Victoria Hernández Interview, Tape 4
The final part of Ruth Glasser interview with Victoria Hernández. Ms. Hernández shares her personal thoughts on her brother’s fellow musicians. She continues to show Ms. Glasser memorabilia and sheet music, pointing out differences between genres and the national origin of the written music. Talks about her brother’s musical trajectory and the origin of Cuarteto Victoria. She also discusses how Canario stole music from Rafael Hernández, specifically the song “Tanta Vanidad.” She is very critical of Canario. She talks about how Rafael Hernández learned to protect his music after a court sided with Canario on the issue. Ms. Hernández is critical of the vulnerability of Puerto Rican musicians. She also tells stories of fights and controversies between musicians.
Ms. Hernández then proceeds to show Ms. Glasser newspaper clipping, photographs and other memorabilia pertaining to Rafael Hernández. She begins to tell her story of opening the music store “Casa Hernández” in the 1930s under her brother’s name. Her strength and support earn her the nickname “La Madrina” among musicians. Her financial prowess allow her to sponsor up-and-coming musicians.
Victoria Hernández came to New York in 1919 with relatives. After working as a seamstress, she bought a storefront in 1927 and started Almacenes Hernández (The Hernández Music Store). The store served as a central hangout for Latino musicians and Ms. Hernández was a central part of this music scene, earning the nickname “La Madrina” from the musicians. Ms. Hernández herself was an accomplished violinist, cellist and pianist, but dedicated herself to the business aspect of the industry and was one of the only women playing such a key role in it.