Manuscripts/Mixed Material Letter from Aaron Copland to his parents, October 3, 1921.
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207 Blvd. Raspail
Oct. 3, 1921
Dear Ma & Pa, --
Well, here I am settled in Paris for good -- or I should say, here we are, because since coming in on the first, Harold and i have been continually to-gether, getting settled and so forth.
We have this nice little apartment, plainly furnished but clean and livable on the top floor of a big apartment house. So far, thank heavens, I have only discovered one other piano, which is lucky. To-day I went down-town and hired a piano which is to come Wednesday. I decided a baby grand would make too much noise in this establishment, so I am getting a very good upright for 60 frcs. a month rental (about $5.00). Think of it, to bring and take back the piano they only charge $3.00, imagine what it would cost in America. One of the advantages of living here in the Latin Quarter is the surplus of marvellous restaurants, cheap and go. For 40¢ you can get soup, veal and potatoes, wine, dessert and coffee! My expenses will be about as follows.
Rent -- 150 frcs.
Food -- 400 frcs.
Piano -- 60 frcs.
Extras for shows, opera etc -- 200 frcs.
810 frcs. a month -- between $15. and $20. a week -- not including heating which is extra, and lessons. For pops information I can say, that I expect to have 3,000 francs left in the bank by Nov. 1st.
My present plans are to see one of the former teachers at the conservatory and find someone to continue composition with. For the present I shall let piano drop. On the 10th of the month I shall see M. Durand, and hope he hasn't forgotten about publishing my piece.
I am enclosing some criticisms that appeared in French papers. I translate the parts which have most to do with me. I suppose there will be mention of many musical terms which you won't understand. Ask Ralph to help you in that case.Translation of No. 1. "The compositions presented to the public by Aaron Copland and A. Brachocki, were full of life and french qualities, which ought to be played and appreciated in the U.S."
No. 2 -- "The composers A.C. and Alex Brachocki worship in their fashion our dear Claude Debussy. Mr. Copland, executing it himself, showed us the foolish playing of a cat and mouse. Written in a pretty, incoherent note, this pianistic fantasie pleased. Some fanatics would have liked to have had it repeated"!
No. 3 (the longest and best) -- "Here is a young man with a thin face, live eyes, whose whole physiognomy expresses intelligence and humor...Mr. Copland reappeared again, this time with Miss McAllister who sang a chinese song of which he is the author. And alone, he played some little pieces of his own of a very delicate impressionism. The "Cat and Mouse" is a very amusing scherzo in the Style of Debussy..... Le "Reveur" [another piece of mine] gives all the fugitive and poetic impression of a dream. M. Copland has certainly a very beautiful artistic temperament and one ought expect much from him when he will have disengaged his personality and will be freed from his models."
No. 4 -- "In remarking again the strongly original and very moving talent of M. A.C., pianist playing himself technical difficulties for the piano......etc.
I have translated these exactly, word for word, and ought to have a swelled head, only I know what a bunch of boobs critics are, so I don't believe a word they printed! You can, 'tho, if you like.
Well, theres no more news, so will close. Harold sends his regards. Give my love to all.