Tango in 1952-53

The transition from the 40s to the 50s represented a significant upheaval for several orchestras, but now, they seem to have settled into a new groove. It is currently fashionable to prefer the music of the 30s to the 50s, but there is great music here and fashion is fickle and ever-changing.

D’Arienzo (Instrumental) 1952-53

Juan D'Arienzo
Juan D’Arienzo

Joaquina had been one of the orchestra’s first recordings, back in 1935. A second version came in 1943 and now, ten years on, a third. D’Arienzo regularly re-recorded his repertoire, as technical innovations allowed better sound, or just to revive an earlier hit. El pollo Ricardo had its first recording by D’Arienzo in 1947, and Independencia in 1942. Only El puntazo was receiving its debut recording – and he never returned to it, nor was it taken up by any other orchestra.

  • Joaquina (28-Dec-1953)
  • El puntazo (13-Aug-1952)
  • El pollo Ricardo (12-Nov-1952)
  • Independencia (28-Nov-1953)

De Caro (Instrumental) 1952-53

Julio De Caro
Julio De Caro

Although hugely influential in the development of tango music, Julio De Caro had fallen deeply out of fashion. He had recorded nothing since 1944 and had effectively, retired. Interest in his style was kept alive through the efforts of champions such as Pugliese, but he made a limited comeback from 1949, initially recording with Odeón, and from 1952 with Pathé. These recordings all come from those final sessions: an old master showing the young guns how it was meant to go.

  • Flores negras (17-May-1952)
  • Recuerdo (17-May-1952)
  • Derecho viejo (5-May-1953)
  • Maipo (10-Apr-1953)

Di Sarli (Pomar) 1953-54

Carlos Di Sarli
Carlos Di Sarli

After an absence of nearly three years, Carlos Di Sarli returned to the recording studio in 1951 to record with a new label, Music Hall. There are eighty-four recordings, made between 1951 and 1954, and they are among the earliest of releases to have been first issued on vinyl, rather than shellac. It is not unusual to find people who consider these recordings to be the pinnacle of Di Sarli’s work and they are certainly very fine.

Oscar Serpa had already recorded one side with Di Sarli in 1948 (La novia del mar) and now he was to record regularly, alongside Mario Pomar, until September 1955. Di Sarli recorded new versions of much of his earlier repertoire in this period (and the detailed comparisons are fascinating), and also, as he entered the final phase of his career with Victor, he recorded many of these songs again (in wonderfully good sound).

Until recently, much of this repertoire was not available in very good fidelity, but the TangoTunes complete edition has remedied that, and these recordings are at last becoming better known.

  • Porteño y bailarín (1953)
  • Patotero sentimental (1954)
  • La capilla blanca (1953)
  • Duelo criollo (1953)

Di Sarli (Serpa) 1953-54

  • Al compás del corazón (1953)
  • La canción más triste (1954)
  • Buenos Aires, yo te canto (1954)
  • Verdemar (1954) *

*The 1953 recording of Verdemar (for Music Hall) doesn’t appear to be available on Spotify, so I have included the 1955 version (for Victor). That was also to be Serpa’s last recording with Di Sarli. The 1953 version is very fine, and I’ve also included a separate link to a version of it from YouTube. As always, it is interesting to compare the two, but of course, the tape-mastered sound quality of the later version takes some beating.

Pugliese (Morán) 1947-52 (Vals)

Osvaldo Pugliese
Osvaldo Pugliese

These valses deserve to be better-known and they are not ‘difficult’ in the way that some of Pugliese’s other work from this period is perceived to be; although dancers need to keep their wits about them with the unusual rhythmic accenting in Manos adoradas.

  • Dos que se aman (15-Sep-1948)
  • Manos adoradas (18-Nov-1952)
  • Ilusión marina (28-Jan-1947)

Troilo (Instrumental) 1952-53

Aníbal Troilo
Aníbal Troilo

Both Di Sarli and Troilo ceased recording with Victor in the late 40s. Di Sarli was later to record with Music Hall, while Troilo began recording with TK (another new company) in 1950. There were only two sides in that year, and initially, TK struggled to match the recording quality of the better-established companies. Over time, their recordings improved, but they were never very good, and eventually, Troilo switched to Odeón (but not until mid-1957) and then, later, returned to Victor in the 60s.

Troilo’s best recordings from the 50s are instrumental. The arrangements are more sophisticated than before, and while the sound quality is compromised, many of the recordings capture the rasping tone of the bandoneóns more truthfully than previously. Arrangements like that of Triunfal would have been unthinkable in the 40s (certainly for dancing). Listen for the solo bandoneón and solo cello interplay from 1:48. The bandoneón (presumably Troilo, himself) continues, accompanied by the orchestra from 2:05, before the return of the original theme and a counter-melody from high violins. A brilliant arrangement, and one making previously unheard of demands on dancers.

  • Chiqué (El elegante) (5-Jun-1952)
  • Ojos negros (28-Jul-1953)
  • Triunfal (23-Mar-1953)
  • Quejas de bandoneón (28-Mar-1952)

Varela (Duets) 1952-55 (Vals)

Hector Varela
Hector Varela

The popular vocal partnership of Carlos Dante and Julio Martel with Alfredo De Angelis was never better than in their vals duet recordings (although there are surprisingly few of them). Héctor Varela, too, found that he had singers whose voices blended very well. Rodolfo Lesica features on each of these recordings, alongside Armando Laborde in Patio porteño and Argentino Ledesma for the other two.

  • Trovador mazorquero (29-Mar-1955)
  • Patio porteño (3-Jan-1952)
  • Igual que dos palomas (16-Jun-1953)


Click here for ‘Tango in 1950-51’.

Click here for ‘Tango in 1954-55’.