems an adequate reason for drinking and singing. Enjoy.
The score for Plain Milwaukee Beer is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.
Plain Milwaukee Beer