Manuscripts/Mixed Material Letter from Aaron Copland to his parents, January 14, 1922.
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207 Bd. Raspail
Jan. 14, 1921 [i.e., 1922]
Dear Ma & Pa, --
Soon after writing my last letter I received your letter with the enclosed copy of the "Standard Union." I really dont know what to say about all this free advertizing, full length pictures in the Sunday papers and so forth. I suppose its all right, and I hope you are all getting a lot of fun out of it, but I want to warn you that I'm exactly the same tall, long, lanky lux who left America seven months ago. The story which Alma Harwood tells about Goldmark (and which I took it for granted you already knew) was this. She says "I met Rubin Goldmark at a concert; he agreed you were to be congratulated and he informed me you got more for your piece than he has ever gotten for one of his!" On second consideration, I have decided that this story is rather sad, since it shows how much serious music is worth in dollars and cents in America. But at the same time one must remember that most composers in America get royalties while most composers in Europe sell their music outright. But the long and the short of it is that there is no money to be made on composition either way. Therefore one makes a living in some other way (teaching, accompanying, concertizing and so forth)
Its a little late about my birthday present from Charlie, but if he is still willing to remember it, he can be a nice fellow and enclose me a five dollar bill in a letter that either he or Laurine owes me. I suppose Ralph must be wondering where that letter is that I promised, but the excitement of London was so great that I could not dream of sitting down to write him as I had expected to do. But let him have hopes, it will come yet.
I am enclosing the criticism of the concert on which Mr. Hubbard sung my songs, the programme of which I enclosed in my last letter. I suppose by this time you must suspect me of bribing the critic of this paper, but I assure you I waste no money on anything so silly. The songs were received much more enthusiastically this time than at the S.M.I. concert.
For that affair I went out to buy a stiff-bosomed white shirt in one of the big department stores. Guess how much I paid -- 18 francs (about $1.50!) Also I have been having such awful struggles to make my bow tie each time I wore the tuxedo that I finally decided to buy a ready-made tie for which I had to pay 4 francs or about 30 cents. One can hardly say things are expensive here.
By now I am all settled again in Paris; I have resumed lessons with Mademoiselle Boulanger and Monsieur Vines, have started receiving invitations to teas and musicales, going to shows and beginning anew this very fascinating life. I am enclosing the statement of my bank account on January 1st. I have just finished my first book of 25 checks and have ordered another.I am very interested to hear what your plans are to be. Well, so long for this time. Love to all.