Tango in 1944

Tango in 1944 was in good shape, with the established orchestras consolidating their popularity and attracting huge audiences whether performing live, on radio or on record.

Caló (Iriarte) 1944

Miguel Caló
Miguel Caló

Raul Iriarte joined Caló’s orchestra in 1943 and apart from one short break, stayed until 1947. He never, quite, achieved the status of star singer; but for me, his is the emblematic voice of Caló’s orchestra.

  • De seis a siete (24-Oct-1944)
  • Bohardilla (19-Apr-1944)
  • Si yo pudiera comprender (28-Jan-1944)
  • Mi tango es triste (28-Aug-1944)

D’Agostino (Vargas) 1944

Ángel D'Agostino
Ángel D’Agostino

D’Agostino’s orchestra produced a steady stream of recordings with Vargas. The partnership lasted until 1946, producing 94 sides. Stylistically, the orchestra hardly changed, at all: a bastion of stability and refinement in a period when most other orchestras reinvented themselves at least once. D’Agostino was said to be a good dancer, himself, and I think it shows in the music.

  • Quién tuviera dieciocho años (31-Jan-1944)
  • Más solo que nunca (5-Apr-1944)
  • La última cita (8-Aug-1944)
  • Madreselva (5-Dec-1944)

Di Sarli (Podestá) 1944

Carlos Di Sarli
Carlos Di Sarli

These recordings belong to Podestá’s second period with Di Sarli. Now a little older, his voice has matured, and while he had a very long singing career, he was never better than this. The opening song was also the last of his recordings with Di Sarli until 1947.  The style of the early years, with its faster pace and more insistent rhythms, now lies firmly in the past, even though Cero al as has something of its feel. It’s worth listening to the song while concentrating, exclusively, on Di Sarli’s brilliant piano playing. Listen again for the overall effect it has on shaping the musical phrasing and as a foil to Podestá’s vocal delivery.

  • Tú el cielo y tú (8-Nov-1944)
  • Vamos (24-May-1944)
  • Cero al as (13-Apr-1944)
  • Nada (13-Apr-1944)

Laurenz (Vocal) 1943-44 (Vals)

Pedro Laurenz
Pedro Laurenz

Alberto Podestá sang with the Laurenz orchestra for 12 months from April 1943, giving the orchestra a real lift in quality and reputation. He sings Paisaje. Following him, were the much less well-known Carlos Bermúdez (who sings Temblando) and Jorges Linares, who joins Bermúdez in a duet for Mendocina. Sadly, that was one of the orchestra’s last recordings in the 40s; there would be just two more sides in 1946 and another two in 1947.

  • Temblando (26-Apr-1944)
  • Paisaje (6-Aug-1943)
  • Mendocina (19-Dec-1944)

Pugliese (Chanel) 1944

Osvaldo Pugliese
Osvaldo Pugliese

The orchestra of Osvaldo Pugliese was formed in 1939, but like several others, it didn’t secure a recording contract for several years. The first recordings were in July 1943, but the orchestra’s output was modest. In the first year there were just five sessions, producing ten sides. The years 1944-47 were busier, but the orchestra was never prolific. However what we have is marvellous. Roberto Chanel sings with a quiet intensity, and the music is powerful and passionate.

Pugliese’s music is challenging for dancers – many steer clear of it altogether – and DJs programme it with care. Pugliese had a long recording career, extending from 1943 to 1986. His was the only leading orchestra with a discography extending from the peak of the Golden Age, through the dry and largely barren years after 1955, and into the tango revival from c1983 – an astonishing legacy.

  • Corrientes y Esmeralda (17-Oct-1944)
  • La abandoné y no sabía (20-Jul-1944)
  • El tango es una historia (22-Aug-1944)
  • El día de tu ausencia (6-Jul-1944)

Pugliese (Instrumental) 1944

The 1926 recording of Recuerdo by Julio De Caro was the very first to feature in this series of articles. Written by Pugliese (then a very young man), his own first recording of it sounds very like a homage to De Caro. Pugliese, Laurenz and Troilo were the leading proponents of the Decarean school of tango development. El arranque and Mala pinta were De Caro compositions, and Amurado was co-written by Laurenz and Pedro Maffia.

  • Recuerdo (31-Mar-1944)
  • El arranque (22-Aug-1944)
  • Mala estampa (Mala pinta) (21-Dec-1944)
  • Amurado (24-Nov-1944)

Tanturi (Campos) 1944

Ricardo Tanturi
Ricardo Tanturi

The slower pace of the mid-40s really suits the orchestra of Tanturi. Opinions are usually sharply divided over whether Castillo or Campos was Tanturi’s best singer. Campos has the better voice and arguably, better repertoire – but Castillo was a great showman (and was probably better ‘live’ than on record). Of course, both of them were very good, and when Campos left the orchestra in 1946, things were never the same.

  • Calla bandoneón (18-May-1944)
  • El corazón me decía (29-Sep-1944)
  • En el salón (14-Nov-1944)
  • Recién (24-Mar-1944)

Troilo (Marino) 1944

Aníbal Troilo
Aníbal Troilo

Alberto Marino joined Troilo’s orchestra in early 1943, singing alongside Francisco Fiorentino, and making his first recording, Tango y copas, in April 1943. A very fine singer, Marino is relatively little heard by dancers today. The style of the music is challenging for dancers: powerful, dramatic and rhythmically subtle and fluid. DJs usually make a safe choice, and play the up-beat 1941 hits with Fiorentino. The repertoire of the later 40s is much less well-known but is great dance music. Only after the early 50s did Troilo’s focus move away from the musical needs of dancers – but that is equally true of many other orchestras at that time.

One possible explanation for the music being too often passed over is that the sound quality of the transfers that we have is frequently poor. Troilo managed to produce a huge, complex sound (but only with much the same resources as other orchestras). It stretched the recording technology of the time to the limit, but this repertoire has yet to benefit from the careful restoration that has already been undertaken for other orchestras’ work.

  • Nada más que un corazón (31-Aug-1944)
  • Torrente (6-Oct-1944)
  • Me están sobrando las penas (1-Aug-1944)
  • Rosa de tango (1-Aug-1944)

If you’re looking for comparisons, both Laurenz and Pugliese also recorded very fine versions of Nada más que un corazón; you can find them readily on Spotify. Troilo’s version sounds as though the orchestra was several times the size of either of the others – and it was bigger – but the difference in scale is huge, and entirely typical of the Troilo sound. Here’s a short excerpt of the Pugliese recording:

Click here for ‘Tango in 1943’.

Click here for ‘Tango in 1945’.

DJ Clive Harrison
DJ Clive Harrison

Barrio de tango is the tango blog and online home of tango DJ, Clive Harrison, based in the English Midlands. Now retired from teaching and hosting dance events, Clive remains available to DJ, playing exclusively traditional tango music from the great tango orchestras.

Playlist: 23 September 2017 (Redmarley)

Genre Name Year Artist
Tango Ciego 1935 Francisco Canaro (Roberto Maida)
Golondrinas 1935
Cambalache 1935
Tango El retirao 1942 José García (Instrumental)
El distinguido ciudadano 1942
El once 1943
Vals Un placer 1936 Juan D’Arienzo (Walter Cabral)
Tu olvido 1936
Irene 1936
Tango Y siempre igual 1943 Lucio Demare (Raúl Berón)
Cómo se hace un tango 1943
Me llaman el zorro 1943
Tango El huracán 1932 Edgardo Donato (Félix Gutiérrez)
Santa milonguita 1933
Qué hacés, qué hacés! 1933
Milonga Papá Baltasar 1942 Aníbal Troilo (Francisco Fiorentino)
Soy un porteño 1943
Ficha de oro 1942
Tango Derecho viejo 1941 Osvaldo Fresedo (Instrumental)
Rodriguez Peña 1942
El entrerriano 1944
Tango Nunca tuvo novio 1943 Pedro Laurenz (Alberto Podestá)
Patria mía 1943
Alma de bohemio 1943
Vals Dos que se aman 1948 Osvaldo Pugliese (Alberto Morán)
Manos adoradas 1952
Ilusión marina 1947
Tango Marcas 1940 Rodolfo Biagi (Jorge Ortiz)
Pájaro ciego 1941
La marcha nupcial 1941
Tango Un tango y nada más 1945 Carlos Di Sarli (Jorge Durán)
Hoy al recordarla 1945
Que no sepan las estrellas 1945
Milonga Bien porteña 1957 Juan D’Arienzo (Instrumental)
Munyinga 1959
Engañadora 1959
Tango Niño bien 1928 Orquesta Típica Victor (Instrumental)
Esta noche me emborracho 1928
La muchacha del circo 1928
Tango Moneda de cobre 1942 Ricardo Tanturi (Alberto Castillo)
Madame Ivonne 1942
Canción de rango (Pa’ que se callen) 1942
Vals Amor y primavera 1935 Francisco Canaro (Instrumental)
Vals triste 1936
Noches de amor 1936
Tango El choclo 1941 Ángel D’Agostino (Ángel Vargas)
Agua florida 1941
Adiós para siempre 1942
Tango Mosterio 1939 Enrique Rodríguez (Roberto Flores)
Un copetín 1939
Vendrás alguna vez 1938
Milonga candombe Azabache 1942 Miguel Caló (Raúl Berón)
Pobre negra 1943 Miguel Caló (Jorge Ortiz)
Mulata 1944 Miguel Caló (Raúl Berón)
Tango Mi refugio 1941 Carlos Di Sarli (Instrumental)
La torcacita 1941
Marejada 1941
Tango Cristal 1944 Aníbal Troilo (Alberto Marino)
Siga el corso 1944
Sombras nada más 1944
Vals Indiferente 1958 Jorge Dragone (Argentino Ledesma)
El santo de la espada 1950 Alfredo De Angelis (Julio Martel)
El viejo vals 1951 Francisco Rotundo (Enrique Campos & Floreal Ruíz)
Tango Muchachos comienza la ronda 1943 Osvaldo Pugliese (Roberto Chanel)
Silbar de boyero 1944
Rondando tu esquina 1945
Tango Don Esteban 1936 Juan D’Arienzo (Instrumental)
Ataniche 1936
El irresistible 1936
Milonga Reliquias porteñas 1938 Francisco Canaro (Instrumental)
Mi Buenos Aires 1938
Historia sentimental 1938
Tango Madalit 1944 Miguel Caló (Raúl Iriarte)
Tabaco 1944
Garras 1945
Tango Dónde estás, corazón 1928 Francisco Lomuto (Charlo)
San Telmo 1932
Soy un arlequín 1929
Tango La cumparsita 1933 Francisco Canaro (Instrumental)


Tango in 1943

Being marooned on a desert island with the tango music of 1943 and a wind up gramophone would be just fine by me. The popularity of tango provided the opportunity for dozens of orchestras of a really high standard to be producing a steady stream of recordings – a mixture of older, standard repertoire, and newly-written songs. Three quarters of a century later, the music of this period (in reality, a spread of a few years at the centre of the Golden Age) still draws dancers to tango all over the world. More and more social dancers are coming to the realisation that this treasury will never be matched, let alone bettered.

Caló (Ortiz) 1943

Miguel Caló
Miguel Caló

Jorge Ortiz took a break from singing with Biagi in 1943 and spent six months with Caló (replacing Raul Berón). The partnership was a mixed success and short-lived, but the quality of the music isn’t in doubt, even though there are only seven recordings.

  • Barrio de tango (19-Jan-1943)
  • Pa’ que seguir (19-Jan-1943)
  • De barro (17-May-1943)
  • Mi cantar (21-May-1943)

Canaro (Roldán) 1942-43 (Milonga Candombe)

Francisco Canaro

Canaro recorded a higher proportion of good milongas and valses than most orchestras. However, his importance and influence had been on the wane for several years by 1943, but these songs are still wonderful. Candombe is a dance and music from Uruguay and it probably originated with African slaves. Milonga candombe is a hybrid form (originally credited to Sebastián Piana) combining elements of both genres, sometimes danced as an alternative to milonga (and arguably better-suited to that purpose than fox trot).

  • La rumbita candombé (16-Jul-1943)
  • Candombe criollo (20-Jan-1942)
  • Candombe (12-May-1943)

If you’re ever feeling a bit down, watch this joyful clip from the 1951 film Con la música en el alma featuring Canaro conducting Candombe. The dancing is wonderful, but probably in a style not appropriate for your local milonga.

D’Arienzo (Mauré) 1942-44

Juan D'Arienzo
Juan D’Arienzo

I’m not generally a fan of D’Arienzo’s 40s recordings, but his version of Uno is a masterpiece. I can’t improve on Michael Lavocah’s description of this version as being

… perhaps the greatest ever recorded. The music swells and tumbles in great tides in a most un-D’Arienzo like manner.

  • Uno (23-Nov-1943)
  • Claudinette (12-Aug-1942)
  • Enamorado (Metido) (23-Jun-1943)
  • Amarras (21-Jul-1944)

The tension of the clash between Mauré’s lyricism and D’Arienzo’s hard-driven rhythms led to Mauré’s inevitable departure in 1944 and the return of Alberto Echagüe.

Demare (Berón) 1943

Lucio Demare
Lucio Demare

Berón spent 1943 with Demare’s orchestra and while the partnership produced several fine recordings that remain popular with dancers today, the lush strings of the orchestra nearly overwhelm the crooner, Berón, more than once.

  • Una emoción (3-Sep-1943)
  • Oigo tu voz (25-Nov-1943)
  • Mi vieja ribera (13-Oct-1943)
  • Palomita mía (3-Sep-1943)

Di Sarli (Rufino) 1943

Carlos Di Sarli
Carlos Di Sarli

Some orchestras seem buffeted around by the winds of change and fashion, but Di Sarli stands as a bullwark against fads and external influences. The partnership with Rufino produced a steady stream of sophisticated and urbane recordings that are and will remain wonderful for dancing. It’s rare to see a good dancer sit out a Di Sarli tanda.

  • Verdemar (7-Oct-1943)
  • Adiós, te vas (17-Mar-1943)
  • Esta noche de luna (17-Dec-1943)
  • Canta, pajarito (17-Mar-1943)

Laurenz (Podestá) 1943

Pedro Laurenz
Pedro Laurenz

Alberto Podestá sang with Pedro Laurenz in 1943, between two spells with Di Sarli (and there was a third, in 1947). Had Laurenz been more commercially minded, his orchestra might have challenged the leading orchestras. Like Di Sarli, much of his music is lyrical, in character, but the two orchestras are otherwise polar opposites. Strangely, the voice of Podestá fits both, perfectly.

  • Recién (22-Sep-1943)
  • Yo quiero cantar un tango (16-Nov-1943)
  • Que nunca me falte (22-Sep-1943)
  • Garúa (6-Aug-1943)

Tanturi (Campos) 1943

Ricardo Tanturi
Ricardo Tanturi

Castillo left Tanturi’s orchestra in May 1943, with Tanturi taking the opportunity to made two big changes: enlarging what had been just a sextet (a move that some other orchestras had made years before) and following the trend to recording slower-paced, even contemplative, repertoire. Enrique Campos was the singer who would present this new style, and while the orchestra would retain its rhythmic foundation, his lyricism smoothed away some of the rougher edges which had been such a feature of the singing of Castillo.

Three of the songs in this tanda also feature in the Demare tanda (above). Do take a minute of two to compare the alternate versions. They are closer in feel than you might expect, given the very different styles of the two orchestras.

  • Una emoción (17-Nov-1943)
  • Muchachos comienza la ronda (6-Aug-1943)
  • Palomita mía (19-Aug-1943)
  • Oigo tu voz (17-Nov-1943)

Troilo (Fiorentino) 1942-43

Aníbal Troilo
Aníbal Troilo

Troilo was the great musical innovator of the early 40s. He was the master of integrating the singer into the orchestra in place of the more minor role of estribilista (chorus singer). He also took a lead in the music’s slow down – making space in the musical textures for a wider range of moods and sophistication. Many DJs stick to his upbeat 1941 ‘hits’ (and they are very good), but slowly, the later recordings are becoming better-known and appreciated. It’s not as though he became avant-garde or that his music was no longer suitable for dancers (at least, not until the early-mid 50s), but his music does make greater demands on dancers – but with commensurate rewards.

Compare this version of Garúa with that from Laurenz with Podesta (above). The two orchestras belong to the same style family, and the comparisons rest with the subtle differences in the arrangements and the vocal treatment of the lyric by the two singers.

  • Margarita Gauthier (11-Mar-1943)
  • Cada vez que me recuerdes (5-Apr-1943)
  • Gricel (30-Oct-1942)
  • Garúa (4-Aug-1943)

The sound of all these transfers is poor (and perhaps that partly explains why Troilo of this period is not as popular as it should be). Here are very brief excerpts from my own library (original transfers by TangoTunes with some modest reprocessing of my own):

Click here for ‘Tango in 1942’.

Click here for ‘Tango in 1944’.

DJ Clive Harrison
DJ Clive Harrison

Barrio de tango is the tango blog and online home of tango DJ, Clive Harrison, based in the English Midlands. Now retired from teaching and hosting dance events, Clive remains available to DJ, playing exclusively traditional tango music from the great tango orchestras.

Tango in 1942

After the mostly fast-paced music-making of 1941, most of the leading orchestras changed their styles in 1942 by slowing things down. The early 40s represent the peak of the Golden Age. Never again would there be so many orchestras producing music of such high quality. The leading orchestras all had the confidence (and mostly, the necessary commercial success) to produce music in a rich variety of complementary styles and without artistic compromise.

The great orchestras were very active on radio, on disc and, of course, in live performances for dancers. For any number of reasons we’re unlikely ever to see the like of it again; but I’ve never read any really satisfactory explanation for the fact that quite so many first-rate musicians, composers and lyricists were all serving the dance community of really just one city – Buenos Aires – and for really quite a short period, when arguably nothing quite like it has ever occurred anywhere else, or at any time.

Caló (Berón) 1942

Miguel Caló
Miguel Caló

Caló had first formed an orchestra in 1929, and while it recorded during the 30s, its time had not yet come and it was only modestly successful. However, everything changed in 1941 when the orchestra regrouped with some particularly fine players, many of whom would later go on to lead orchestras of their own. The first real hit came in 1942, with the young Raul Berón singing Al compás del corazón. He was to feature on every side (except one) cut by the orchestra that year. He went on to record with Lucio Demare in 1943, and was to record a handful of further sides for Caló in 1944 – but it is the 1942 recordings that are most loved.

  • Al compás del corazón (29-Apr-1942)
  • Trasnochando (30-Jun-1942)
  • Un crimen (9-Oct-1942)
  • Tristezas de la calle Corrientes (2-Sep-1942)

D’Agostino (Vargas) 1941-42 (Vals)

Ángel D'Agostino
Ángel D’Agostino

While most of the other orchestras were redefining their musical styles, D’Agostino seemed never to change. He doesn’t fit in any of the obvious style groupings either: rhythmic (he had played with D’Arienzo, years before, and his music is rhythmic, but this is not a rhythmic orchestra); lyrical (his music is frequently lyrical, but this is not a lyrical orchestra); and so on. His musical sound is unique: subtle and sophisticated. The voice of Ángel Vargas is also so woven into its fabric, that things are never the same after he leaves in 1946.

  • Qué me pasará (12-Dec-1941)
  • Esquinas porteñas (22-May-1942)
  • Yo tengo una novia (17-Nov-1942)

Demare (Miranda) 1942

Lucio Demare
Lucio Demare

Lucio Demare formed his orchestra in 1938, but it had only cut six sides before recording Malena, composed by Demare himself (and the story goes that the melody came to him in a café and he jotted it down in fifteen minutes). He also wrote Mañana zarpa un barco, both with lyrics by the great Homero Manzi. The sound of the orchestra is string-led and highly lyrical. Like Caló, he always worked with baritone voices, and that brings a slightly darker colour to the sound at a time when most tango singers were tenors. Compare the alternate versions of No te apures cara blanca and Malena recorded by Troilo (below). The arrangements are very different, but in both cases, Troilo’s use of a tenor voice is significant.

  • Al compás de un tango (13-Mar-1942)
  • Mañana zarpa un barco (20-Jul-1942)
  • No te apures cara blanca (9-Oct-1942)
  • Malena (23-Jan-1942)

Di Sarli (Podestá) 1942

Carlos Di Sarli
Carlos Di Sarli

The young Alberto Podestá joined Di Sarli’s orchestra in 1942, singing alongside Roberto Rufino. The general slowing down of the pace of tango music had a big effect on Di Sarli’s style, which became far more lyrical (but without ever losing its rhythmic edge). Like Demare, Di Sarli favoured baritone voices, although there were great tenor voices to come, starting with Oscar Serpa from 1948.

  • Nido gaucho (30-Nov-1942)
  • No está (30-Mar-1942)
  • Junto a tu corazón (12-Nov-1942)
  • Volver a vernos (21-Dec-1942)

Rodríguez (Moreno) 1942

Enrique Rodríguez
Enrique Rodríguez

Rodríguez followed the general trend to slow down, but he did so by just relaxing his rhythmic grip a little. Bigger changes were coming in 1944, but for now, this remains easy-going music and is much loved by dancers. Two of these songs are not available on Spotify, so I have provided alternative listening links from YouTube.

Tanturi (Castillo) 1942

Ricardo Tanturi
Ricardo Tanturi

Tanturi followed the pack, mainly by choosing repertoire which naturally called for a slower pace, revealing a more contemplative side to the singing of Alberto Castillo. It’s very interesting to compare this version of Un crimen with that of Caló (above). The latter has phrasing with wonderful light and shade, and yet these are not so different, despite coming from leading orchestras of the rhythmic and lyrical schools.

  • Moneda de cobre (4-Dec-1942)
  • Un crimen (22-Sep-1942)
  • Madame Ivonne (18-Mar-1942)
  • Canción de rango (Pa’ que se callen) (4-Dec-1942)

Troilo (Fiorentino) 1942

Aníbal Troilo
Aníbal Troilo

Troilo was the master of integrating the singer into the orchestral texture, almost as an additional instrument, but without ever sacrificing the presentation of the lyric. The change of pace transforms the orchestra: gone is the pulsating drive of 1941 and instead we have greater intensity and subtlety. The first and last songs are relatively straightforward, but the inner two take dance music into new realms. The opening of Malena, in particular is a world away from almost anything that has come before. This (and much Troilo from this point onwards) is demanding dance music – but for those that get under its skin, hugely rewarding.

  • Por las calles de la vida (10-Dec-1942)
  • No te apures cara blanca (18-Sep-1942)
  • Malena (8-Jan-1942)
  • Pa’ que seguir (14-Dec-1942)

Click here for ‘Tango in 1941’.

Click here for ‘Tango in 1943’.

DJ Clive Harrison
DJ Clive Harrison

Barrio de tango is the tango blog and online home of tango DJ, Clive Harrison, based in the English Midlands. Now retired from teaching and hosting dance events, Clive remains available to DJ, playing exclusively traditional tango music from the great tango orchestras.

Tango in 1941

A great year for recorded tango music; with D’Agostino, Tanturi and Troilo all starting to record regularly. The music is mostly fast-paced and full of rhythmic energy. Even Fresedo gets into the mood, with mostly crisp rhythms to go with his signature sounds of harp and vibraphone.

Biagi (Ortiz) 1941

Rodolfo Biagi
Rodolfo Biagi

It must have been wonderful to be able to see Jorge Ortiz perform. His diction is so precise – every word is perfectly clear and every phrase is delivered with such attention to detail and shading. He makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck in Humillación. Biagi’s style is synonymous with hard-driven rhythms and strong accents, and yet listen to Ortiz delivering the lyric in Ahora no me conocés. Somehow, against the seemingly relentless pulse from the orchestra, he manages to find space and time to be amazingly free. Of course, it takes two to tango and Biagi makes the space, somehow.

  • Humillación (15-Mar-1941)
  • Carrillón de la Merced (26-Sep-1941)
  • Ahora no me conocés (26-Sep-1941)
  • Romántico bulincito (26-Mar-1941)

Canaro (Famá) 1940-41

Francisco Canaro

By 1941, Ernesto Famá is coming to the end of his second spell with Canaro. The musical style of these arrangements seems to belong to an earlier period, and with such strong competition from other orchestras of the early 40s, I rarely feel drawn to them.

  • En un beso la vida (30-Sep-1940)
  • El recuerdo de los tangos (15-May-1941)
  • Toda mi vida (6-Oct-1941)
  • Como dos extraños (30-Sep-1940)

An alternate song from 1941 (not available on Spotify) is Mañana juega. Click here for a version from YouTube.

D’Arienzo (Mauré) 1941

Juan D'Arienzo
Juan D’Arienzo

D’Arienzo struggled to fill the place left by the departure of Alberto Echagüe at the end of 1939. The role of the singer was becoming ever-more important, and D’Arienzo needed to move with the times and challenge the partnerships of Troilo with Fiorentino and of Biagi with Ortiz (and others). He finally settled on Hector Mauré. Comparing the two singers’ interpretations of Humillación, I think Ortiz wins, hands down, but Mauré was still a fine singer. However, his vocal style was not an obviously good fit for D’Arienzo, and with some notable exceptions, the two frequently sound at odds, wheras Biagi and Ortiz seem perfectly at ease.

  • Humillación (14-Jul-1941)
  • Dime mi amor (21-May-1941)
  • Infamia (15-Dec-1941)
  • Nunca más (14-Jul-1941)

The only versions of Infamia available on Spotify have rather poor sound quality – with lots of crackle and added reverberation. Here’s an excerpt from the TangoTunes transfer (which I have processed for click & crackle reduction and rendered as a high bitrate MP3 file):

D’Agostino (Vargas) 1941

Ángel D'Agostino
Ángel D’Agostino

After several years of dominance by the harder rhythms of D’Arienzo and then Biagi, D’Agostino brought a quite different sound to the early 40s. Right from the start, he had a singer, Ángel Vargas, who complemented the orchestra perfectly. The orchestral sound is dominated by the violins and by D’Agostino, himself, on piano. The sound is subtle and understated, and very rewarding for dancers.

It is very interesting to compare the recordings of Ahora no me conocés produced by Biagi and D’Agostino (recorded within a few days of each other). They couldn’t be more different, but both are very fine. Anyone curious enough might also seek out the 1952 Pugliese recording too.

  • Tres esquinas (24-Jul-1941)
  • Un copetín (24-Jul-1941)
  • Adiós, arrabal (9-Sep-1941)
  • Ahora no me conocés (9-Sep-1941)

Fresedo (Ruiz) 1941

Osvaldo Fresedo
Osvaldo Fresedo

Fresedo gives us his own take on rhythmic tango, with everything softened by the lyrical and velvety tones of Ricardo Ruiz. Just occasionally, the arrangements seems a little over the top: when we have cymbals as well as harp and vibraphone it’s sometimes hard not to snigger, but this is lovely music for dancing. There’s nothing else quite like Buscándote: it was, to Fresedo, what Poema was to Canaro.

  • Vamos, corazón (7-Oct-1941)
  • Solo tú (13-May-1941)
  • Buscándote (30-Dec-1941)
  • En este rincón amigo (13-Jan-1941)

Tanturi (Castillo) 1941

Ricardo Tanturi
Ricardo Tanturi

Like Troilo, Tanturi had been signed to Odeon, but was then deliberately denied opportunities to record. Both, free of their original contracts, switched to Victor in 1941 and were immediately successful. Tanturi was almost alone, among the leading orchestras of the early 40s, in continuing to record with a sextet, long after most other groups had enlarged both bandoneon and violin sections. The fact that every player was effectively a soloist gave the orchestra a distinctively intimate sound. Not until he regrouped, after the departure of Castillo and his replacement with Campós in 1943, did he expand the lineup to ten.

  • Noches de Colón (14-Aug-1941)
  • La vida es corta (19-Feb-1941)
  • El moro (27-Nov-1941)
  • Pocas palabras (16-Jun-1941)

Troilo (Fiorentino) 1941

Aníbal Troilo
Aníbal Troilo

In the period since Troilo’s debut recordings for Odeon in 1938, he had been building his repertoire, and refining the sound and style of the orchestra. By the time he was free to record with Victor, the orchestra was well-known from radio appearances and live performances – and it hit the ground running.

Troilo recorded with many of the leading singers of the day, and over decades, and yet it is the recordings of just one year, 1941, that are mainly played for dancers. Given the quality of the later material, that is astonishing (although it has to be said that the music-making became less and less focused on the requirements of dancers, particularly after 1950). Troilo led the integration of the singer as a strand in the musical texture, and Francisco Fiorentino was perfect for that role.

  • Yo soy el tango (4-Mar-1941)
  • Te aconsejo que me olvides (16-Apr-1941)
  • Toda mi vida (4-Mar-1941)
  • Tinta roja (23-Oct-1941)

Troilo (Instrumental) 1941

The instrumental recordings are a showcase for the Troilo orchestra. The orchestra typically creates a ‘big’ sound – sounding as though there were many more players than there actually were – and the recording technology of the day was frequently challenged by the results.

  • Milongueando en el cuarenta (17-Jun-1941)
  • Cordón de oro (18-Jul-1941)
  • Cachirulo (4-Mar-1941)
  • Guapeando (11-Jul-1941)

Troilo (Fiorentino) 1941 (Milonga)

Francisco Fiorentino
Francisco Fiorentino

Troilo recorded very few early valses and there is only one from 1941 (Tu diagnóstico) but there were several fine milongas. It’s worth listening to Mano brava all the way through, concentrating exclusively on the brilliant piano-playing or Orlando Goñi. It was said that Troilo’s arrangers didn’t bother to provide a piano part, as Goñi would just improvise something better, anyway.

  • Mano brava (4-Mar-1941)
  • Con toda la voz que tengo (16-Apr-1941)
  • Del tiempo guapo (21-Nov-1941)

Click here for ‘Tango in 1940’.

Click here for ‘Tango in 1942’.

DJ Clive Harrison
DJ Clive Harrison

Barrio de tango is the tango blog and online home of tango DJ, Clive Harrison, based in the English Midlands. Now retired from teaching and hosting dance events, Clive remains available to DJ, playing exclusively traditional tango music from the great tango orchestras.

Playlist: 1 September 2017 (Upton Bishop)

Genre Name Year Artist
Tango Nunca más 1931 Francisco Lomuto (Alberto Acuña & Fernando Díaz)
Íntimas 1931 Francisco Lomuto (Fernando Díaz)
Muñequita 1931 Francisco Lomuto (Alberto Acuña & Fernando Díaz)
Tango Tú el cielo y tú 1944 Enrique Rodríguez (Armando Moreno)
Naranjo en flor 1944
Motivo sentimental 1944
Vals Noche de estrellas 1939 Francisco Canaro (Ernesto Famá)
Tormenta en el alma 1940 Francisco Canaro (Ernesto Famá & Mirna Mores)
El vals del estudiante 1939 Francisco Canaro (Ernesto Famá)
Tango Gallo ciego 1938 Ricardo Tanturi (Instrumental)
Comparsa criolla 1941
Una noche de garufa 1941
Tango Tres esquinas 1941 Ángel D’Agostino (Ángel Vargas)
Un copetín 1941
Ahora no me conocés 1941
Milonga Estampa de varón 1938 Juan D’Arienzo (Alberto Echagüe)
Milonga del recuerdo 1939
Milonga querida 1938
Tango Barrio de tango 1943 Miguel Caló (Jorge Ortiz)
Pa’ que seguir 1943
Mi cantar 1943
Tango Bar exposición 1932 Francisco Canaro (Instrumental)
Fenómeno 1932
Olvidao 1932
Vals Romance de barrio 1947 Aníbal Troilo (Floreal Ruíz)
Llorarás, llorarás 1945
Flor de lino 1947
Tango El jaguar 1940 Carlos Di Sarli (Instrumental)
El retirao 1939
Shusheta (El aristócrata) 1940
Tango Amurado 1944 Osvaldo Pugliese (Instrumental)
El remate 1944
El taita (Raza criolla) 1945
Milonga Sacale punta 1938 Edgardo Donato (Horacio Lagos & Armando Piovani)
De punta a punta 1939 Edgardo Donato (Horacio Lagos)
Ella es así 1938
Tango Araca la cana 1933 Osvaldo Fresedo (Roberto Ray)
Cordobesita 1933
Colibriyo 1933
Tango Tinta verde 1938 Aníbal Troilo (Instrumental)
Cachirulo 1941
Milongueando en el cuarenta 1941
Vals Loca de amor 1938 Rodolfo Biagi (Teófilo Ibáñez)
Lejos de ti 1938
Viejo portón 1938
Tango Porteño y bailarín 1952 Carlos Di Sarli (Mario Pomar)
La capilla blanca 1952
Duelo criollo 1952
Tango Paciencia 1938 Francisco Canaro (Roberto Maida)
El adiós 1938
Madreselva 1938
Milonga Yo soy de San Telmo 1943 Pedro Laurenz (Alberto Podestá)
Maldonado 1943
El criollito oriental 1944
Tango Loca 1955 Juan D’Arienzo (Instrumental)
Derecho viejo 1963
C. T. V. 1967
Tango Frases de amor 1927 Sexteto Osvaldo Fresedo (Instrumental)
Caminito 1927
Rivas 1928
Tango La cumparsita 1951 Carlos Di Sarli (Instrumental)

Lovely playlist as ever this evening …

Clive, you treated us to magic music again.  Lovely tandas last night.

Thanks Clive. The music was outstanding.

Tango in 1940

The 1940s saw several musicians of an older generation fade from the scene and a younger generation come to the fore. More than a few, perhaps most notably Di Sarli and Fresedo, made the transition. Only illness stopped Di Sarli (who recorded until 1958) but Fresedo recorded right up to 1980. The biggest casualty, Canaro, remained popular and was active in the recording studio until 1964, but arguably most of his best work was already behind him.

Biagi (Ortiz) 1940

Jorge Ortiz
Jorge Ortiz

Biagi’s orchestra had become well-established by 1940. For many dancers, he is at his very best in the recordings with tenor, Jorge Ortiz. Todo te nombra was their first recording. Ortiz stayed until January 1943, but returned in 1945 (after a spell with Miguel Caló) for a further year.

  • Misa de once (15-Oct-1940)
  • Todo te nombra (19-Jun-1940)
  • Guapo y varón (16-Jul-1940)
  • Callecita de mi barrio (4-Oct-1940)

D’Arienzo (Instrumental) 1940-41

Juan D'Arienzo
Juan D’Arienzo

Arguably, D’Arienzo came close to losing his way, artistically, in the 1940s. His former pianist, Juan Polito, had split from him in early 1940 to form his own orchestra, taking with him all of D’Arienzo’s players along with his singer, Alberto Echagüe. It didn’t take D’Arienzo long to regroup, taking over an orchestra recently formed by Héctor Varela, with pianist, Fulvio Salamanca. The debut recording was Entre dos fuegos.

Despite the setback, the orchestra was still commercially successful, but the orchestra seemed to lack its former focus, the sound becoming increasingly hard-driven (mostly by an over-prominent piano). Things changed, for the better, in the early 50s, but these days comparatively little 40s D’Arienzo is played regularly.

  • Entre dos fuegos (12-Apr-1940)
  • Tucumán (27-Jun-1940)
  • La clavada (9-Oct-1940)
  • La bicoca (8-Aug-1940)

The only version of Entre dos fuegos available on Spotify has rather poor sound quality. Here’s an excerpt from a recent transfer by TangoTunes (which I have processed for click & crackle reduction and rendered as a high bitrate MP3 file).

Di Sarli (Instrumental) 1939-40

Carlos Di Sarli
Carlos Di Sarli

Di Sarli’s new orchestra made its first recordings in December 1939. The musical trend at the time was for relatively fast-paced, rhythmical interpretations – probably in response to D’Arienzo’s success. However, Di Sarli, whose orchestra is generally acknowledged to be one of the finest, had no need to copy anyone else’s style: he had plenty of his own.

The initial impression with Di Sarli’s music is that the sound is dominated by the violins, but Di Sarli’s own piano-playing was fundamental to the orchestra’s sound (and would remain so). By the mid-50s, the orchestra had grown in size (particularly the violin section), but the earliest recordings were by a small ensemble of just eight players and the microphone placement was quite close, giving us a very intimate sound in which every instrument can be heard perfectly clearly.

  • El jaguar (5-Aug-1940)
  • Racing Club (4-Jul-1940)
  • El retirao (11-Nov-1939)
  • Shusheta (El aristócrata) (8-Oct-1940)

Di Sarli (Rufino) 1939-40

Roberto Rufino
Roberto Rufino

Di Sarli worked with many of the best singers of his time, and many consider Roberto Rufino the finest of them. He was just seventeen when he recorded Corazón on the A-side of the orchestra’s very first disc.

  • Corazón (11-Dec-1939)
  • Lo pasao pasó (23-Nov-1940)
  • Cosas olvidadas (19-Jun-1940)
  • En un beso la vida (23-Sep-1940)

Di Sarli (Rufino) 1940-41 (Vals)

The 1940 recording of Rosamel was not Di Sarli’s first: he had recorded it with his sextet in 1930 with estribilista, Santiago Devin. The pace and style of the later version is very different, but it is a joy from start to finish, the epitome of good taste and elegance.

  • Rosamel (11-Dec-1940)
  • Alma mía (15-Feb-1940)
  • Cortando camino (6-Mar-1941)

Here’s an excerpt from the 1930 version of Rosamel.

Rodríguez (Moreno) 1940

Enrique Rodríguez
Enrique Rodríguez

Enrique Rodríguez’ orchestra had been formed in 1936, and began recording in 1937. From 1940-46 he recorded with singer, Armando Moreno, and their output included a significant proportion of otros ritmos (other rhythms, particularly Fox-Trots, which are regularly played, today, as an occasional alternative to milonga). The undemanding and mostly simple rhythms and generally cheerful style of the tangos and valses are very popular with dancers.

  • Cómo se pianta la vida (20-Aug-1940)
  • No te quiero más (15-Mar-1940)
  • A media luz (20-Nov-1940)
  • En la buena y en la mala (4-Jun-1940)

Click here for ‘Milonga in the 30s’.

Click here for ‘Tango in 1941’.

DJ Clive Harrison
DJ Clive Harrison

Barrio de tango is the tango blog and online home of tango DJ, Clive Harrison, based in the English Midlands. Now retired from teaching and hosting dance events, Clive remains available to DJ, playing exclusively traditional tango music from the great tango orchestras.