Archive for the ‘ Violinist ’ Category

1932, December 9 – 1st Recorded “EL HURACAN”

The composer of “El Huracan” (the hurricane) Edgardo Donato was notoriously absent minded…his daughter would tell the story of one day, when he was on a street car, that he happened to meet a friend and got into a conversation with him; they descended from the tram and continued talking…after a while he realized that his wife had been with him and that she had remained on the tram…”El Huracan” was a great hit for Edgardo, one of many among his more than 200 compositions…It was premiered at the Teatro Colón at a contest organized by the Sociedad de Beneficencia de Buenos Aires in 1932; it won second prize after the tango “Ventarron…”El Huracan” continues to this day, to be played in milongas all over the world and has been recorded by many musicians, perhaps the most successful of all by Juan D’Arienzo


Edgardo Donato (born April 14, 1897, Airies), one of nine children of  an Italian immigrant musician in the field of opera, was born in the neighborhood of San Cristobal in Buenos Aires but raised in Montevideo (perhaps the only instance of a tango great going from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, it was usually the opposite)…his father was his first teacher and in fact Edgardo started his career in opera working with his father but his true love was the tango…with much trepidation, one day Edgardo mustered the courage to tell his father that he was joining the orchestra of Negro Quevedo which just happened to have on piano another future great, Enrique Delfino …Edgardo Donato was of course the composer of the immortal “A Media Luz” which he composed while riding a tram….his first hit “Julian” at the age of 24, he had actually tried to sell, in a moment of dire need, for 20 pesos but no one would buy it; he then decided to record it himself…its instant success created an immortal in tango


  • CLICK HERE – to hear “El Huracan” played by the Edgardo Donato orchestra…the lyrics are by Nolo Lopez…the voice is that of Alex Gutierrez; it was his first recording and a hit at the age 23


Singer (Sagittarius) – in the morning when he would arrive at his medical studio, he would find swarms of young ladies waiting to see him, gynecologist Dr. Alberto De Luca, who by night was the idolized singer Alberto Castillo…in fact the never-ending line of women so interfered with his ability to practise medicine that he reluctantly, finally, decided to devote himself exclusively to singing…Alberto Castillo was born in the neighborhood of Floresta, Buenos Aires, the fifth child of immigrants from Teggiano, Italy…very early on he demonstrated great musical ability; he took violin lesson and had the habit of singing no matter where he was or what he was doing…when he was 15 years old he was singing with a group of friends on a street corner when the guitarist Armando Neira happened by and was immediately struck by the voice of the young boy; he invited him to sing with his group….


And thus began his career at the age of 15 using the alias Alberto Dual to protect him from his severe father who wanted him to seek a career in medicine…his big break came in 1934 he was recruited by the legendary orchestra of Julio De Caro; he began singing on Radio Paris…the story is told that one day when his father was listening to the radio he heard Alberto singing and not realizing it was his son said “this boy sings well, he sounds like my Albertito” the age of 24 he decided to quit singing and devote himself exclusively to his medical studies but tango was under his skin and so he accepted an invitation to sing with the Ricardo Tanturi orchestra “Los Indios”; with Tanturi, on January 8, 1941, he recorded “Recuerdo” which was his first big hit…one year later he graduated as a gynecologist from medical school and created a consulting room in his parents’ house……in one famous performance at the Teatro Alvear in 1944, the crowds waiting to get in were such that the police had to reroute traffic…he became famous also for singing  candombe…he was very successful in films as well; he debuted in Adios Pampa Mia in 1946…in 1993 at the age of 79 he had his last hit success “Siga El Baile”, a candombe


  • CLICK HERE – to hear Alberto sing his hit “Que Nadie Sepa Mi Sufrir” (that no one knows how I am suffering) composed by Angel Cabral whom Edith Piaf re-recorded as “La Foule” in 1957…it became a hit for her as well

1869, November 29 – BIRTH OF JACOB “THUNE” GADE

Composer, Violinist (Sagittarius) – his “Tango Jalousie” is the most recorded and best know tango in history and was immensely popular even in Argentina where people would have been quite surprised to find out that it had been composed by some one from Denmark…Gade recalled the day, as he was having his morning coffee, he opened the newspaper and was greeted with the sensational story of a man who had killed his wife out of jealousy…on his morning walk he was haunted by the story and when he returned home he sat down to compose and finished in  just two hours…it has been used in over 100 films and countless television productions…it is estimated that every minute of the day someone somewhere in the world is playing “Tango Jalousie”; only the Beatles’ “Yesterday” could for a time match its popularity


Joseph “Thune” Gade was born into a family of musicians; his family including his grandfather and father would play at festivals in the surrounding villages…early on he started studying the trumpet was so talented that at the age of nine he did a solo performance  in Copenhagen; at the age of 12 Joseph began studying violin….At the age of 16, Joseph decided to move to the capital Copenhagen to seek his fortune; those were difficult years when he would sometimes sleep in entrance halls of buildings relaying on the kindness of elderly ladies to give him some coffee and bread in the morning…by day he would compose country music and polkas; by night he would play in the local cafes…at the age of 18 he got his first break when he was invited to play at an operetta in Fredricksburg…in 1900, for the first time a “toast” song of his was published titled “Der Er Sollys i Modne Druer” (The sunshine on the ripe grapes)…it was popularized when it was recorded by Elna From, a theater actress ten years older than he, who was his first love; they never married but they had three children together…he left his vast fortune to help struggling young musicians preferably those homeless and destitute.


  • CLICK HERE – to hear the Peter Kreude version…Kreude was a child prodigy born in Aachen Germany in 1901…in Switzerland he met Eva Peron and fell in love with her…he followed her to Buenos Aires and remained there until her death whereup he returned to Germany and continued his great career as a film soundtrack composer


Composer, Leader, Violinist (Sagittarius) – born into extreme poverty in the city of San Jose de Mayo, Uruguay he would grow to become the richest man in tango history so much so that a popular saying arose “he has more money than Canaro”…he left school very early, he had no choice, he had to work; his parents, immigrants from Rovigo, Italy had eight children…he was mesmerized by the violin; his first violin he constructed himself from an old oil can with which he would play on the streets to earn money…years later he would recall with tenderness, the patch quilt cloth case his mother had made for his “violin”; at the age of 18 he finally bought himself a real violin…his first gig was in a seedy bar in the outskirts of Buenos Aires where gun fire to resolve arguments was not uncommon…in 1908 he composed his first tango “Pinta Brava”,  many more were to follow including great hits however many other tangos attributed to him, he actually bought from destitute composers…


No one is sure how many recordings he made but the estimates range from 3500 to 7000…in 1924 he pioneered the idea of having a singer in the orchestra but only to sing the “estribillo” the bridge or the main section of each tango…by 1915 his orchestra was immensely popular; so popular that he created three orchestras with his name which performed simultaneously around Buenos Aires…his one area of failure was the film industry; his film company Rio de la Plata had only one film that made money, “Idolos De La Radio”…….some time in late 1920s he began his affair with the legendary Ada Falcon who was very much in love with him…when he realizes how much money he would lose in a divorce, he reneged on his promise to marry Ada…at one point his wife actually threatened Ada by pointing a gun to her head…it has been speculated that Ada’s sudden  retirement from show business at the height of her career to enter a convent was related to her broken heart and this incident


  • CLICK HERE – to hear the Francisco Canaro Orchestra play “Yo No Se Que Me Han Hechos Tus Ojos” (I don’t understand what your eyes have done to me) with  music and lyrics by Francisco Canaro

1910, November 11 – BIRTH OF RAUL KAPLUN

Composer, Leader, Violinist (Scorpio) – his older two siblings died of scarlet fever; he was the only one to survive…he was born Israel Kaplun in the neighborhood of Balvanera, Buenos Aires to an itinerant jewish hat salesman who had immigrated from Besarabia, (Moldavia) with his wife…some black neighbors who would help look after Israel, began calling him “Raul” which is what his name sounded like to them when “Israel” was prononced in yiddish…Raul immersed himself in violin lessons at at the jewish grammar school that he attended…when he was about to finish grammer school he noticed a job ad for a violinist…when he arrived at the audition there were 20 people vying for the position, all of them older; he was hired….he was inserted into an ensemble which played at silent movie theaters


Later while playing with a jazz group at the Astral Movie Theater, he crossed paths with Miguel Calo who upon hearing the boy play promptly asked him to join his group; thus was Raul born into the tango world… his broadcasting debut was with Radio Prieto in 1928 although later he would get blackballed in radio for his refusal to join the Peronist Party…one historian has suggested that it was for Kaplun’s virtuosity, that solo violin passages were first written into tango and that it is precisely this element that led to the boom of the 40s……his first composition was the waltz “Recordando a Musè” published in 1935…later with the orchestra of Lucio Demare he composed his first hits  “Una Emocion” and “Que Solo Estoy” which was a major hit for Raul Beron……in June of 1946 he put together his own orchestra  which at the Cabaret Montecarlo auditioned and hired a young 16-year-old named Roberto Goyeneche whom he would allow to sleep on the sofa and whom he accompanied to the tram stop as he had promised his mother he would do


1955, October 7 – BIRTH OF YO YO MA

Cellist (Libra) – born in Paris to Chinese parents, his mother was a singer and his father a professor of music…the family moved to New York City when he was five years old…at the age of 4 , he began studying violin and in time a child prodigy emerged…he began performing at the age of 5 and by the age of 7 he had performed for presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy…he studied at the Julliard School of Music and the universitys of Columbia and Harvard…..


Ma’s primary performance cello nicknamed Petunia, was built by Domenico Montagna in 1733…it was once accidentally lost in a taxicab in New York City and later, miraculously recovered undamaged…in 1977, he  married his long-time girlfriend Jill Hornor, a German language professor…in 1997 he released, to rave reviews,  “Soul of the Tango” an LP interpreting Astor Piazzolla’s music…one critic called it “the perfect combination of two eclectic geniuses”


1925, September 14 – first performance of “TANGO JALOUSIE”

First performed on 14th September 1925, a Monday, at the Palads Theatre in Copenhagen for the premiere, in Denmark, of the silent film Don Q, Son of Zorro, starring Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Astor… It is not only the best known tango in the world but it is estimated that every minute of the day someone somewhere in the world is playing “Tango Jalousie”; only the Beatles’ “Yesterday” could for a time match its popularity.


It has been included in over 100 films…Gade (born Nov. 29, 1879, Sagittarius) was inspired to write it when he read in the newspaper of a man murdering his wife out of jealousy. He was a self-taught country fiddler, who as a struggling musician would sometimes sleep in doorways.  The instant, worldwide popularity of Jalousie made him immensely  rich and he retired to the countryside to devote himself to composing.


  • CLICK HERE to hear a 1929 version recorded in Berlin with clips from 2 silent films Asphalt (1929) starring Betty Ammann and Gustav Fröhlich and “Our modern maidens” (1929) starring Joan Crawford.