Archive for the ‘ Pianist ’ Category

1903, April 8 – BIRTH OF DANIEL LOPEZ BARRETO

Composer, Pianist, Author (Aries) – Tangiers beguiled him and as she had done to William S Burroughs, to Jack Keroac, to Tenessee Williams, to Matisse…she seduced him and so Daniel Lopez Barreto did the unthinkable, he deserted the Argentine Navy and disappeared into Tangiers’ mysterious labyrinths of spys and smugglers…but it was not easy and out of desperation he joined the French Foreign Legion, finding himself oddly at home with its failed revolutionaries and trouble makers from all over the world…but fate had a surpise in store for him, enjoying himself at the “Cabaret Lumiere Du Midi” the night before shipping out, some drunken English sailors suddenly became rowdy for the lack of the promised live music…one of Daniel’s campanions suggested to owner that Daniel play the piano; his debut was so successful that it turned into an eight month engagement…one evening a German couple happened to come in; she was a voice and music professor and was so impressed with Daniel’s talent that she took him under her wing…they took  him to the magical island of Ibizia where through stern, disciplined training she perfected his talent…together they would perform classical music concerts throughout europe in splendor and elegance he had never imagined

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But the call of his native land was strong and against the counsel of his benefactress he decided to return to Argentina where he was immediately arrested; he was sentenced to one year in prison at hard labor…upon his release, for a while, he began earning his living as a boxer and a pianist billing himself as “The Boxing Pianist”….now back in Buenos Aires, he began working in a music publishing house where one day the legendary, Roberto Firpo happened to hear him play piano and asked him to join his orchestra…in 1929 he formed a trio to play on Radio Nacional, later Radio Belgrano…he accompanied renown tenor Tito Schippa in one of his celebrated concerts in Buenos Aires…he composed the music for a number of films including “Canillita” in 1936, and “El Hombre Del Sabado” in 1947….either as a composer or as a lyricist, he would record over 100 tangos…his music and his curiosity would take him around the world Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States; his highlight was undoubtably winning in a prize at the prestigious Mozart Festival in Salzburg…he lived on Easter Island for many months to study the language of the natives and he published a book in the United States on his findings….at the age of seventy nine after an incredible life he passed away at his home in Buenos Aires

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CLICK HEREhttp://www.todotango.com/

spanish/las_obras/Tema.aspx?id=BJYAM8BYPRQ= to hear “La Uruguayita Lucia” with lyrics by Daniel Lopez Barreto and music by Eduardo Pereyra performed by the Ricardo Tanturi Orchestra sung by Enrique Campos

1956, April 06 – FIRST RECORDED “MADRE”

The lyrics of “Madre” speak of  man who has hit bottom…he laments his wayward life, his abandonment in vice and worldly pleasures…he recalls the disillusionment of women who professed to love him and now deeply distraught, he realizes that without his mother’s guidance he has fallen and that she was the only one who truly loved him…no doubt composer Francisco Pracanico was inspired by his own sad and lonely childhood…having grown up in a destitute family, he had to quit school when he was no more than a child and began working as a shoe shine boy…working long hours, roaming the city by himself, he would assuage his loneliness playing the harmonica…the heart wrenching melancholy and nostalgia that was to characterize his immortal compositions, moved passersby to stop and marvel at the sensitivity of the boy…eventually one of his customers gave him an old piano which he repaired with make-shift parts he found on the streets; it became his passion…his debut occurred by accident; he was working in a musical cafe as a dish washer and one particular evening the piano player of the tango orchestra did not show up and the customers were increasingly restless….

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The owner, out of desperation, sent in young Francisco; it was to be the start of an incredible career…Francisco Pracanico became one of the most successful tango composers in history…Agustin Magaldi would have a hit with his “Afilador”, his “Mentira” was a hit for Carlos Gardel in 1932, his “Corrientes Y Esmeralda” would be a hit for Adriana Varela in the 1990s and even the legendary Maurice Chevalier premiered his “Tango Porteno” in 1925…Chola Luna, the vocalist of “Madre” was inclined to singing from an early age and she was much encouraged by her proud father; at age sixteen, he entered her in the famous Puloil Soap Singing Contest on Radio Belgrano and out of hundreds of contestants she was declared the winner…she sang with a number of orchestras including the influential Francisco Canaro…she later made a successful tour of  Europe with the Francisco Lomuto Orchestra…she was part of Eva Peron’s preferred list of tango artist but when Juan Peron was overthrownin 1955, Chola was not only blacklisted but threatened with imprisonment and so she exiled herself to Montevideo; “Madre” was one of the last tangos she recorded in Argentina

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CLICK HEREhttp://www.todotango.com/

spanish/las_obras/Tema.aspx?id=xS70q+gbxgY= to hear Chola Luna sing “Madre” with the Miguel Calo Orchestra

1951, March 29 – OSMAR MADERNA’S LAST RECORDING

Saturday afternoon had finally arrived, it was a day he looked forward to all week, his flying day….Osmar Maderna had two loves in his life, music and flying his Eurosocpe 415 CD, a passion he shared with his contemporary Osvaldo Fresedo….the skies over Lomas de Zamora was especially limpid and his fellow pilots were exuberant…flying 200 meters in the air Osmar playfully oscillated the wings at an adjacent pilot as he had done many times before only this time his wing hit the wing of the adjacent plane causing it to lose lift, spiral and hit the ground in a fiery crash…Osmar Maderna, the “Chopin of Tango”, at the pinnacle of his career, was dead at the age of thirty-three years old; just one month earlier he had made his twentieth recording at the RCA Victor Studios…Osmar Maderna was the eighth child of a poor immigrant family in the village of Huajo, Argentina…his father who was a musician was his first piano teacher…from early on young Osmar demonstrated an unusual sensitivity and gift for music…his love of Chopin showed in his subtle, ethereal, romantic touch; at the age of thirteen he put together his first group calling it “Vitaphone”…

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At the age of 20  he arrived in Buenos Aires where he performed on the radio as a soloist playing classical music and some tango…the young prodigy began developing a name for himself; that year he was invited by Miguel Calo to join his orchestra…here he came in contact with three young would-be greats Enrique FranchiniArmando Pontier and Domingo Federico…in 1945 he started start his own orchestra and debuted at the mythical Marzotto Cafe later earning performances at Tango Bar and Radio Belgrano…one year later, he made his first recording, the beautiful instrumental “Chiquè” …some of his most beloved compositions include  ”LLuvia de Estrellas” which shows his love of Chopin’s waltzes and nocturnes and “Concierto En La Luna” which reflects his love of flying but his biggest hit was the waltz “Pequena” with the voice of Hector de Rosas…it was such a massive hit that in the first few months alone there were more than 120 different renditions by different artists…he starred in the film “Al Compas de Tu Mentira” and is credited with having started “Tango Fantasia”

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watch?v=AsdliPd9cFQ to hear the Alfredo de Angelis perform Osmar Maderna’s greatest hit “Pequena” with lyrics by Homero Exposito and the voice of Carlos Dante

1898, March 23 – BIRTH OF FRANCISCO DE CARO

Composer, Pianist (Aries) – it typified his life that lying on the hospital bed with the oxygen mask over his emaciated face, he was more concerned for the family of his dear friend, bandoneonist Gabriel Clausi “Chula” than for himself, “take care of them, look after them Chula”, he insisted…just a few minutes later, he passed away; he was 78 years old…Francisco De Caro had been the creative arm of the legendary team with his brother Julio de Caro; together they revolutionized the way tango was written and interpreted, founding the “Guardia Nueva” movement…many years later Astor Piazzolla would honor their contribution with his composition “Decarissimo”…the great fame that his brother Julio would attain was in no small part due to Francisco’s artistic leadership displayed in compositions like “Sueno Azul” and “Paginas Muertas”; Julio was headstrong, entrepreneurial and famously difficult to deal with…Francisco was the eldest of twelve children born to Giuseppe de Caro De Sica (an ancestor of legendary film director Vittoriio De Sica”)…

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Giuseppe had been the director of the conservatory of the prestigious “Teatro della’Scala de Milano” and commensurate with his august background he dreamed of  seeing his sons in the rarefied world of classical music; he was Francisco’s first piano teacher…however unbeknownst to the authoritarian Giuseppe, the boys began sharing their classical musical skills with the seedy world of tango…when Julio was nineteen years old, his father confronted him one dawn as he was returning from a gig and gave him the choice of either continuing with serious studies or leaving the house; Julio chose to leave the house and his brother Francisco followed him soon after…their estrangement would only end twenty years later when their father would show up at one of their performances and with tears in his eyes asked for forgivenesses…in 1923 the brothers formed their first quartet and began playing at the mythical Cafe Colon…they would eventually embark on a very successful tour of Europe during which they entertained dignitaries including  Charlie Chaplain and Baron Von Rothschild

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watch?v=SSZY161Xtz8 to hear the Osvaldo Fresedo version of “Sueno Azul” composed by Francisco De Caro

1941, March 20 – Alfredo De Angelis Debuts, “CAFE MARZOTTO”

He had waited a long time to start his own orchestra…most would-be greats jumped into the treacherous waters of entrepreneurship much younger (and most failed) and yet from the moment of his debut at the mythical Cafe Marzotto he would see stellar success…he would be criticized as being a merry-go-round orchestra for like Juan D’arienzo, adopting the 2/4 beat, would make it eminently danceable and eminently successful…another thing that differentiated him from his competition was its stability; his core group of musicians would remain with him for his and their entire career…another unique thing about the Alfredo De Angelis orchestra was that it popularized the tango duet, premier among them, the one composed of Carlos Dante and Julio Martel…Alfredo De Angelis was born in the charming village of Androgue just outside of Buenos Aires; years later it would be the inspiration for one of  Jorge Luis Borges’s books of poetry….

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From early age, young Alfredo demonstrated precociousness and at the age of nine began playing piano for silent movies at the Androgue Cinema…Alfredo impressed noted singer Juan Gilberti who gave him his first job as an accompanist…his first break came when he was invited to play with the renown Anselmo Aieta Orchestra…he developed a name for himself and invitations to play with other important orchestras followed…his orchestra was on the inaugural program of the legendary “Glostora Tango Club” and would perform there for 25 years…he would record 486 tangos with the Odeon Label between 1943 and 1977…the Cafe Marzotto mixed tango, football and horse races and made history…it gave its start to a young Attilo Stampone who played there in the 1930s; in 1946 a young and wavering Astor Piazzolla walked in to ask Attilo to join his group…it launched the career of Osmar Maderna, “the Chopin of tango” who would tragically die at the age of thirty-three in an airplane crash.

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1906, March 14 – BIRTH OF RODOLFO BIAGI

Leader, Composer, Pianist (Pisces) – sitting still in class for little Rudy was not easy; his soul was restless…his forays into the realm of day dreaming more often than not, brought him reprimand “Rudy, pay attention”…but lurking inside was a genius who would one day change the world of tango…in his brief three years with the Juan D’arienzo orchestra, his innovative beat on piano would help usher in “danceable tango”  and reinvigorate tango in the forties by appealing to young people…Rodolfo Biagi was born in the neighborhood of San Telmo, Buenos Aires to struggling Italian immigrants…he caused a family crisis when at the end of grammar school, young Rodolfo insisted on leaving school; his parent reluctantly agreed but they enrolled him in the conservatory of the newspaper “La Prensa” to study piano…being strong willed and independent, at the age of thirteen, without his parents’ consent he began playing in a silent film cinema

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One evening the legendary Juan Maglio (Pacho) happened to be in the cinema and was stunned by the precocious teenager at piano; he eventually accepted him into his orchestra, he was only fifteen…a major break occurred when in 1930 Jose Razzano interceded him backstage to ask him to accompany Carlos Gardel on a series of recordings…on April 1, 1930 he found himself next to the legendary Carlos Gardel in the recording studio…soon after he worked with a number of orchestras and along the way composed his first tango “Indeferencia” with lyrics by Juan Carlos Thorry…Rodolfo was a frequent customer of the Cabaret Chantecler where the Juan D’arienzo played nightly…his pianist Lidio Fasoli was notoriously late and one evening D’arienzo could endure no more and on the spot asked Rodolfo to take over at piano: with D’arienzo he would record 71 tangos…in 1938 Biagi left to start his own orchestra which debuted on September 16, 1938 at the Cabaret Marabu…in its long run his orchestra would record some immortal hits like the waltz “Lagrimas Y Sonrisas” and the tango “Quiero Verte Una Vez Mas” with singer Jorge Ortiz

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CLICK HERE - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lo8iQ2QHWc to hear one of Rodolfo Biagi’s greatest hits “Lagrimas Y Sonrisas”

1900, March 2 – BIRTH OF KURT WEILL

“Hurry, hurry Kurt…we have little time to waste, the car is waiting” he heard his friend’s panicked voice cry out; Kurt hastily grabbed the sketches of the second symphony he had been working on and with nothing but the clothes on his back, he rushed out…in fact merely  hours later the Gestapo arrived at his door but by now he was on his way to Paris: it was March of 1933…just months later, for the play “Marie Galante”, he would compose the immortal “Youkali Tango” whose mesmerizing lyrics say, “Youkali is the land of our desires, happiness, pleasure…Youkali is the land where we forget all of our worries…the star we follow is, Youkali…but it is a dream,a folly for there is no Youkali”…in his short and troubled life, he witnessed the turbulent, first 50 years of the twentieth century;  a period of political instability, upheaval and decadence leading to human carnage as the world had never seen before…Kurt would leave a substantial and varied body of work  including cantatas, chamber music, orchestral works, songs, musicals…perhaps his best known ballad is “Mack the Knife” which would be a massive hit for Bobby Darin

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His most famous pieces are the stage works he wrote in collaboration with playwrite Bertold Brechtoddly their estrangement would come finally over politics; Kurt was a passionate socialist, Bertold a passionate communist…he was born in the industrial city of Dessau, Germany…his father a synagogue cantor and composer gave him his first music lessons…young Kurt soon earned the nickname of the “attic composer” for his habit of secluding himself in the attic to compose…in September of 1935 he sailed for New York to work on Broadway where among others he would work with Ira Gershwin…the relationship with his beloved wife Lotte Lenya was turbulent and one day she ran away with Austrian tenor Baron Otto Von Pasetti and the couple divorced; four years later they would remarry…she would become a passionate supporter of his work…observing the intense and often violent encounters of political parties after World War I,  Kurt was to write ominously “the mob is just waiting for the call to pillage and revolt and their favorite target will be the jews”

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2004, February 26 – PREMIERE OF “REDLINE TANGO”

The incredible story of John Mackey is that of a young man who did not formally study a musical instrument and who learned to compose music on a toy like computer program on an early Apple II computer at the age of nine, who would one day compose a tango based orchestral work that would be performed all over the world…“this piece is freaking awesome“, one reviewer said of Redline Tango…in fact, its success has been phenomenal; in its first three years alone it was performed over 100 times in eight countries including the United States, Scotland, Norway, Singapore, Australia,China, Japan and Canada…in 2005 it won the highly prestigious Ostwald Prize from the American Bandmasters Association…John Mackey was born October 1, 1973 in New Philadelphia, Ohio into a musical family; his father was a trumpet player and his mother a flutist…his grandfather owned  a music store and it would be he, who would first introduce him to the computer program on composition…

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His parents, not wishing to replicate an unpleasant experience with his sister, did not encourage formal musical training on him and yet when John was finally accepted to the renown Cleveland Institute of Music it was on the basis of two works, “Gloria” and “Fantasie”,  which he composed on the computer when he was fifteen years old…his first taste of notoriety occurred in 1993 when his “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”, based on a Dylan Thomas program, was selected by Cleveland Youth Orchestra for performance; it was the first time he would earn money from one of his compositions…he went on to receive a master’s degree in composition in 1997, from the renown Julliard School of Music and today in lives in Austin, Texas….his various other works have been performed all over the world; his “Strange Humors” for example has been choreographed and performed by the Parsons Dance Company to world-wide audiences…one critic said of his work, “his music is distinctly his, laced with an intensity sorely missing in the works of other composers”

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CLICK HEREhttp://www.youtube.
com/watch?v=pCUhry-F5GA to hear Antares perform “Redline Tango” at a live performance in Sanibel Island, Florida on February 26, 2009

1881, February 19 – BIRTH OF GABINO C. PENALOZA

Descending on his mule from Chilecito, Gabino Penaloza was very alone but at home among the stark, natural beauty of its cliffs and valleys…it had been a particularly wet year and the aromas of nature were strong…nearing the town of Olta the trail became more boggy and in the distant he could hear the bellowing of the river…in fact its banks had overflowed and he was forced to wait for the water level to recede…that evening at the joyous town gathering, was when he first saw the lovely, demure girl playing the piano; in the coming days they would spend much time together and fall in love…finally the water had receded and he could continue on his journey  but he promised he would return as soon as possible…but on the day of his return his beloved was no where to be found….the discovery that she was pregnant had brought great shame to the family and they had spirited her off in a hastily arranged marriage; the year was 1903…it was this crucially painful experience which was to be the inspiration of his poem “Caminito” which in time, along with “El Choclo” and “La Cumparsita” would become one of the three most beloved tangos of all time

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Gabino Corea Penaloza  (Pisces) born in La Paz and from early on he showed an inclination to poetry but at the age of 15 he moved to Buenos Aires where by day he did a number of jobs and by night he wrote poems; in time they would begin to appear in the renown “Caras and Carretas” magazine…he would frequent the cheap cafes and bars where he was friends with aspiring musicians and singers like a young Carlos Gardel and especially Juan de Dios Filiberto who would compose the music for “Caminito” and with whom Gabino would collaborate on several other tangos including two hits, “El Besito” and “El Panuelito”…he would publish three celebrated books of poems some of which would be used by a number of composers…but he had a difficult and trouble ridden life in the big city and at the age of forty-five he followed his heart  to his beloved Chilencito where with his books and poems he lived to the age of 95 haunted to the end by the memories of that beautiful girl playing piano and the son he never met.

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1886, February 17 – BIRTH OF GENARO ESPOSITO

Leader, Composer, Pianist, Bandoneonist (Aquarius) – Genaro was perched precariously on a step-ladder with nail and hammer in hand, concentrating on the hanging of a picture when his guest bellow uttered a phrase that almost made him fall, “would you like to help me organize a group to play in Paris”...little did he suspect what an epic saga his life was about to become…Paris was a dream that a boy born to struggling Neapolitan immigrant parents in the neighborhood of San TelmoBuenos Aires did not dare to have; and yet, here he was on a cruise ship heading toward Paris, the cultural capital of the world…but on the way tragedy struck, the violinist of the group, Victor Jachia, suddenly had a massive heart attack and died…Genaro Esposito was devastated but with typical “porteno” resolve he persevered and survived initially playing in Marseille for spare change…In time his “Orchestre Argentine Genaro Esposito” would become the toast of Paris performing in its most prestigious clubs, ”El Garron”, “Casino de Paris”, the “Coupole Dance Club” and later critically acclaimed European tours

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Genaro would be a big factor in making tango a boom in Paris and therefore the world…in 1934 at the height of success he fell in love with a beautiful young French girl, Jeanne Vent…she rewarded him with the birth of a boy “Claude” of whom Genaro was immensely proud but then tragedy struck for the second time, Jeanne died leaving him to the care of their 11 month old child…he was never quite the same again…on June 14, 1940 the unimaginable happened, the German army entered Paris…interestngly, as they entered they played the San Lorenzo march composed by Cayetano Silva in 1901…a pall descended upon the city….little by little Genaro had to sell everything he owned just to eat; what little money he could earn came from playing his bandoneon for drunken German soldiers on leave from the Russian front……he had an opportunity to return to Buenos Aires but he steadfastly refused, he was a loyal French citizen now and he would stand by her and by his beloved Paris…sadly, the end came on January 24, 1944 when he succumbed to complications from pneumonia; as per his deathbed request, he was buried next to his beloved Jeanne…just seven months later allied forces would liberate Paris…with “Le Marseillaise“ still reverberating in his soul, General Charles de Gaul, in his liberation speech proclaimed, “Paris, Paris!, Paris outraged!, Paris broken!, Paris Martyred! but Paris liberated!.

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