Posts Tagged ‘ astor piazzolla ’


The guitar is the symbolic instrument which unites both Argentina and Uruguay; it has been from the beginning, the primary instrument for both tango and folk music in Montevideo and Buenos Aire…it is with this in mind that Alberto De Los Santos, in 1991, founded the Cuarteto De Los Santos; which from its inception has included band members from both Argentina and Uruguay…its success has been phenomenal; it has gone on to conquer critics and audiences all over the world…one critic noted, “rarely in the history of the guitar, have guitars had such a spell binding effect on audiences…the elixar of  “Cuarteto De Los Santos” cuts across age, national and cultural differences”


Alberto de los Santos was born in Montevideo, Uruguay to a father who was himself a musician and guitarist…from early on his father noticed the musical talent in young Alberto and he began teaching him…when other boys might be anxious to get on the football field or hang out with friends, Alberto was totally devoted to his guitar..his proficiency at a young age surprised even his father… at the age of 13 he was selected among several candidates to form part of a trio; his first professional job…at age 15 he became part of a renown duet called “America” which quickly attained notiriety…he was then invited to become part of the Carlos Paralta guitar ensemble which accompanied the legendary Roberto Goyeneche…he began to be requested in the  groups providing music for television stations in both Montevideo and Buenos Aires by noted maestros like Horacio Salgan…the repertori of Cuarteto De Los Santos has included instrumental versions of famous Argentinian and Uruguayan authors and composers such as A. Piazzolla, A. Zitarrosa, A. Bardi, E. Arolas, Alfonso y Zabala.


1969, December 4 – Goyeneche Records “BALLADA PARA UN LOCO”

In the classic film “King of Hearts” (1966) the residents of a small French village during World War I leave because the Germans plan to bomb the village…the inmates of the local insane asylum take over the village and create a festive, gay, surreal, make belief atmosphere totally oblivious to the war; the message of the film is, perhaps normal people are more crazy than those in the asylum…it is precisely this film which inspired Horacio Ferrer to write the master piece “Ballada Para un Loco” to Astor Piazzolla’s music…when the piece was premiered by Amelia Baltazar at the Buenos Aires Tango Festival, it created a great controversy because many did not see it as real tango and even hissed at it while Amelia was singing it…it was leading in the voting on the final day but the controversy forced the judges to give it second place instead…when “Balada Para Un Loco” was recorded, it was a great hit selling over 200,000 in the first week alone


Horacio Ferrer was born June 2, 1933 in Montevideo, Uruguay (Gemini) to a cultured family; his father was a professor of history and his mother, who was eleven years older than his father, spoke four languages…already as a child, he started writing his first poems, simple plays and even milongas to which he accompanied himself on guitar…at the age of 20 his was invited to participate on a weekly radio program called “A Selection of Tangos”…he soon started a groundbreaking magazine called “Tangueando” which he wrote and illustrated himself…in 1970 he wrote “Book of the Tango, Peoples Art of  Buenos Aires”; its three volumes and more than 2000 pages is one of the most complete works on tango in history…he has collaborated with Astor Piazzolla on a number of hits; one writer called them “the Lennon – MaCarthy team of tango”


  • CLICK HERE – to hear Roberto “Polaco” Goyeneche sing one of his great hits “Ballada Para Un Loco” with lyrics by Horacio Ferrer and music by Astor Piazzolla



The story is told of a young lady present at pianist Linda Lee Thomas’s performance of “Invierno Porteno” who was so moved by the music that she burst into sobs….Inspired by Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, “Invierno Porteno” (Winter in Buenos Aires) is the second of Astor Piazzolla’s “Cuatro Estaciones Portenas” (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires) which was written over a period of six years in the 1960s and which has caught the attention of world-wide audiences…in fact classical music orchestras are beginning to program The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, alongside those of Vivaldi’s…for example in the year 2000, renown violinist Gidon Kremer, released a highly acclaimed album called “Vivaldi and Piazzolla, Eight Seasons”…of  the four, Invierno Porteno is perhaps the most beloved of Piazzolla’s quartet…recently Japanese World champion skater, Daisuke Takahashi clinched the Grand Prix NHK Trophy with an inspired performance skating to “Invierno Porteno”


Astor Piazzolla, an only child, was born on March 11, 1921 (Pisces) in Mar De Plata Argentina…when he was four years old, the family moved to New York City where at the age of eight, his father bought him his first bandoneon …in 1936 the family moved back to Mar De Plata and it is here that Astor began to play in a number of tango orchestras….Carlos Gardel was a friend of the family and in fact Astor played the part of a paper boy in his film “El Dia Que Me Quieras”… day he happened to hear Elvino Vardaro’s Sextet on the radio and his alternative ways of interpreting tango was to have a great influence on him…in 1954 he was awarded a scholarship by the French government and he went to Paris to study under Nadia Boulanger who, after hearing him play tango says to him “Here is the true Piazzolla, never let him go, do not abandon your roots”…with its elements of jazz and classical music Tango Nuevo is born


1993, November 30 – PREMIERE, “SCHINDLER’S LIST”

The classic tango “Por Una Cabeza” written by Carlos Gardel in 1935, is playing as Oskar Shindler is entering the night club to meet all the Nazi officials…”Schindler’s List” is a film about Oskar Schindler, a German businessman, a greedy war profiteer, the unlikeliest of all role models who then employs his skills and spends vast sums of his money to save thousands of Polish jews and risking his life in the process….the film’s soundtrack includes  “Ostatnia Niedziela” (Death Tango) which was played as jews were led to their death in nazi gas chambers…Shindler’s List, directed by Steven Speilberg, is based on the novel “Schindler’s Ark” by Thomas Keneally…it Stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as SS officer Amon Goth and Ben Kingsley as Schindler’s Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern…


The film was a box office success and recipient of seven academy awards including “Best Picture”, “Best Director” and “Best Original Score” as well as numerous other awards (7 BAFTAs, 3 Golden Globes)…In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked the film 8th on its”List of the 100 Best American Films of All Time”…The lyrics of “Por Una Cabeza” speak of a compulsive horse track gambler who compares his addiction for horses to his attraction for women; Carlos Gardel was himself, a compulsive race horse gambler…the version in Schindler’s List, by the Rococo Quartet, is in the eyes of many, the best version ever after the original…Por Una Cabeza has been used in numerous films including the legendary, Scent of a Woman, where Al Pacino, as a blind, retired army colonel, dances to it…Interestingly, the most recognizable portion of the melody is borrowed from Mozart’s Rondo for Violin and Orchestra in C, K. 373 (about two-thirds of the way through the piece)….tango has a strong jewish influence; two of its greatest, Astor Piazzolla and Osvaldo Pugliese, were of Italian jewish origin


  • CLICK HERE – to see the scene where Oskar Schindler walks in to the night club with “Por Una Cabeza” playing in the background…this is a version which has been modified from the original which was only an instrumental…in the eyes of many this is actually an improvement over the original

1902, October 1 – PREMIERE OF “CANILLITA”

Play – little did its author, Florencio Sanchez, dream that this simple, one-act, three scene play about a newspaper boy would, over time, become the inspiration of tangos, films, comedys not only in Argentina but beyond…Sanchez was born on January 17th, 1875 (Capricorn) in Montevideo, Uruguay into a struggling family…he began to work as a journalist at the age of 16 but he dreamed of being a playwrite…an incredulous Sanchez saw his spontaneously penned inspiration become an immediate hit with the critics and the public


The main character is a boy who sells newspapers…Sanchez was inspired by the ubiquitous newspaper boys whose long, thin legs reminded him of a “Canillita” (the word refers to the long bones in the extremities) ……with his new-found wealth he could finally marry his one and only sweetheart and take a dream tour of Europe…but he had struggled with tuberculosis and he finally succumbed to it on November 7, 1910 at the age of 35 in Milan, Italy…the date is officially commemorated as “El Dia Del Canillita”


1940, September 24 – BIRTH OF AMELITA BALTAR

Singer (Libra) – born in Barrio Norte, Buenos Aires, she had originally set her sights on becoming a professional school teacher….she had contemporaneously studied guitar and singing and in time she realized that this would be her life’s vocation…her first break came when she was accepted into the “Quinteto Sombras” , a folk group, with whom she would make her first recordings….In the early 1968, now as a soloist, she cut her first LP for which she was awarded the first prize at the Festival del Disco in Mar del Plata.


When Astor Piazzolla, looking for a substitute singer  for his opera “Maria de Buenos Aires” (the original singer had been his lover and they had broken up)  came to hear her,  it is said that the first thing that impressed him were her legs but it was her mezzo-soprano, sensual voice which earned her an invitation  to join the company…in fact, her  interpretation of  “Ballada Para un Loco” would become Piazzolla’s  first popular hit; it would turn Amelita into an international star…in midst of all this, would develop as well, a love affair with Piazzolla


1919, September 12 – birth of Roberto Perez Prechi

Composer, Bandoneonist, Leader (Virgo) – at the age of 18, along with two other friends, he formed his first trio… they knew only six tangos… they couldn’t even get an audition and finally found their first audience among the workers of a sugar refinery getting paid in spare change…in 1950 he was recruited by Osvaldo Fresedo with whom would ensue a glorious 30 year association including arranging and composing.


In 1958 with his own orchestra, he introduced innovative forms including the use of a french horn…thru a brother-in-law, his music was presented to Astor Piazzola who recorded his “De Mi Bandoneon“. ..his “Capricho de Amor” reached international acclaim when Dizzie Gilesppie chose to record it…he went through a period of deep depression when his first wife died, “I poured my pain into my music”…out of that period emerged his tango “Seras” (you will be)