The Hums of Pooh

 
Many have rejoiced when they learned that the original Winnie the Pooh written by A. A. Milne and illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard, published in 1926, is now in the public domain. This book and its companion, The House at Pooh Corner, published in 1928, have long been popular with children. What is less commonly known is these books and others written by A. A. Milne have been popular with composers, too.
 
In 1929, the English composer H. Fraser-Simson (1872–1944) published The Hums of Pooh. This is a collection of songs where verses attributed to Pooh himself have been set to music. The library owns a copy of this collection of songs that was published in 1930. The songs are also included in The Pooh Song Book  which was published in 1961. The song "Cottleston Pie" is one of the Pooh "hums" found in these, and those of a certain age may remember Rolf the Dog singing it on an episode of The Muppet Show.
 
Speaking of The Muppet Show, A. A. Milne, and H. Fraser-Simson, the Muppets performed a couple other songs of his: "Halfway Down the Stairs" (performed by Robin) and "The King's Breakfast" (introduced by Gonzo and Muffy the dog, performed by Twiggy and several large Muppets).
 

These are not the only words written by A. A. Milne that H. Fraser-Simson set to music. One of his best-known songs is, "Christopher Robin Is Saying His Prayers," sometimes otherwise known as "Vespers." The library owns a copy of Three Christopher Robin Songs, opens a new window published in 1924, and that is the first of three songs in that collection. You may listen to a recording of this song as performed by Morton Downey (yes, the father of Morton Downey, Jr.) from the library's old collection of 78s. The library also owns Fourteen Songs from "When We Were Very Young" and Teddy Bear and Other Songs From "When We Were Very Young." 

If you are interested in hearing other recordings of his songs with A. A. Milne on 78 from the library's collection, there's "Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, Part 6" ("The King's Breakfast"), More Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, Part 1 (includes "The More It Snows," "I Lay On My Chest," and "Lines Written By a Bear"), a collection of songs performed by Gene Kelly (Includes "Hoppity," "Missing," "Politeness," "Sneezles," "Halfway Down," "At the Zoo," and "In the Fashion"), Buckingham Palace (performed by Stanley Maxted), "In the Fashion" and "The Christening" (performed by Stanley Maxted), a collection of songs performed by George Baker (includes "Us Two," "Knights and Ladies," "In the Dark," "Binker," "Shoes and Stockings," "Forgiven," "Nursery Chairs," "Waiting at the Window," "Spring Morning," and "The End."). And if that isn't enough for you, there are still more to be found on archive.org!

H. Fraser-Simson is not the only composer who has set the words of A. A. Milne to music. The British composer Oliver Knussen (1952-2018) wrote Hums and Songs of Winnie the Pooh, Op. 6. An excerpt from this work can be listened to in the streamed audio collection British Composers: A Celebration. It isn't his only work based on literary works written for children: he also wrote "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Higglety Pigglety Pop!", both with libretti written by the author of the original books by those titles, Maurice Sendak. James Kenney (1934-2006), an American composer, wrote Sneezles: An Encore that is set to the poem of the same name from the collection Now We Are Six

And then there are the songs written for the Disney franchise of "Winnie-the-Pooh." The library has a couple of the printed music scores in its collection: Pooh: Songs from the Classic "Winnie the Pooh" Featurettes (words and music by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, the song-writing team that also brought us the music for Disney's Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Aristocats, and more), Pooh's Grand Adventure (composer not given).

If listening to the music is more your style, then we have Winnie the Pooh (soundtrack for the 2011 animated reboot, with a score by Henry Jackman and songs from lyricist/composer Robert Lopez and actress/musician/singer Zooey Deschanel) and The Best of Pooh and Heffalumps, Too (includes Carly Simon's songs from "Pooh's Heffalump Movie" from 2005) on CD.

For streamed audio, we have Winnie the Pooh (2011 soundtrack), Pooh's Grand Adventure, Tigger & Pooh and a Musical, Too, Songs and Story: Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, and The Sherman Brothers Songbook (includes songs from Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and The Tigger Movie). 

Works referenced that are in the library's collection:

Printed Music Scores

The Hums of Pooh

The Pooh Song Book

Three Christopher Robin Songs

Fourteen Songs From "When We Were Very Young"

Teddy Bear and Other Songs From "When We Were Very Young"

Hums and Songs of Winnie the Pooh, Op. 6: After A.A. Milne, for High Soprano and Five Instrumentalists

Sneezles: An Encore

Pooh: Songs From Classic "Winny the Pooh" Featurettes (Piano, Vocal)

Pooh's Grand Adventure: Music From and Inspired by the Movie (Easy Piano)

CDs

Winnie The Pooh: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack

The Best of Pooh & Heffalumps, Too

Streamed Audio

British Composers - A Celebration

Winnie the Pooh

Pooh's Grand Adventure

Tigger & Pooh and A Musical Too

Songs and Story: Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree

The Sherman Brothers Songbook

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