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Dedication made by Eric James in September 1999

 

Souvenir with Eric James

By (and about) Alessandro Simonetto

 

Eric James (1913-2007) was an extraordinary musician and friend. He was the only musical associate who worked with Charlie Chaplin for more than 20 years; they collaborated on the composition of some great music together including The Kid and many other successful pieces.

 

Charlie Chaplin and Eric James outside the Manoir after Josephine Chaplin’s wedding – VI/1969
On the photo: Charlie Chaplin and Eric James outside the Manoir after Josephine Chaplin’s wedding – VI/1969 [1]

 

The Dedication

In 1999 I partecipated at the Vogogna Silent-Film Festival where I first met Eric James. During the master's course, he often called me at the piano to perform during the projection of the films and would often praise me in front of the public, making me feel quite embarrassed.

 

Eric James and Alessandro Simonetto
On the photo: Eric James and me at the International Silent Film Festival in Vogogna – IX/1999

 

Dedication made by Eric James to Alessandro SimonettoThe dedication was made, without me knowing it, at the Silent Film Festival of Vogogna, a moment before the projection of the (silent) films as he played music of his own and of Chaplin. He was so relaxed prior to performances that it astonished me how he had time to also write the dedication!

Alexander [Alessandro] is a pianist with immense talent and will most surely make his mark in the musical profession. He has shown great versatility and I hope that he will be given the opportunity to perform in the very near future in Concert Radio or Television. [2]

In the dedication also Phyllis wrote: [...] I also believe there is tremendous talent.

 

During the years (1999-2006) I exchanged some letters with Eric James and his kind wife, Phyllis O'Really. In a letter of January 2002, after listening to some of my organ composition Eric wrote me: You [Alessandro] most certainly achivied a truly remarkable quality of music that even Bach himself would never have believed possible. [3]

Alessandro Simonetto

 

[1] By courtesy of Phyllis O'Really, Eric's wife. From the Eric James' book Making music with Charlie Chaplin (see more details at amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Making-Music-Charlie-Chaplin-Jeffrey/dp/0810837412). See a larger picture.
[2] See the copy of the dedication.
[3] See the copy of the original letter.

 

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Also to read:
Eric James at answers.com
Alessandro Simonetto's Curriculum

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