Tango 250: Aníbal Troilo

About Aníbal Troilo

Aníbal Troilo
Aníbal Troilo

Troilo was born in 1914 in Buenos Aires and died there in 1975. He formed his tango orchestra in 1937 which recorded for Odeón in 1938 (just two songs), for Victor between 1941 and 1949, for T.K. between 1950 and 1956 and for Victor again between 1957 and 1971.

Troilo was the youngest of the ‘Big Four’ orchestra leaders and he led his orchestra from the bandoneon. He is generally considered to have been one of the finest (and certainly the most expressive) players of all time.

He worked with several leading singers, the most important being Francisco Fiorentino (1941-44), Alberto Marino (1943-46) and Floreal Ruíz (1944-48).

The suggested Tango 250 collection features tandas with Fiorentino, Marino and Ruíz, along with instrumental tandas from the period 1938-44.

Troilo (Instrumental) 1938-41

The first two songs in this tanda were the orchestra’s only recordings prior to 1941. By then, the orchestra was very well-established, and it started to produce a steady stream of wonderful recordings for Victor throughout the 40s. Inevitably, the fast-paced, rhythm-based, performances of 1941-42 are the best known, and they deserve their popularity.

  • Tinta verde (7-Mar-38)
  • Comme il faut (7-Mar-38)
  • Cachirulo (4-Mar-41)
  • Milongueando en el cuarenta (17-Jun-41)

Troilo (Fiorentino) 1941

This tanda features Troilo’s most notable singer, Francisco Fiorentino, in four popular and upbeat songs from the early 40s.

  • Yo soy el tango (4-Mar-41)
  • Te aconsejo que me olvides (16-Apr-41)
  • Toda mi vida (4-Mar-41)
  • Tinta roja (23-Oct-41)

Troilo (Instrumental) 1941-42

These instrumentals are the perfect complement to the Fiorentino tanda; but for all that the music is full of energy, it is subtle and refined too – as well as being enduringly popular with dancers.

  • C. T. V. (8-Jan-42)
  • Cordón de oro (18-Jul-41)
  • El tamango (23-Oct-41)
  • Guapeando (11-Jul-41)

Troilo (Fiorentino) 1941-42

This tanda belongs to the transitional period in which the pace is slowing (and the included songs are in date order, coincidentally, and the trend is very clear). The mood of the songs is darker. En esta tarde gris is often programmed along with other upbeat ’41 recordings, but it has a much darker lyric than the initial impression formed by the music alone. Once you are familiar with the lyric, if only in translation, you’ll hear the song differently.

  • En esta tarde gris (18-Jul-41)
  • Cautivo (9-Oct-41)
  • Mi castigo (16-Apr-42)
  • Por las calles de la vida (10-Dec-42)

Troilo (Marino) 1944

Briefly, after the departure of Fiorentino (last recording 30-Mar-44) and the arrival of his replacement, Ruíz (first recording 6-Oct-44), Marino was Troilo’s only singer. These dramatic songs were recorded around what was perhaps the peak of Troilo’s musical development. The arrangements are sophisticated: dramatic, yet subtle. His string section has expanded to include a cello (very audible near the beginning of Nada más que un corazón) and later, he was to add a viola too. The sound is big – testing the recording technology to its limits.

  • Nada más que un corazón (31-Aug-44)
  • Torrente (6-Oct-44)
  • Me están sobrando las penas (1-Aug-44)
  • Rosa de tango (1-Aug-44)

Troilo (Ruíz) 1945-47 (Vals)

Troilo is mostly associated with tango (and then, mainly for just a handful of ‘greatest hits of 1941’), but he recorded some very fine valses and milongas too. By 1947 the orchestra had a full string section: 1st & 2nd violins, viola, cello and double bass – Troilo’s string section was bigger than Di Sarli’s. These valses are a great showcase for the voice of Ruíz, sadly (and unjustly), little heard in milongas.

  • Romance de barrio (19-Aug-47)
  • Llorarás, llorarás (10-Aug-45)
  • Flor de lino (29-Apr-47)

Troilo (Fiorentino) 1941 (Milonga)

These milongas come from the most ‘popular’ phase of the Troilo/Fiorentino partnership, but the real ‘star’ is the pianist, Orlando Goñi (particularly in Mano brava.)

  • Mano brava (4-Mar-41)
  • Con toda la voz que tengo (16-Apr-41)
  • Del tiempo guapo (21-Nov-41)

Troilo (Duets) 1944-45 (Milonga)

These songs are all vocal duets: the first two between Marino and Ruíz, and the last, Marino and Fiorentino (and it was Fiorentino’s last recording session with the orchestra). The arrangements are rhythmically quite straightforward but musically sophisticated. There was much great music to come from Troilo in the second half of the 40s (and later) too, but perhaps a smaller proportion makes an obvious appeal to dancers than before.

  • Cimarrón de ausencia (5-Jun-45)
  • Milonga en rojo (19-Dec-44)
  • El desafío (30-Mar-44)

This is the final article in the Tango 250 series.

Click here to return to the Tango 250 Summary.