Letter from her aunt Carolina, "Why are you a musician?"

Barcelona, April 16th, 1934

To my idolized niece Alicia de Larrocha de La Calle

Why are you a musician?

Your parents could be missing, I could be missing, before the years made you understand why you are a musician and which were the circumstances that have made you one of the chosen in the divine Art.

This is why, dedicating this album to you, (in which I collect the echoes of your success since you began your first steps in your artistic career) I want to record how your admirable musical talents were discovered and conducted.

When you were born, your parents lived in Barcelona (Cataluña) in 263-bis Córcega Street, 4th floor. Your parents, Eduardo and Teresa had two more daughters, Mª Teresa and Mª Berta. In the house next to yours lived your maternal grandmother, Joaquina, and your mother’s sisters, Isabel and Carolina (myself). Your mother and your aunt Carolina had followed a career i music, studying with the late maestro Enrique Granados. After his death, they continued their studies with your current teacher, Frank Marshall.

You were only a few months old when you began to show your talents; the piano was always your toy and you spent a lot of time searching and combining sounds with your little hands. Long before you started talking, you already knew the names of the notes of the scale, and long before you turned two, with your back to the piano, you could guess all the notes that we were playing.

It was during that period when your brother Ramón was born and your mother, who was feeling seriously ill, was taken to the house of her aunt and  godmother (your maternal grandfather's sister), Carolina de la Calle (who is not me, but we have the same name), to take better care of her. It was there, a month later, that your brother was born. This was the moment that God chose to reveal your talent. During your mother's absence from home, your sisters and you were in your grandmother’s house; I taught piano, and you were always present during the lessons, crying when we didn’t let you be there: sitting on my lap you were following, with great interest, the whole class. One day a student played “The Spring” by Grieg. When she finished and left the piano, you sat there and with both hands you perfectly played the first three bars. Your enthusiasm for music was huge. You were barely three years old when you attended a concert played by the Corma brothers at the Marshall Academy. You listened to each piece with great attention, marking the beat with your foot, and when it finished, you said – I also want to give concerts. – I thought I saw something extraordinary in you and I took you to the Maestro Marshall (of whose academy I was a teacher). He gave you some tests portions to do and  all the results were satisfactory.  The Maestro stated that he saw in you an extraordinary temperament and great musical quality. I then asked him if he could see to your musical education (because I was convinced that he was the only person able to make you an artist) beginning right away with true enthusiasm and making great progress immediately.

When you were four years old, you were introduced in public for the first time in the audition room of the Marshall Academy, achieving huge success and with all the critics coinciding unanimously that you were an extraordinary case, the type that only appear in rare exceptions in Musical Art.

Ever since, each time you have presented yourself in public, it has been a true success, with the most eminent musicians also agreeing on your musical qualities and exceptional talent.

One of the most appreciated qualities in you is improvisation, making variations and correctly improvising at the piano, on any given theme.

Everything I have said will make you understand why you have dedicated yourself to the sublime and very difficult Art of Music, and I want you to know, that if some day you become in it one of the few chosen, that you owe to God the extraordinary talent you have, to your parents that gave you your life, and to your Maestro that with so much love and unselfishness, has looked after your musical career.

Your aunt,
Carolina de la Calle y Montforte 
 

Pdf scanned letter