In late 2012 Rico Stover, the biographer of Agustin Barrios Mangore, asked me to assist him in doing the research for the actual composer of the well known Spanish Romance - Romance de Amor. who is: Antonio Rubira.
I begged off at first saying: "I'm working on my own book "Annotations for the History of the Classical Guitar in Argentina 1822-2000", I've been doing this since September of 2000, I can't help you sir."
"Oh come on your archives are so vast you even have the oldest printed version of this Romance from 1904, you have the largest archive of materials relating to the guitar in the Rio de la Plata area in North America." Rico said this because my Annotations book was written from the accumulation of 12 archives that were 26 feet thick in the metal cabinets they are housed in.
So, I allowed myself to get involved. Eventually Rico said: "I have over 200 emails on this subject we have both been studying."
Here is one such email from September 9, 2013:
"The Antonio Rubira entry in Domingo Prat's "Diccionario de Guitarristas y Guitarreros" (p. 274) gives no birth date nor death date. He claims that Julian Arcas and Juan Parga were devoted admirers who were attracted by the his sublime pulsation and believed that they had discovered in this artist a supernatural talent. Prat continues mentioning that Rubira published music that included fantasias on operatic motifs, also mentioning three single works: Valses fantasticos, El Aniversario and Estudio, this last being the Romance Anonimo, which Prat observes has been published many times for its simplicity and appeal."
I used the profits from my store to fund the purchase of books, originals or reprints, that we found referenced in online libraries, such as the Biblioteca Nacional de Espana in Madrid.
Six months later the six pages of historical documentation of Richard D. Stover's edition was ready for publication by Mel Bay in April of 2013.
Yesterday, October 20, 2023, I found this article written in 1857 for the weekly magazine "Zarzuela" by Antonio Rubira, the composer of the Spanish Romance - Romance de Amor.
THE GUITAR February 2, 1857
The article that appears below has been sent to us by an intelligent person who is very passionate about the guitar, who also brings together, for us, the favorable circumstance of being a constant subscriber to LA ZARZUELA since the appearance of the first issue of this newspaper. This makes us wonder that Mr. Rubira could have forgotten what, about his favorite instrument, appears in numbers 4 and 9 corresponding to February 25 and March 31 of last year (1856). In the Madrid chronicle and in the section of criticism, our valued subscriber can see that we have not wasted the opportunity to come out in defense of the guitar, so neglected today in Spain.
Nor do we believe that the accusation that Mr. Rubira directs to the press is very well-founded, when in the columns of the newspapers, not infrequent praise has appeared on repeated occasions, dedicated to the guitarists who have made themselves heard in Madrid, in
regarding the doctrines that the writer puts forward to
that guitar teaching be adopted at the Conservatory
of music, it is to be feared that it will not be realized
the good wish of him, because the guitar does not have the same
application than other instruments, even the piano
that the guitar will never be able to banish, due to
to the immense advantages that the former has over the latter.
I wish what the gentleman is proposing could be verified.
ftubira, that we certainly would not be the ones
that we would oppose. That's what made us welcome
with particular predilection his writing that says
"Thirteen years ago the distinguished writer Don
Miguel Agustin Principe, wrote in El Anfion Matritense
an article in favor of the guitar. After
no one has written a line about it until now
because another one has appeared in La Gaceta Musical,
signed by Mr. Florencio Gomez Parreño.
A piano composition is published, the newspapers
They talk about her. A good piece is played on
the same instrument, the newspapers mention it
honorifically, the same as the performer. Comes
a foreign pianist, or any instrumentalist,
The newspapers lavish praise on him.
A brilliant work for guitar is published, no one
says a word. There is a distinguished guitarist,
unattended passes. Since he doesn't believe his reputation,
The press does not provide protection. Furthermore, few
they understand e! merit of the guitar, and this consists,
in which there are many bad guitars, very bad
touches that cause annoyance, and this happens because
There are few who play them well, because they need
special qualities to play it. Good teaching
and direction, difficult exercises, perseverance without limits,
patience, faith and tireless spirit, with these requirements
and with a purposeful organization and a
heart of a musician, satisfactory success can be achieved.
It takes many years, but it is achieved
the aforementioned circumstances occur.
A perfectly built guitar, in good condition.
wood, with convenient dimensions, with
excellent strings, put in the hands of a good
Professor, make him produce full, round sounds,
vibrant and expressive, it is the instrument
more moving, more eloquent, sweeter and more
poetic of all that exist.
If there is anyone who calls what was said an exaggeration
listen to the distinguished professor Antonio Cano and
he will confirm what we have just expressed.
By mentioning this great professor we cannot even
we must refrain from saying anything about its magnificent
compositions of his, among which one stands out, which
The kindness of its author has placed it in our hands, destined for the competition that Mr. Makarroff has opened in Brussels.
The contest! The court presided over by Mr. Makarroff?
We do not intend to infer insult to the Russian fan, on the contrary, we believe that he deserves praise
for having exposed our national
instrument, it is enough for it to be Spanish to
that in Spain it is looked at with indifference. But
Will there be anyone who believes that 64 compositions, all of
first force, have been included in a
term as reduced and short as that indicated by
Mr. Makarroff? We don't pretend we know what we say
We affirm, without fear of being denied,
that to judge correctly about the merit of the 64 works presented, the guitarist needed
Russian 64 weeks, assuming he is a good teacher,
because guitar works are not graded or judged
by the simple sight of them, but by touching them and
studying different effects they contain, and
This is not done suddenly.
From this we deduce very logically that the prizes
have not been able to be awarded with absolute impartiality.
We want to conclude by not being vague, although we could
add many more things, which we would like to
more authorized people would expand us.
But we will not conclude without recording a thought
At the Conservatory you learn, under the direction
of excellent teachers, to play the piano and other
instruments, and these and that one play well. Likewise
the guitar would be played well and it would become widespread,
if the Conservatory had a Guitar Academy.
The nationality character of this patriotic
and Spanish instrument make him eligible to have
entry into it. The Management would not act fairly
of the Conservatory if it rewarded the high merit of the
eminent professor Antonio Cano making him Director
of this Academy? We believe that it brings together this
teacher all the necessary qualifications, brilliant way
of playing and excellent original works, among which
that there is a method that can and should appear
next to the one published by the immortal Dionisio
The teachers and fans of Madrid and the
provinces would do a service to art, if convinced
dc the truths that we have just expressed, will support
The glory, if it were achieved, would belong to everyone, and
then the guitar would emerge from prostration and despondency
in which it is found, the music that was written
for this instrument it would be known, played
and more appreciated than now, than for one
who interprets it regularly, forty disfigure it
and they destroy it without mercy, and the
case that the guitar was fashionable and banished
at the piano, which would not be difficult, given the little attention
price of it compared to the size of a piano,
however cheap it may be, and given the ease of
move it and a thousand other advantages that we did not list.
It is up to the guitarists, we repeat, to support the
Feeling that we have had the honor to initiate,
The future of the guitar depends on them, if not
they till it will be everyone's fault, and they will never have
reason to make complaints."