D’Agostino was born in Buenos Aires in 1900 and died there in 1991. He played the piano and formed his own orchestra in 1932. He recorded with Victor between 1940 and 1963.
D’Agostino worked with several fine singers, but is best known for his partnership with Ángel Vargas which produced 96 recordings of very high quality between 1940-46. His recorded output was largely with singers, but there are also a few instrumentals, which deserve to be better known.
The suggested Tango 250 collection features tango, vals and milonga tandas, all with Ángel Vargas, recorded between 1940-44.
D’Agostino (Vargas) 1941
The orchestra recorded just two sides in 1940, followed by these four songs, which were recorded together in only the orchestra’s 2nd and 3rd sessions. They are lovely for dancing: simple, but subtle arrangements, with rhythmic interest, and presented in a distinctive, rather understated style.
Tres esquinas (24-Jul-41)
Un copetín (24-Sep-41)
Adiós, arrabal (9-Sep-41)
Ahora no me conocés (9-Sep-41)
D’Agostino (Vargas) 1942-44
These songs come from a slightly later period, and reflect the general slowing down and growing sophistication of tango in the mid-40s, but the style (which D’Agostino never really changed) continues to be instantly recognisable.
I can’t find a transfer of Todo terminó on Spotify, so I have provided a link to one on YouTube.
D’Agostino (Vargas) 1941-42 (Vals)
These subtle and refined valses are a delight to experienced dancers, who love the understated style of D’Agostino: blending gentle but interesting rhythms with more lyrical elements. The arrangements allow each instrument (and the voice of Vargas) to be heard clearly: nothing dominates – everything is in balance.
Qué me pasará (12-Dec-41)
Esquinas porteñas (22-May-42)
Yo tengo una novia (17-Nov-42)
D’Agostino (Vargas) 1942-43 (Milonga)
These milongas are full of rhythmic interest, but also perfectly illustrate the understated D’Agostino style.
Rodríguez was born in Buenos Aires in 1901 and died there in 1971. He played bandoneon (including in Donato’s orchestra), forming his own orchestra in 1936. It recorded with Odeón between 1937 and 1971.
His most notable singers were Roberto “Chato” Flores (1937-39) and Armando Moreno (1940-67).
The suggested Tango 250 collection features tango tandas with Flores and Moreno and a vals tanda, also with Moreno.
Rodríguez (Flores) 1938-39
These songs are rhythmically straightforward and upbeat: cheerful, even. They are great if you want to lighten the mood during a milonga, or to get things going near the start of an event, when new arrivals need tempting to the dance floor for the first time.
Son cosas del bandoneón (24-Feb-39)
Dejame ser así (23-Mar-38)
Te quiero ver escopeta (1-Feb-39)
Si no me engaña el corazón (18-Dec-39)
Rodríguez (Moreno) 1943
Like so much tango music, the pace has slowed considerably by 1943. Still, the essentials of the Rodríguez style are unchanged: uncomplicated arrangements and relaxed dancing.
You can’t listen to this tanda on digital music service, Spotify, as Rodríguez is poorly represented there. Instead, I have provided individual song links to versions available on YouTube.
Rodríguez (Moreno) 1940-43 (Vals)
The easy-going style of the orchestra carries over into these valses perfectly. The pace is modest, the rhythms are clear and the vocal delivery is straightforward. Moreno is joined by a chorus in Brindis.
Caló was born in Buenos Aires in 1907 and died there in 1972. He played the bandoneón and formed his own orchestra in 1929. He recorded for Odeon between 1934-69 and for Embassy in 1972.
The period of most interest to dancers is 1941-45, when he worked with four great singers: Alberto Podestá (1941-43), Raúl Berón (1942-44), Jorge Ortiz (1943) and Raúl Iriarte (1943-47). All but Ortiz were to record with Caló again later.
The suggested Tango 250 collection features tango and vals tandas from the orchestra’s middle years.
Caló (Berón) 1942
Al compás del corazón was the first of fifteen songs recorded by Berón in 1942 and its commercial success helped to establish the popularity of the orchestra. Berón sings with tender lyricism, rather untypical of other ‘star’ singers of the time.
Al compás del corazón (29-Apr-42)
Un crimen (9-Oct-42)
Tristezas de la calle Corrientes (2-Sep-42)
Caló (Ortiz) 1943
Oritz recorded just seven songs with the orchestra, taking time out of his partnership with Rodolfo Biagi, although the styles of the two orchestras could hardly be greater. Caló tended to favour baritone voices, but Ortiz was a tenor, and his voice is quite different from that of Berón.
Barrio de tango (19-Jan-43)
Pa’ que seguir (19-Jan-43)
De barro (17-May-43)
Mi cantar (21-May-43)
Caló (Vocal) 1941-43 (Vals)
These valses are sung by Podestá, Iriarte and Berón. Podestá was only 16 when he recorded Bajo un cielo de estrellas, but Caló was soon to lose him to the orchestra of rival, Carlos Di Sarli.
Biagi was born in Buenos Aires in 1906 and died there in 1969. He was a pianist and played in several orchestras (most notably that of Juan D’Arienzo) before forming his own in 1938. He recorded for Odeón between 1938-56, for Columbia between 1956-61 and for Music Hall in 1962.
He worked with many singers, the most important of which were Jorge Ortiz (1940-43 & 1945) and Alberto Amor (1943-47).
The suggested Tango 250 collection features tango and vals tandas from the orchestra’s early years.
Biagi (Instrumental) 1938-39
These instrumentals are among the very first recorded by the new orchestra, but Biagi has already made a decisive break from the sound of the D’Arienzo orchestra, making much more prominent use of the violins, in particular.
Unión cívica (16-Oct-38)
El trece (15-Nov-38)
El incendio (15-Aug-38)
Pura clase (13-Jul-39)
Biagi (Ortiz) 1940-42
These songs were recorded during Ortiz’ first period with the orchestra (he also sang with Miguel Caló during 1943). The music is rhythmical, with strong off-beat accents. The musical textures are sparse, with highly distinctive contributions from Biagi, himself, at the piano.
La marcha nupcial (26-Mar-41)
Biagi (Ibáñez) 1938 (Vals)
These early valses feature the voice of Teófilo Ibáñez. Dancers sometimes find Biagi’s music challenging, but the valses (and there are lots of them) are rhythmically straightforward and upbeat.