Interesting letter from Razzano to Gardel
By Héctor Lucci
everal years ago the collector and good friend Ángel Olivieri told me about a letter that José Razzano had sent to Carlos Gardel then in France, whose contents displayed very interesting data about the friendly and commercial links that permanently surrounded the eminent artistic figure of Gardel. Razzano's daughter gave a copy of this letter to Olivieri.
About its contents, the reader may draw simple conclusions that later
came true according to the decisions taken at a time when the Victor
company almost persuaded Gardel to sign with them but Glücksmann,
with full knowledge of the situation, intelligently kept him working
for his trademark.
Furthermore, we can see the careful way in which he handled the artistic and commercial matters and his concern about the future.
The trite issue of the mortgage on the house of Jean Jaurés Street (today Museo Carlos Gardel) which was not released until some long time later. Razzano's addiction to betting on racehorses and his intention to quit that practice.
It is also important to observe in the Razzano's wishes and greetings to Gardel in the last part of the letter, the lack of reasons to doubt, at that time, who the Zorzal's true family was. An important testimony that the letter means to us, not only of the singer's visit to his French relatives, but also of Razzano's certainty about those familiar ties.
I think that this publication will be of interest for Gardel's fans and dilettantes of tango and of our criollo repertory.
I confirm my telegram of today (February 12/1929) by which I tell you that I signed definitively with Glücksmann. Before going to the point, I hope that when you receive this letter you all are very well and that your stay in Cannes would have been fruitful as for job, health and amusement. Here everybody is OK.
As for Contract: By the letters and telegrams that I sent, you for a time would have thought that I was already signing with the Victor. You were right, as Glücksmann at the beginning did not want to accept my just pretensions and was making the thing very difficult, I started to negociate in the meantime with the Victor company which from the start accepted all our pretensions.
This was doing fine while I dealt with Mr. Hough, manager of the factory. He is a very willing gentle person, but when we tried to define positions then the director of recordings, a solemn pretentious man, and the lawyer appeared to draw up the contract, so things changed and as for the advance payment they did not want to pay more than twenty-five thousand pesos. But all these negotiations were known by Glücksmann and as there were rumors that I was about to sign with the Victor, the former called me and began to cede up to giving full satisfactions.
Now, as you know, due to the good friends one has everywhere I was able to check and ascertain that at the time we signed with Victor, Glüksmann would immediately stop the sale of our records at all costs, and furthermore he would sue us to collect the money we owed him. But I, despite this so difficult situation, was always firm until reaching all the possible advantages. And as you'll understand stopping the sale of our records meant for us the nearest thing to a catastrophe, because the three-hundred discs recorded that represent an effort of many years would have sunk into an abyss.
As the agreement with the Victor in terms of duration said three years with option to two more years, had they agreed to it, and cutting only two records a month, it meant that after three years if the company did not want to renew the contract, we would have got around 70 or 80 discs, that certainly do not represent too much and we would have to go with our music to somewhere else to start it all over from scratch. But that won't happen with Glücksmann, because the agreement signed is for six years, and after that, having worked correctly and with enthusiasm we shall have cut a total of no less than 500 or 600 discs, which represents for us quite a capital, whose income will allow us to get incalculable benefits after having earned much money during the time of recording.
Advance payment: As I already told you the Victor company did not want to give us more than 25000 pesos and with that I was not capable of doing anything because we need 30000 pesos for the discharge of the mortgage, something I have immediately been after, when you receive this letter it will already be settled and your house, free from all liens, will be absolutely yours.
I also have to tell you that money was needed to pay the asphalt paving because for the embellishment of the house and the neighborhood the asphalt is ready. This is something that indeed will make you very happy because the house shall increase its assessment very much and if the market is removed according to the project, then I could tell you that you had made a good buy and that our friend Gorina has become muddled because he never even thought that he would be expelled from that place.
Will you do me the favor of showing these lines to Pierotti?: In order to inform him that the Ricordi house here collects the rights of the tango "Traicionera" saying that the Edifo house in Paris has the exclusive rights on that piece. I had tried to complain about that but it was in vain.
He has to handle the proceedings as I explain in other letters, he has to make the authorizations that allow me to act as proxy visaed at the Argentine Consulate, by signing the authors and then we'll see. Please pay attention about this: You have to record everything I send to you, all the numbers published on printed paper and you can delay the ones in handwriting as long as in such pieces I do not write notes to be found; because they are pieces that I get with much time.
Please do as much as you can and commit to record as much as it is possible because it shall be quite a good business. But you have to know, dear Carlos, that in 1927 you recorded 23 discs and that in 1928 you cut only 21 and this, as you see, it's not logical having at our disposal the whole repertory. Don't forget to release as soon as possible because they are hits: "Haragán", "Te fuiste ja ja", "Tesorito de marfil" and please don't forget "A contramano" and try that they would be sent by parcel post so that they arrive quickly on fast ships.
Use all your influence with the Odeon directors, and try that Pierotti urge them because the sooner I get your records the greater the result. Please keep these letters and read them whenever you have a doubt. I hope that you'll answer me back in your own handwriting when you get this one because for a long time I have not received a letter of yours. I would also like that you tell me when you are coming back although I'm not in a hurry for your return as long as things are getting along well with you.
Lunático: He will win but we have to let him rest because the Brazilians have strained him. We have to be patient. Now it's three-month time that I bet not even a cent on a horse, nor do I go to the races. I have definitively made up my mind and I want to live more at ease because by gambling I lead a bitter life. I have bought an automobile (on installments) because I needed it quite badly and with it I go out every Sunday with the girls. When I don't go out fishing I have the good aviator as driver on condition that when you arrive you can have him at your disposal and then I myself will drive my machine.
I send my best regards and kisses to your mom, as well as to your grandparents, uncles and aunts from me and my family, and for you all the love from my people and from your friend that loves you.
Note: Regards for Pierotti and the other fiends. Regards from Ernesto, Alfredo, Pierín, Baliña, Berisso, Leguisamo, Maschio, Pecci, and 117456 friends that strongly recommend me not to forget to salute you.