José Rial

Real name: Rial (hijo), José
Nicknames: El Vasquito
(14 November 1896 - 8 July 1954)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Eduardo Visconti

e was born in Parque Patricios. He spent his whole life in the same neighborhood, when it still was Corrales Viejos and where, according to the poet Francisco García Jiménez, tango was born.

His first dwelling house where he lived with his Spanish parents was on 2672 Caseros Avenue. He attended grade school in two different places. One school was a few yards from home, the other on the next block. Later came some years of work. He was apprentice to a carpenter and salesman of rural articles in Casa Bossio, a shop located in the nearby neighborhood of Barracas.

His father was fond of poetry and from him he inherited the ability to improvise lines, to recite or sing. At age 17 he got his first guitar. He can regarded as a truly payador (singer with the facility to ad lib lyrics). Tall, stout, sort of fair-haired. He wore a suit and a hat with a wide brim tilted backwards and always a black or white neckerchief even when he wore a necktie. He had a gay temper, affectionate and, many times, shy. Modest in every aspect, he never evidenced an interest for an elegant way of dressing.

He was already living on 24 Luna Street when he wrote and composed the numbers that a costumed band of street musicians needed for the carnival parades. Presumably, since 1915 and for over five years, he was member of the gaucho group Gloria, Patria y Tradición. They wore gaucho costumes and he played guitar and sang. It was a very popular group and they reached a certain notoriety because of their appearances on movie houses and theaters of the neighboring areas. Among its members three were two personalities: Guillermo Barbieri and Dante A. Linyera.

By 1922 he began a sentimental engagement with a neighbor, Gregoria Buzeta, four years younger than he. His father run a corral with a big number of carts. They married in 1925 and she was his inspiring muse, at least for his unforgettable creation: “Rosa de otoño (Rosas de otoño)”. It had nine stanzas and when his friend Barbieri added the music to it, it turned out quite long. He then decided to cut out the first three. As a curiosity those stanzas are the following:

Tú eres la vida yo soy la muerte
tú eres contento yo soy dolor,
tú representas benigna suerte
yo simbolizo un marchito amor.

Tú eres la rosa que cristalina
guarda el rocío sobre el altar,
yo soy el fruto de un triste pino
que sólo pena puede guardar.

Mi pobre rostro ya palidece,
mis labios quieren enmudecer
y mi guitarra se desvanece
mientras mis ojos te quieren ver.

(You stand for life, I stand for death
you are happiness, I am sorrow,
You represent a benign fate
I am the symbol of a withered love.

You are a crystalline rose
That keeps the dew on the altar.
I am the fruit of a sad pine
Which only can save pain.

My sad face is growing pale,
My lips want to be mute
And my guitar is fainting
While my eyes want to see you.)

After the above lines came the known lines of this beautiful waltz. «It was a lyric of someone in love», he nearly apologized when he made it publicly known. It was 1923, Gardel recorded it for the first time and since then his career as composer began.

That same year at the Smart theater the Mario Folco’s one-act farce ,El casamiento de Chichilo, was staged by the theater company led by the Simari brothers that starred Eva Franco. The play included the waltz sung by the Uruguayan singer Juan Ferrari accompanying himself on guitar.

Gardel recorded it again in October 1928 in Paris and in 1930 in one of the short films directed by Eduardo Morera with the background of the Francisco Canaro Orchestra. In 1923 he began to work as clerk at the Correo Central (Central Post Office) until he retired in 1948. He contributed with different publications: El Alma que Canta, El Canta Claro, La Canción Moderna, and others in which he wrote a great number of contributions. He was part of SADAIC’s policy when it was directed by Homero Maná who was opponent to Francisco Canaro.

This anecdote reveals his simplicity of man more linked to the peasant neighborhood than to the sudden changes of the city: One day he went to SADAIC to collect his royalties for his compositions and, while he was waiting for his pay near the window he met Ignacio Corsini who invited him to sit a a sofa in the waiting room. But Rial refused to do it time and again. When they parted a friend of his told him that he had been impolite. Then he said that he declined the invitation because he was embarrassed. Had he sat they would have noticed that he was not wearing socks. He was more at ease without socks.

On June 24, 1954 he was at the cemetery of La Chacarita beside the Gardel’s grave as he did in previous years. He even improvised some rhymes. A few days later, on July 8 he died of a heart attack. He lived in the same place where he was born which now is a building with apartments.

With Barbieri he also composed: “Pobre amigo” (1924), “Se llama mujer” (1928), “Preparate p’al domingo” (1931), “La casita blanca”, a waltz that Corsini recorded (1926), “Flores azules” (1928), recorded by the Ruiz-Acuña duo and by Rafael Rossi’s group, and the chacareras “La picardía” and “Doña Rosario” (1930). Lastly, “Resignate hermano”, with Barbieri and José Ricardo (1928).

With Rafael Rossi —whom he met in Barbieri’s house— he wrote seven pieces: “Ebrio” (1927), “Corazoncito” (1928), “Primero yo” (1929), the three were recorded by Gardel, “Buena pilcha” (1929) recorded by Roberto Firpo as an instrumental, “Ponete paquete” (1934), unissued, “De corazón a corazón [b]”, ranchera (1930), “Lo que pide el corazón”, waltz (1940).

The following also are his: “Hágame el favor” (lyric and music), “Bailarín” (1929), in collaboration with Dante A. Linyera, “No la contés grande” (1930), with Luis Visca, “Arroz con leche me quiero casar”, polka in collaboration with Dante A. Linyera and music by Enrique Rodríguez.

With the radio soap opera director Francisco Staffa he composed the zambas “Un fantasma en la mazorca” and “Quién fue mi mamá”, the song “Libertad [b]”, the waltz “Como se quiere a una madre” and the polka “Con ninguno de los dos”, all in 1938. He also has pieces in collaboration with Miguel Bucino and Vicente Spina.