1904, January 4 – REOPENING OF GRAND HOTEL VICTORIA

One of the great mysterys in tango is, who wrote the perennial hit “Hotel Victoria”…there is good reason to believe that it was played for the first time for the reopening of the Grand Hotel Victoria on January 4, 1904 in Cordoba, Argentina….it was probably composed by Feliciano Latasa…Latasa was born into a musical family on September 25, 1870, in San Sebastian, the northern basque region of Spain…around the age of 30 he was contracted by fellow Basques in the city of Santa Fe, Argentina to help develop and direct  the orchestra of Sociedad Espana and the traditional a capella Galician singing group “Orfeon Gallego”…it is here that he first came into contact with tango and was immediately smitten by it…..his musical abilities came to the ear of the management of the historic Hotel Victoria who commissioned him to compose a piece to commemorate the completion of the refurbishing of the hotel.

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However, would-be imposters emerged over time…on October 20, 1924 Carmen Jimenez,appearing at “La Borachera Del Tango”, announced with great fanfare the premiere of a new tango “La Payasa”…it was not new at all but merely a pirated version of  Latasa’s ”Hotel Victoria”…there was another claim that Hotel Victoria was played for the first time in one of the well-known carnival balls of Politeama…According to historian Eduardo Stilman, “The early editions of this piece do not bear any signature while others are signed with the initials H. D.”….In 1932 a sheet music copy of Hotel Victoria emerged where it is credited to Luis Negron; about Mr. Negron very little is known…still another source argued that Hotel Victoria was composed by a violinist in Rosario by the name of Alfredo Baron…there is anecdotal evidence that suggests that Hotel Victoria was originally an old Spanish melody which was hummed by immigrants arriving in Buenos Aires…of one thing we are sure of, it is one of the most popular tangos in history

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