Glücksmann - Max Glücksmann’s first wage
ho doesn’t know this name? Grown-ups and kids made it become familiar through the years, because there are no human beings in the territory of the Argentine Republic who are not fond of music, not even one. But in case there would be a few —a very unlikely possibility—, it turns out that these ones love movies. Movies and music: the two activities to which he has devoted his life for forty years. We met him at his place on Florida Street.
—How long have you been working on this, Mr Glücksmann?
—Forty years. I started as employee at the old Casa Lepage y Cía., located then on 375 Bolívar Street, it was specialized in photography. My wage at that time was very low, of course according to my category of «pinche» (apprentice).
—Can you tell us how much?
—Fifty pesos a month. Everything was according to my wage. The local occupied by Lepage y Cía., for example, was 7 meters by 25. I worked hard; little by little I was becoming experienced, having more knowledge... up to now.
—When did you begin on your own, Mr Glücksmann?
—In 1908 I managed to buy the Lepage House, which already had a branch on Avenida de Mayo. It had also had enlargements and was devoted to motion pictures since 1900.
—Had the number of personnel increased?
—When I joined them we were just three employees.
—And when you bought the house?
—There were already fifty.
Phonography and cinema through Max Glücksmann
Very few people know better than Max Glücksmann the life of phonography and cinema, since the early times when the public knew them up to now, when both have reached an impeccable perfection.
—Forty years ago —he tells us— the early Lioret phonographs were imported from France. They were celluloid cylinders. Later came the gramophones with wax cylinders. Only in 1900 the disc gramophones appeared, but they were extremely imperfect. By then Caruso, Tamango and other aces of opera music were in vogue. But in the Argentine Republic the gramophone really began to be accepted thanks to the popularity that day by day was achieving our native music. Since the times when payadores (itinerant singers) like Negro Gazcón, Gabino Ezeiza, Villoldo, Gerardo López and sang, how much has the record improved!
—How was recording then?
—As today’s technical development did not exist you had to sing record by record. That is to say that a matrix of the record was not taken and it was necessary to employ a pressing for each one. As years went by, the popularity of our native music increased, not only in Argentine but in the whole world.
Max Glücksmann was the first that established a recording company in Argentina, and as well he was the first who established the copyright for authors and composers.
—For me it is a great satisfaction —he added— to be able to say that thanks to that, artists like Carlitos Gardel, José Razzano, Roberto Firpo and Francisco Canaro have won real fortunes in my house. Fortune and popularity, because records made their names known worldwide. Thanks to record, for example, Canaro and Gardel have been so highly valued everywhere. To listen to Canaro the day he made his debut at a hotel in New York people had to pay a cover charge of 60 dollars. Gardel, for appearing at any party of the great Parisian world, was paid ten thousand francs.
Today, the staff of recording artists for the Glücksmann House is not only the biggest, but maybe the one with the highest artistic quality.
—And about movies, Mr Glücksmann, what can you tell us?
—This is very long. In 1900 cinematography really started with small devices for amateurs. Its development began when it was commercially exploited. Since 1900 to 1910 cinema began to be popular intensively. Much of that is owed to the Pathé brothers, who were the first ones in shooting films in locations, with re-creations that had great value for the public. Among those films I recall The Russian-Japanese War, The crowning of Edward VII and Anglo-Boer War. They filled the audience with enthusiasm. Later it reached the highest level like phonography.
After forty years of labor
Nowadays Max Glücskmann runs one of the most important houses in Argentina. His businesses in records and cinematography reach extraordinary figures.
—How many employees do you have?
—One thousand five hundred, including those in sales, recording, factory, printing house, cinematography, etc. A small republic.
—In Rosario, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Montevideo and Santiago de Chile. Purchase houses in Paris, London and New York.
—How many movie theaters do you own, Mr Glücksmann?
After forty years of continual enthusiastic labor, Max Glücksmann, pioneer of the native record and cinematography in Buenos Aires, cannot be discontent with the prize he was awarded.
Interview published in the Atlántida magazine, on Thursday July 16, 1931. Contribution by Jorge Finkielman.