ROBERT R. CALDER
serapion at btinternet.com
Wed Jun 29 16:10:08 PDT 2011
I gather that sometime after the Avalon case Sigmund Spaeth made money by
finding precedents for compositions pop composers wer accused of pillaging
The opening phrase of the Puccini aria's intro is very like the first few notes
of Avalon -- and the same phrase which made the money for Ricordi and Co. recurs
as the motif of climaxes in the course of the aria -- "o dolce, dolce..." etc.
For those whose interests extend as far, Benny Golson in a live quartet
recording from Switzerland not all that long ago plays the melody of the whole
aria in the course of an extended coda to the performance of his composition "I
Remember Clifford" -- details can be supplied.
I suspect 'E Lucevan le Stelle' might have been in Bechet's repertoire along
with 'Vesti la Giubba', which he was certainly reported as playing when in
Europe. Certainly the harmonic and other relationships such as that between 'E
Lucevan...' and 'Avalon' were at the very source of Jazz as developed by Bechet
and Louis Armstrong, as well as of course the development - only in the later
nineteenth century -- of the dramatic vocal technique required by these arias.
The harmonic influence derives really from Wagner!
Nice of Bill to find the Leo Slezak track. Great man, Slezak. The man who
demonstrated the difference between European and North American stage acting
with a scowl which could be seen at the back of the Metropolifan Opera but which
at close range was decidedly comic. Other members of the cast were fined because
they couldn't help laughing. Slezak paid the fines. He also used his most famous
line as the title of his autobiography. The little swan-shaped train on which he
was supposed to leave the stage as Lohengrin one night shot across the stage
without stopping. His ad lib translates as "what time does the next swan get
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