Aura Lea was published in 1861 by George Poulton (an Englishman who had come to America with his family as a boy in 1838) and attorney William W. Fosdick. It became popular as a minstrel song, and the tune was re-used for many occasions with different words, such as for graduations and for alma maters.
During the Civil War, the piece was adopted by both Confederate and Union soldiers, and was often sung around campfires.
The tune is familiar to modern audiences from the 1956 Elvis Presley hit Love Me Tender with new lyrics by Ken Darby.
This arrangement uses counterpoint and chromatic movement in the left hand. Rubato and dynamics help make this piece shine in recitals.
Key: C major
Mood: nostalgic, dreamy
Pedagogy: dynamics, ledger lines, rubato, fermata, ritardando.