The Tango Years: Vals in the 30s

The evolution of recorded tango in the 1930s was largely echoed in recordings of vals – tango in waltz time. So far, in this series, only one tanda has been of vals (D’Arienzo, 1936) and now, here are twenty three further vals recordings, made between 1928 and 1938.

Maglio (Instrumental) 1928-31

Juan Maglio
Juan Maglio

Juan Maglio was a tango pioneer, forming his orchestra in 1912, before either Firpo (1913) or Canaro (1914). Born in 1880, he was one of the oldest orchestra leaders, and he recorded prolifically for Odeon and Victor, before his death in 1934. These valses are typical of his style at the start of the thirties: straightforward arrangements, played at medium pace (although Princesa has a long, slow introduction).

  • Orillas del plata (6-Feb-1928)
  • Gritos del alma (3-Sep-1930)
  • Princesa (18-Sep-1931)

D’Arienzo also recorded Orillas del plata in 1935. You can hear from this short excerpt how much the pace had quickened and how much the performing style had changed in just a few years:

Sexteto Carlos Di Sarli (Santiago Devin)

Carlos Di Sarli

Rosamel was Di Sarli’s first recorded vals. The style is much fresher-sounding and lighter than Maglio’s.

  • Rosamel (3-Mar-1930)

Canaro (Charlo) 1930-31

Francisco Canaro

Recordings with Charlo on vocals dominate the output of the Canaro orchestra at the start of the 30s, and goodness, there are lots of them. These songs share many of the characteristics of the Maglio valses (above). They are very danceable and deserve to be more frequently heard.

  • Con tu mirar (17-Jun-1930)
  • Yo no sé que me han hecho tus ojos (6-Jun-1930)
  • Florcita criolla (24-Jun-1931)

Orquesta Típica Los Provincianos (Vocal) 1932-34

Ciriaco Ortiz
Ciriaco Ortiz

Oritiz was a banoneonist who played in the Orquesta Típica Victor. However, for commercial reasons the grouping also recorded in various other names, one of which was Los Provincianos, under Ortiz’ direction. The OTV basic sound and style is very apparent – but you can also hear guitar in the ensemble and the arrangements have a slightly different flavour. The singers are Luis Díaz and Carlos Lafuente (Un placer).

  • Volvió la princesita (23-Mar-1932)
  • Un placer (11-Apr-1933)
  • A tu memoria, madrecita (30-Jan-1934)

D’Arienzo (Instrumental) 1935

Juan D'Arienzo
Juan D’Arienzo

These songs are among the earliest D’Arienzo recordings, made before Biagi joined the orchestra. Played here in reverse order of recording, you can hear a limited progression in style, as the orchestra played itself in. Desde el alma comes from the very first session, in July 1935.

  • Pabellon de las rosas (12-Dec-1935)
  • Francia (3-Oct-1935)
  • Desde el alma (2-Jul-1935)

D’Arienzo (Cabral) 1936

Walter Cabral
Walter Cabral

A few months into 1936 and there is now no mistaking the typical early D’Arienzo style. Rodolfo Biagi is in the pianist’s chair, and the orchestra is on good form, with Walter Cabral on vocals. Nearly all of the orchestra’s recordings until 1938 were instrumental, and Cabral’s contribution is limited to just these three valses and the milonga, Silueta porteña.

  • Un placer (3-Apr-1936)
  • Tu olvido (8-May-1936)
  • Irene (9-Jun-1936)

Donato (Vocal) 1936-38

Edgardo Donato

Donato’s orchestra was more-or-less at its peak in the mid-30s. Félix Gutiérrez is on vocals in the first song, and Horacio Lagos for the other two. Listen for the unusual cello solo in La tapera from 0:57. In Qué será? Lagos enters at 1:00 and you can clearly hear Donato’s unique use of the piano accordion (played by Osvaldo Bertone) in the accompaniment. He takes a short solo from 0:56 in Con tus besos.

  • La tapera (10-Mar-1936)
  • Qué será? (9-Mar-1938)
  • Con tus besos (2-Aug-1938)

Orquesta Típica Victor (Ángel Vargas) 1938

Ángel Vargas

OTV recorded with many of the leading singers of the day, and here is a song featuring Ángel Vargas, shortly before joining the orchestra of Ángel D’Agostino. His distinctive style of vocal delivery is already very evident.

  • Sin rumbo fijo (4-Apr-1938)

Biagi (Ibáñez) 1938

Rodolfo Biagi
Rodolfo Biagi

These are the first vals recordings by Biagi’s orchestra following his split from D’Arienzo. Teófilo Ibáñez is on vocals. Rightly popular with dancers, the musical textures are sparse, with clear and insistent rhythms, but not yet the extreme off-beat accenting that became his later hallmark.

  • Loca de amor (15-Nov-1938)
  • Lejos de ti (2-Dec-1938)
  • Viejo portón (17-Oct-1938)

Click here for ‘Tango in 1939’.