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Carlos Garcia Tolsa (1858 - 1905)
Carlos Garcia Tolsa

Carlos Garcia Tolsa was born on November 25, 1858 in Hellin, in the province of Albacete, Spain. At the age of 13 he began his guitar studies with an uncle who was blind. In the following year (1872) he was sent to Madrid, where he made the aquaintance of the celebrated guitarist Julian Arcas, who was a dear friend of his blind uncle. Carlos was to study many years with Julian Arcas, and it is thought that Carlos was his favorite student, to the point that when Julian was about to die he told Carlos "I leave the guitar in your hands". Arcas died in Antequera, Spain in 1882. In the next 3 years Carlos performed in the principal capitals of Europe from St. Petersburg, Russia (now Leningrad) to London, England and the Americas as a bandurrista in the "Estudiantino Figaro" directed and formed by Domingo Granados in 1879. The next year Granados passed the conductors baton to Carlos who was the youngest member of the troupe, being just 22 years old. He arrived in South America in 1885, and was involved in the triumph of the Estudiantino in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay in 1887. Shortly after the Estudiantino disolved. Other Estudiantino members such as Jose Sancho ( author of "Melodia Nocturna"-also known as "Feste Lariane" by Luigi Mozzani ) began guitaristic careers. He arrived in Buenos Aires in 1890, where he began to have his guitar works published by Carlos Schnockel and later by Francisco Nuñez. He also held a secretary position for the court in the city of La Plata until his last years. Carlos had many friends (Juan Alias & Juan Valler among them) though very few students, but they were the illustrious people of society, such as the wife of provincial governor Julio Costa. The astronomer Martin Gil, (to whom Carlos dedicated his Sonata in D "Al Fin Solos" ) who was a friend of Agustin Barrios, Miguel Llobet & Andres Segovia, was also a student of Carlos, after having been a disciple of Juan Alais. Another student of Carlos was Gustavo Sosa Escalada who was to become Agustin Barrios Mangore's only teacher.

Agustin Barrios recorded two pieces for Discos Atlanta in Buenos Aires by Carlos Garcia Tolsa in 1914. They are "Divagacion Chopiniana"& "Matilde ". The latter piece is included in this book. Agustin Barrios performed at least 8 pieces by Carlos for decades. The others being "Pienso de Ti",-Tanda de Valses-literally translated as "Set of Waltzes" in the Agustin Barrios biography Six Silver Moonbeams by Rico Stover.

" Pienso de Ti" ( performed in Bogota in November, 1932 ),
" Meditacion" ( performed in Rio de Janeiro in August, 1916,
in Sorocaba, Brazil in May, 1918,
in Santos, Brazil in December, 1918,
in Montevideo in July, 1920,
in Caracas in March, 1930 to a SRO audience,
in Bogota in November, 1932,
in San Salvador in April & July,1933 and again in July & August, 1939), "Reverie" ( performed in Bogota in December, 1932, & in San Fernando, Trinidad in April, 1936 ),
" La Visita","Mazurka"-either "Estela", "La Simpatica" or "Matilde", (all Mazurkas) & "Al Fin Solos"( performed as a duet by Barrios & Escalada in Asuncion, Paraguay in February, 1908 ). Gustavo Sosa Escalada states that he taught Agustin all 17 known pieces by Carlos, as well as all that of Aguado, Sor & Arcas. Abel Carlevaro has recorded an untitled "Habanera". Carlos Garcia Tolsa died at the age of 47 in Montevideo, Uruguay leaving his wife Elvira Acosta y Lara de Garcia Tolsa a widow in 1905.


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