Music: Paul Bunyan

Paul Bunyan, gigantic, legendary Northwest logger, might well make music surge in some great U.S. symphony. Last week he was the hero—although he never appeared onstage—of an anemic operetta put up by two British expatriates. The librettist of the operetta, corn-shocky Poet Wystan Hugh Auden, excused himself for muscling in on U.S. mythology by declaring that Bunyan is a universal figure.

Paul Bunyan, with music by willowy Composer Benjamin Britten, had its world premiere with a semi-amateur performance at Columbia University, under the auspices of the League of Composers. The League thus gave a poor start to a good project: development of...

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