Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mr. Punch in the Arts: The Puppet Suite, 1927

The Billy Mayerl Society

Written by the famed pianist 
Billy Mayerl, “The Puppets Suite” was published in 1927 and consists of three movements which encapsulate the joyful spirit of a “Punch and Judy” show.

The first movement is called “Golliwog.” The term is out-of-favor today and is generally thought to be a derisive term, however, for decades it simply referred to an African man. Such a character appears in the Punch and Judy tradition in the form of “Jim Crow” who acted as a footman to Mr. Punch.

The second movement is entitled “Judy.” This bluesy section reflect Judy’s position as Punch’s put-upon wide.

And, finally, there’s “Punch.” This section is considered a “masterpiece of brio.” A complicated piece, it is only successfully played when approached with the right speed and attack. This recording allows us to hear the Suite as it should be played—by Billy Mayerl himself.

No comments: