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HIAWATHA. AKA and see "Rialto Hornpipe (3)." American (originally), Canadian; Hornpipe or Clog. B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. It is possible, although not direct connection has been established, that this tune has association with the 1880 opera Hiawatha, by Edward E. Rice (music composition assisted by John J. Braham), composer of the earlier Evangeline. Rice was the Cambridge agent for the Cunard Company who attended a musical burlesque in Boston starring the popular actress Lydia Thompson, along with a bevy of scantily clad females called the British Blondes. The burlesque was but a vehicle for a rather prurient performance by the Blondes, who were the first to bare their legs and display their ample figures on stage. Rice and a friend, Cheever Goodwin, wagered they could make a better burlesque that would be free from vulgarity, and took the Longfellow poem Evangline as the basis for their first work. It was not critically well received, but after some reworking it hit a chord with the public, and was successfully run and revived for some 20 years. Rice next tried a piece cast in the same moud, Hiawatha, but it was not only a critical flop, but failed to gain popular support as well. A scene of the work was produced by the Apollo Club of Boston in 1886, for male chorus, solo and orchestra.

The melody has currency among Cape Breton fiddlers, influenced by the recording by Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald. Sean McGuire recorded the tune as "The Rialto" on his 1971 Outlet 1006 LP (see "Rialto Hornpipe (3)").

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 90. Cranford (Jerry Holland's Collection), 1995; No. 43, p. 13. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 124.

Recorded sources: Rounder Records, "Jerry Holland" (1976).

See also listing at:
Alan Snyder's Cape Breton Fiddle Recordings Index [1]
Hear Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald's recording at Juneberry 78's [2] (1st tune in medley with "Jimmy Linn's Hornpipe" and "College Hornpipe (The)").

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