Archive for the ‘ Jewish ’ Category

1933, April 5 – PREMIERE OF “MELODIA DE ARRABAL”

Like Dostoyevsky’s Rodion in “Crime and Punishment”, Robert Ramirez, is an example of the redeeming power of love…he is a con man in love and now he is repentant about his past as says to his beloved Alina, “I don’ deserve you, I am not good enough for you…my whole life is a lie..I always been a liar, I was a gambler, a thief and an ass…”…Alina puts her hand to his mouth just when he is about to admit that he is a murderer and says to him, ” be quiet, it doesn’t matter now, all that matter is that I love you”Carlos Gardel plays Ramirez who is a gambler, a cheat and eventually even a murder but he once saved the life of the detective who is investigating and knows the truth about Ramirez and whom he decides to help; Imperio Argentina plays Alina the voice and piano teacher  who falls in love with Ramirez…the critics were merciless to the film and to Gardel’s acting but there was little doubt about Imperio Argentina for her screen presence and her superb acting…In fact this film made her enormously popular in the United States…

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Directed by Louis J. Gasnier and written by Alfredo Le Pera, “Melodia De Arrabal” premiered at Cine Porteno and was a big hit surpassing even the renown “Luces De Buenos Aires” by half year…Gardel attended the premiere and was met with thunderous applause upon his entry…its musical numbers, featuring the orchestras of Juan Cruz Matteo and Horacio Pettorossi, became best sellers “Silencio” was an instant hit all over the world…the other major hit was “Cuando Tu No Estas” written the renown French musician Marcel Lattes who would die ten years later at the Auschwitz concentration camp…Marcel Lattes who was originally from Nice would compose music for over thirty films…Imperio Argentina, who started her career as “Petit Imperio” at the age of six, was a particular favorite of Adolfo Hitler and he had Joseph Goebbels request an audience with her; she came and he asked her to film the life of exotic dancer Lola Montez which she later refused…she was reputed to have had a lesbian affair with Marlena Dietrich.

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CLICK HERE– http://www.youtube.com/

watch?v=mSadGn2l8Hw&playnext=

1&list=PL9F48543BA8107F4B to hear Gardel sing a big hit from the film, “Cuando Tu No Estas”, composed by Marcel Lattes and Carlos Gardel

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1889 March 18 – BIRTH OF HECTOR BLOMBERG

Poet, Writer, Journalist (Pisces) – he flung open the door, rushed in and started grabbing  a few clothes,“where are you going son” his mother asked worriedly,“to Norway” he responded…that afternoon while walking the waterfront, deep in thought, he had suddenly stopped in front of a massive ship and had been seized by an inexplicable urge, “the ship leaves at 12 noon” the sailor on guard had told him…Hector Blomberg was gone for two years during which he visited far away lands and exotic ports of call; he returned with a suitcase full of poems…at the age of seventeen he had received his first recognition, a gold medal for his poem “Ode To Spain”…in time he would become one of Argentina’s great men of letters leaving behind an extensive collection of poetry books, historical novels, plays, newspaper articles, children’s books and several immortal tangos…being fluent in German and English he even found time to translate noted writers in those languages

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He was born in the neighborhood of Montserrat in Buenos Aires; his mother, originally from Paraguay, was herself a writer and a translator…his father was an engineer and a descendant of a long line of Norwegian sailors from whom he fell heir to his passion for the sea and for travel…sometime in the late 1920s he was introduced to singer Ignacio Corsini with whom a lifelong friendship would flourish…in collaboration with guitarist Enrique Maciel they would author a waltz “La Pulpera de Santa Lucia” which was a great hit and would launch a renowned career for Corsini; the three would collaborate on a number of other successful tango like “El Adios de Gabino Ezeiza” and “La Que Morio en Paris”…”La Pulpera de Santa Lucia” was originally on of Hector’s historical novels which continues in circulation to our very day as a collector’s item at prices many times its original cost…the kind of person Hector was, revealed itself in 1920 in a poetry contest; when it came to his attention that he would be awarded first prize, he argued with the jury that the second place designee’s entry was better than his  and really deserving of first place and in fact the order of the awards was changed

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1861, March 17 – ITALY IS UNITED…TANGO IS CREATED !

Perhaps the single biggest reason for the creation of tango was the unification of Italy which radically upended society  leading to massive emigration of Italians to Argentina….Tango is overwhelmingly a creation of Italian immigranst in Argentina…furthermore, it is part of  a history of Italian musical traditions which from the time of the Renaissance were being exported to royal courts as far away as Russian…the unification of Italy broke down the land feudal system which had survived in the south of Italy since the middle ages…the well intended redistribution of land had the unintended effect of  creating smaller and less efficient plots of land…at the same time improved hygiene and access to healthcare led to longer life spans and a dramatic increase in population…the emigration was mostly southern and rural; the great Ignacio Corsini, for example, was born in Troina, Sicily…the only large city to experience emigration was Napoli…with unification, it had gone from being the capital of a grand kingdom to being just another big city leading to a loss of jobs and loss of investment and consequently high unemployment rates…

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Adding to its woes were a series of cholera epidemics beginning in the 1880s which also encouraged emigration; in fact tango has strong Neapolitan musical roots…another effect of unification was that the state took over control of emigration by setting standards, licensing emigration agents, providing health care at ports of embarkation  and making agreements with receiving countries to protect the immigrants and to provide health care upon their arrival…in 1903 the government organized the ports of embarkation in Palermo, Naples and Genoa…Italian unification can be traced to the defeat of Napoleon (himself of Italian descent)…his installed monarchs tried to save their thrones by stoking nationalist sentiments which inadvertently inspired the move to the  unification of Italy…inspired by the French Revolution, a secret organization known as “Carbonari” developed to fight for Italian unification which with the leadership of the charismatic Giuseppe Garibaldi eventually prevailed…by one estimate, 80% of tango composers were of Italian descent; two of its greatest, Osvaldo Pugliese and Astor Piazzollawere of Italian jewish descent

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CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvFt615a14A&feature=related to hear the “Marcia Reale”, the official national anthem at the time of unification…it was composed by Giuseppe Gabetti in 1931 as the hymn of the Royal House of Savoy

1921, March 11 – BIRTH OF ASTOR PIAZZOLLA

Composer, Leader, Bandoneonist, Pianist (Pisces) –“You idiot, that’s Piazzolla”Nadia Boulanger screamed at a young Astor Piazzolla; looking back on a story book career many years later he would say“in a mere matter of ten seconds, she had sent to hell ten years of work”…perhaps more than any one else, it was Nadia Boulanger, renown music teacher of the twentieth century, who was responsible for the eventual emergence of the genius Astor Piazzolla…he had been ashamed of his tango roots and his bandoneon; his true soul, he thought, belonged to Mozart and Bach but the astute Boulanger set him on the right destiny…the destiny of combining classical, jazz and tango all cemented by the musical milieu of New York where he grew up…it was a fateful day in 1953 when it was suggested to him to enter one of his compositions into the “Fabien Seveitsky Competition” which he did very reluctantly, he just did not think his work was good enough…to his great surprize, he won first place and a scholarship to study with the legendary Nadia Boulanger in Paris

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Although Astor Piazzolla was born in Argentina he was raised in New York and his music, his character and his life reflected that ambience; he even spoke english with a New York accent…his granparents had been immigrants from the ancient town of Trani, a settlement of ancient jewish scholarship in the region of Puglia in Southern Italy…as a boy he went through a series of operations due to a polio deformed right leg; his father advised him to be tough and to never let anything defeat him a lesson he learned all too well; he was once thrown out of school for aggressive behavior…the composition which won him his first popular acclaim was “Ballada Para Un Loco” which was premiered in 1969 by his second wife Amelita Baltar at the First Iberoamerican Music Festival where it won second place…his immortal “Libertango” was composed during the period that he lived in Rome in the 1970s…in his prolific career he would compose over 1000 works including orchestral works that continue to be played by orchestras the world over…Astor once said, “music is more than a woman because you can divorce a woman but not music…once you marry her, she is your everlasting love and you go to the grave with her”…he also once said of the most famous tango in the world, “La Cumparsita”“the worst of all tangos”

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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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1963, February 23 – BIRTH OF CLAUDIA LEVY

Singer, Composer, Poet (Pisces) – the little girl gazed tenderly at her mother who was crying as she was strumming the piano, “He’s not coming back is he mommy?” she asked, “No darling he’s not”, she answered...”well”, said the little girl “lets tear up his tooth-brush”…somehow it was that moment of  a child’s simple vision which set her free; yes it was time to move on…the day would come when she would be grateful for the whole experience for from that day on, she began composing tango…she had fallen madly in love with a boy ten years younger and he had gone to New York on tour…in the begining, his emails were numerous and daily and then gradually more scarse…one day, she boarded a plane to New York to see him and the plane was uncommonly late; an omen…when she finally saw him, as he walked towards her, somehow she knew, “it’s over”Claudia Levy was born in Buenos Aires; her father was jewish and her mother catholic…her mother was a lover of cinema and she would tell little Claudia all about the films’ plots; Claudia credits this early experience as seminal in developing her later love of writing lyrics…

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Early on she demonstrated precocious musical talent and her father promptly enrolled her in the Conservatory Alberto Williams where she studied classical piano…later she studied dance and mime but at a certain point she found her creative soul in tango…along the way, she has made some people angry; she was a pioneer in a new genre, “woman centered tango”, in a world that historically has been very macho…using trademark sarcasm and humor she has brought awareness to the custom, still prevalent in Argentina and other nations, of men beating their wives and in some cases even killing them…her first musical group, a duo, was called “Tangachas”…with her second group, she began making a name for herself and went on a critically acclaimed tour of  Europe…this was followed by her participation in a third group “Munecas Bravas”…her first disc “Mentime Mas” is a compilation of her own compositions and lyrics…her second disc“Escuchame Un Segondo” has received rave reviews from critics and public alike…in one of her celebrated lyrics she says,“go ahead and cry for there is no Christ to save you…cry that crying is good for you…dismount your horse and come to the light of the day for only a coward beats his wife”

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1913, February 4 – BIRTH OF SABINA OLMOS

Singer (Aquarius) – another day was dawning, another sleepless night…she looked round the sparse, unkempt  room…on the night stand was the picture of her beloved Charlo…her thin, wrinkled hand was trembling as she slipped her wedding ring into her finger; the same  ring that her dear friend Eva Peron had given her so long ago…she opened the balcony door, walked to the edge, carefully climbed over the railing and jumped to her death…..many years had passed for Sabina Olmos since that young, happy girl full of dreams was working in the department store Casa San Juan and where in between attending customers she loved to sing…a customer had spoken about her to renown singer Amanda Ledesma who recommended her to radio station Radio Buenos Aires…the response from the public was enthusiastic; it was the beginning of a dazzling career…

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She was born in the Jewish neighborhood of Once (Balvanera), in Buenos Aires the birth place of  the great Juan D’arienzo…begining with a small part in“Canillita” at the age of 23, she would do 30 films in her career …perhaps her best film would be “Asi Es La Vida” which made her famous in all of Latin America and for which she won “Best Supporting Dramatic Actress” from the city of Buenos Aires…In the film “Carnaval de Antano” she sang with the legendary Charlo who would become the love of her life; they married in 1952…she never stopped loving him even after they divorced 17 years later and even after she accused him of having ruined her; she never had any children…she was a friend of Eva Peron and after the overthrow of Juan Peron she was blackballed….she and Charlo earned rave reviews singing in long tours abroad…she lived two years in Spain taking time to tour the US and Latin America always in grandest of opulence…but for the last 20 years of her life she endured one vicissitude after another; she was practically alone and forgotten living on the edge of poverty from a small pension…that fateful morning, the note she left on the table read, “please forgive me for my decision and please pardon me for the occasional bother  that I have been”.

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CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dqQRl7dYeM to see Sabina Olmos sing “Muchachita Del Campo” composed by Francisco Lomuto with  lyrics by film director Manuel Romero