Posts Tagged ‘ 10 best tango orchestras ’

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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1913, March 10 – BIRTH OF ENRIQUE CAMPOS

Singer (Pisces) – he was torn by the whole idea; he had already spent years with a stage name and now Ricardo Tanturi was telling him he had to change it again but the chance to replace the renown Alberto Castillo with his “Los Indios Orchestra” in Buenos Aires was a major break and so he reluctantly aquiesced…Ricardo Tanturi opened the phone book at random, scanned the page and said, “ah, here it is ‘Enrique Campos’”…ludicrous as the whole scene was, it embarked the realization of his boyhood dreams…he debuted with Tanturi on Radio El Mundo to critical acclaim and soon after, he made his first recording; on one side “Muchachos Comienza la Ronda” by Luis Porcell and on the other side the waltz “Al Pasar” by Raul Iglesias…a dedicated family man, many years later reflecting on a long and full career, he would recall that, that was also the year that he met his beloved wife with whom he would raise a proud and successful family

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He was born Enrique Troncone to struggling Italian immigrants in the outskirts of Montevideo, Uruguay…his parents noticed him musical talent on and encouraged him as far their humble means could permit…he began singing at a very young age in the local bars and cafes while during the day time doing all sorts of odd jobs to help support the family…his professional debut came relatively late for a singer of that era; it happened at the Cinema Helvetico in the village of Colonia Suisa, originally a swiss and german settlement; he was twenty-three years old…his first break came when he was called by Radio Station CX 18 and in March of that year he debuted on the station’s popular program“Caramelos Surtidos” with two guitarists; the telephones began to ring at the radio station and his popularity began to skyrocket…in his career he would sing with a number of orchestras and make several hit recordings; he starred in one film “Radio Candelario” which premiered at Radio City Cinema on August 21, 1939

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  • CLICK HERE –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YAxXDtbI0s&feature=related to hear Enrique Campos sing “Oigo Tu Voz” (I hear your voice) with the Ricardo Tanturi Orchestra…music by Mario Canaro, lyrics by Francisco Garcia Jimenez

1885, March 8 – BIRTH OF JUAN DE DIOS FILIBERTO

Composer, Leader, Violinist, Guitarist, Harmonica (Pisces) – as a youth he was tormented, difficult, rebellious even a bully and finally he was practically thrown out of school and began working in a series of  menial jobs along the way becoming a fiery anarchist and strike organizer…one fateful evening while working at the famed Colon Theater as a mechanic’s assistant, he happened to see a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and he was stunned; it changed his life…although unrefined, course and practically illiterate,  with tremendous determination, he enrolled at the Pettizini – Sttianessi Conservatory to study music for the first time and gradually the musical genius that was prowling inside his soul began to emerge…later he earned a scholarship to the to study with Maestro Alberto Williams at the prestigious National Conservatory…his tango “Caminito”, composed in 1926, along with “La Cumparsita”, “Il Choclo” and “A Media Luz” would become one of the most universally beloved and recorded musical themes in history…

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He was born in the mythical neighborhood of La Boca, Buenos Aires to a mother who was a descendent of  native americans and a father who was Genoese…many years later he would nostalgically recall his first taste of tango as a six years old toddler at his uncles cafe “La Estrellita”…battling symptoms of tuberculosis, his friend and physician Jose Ingenieros, himself an impassioned political activist and philosopher, advised him to move to the city of Guaymallen; his stay here inspired his first tango, the first of his tangos with distinctly indigenous chords…in 1932 he formed his first orchestra which debuted at the mythical Cafe Tortoni…he dared to include unusual instruments like clarinets and flutes and nativist themes but the critizism that naturally followed was difficult for him to bear…however, it was the beginning of a long and productive  career…among his numerous compositions are great hits like “Quejas De Bandoneon”, “Malevaje”, “El Panuelito”; Carlos Gardel would record sixteen of his tangos…toward the end of his life, reflecting on his career he would say, “my music is many things but above all it is feeling…of course feeling is not enough for you have to know how to express it”

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1934, March 5 – GARDEL SINGS ON NBC, NEW YORK, 3 PM

This was one of the very first broadcasts of its kind in history…while Carlos Gardel was singing at  the NBC studios in New York, through a short wave radio hook-up, he was being accompanied by his long time guitarists Guillermo Barbieri and Angel Riverol back in Buenos Aires…the performance was being transmitted throughout Argentina by Radio Splendido transmitters and throughout South America through its affiliated radio stations with the assistance of Radio Belgran0…he had sung for the first time on NBC just a few months earlier, on new year’s eve, December 31 at 10.30 PM…his break had come during  the previous summer when he had met fellow Uruguayan, Hugo Mariani on vacation; Hugo was one of the key NBC orchestra conductor’s and had evaluated Gardel over a series of performances until one day he said, “Carlos, I think you are ready for New York”…this was a dream come true for Gardel; NBC was the most popular radio station in the world and the US market the most prestigious…

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The initial performance had gone so well that Gardel was given a contract to sing a series of weekly half hour performances; NBC was paying him $315.00 per week…this was a huge sum of money for a nation which was in the throes of a deep depression…newspaper mentions of his performances appeared all over the country along side the names of Jack Benny, Charlie Chaplain, Will Rogers, Eddie Cantor…NBC made an effort to sell Gardel to the broader American market by recording him in English but in the end, they gave up on the project; his English was not very good…his translater in New York was a thirteen year old bandoneonist by the name of Astor Piazzolla whose father had moved the family to New York some years earlier….Gardel was so impressed with young Astor’s talent that he had him accompany him on the NBC Symphony Orchestra for recording sessions…he also invited Astor to accompany him to on his forthcoming tour of South America but because of Astor’s young age his father finally did not give his consent…just a few months later Gardel would die in the fiery airplane crash in the Medellin, Colombia where all, save one guitarist, would perish

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1994, March 4 – “RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES” AS TANGO

“He is the last of a dying breed and the first of a new one” is how one critic described Richard Grayson…he has been called a genius for his ability to improvise on the spot, in any melody, in any key, in any rhythm, in any style…it is said  J. S Bach was one of a very few musicians in history who had this ability…in fact, as Richard himself points out, in the Baroque and Renaissance period it was customary for classical musicians to learn to improvise; today that talent is most often associated with Jazz musicians…in fact tango dancing, which is strictly improvisational shares this tradition with them…Richard started studying piano when he was six years old and as a child he loved to just sit at the piano and improvise on the sounds that he was hearing and feeling…he was  a winner of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship which enabled him to study with renown masters in Europe…

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He later received a Ph.D in composition from UCLA and taught until retirement at the Occidental College in Los Angeles…he became legendary for his unusual concerts where audience members would challenge him on the spot to improvise on a suggested theme….out of his copious compositions perhaps his two most popular are “Mr. 528″ and“Shoot the Piano Player”…Ride of the Valkyries occurs in the beginning of Act III of “Die Walkure”, the second of  Richard Wagner’s “Ring Cycle”….”Valkyries” has been used in many films starting with W. D. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation” in 1915 and more recently in 1979 in Francis Ford Coppola’s, “Apocalypse Now” in the horrifying scene of  helicopters attacking a Vietnam Village …according to Guy Sajer, a German tank officer in World War II, in his book “A Forgotten Soldier”, “Valkyries” was played on their short wave radios before attempting a breakthrough in the “Battle of Memel” on the eastern front

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1959, March 3 – L. LEOCATA DEBUTS ON RADIO BELGRANO

With tears running down her face, clasping her favorite embroidered apron she looked out the window to the orchard she had planted and whispered, “it is a miracle, thank you heavenly father”…Luciano would recall that day vividly many years later…his father had just received a letter from the landlord’s representative; he had passed away and, in an act of deathbed generosity, had cancelled the debt on the house…to the children who played on those 70 meters on which his father had personally constructed the house, it seemed like such a large place; with tremendous personal sacrifice, he had bought that property for twenty-three pesos a month…Luciano Leocata was the third of four children to poor immigrants from Sicily which had settle in the neighborhood of Almagro in Buenos Aires…one evening, when he was thirteen years old, from a distant neighbor’s house, he heard an odd, new sound that captivated him; he found out later it was the bandoneon…

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He began taking lessons and he quickly exhausted his teachers’ ability to teach him…he began playing in the neighborhood cafes and bars for spare change…the news of the “kid” reached Juan Pedro Castillo who have him his first professional job; it was the beginning of a glorious career culminating in a 50 year collaboration with the Florindo Sassone Orchestra…it was in 1940, that the most important event of his life happened; he met a shy, unassuming Aida Emma Gagliardino, “I heard music like I had never heard before”, he would say…they married on January 16, 1943..in time this event would produce two daughters, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren…Luciano composed some of the most beloved tangos in history…His “Volvemos A Querernos”which he presented on Radio El Mundo had the distinction of being a hit simultaneously on two different radio stations, played by two different orchestras and sung by two different singers…his “Y Todavia Te Quiero” to our very day is one of the most revered tangos played in milongas all over the world; there were many others…

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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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