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#492614 - 11/27/07 10:30 AM "Memory" by Andrew Lloyd Webber
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4264
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
"Memory"by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Text by Trevor Nunn after[/b] TS Eliot

Does anybody know the actual poem by TS Eliot which the lyricist Trevor Nunn used to come up with the words ...

"Midnight. ... Not a sound from the pavement. ...
Has the moon lost her mem’ry?"

Webber obviously had a high regard for Eliot’s poetry basing his "Cats" on the weird feline characters found in Eliot’s "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" including the redoubtable "Macavity".

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#492615 - 11/27/07 11:25 AM Re: "Memory" by Andrew Lloyd Webber
BruceD Offline

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 20169
Loc: Victoria, BC
All the poems are


including a Concordance, but I don't see anything in the Concordance that links to a specific Eliot inspiration for "Memory."

I don't know Cats in detail. You might also consider which character in Cats sings "Memory" and then see if Eliot's cat of that name expresses something similar to the lyrics of the song.

- - - - -
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#492616 - 11/27/07 02:23 PM Re: "Memory" by Andrew Lloyd Webber
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4264
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Thanks Bruce ... you got about as far as I did ...
perhaps someone out there might identify the
"memory" part of a specific Eliot poem .

#492617 - 11/27/07 02:34 PM Re: "Memory" by Andrew Lloyd Webber
currawong Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 6158
Loc: Down Under
Hi btb. I think Rhapsody on a Windy Night has the most allusions to this song, including:
"the moon has lost her memory"
"the street-lamp sputtered"
Du holde Kunst...

#492618 - 11/27/07 03:04 PM Re: "Memory" by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
I know this song. It is a very nice song. Andrew Lloyd Webber the composer? Who is the vocalist on the famous version?

This is the first time I know that it is a part of the Cats Broadway show (which of course I never saw)

#492619 - 11/27/07 03:04 PM Re: "Memory" by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I would guess its this poem.



The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o'clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.


The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.
With the other masquerades
That time resumes,
One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.


You tossed a blanket from the bed,
You lay upon your back, and waited;
You dozed, and watched the night revealing
The thousand sordid images
Of which your soul was constituted;
They flickered against the ceiling.
And when all the world came back
And the light crept up between the shutters,
And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
You had such a vision of the street
As the street hardly understands;
Sitting along the bed's edge, where
You curled the papers from your hair,
Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
In the palms of both soiled hands.


His soul stretched tight across the skies
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o'clock;
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.

I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.

Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

Discussion here , including the similarities of this poem to Memory.

#492620 - 11/27/07 03:24 PM Re: "Memory" by Andrew Lloyd Webber
currawong Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 6158
Loc: Down Under
Though there is certainly some relationship with your poem ("Preludes") Akira, my vote is still for "Rhapsody on a Windy Night" as the closest to the song (which I incidentally can't stand \:\) ).
Rhapsody begins: "Twelve o'clock" to the song's "Midnight".
There is also the references to memory, the moon, "the moon has lost her memory". Another almost quote is in the first stanza:
"Every street lamp that I pass
Beats like a fatalistic drum".
Every time I read Eliot I remember how much more I admire his poetry than that song!
Du holde Kunst...

#492621 - 11/28/07 12:38 AM Re: "Memory" by Andrew Lloyd Webber
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4264
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
My sincere thanks to Akira and currawong for settling my hash.

Trevor Nunn, the lyricist of "Memory" obviously dipped into the TS Eliot poems "The Winter Evening Settles Down" and "Rhapsody on a Windy Night" ... but it was the stark reality of
"the burnt out ends of smoky days" (perhaps as a once-smoker) from the first that caught my eye and had me opening up my poetry books.

Nunn’s "Midnight" might well have been a compaction of the second poem’s "Twelve o’clock" to match the Andrew Lloyd Webber song rhythm ... and "Has the moon lost her mem’ry?"

In going along with currawong in having a less-than-secret dislike for ALW’s popular music ... it was just this anathema that had me asking what was so special about the chappie’s soppy composition format ... frankly a melody (based on words from a poem) laced with rhythmic arpeggios ... and the peasants go gaga!! ... a winning recipe.

But the end result looks a bit tenuous ... with breaks in measure lengths 12/8 to 6/8 ... and three changes of key ... C to Ab to E in 4 pages.

See what you make of the first page ... I’m polishing up the playing of this crowd-pleaser ... largely because of being sustained by the words of TS Eliot.

web page

#492622 - 11/28/07 01:19 AM Re: "Memory" by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
My pleasure, btb.

Most of it is in the key of C (that's the good news). The key changes are more difficult for me too, but not unmanagable.

Here\'s the version (I've seen different arrangements) you appear to be playing (she makes some mistakes and plays it a bit too fast for my tastes).

Yes, I think you're right. The lyrics have commonalities with several poems. You 'really' analyze your music! \:\)

Personally, I love that song. \:\) Good luck with it. I'm sure it'll turn out beautifully, when all is said and done.


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