Archive for the ‘ Orchestras ’ Category

1950, March 22 – PREMIERE “AL COMPAS DE TU MENTIRA”

Renown Argentine actor, Pedro Quartucci, who stars in this film was the protagonist of a fascinating story; as a young actor he had a relationship with an aspiring actress Eva Duarte the future wife of Juan Peron,”Evita” with whom he supposedly had a daughter “Nilda”…the little girl however was brought up as their natural daughter by himself and his wife Felisa Borborino…years later Nilda, now grown up and married, heard from her husband that her real mother had been Eva Peron…when she confronted her father, he admitted that it was true and her mother Felisa, at the eleventh hour, confirmed the story as well…Father Benitez, the priest present at the deathbed of Evita wrote that in her confession she spoke of “the great pain in her life” and he hinted that it was the fact of never having known a child born to her…besides this Pedro was a professional boxer before he became an actor…competing as a feather weight, he won a bronze metal in the 1924 Olympics…

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“Al Compas De Tu Mentira”, adapted from Oscar Wilde’s, “On The Importance of Being Ernest”, was directed by Hector Canzani and is a musical comedy with lots of dancing and tango music…Canzani spent most of his career as a poet and screenwriter but this film, which was moderately successful, bestowed him notiriety…this was to be the last film of Juan D’arienzo and his orchestra…other notables in the film include the Domingo Federico Orchestra with singer Jorge Casal singing the theme song “Al Compas del Corazon”…Edmundo Rivera, the only bass in a world of tenors and baritones,  sings “No Te Enganes Corazon” composed by Rodolfo Sciamarella…the ill-fated Osmar Maderna “the Chopin of Tango”, who would die young in an airplane crash, plays his “Lluvia de Estrellas” which is indeed reminiscent of Chopin’s ballads; he is accompanied by the Alfredo De Angelis Orchestra…

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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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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

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”

1920, March 13 – BIRTH OF HECTOR MAURE

Singer, Composer (Pisces) – he was only thirty-five years old and his career in full bloom when two tragedies occurred; the first, the fall of the government of Juan Peron on September 19, 1954…tango was populist and the Peron regime was a populist one and consequently Hector Maure, like most tango artists, found himself blacklisted from radio stations; interestingly it had been Juan Peron himself who had nationalized most of the radio stations…the second event was that tango was beginning to pass out of fashion…to hasten this, the new regime, comprised of members of the upper middle class whose innate classicist instincts saw tango as undesirable, enforced curfew laws only in tango clubs thus helping to usher in the new rock and roll culture…still the Forastieri brothers fought hard to keep the tango candle flame from being snuffed out and they valiantly kept their tango club “El Rincon de Los Artistas” going…here Hector would perform for ten years until May 9, 1976; three days later he would die unexpectedly from a massive heart attack

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Hector Maure was born in the neighborhood of Palermo, Buenos Aires to a struggling Italian immigrant father and a mother from Lugo, Galicia Spain…he had to quit school early to help support the family…as a boy he loved to sing but his big dream was to become a boxing champion…in a key fight which could launch his career and which he was expected to win, he was severely injured and he was told that he could no longer fight; it is at this point that he decided to devote himself to singing…at the age of eighteen he reluctantly entered the renown Puloil Soap singing contest on Radio Belgrano and to his surprize, out of hundreds of candidates, he was selected the winner by the public at large…his career took off from there; he eventually would become the vocalist for the Juan D’arienzo Orchestra; one of the most successful of the day…he would later embark on a busy solo career…his most successful  composition was “Oro Y Diamantes” which was recorded by the Juan D’arienzo Orchestra

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1910, March 12 – BIRTH OF JUANITA LARRAURI

Singer (Pisces) – “she gave up a promising and glorious career to work for a tyrant” , was the comment of one of her disappointed fans when she gave up singing to become part of the idolatrous legions of Peronism…carried away by her political passion she would dare to say,“Peron is the only sovereign”…critics agree that she had the voice and the personality to have become a major star…she was born in the neighborhood of Floresta in Buenos Aires and already as a little girl her love of singing became apparent in her penchant for humming as she was playing with her dolls…she began singing in the private festivals of neighborhood friends and relatives; it was whispered that she would become a great singer…her first break came at the age of twenty-one when she was featured on Radio Nacional (later Radio Belgrano) and the response from the public was enthusiastic; invitations from other radio stations quickly followed

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In 1936 she recorded her first disc; on one side “Castigo” by Juan Polito and on the other side “Sueno Fue” by Luis Rubenstein…although she made some short tours abroad, her career was almost entirely on radio…during one of those radio gigs she fell in love with violinist and orchestra leader Francisco Rotundo whom she would marry in 1949…during one of Peron’s speeches she became infected with his politics and became a fervent worker in his movement; at a certain point she left singing to devote herself to the cause…along the way she became a trusted friend of Eva Peron who appointed her the national director for the women’s Peronist movement; in 1952 she was elected senator on the party ticket…she returned to the air waves briefly when she recorded the Peronist Party hymn “Evita Capitana”…in 1972 she attempted a come back with her album “Canto Para Mi pueblo”; her fans were pleased that the voice that had made her so beloved thirty years earlier was still there

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CLICK HERE– http://www.todotango.com/
English/Las_Obras/Grabacion.aspx?id=1294 to hear Juanita Laurrari sing “Castigo” composed by Juan Polito with Lyrics by Luis Rubenstein