[Dixielandjazz] Avalon

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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