Three Counties Tango | Milonga

DJ Clive Harrison
DJ Clive Harrison

I’ll be DJing at the Redmarley Milonga on Saturday, 9 June 2018 (7:30 pm – 11:30 pm). This will be my fourth set at Redmarley, and once again I’ll be using my four-speaker sound system to present a 100% traditional set of mainstream music from the very best orchestras and singers from the late 1920s to the mid-1950s.

Redmarley Village Hall is an attractive venue, just a few minutes’ drive (2 miles) from junction 2 of the M50 (with the A419 Ledbury Road). There’s plenty of parking. The full address is The Causeway, Redmarley D’Abitot, GL19 3HS. Entrada £10.

Redmarley Milonga May 2018
Redmarley Milonga May 2018
Redmarley Village Hall
Redmarley Village Hall

Playlists from previous sets at Redmarley:

Playlist: 12 May 2018 (Redmarley)

Genre Song Year Artist(s)
Tango Tabernero 1941 Enrique Rodríguez (Armando Moreno)
Suerte loca 1941
Esto es puro compás 1941
Llorar por una mujer 1941
Tango Gallo ciego 1938 Ricardo Tanturi (Instrumental)
Comparsa criolla 1941
Tierrita 1937
Una noche de garufa 1941
Vals Sonata 1937 Orquesta Tipica Victor (Agustín Magaldi)
Sin rumbo fijo 1938 Orquesta Típica Victor (Ángel Vargas)
Temo 1940 Orquesta Típica Victor (Mario Corrales (Pomar))
Tango Qué importa 1939 Juan D’Arienzo (Alberto Echagüe)
Mandria 1939
Ansiedad 1938
Olvidame 1939
Tango Shusheta (El aristócrata) 1945 Ángel D’Agostino (Ángel Vargas)
Rondando tu esquina 1945
Hotel Victoria 1945
Ave de paso 1945
Milonga Milonga de mis amores 1937 Francisco Canaro (Instrumental)
Milonga de antaño 1937
La milonga de mis tiempos 1938
Tango Tú el cielo y tú 1944 Carlos Di Sarli (Alberto Podestá)
Motivo sentimental 1944
Lloran las campanas 1944
Vamos 1944
Tango Unión cívica 1938 Rodolfo Biagi (Instrumental)
El trece 1938
El incendio 1938
Pura clase 1939
Vals Pedacito de cielo 1942 Miguel Caló (Alberto Podestá)
Me duele el corazón 1944 Miguel Caló (Raúl Iriarte &c)
Jugando, jugando 1944 Miguel Caló (Raúl Berón)
Tango Inspiración 1943 Aníbal Troilo (Instrumental)
Chiqué (El elegante) 1944
Bien porteño 1944
Piropos 1944
Tango Vamos, corazón 1941 Osvaldo Fresedo (Ricardo Ruiz)
Y no puede ser 1939
Cielito mío 1939
Inquietud 1939
Milonga Sacale punta 1938 Edgardo Donato (Horacio Lagos & Armando Piovani)
De punta a punta 1939 Edgardo Donato (Horacio Lagos)
Ella es así 1938
Tango Canaro en París 1950 Juan D’Arienzo (FS) (Instrumental)
Tucumán 1950
El simpático 1951
Don Juan 1950
Tango Esta noche al pasar 1944 Pedro Laurenz (Jorge Linares)
Naranjo en flor 1944
Trenzas 1944
Barrio tranquilo 1944
Vals Mi novia de ayer 1944 Alfredo De Angelis (Floreal Ruíz)
Esa noche 1946 Alfredo De Angelis (Julio Martel)
Ilusión azul 1945 Alfredo De Angelis (Carlos Dante)
Tango Mala junta 1943 Osvaldo Pugliese (Instrumental)
Tierra querida 1944
El arranque 1944
Mala estampa (Mala pinta) 1944
Tango Qué hacés, qué hacés 1933 Francisco Canaro (Ernesto Famá)
Sufro 1933
Si soy así 1933
No quiero verlo más 1934
Milonga Mano brava 1941 Aníbal Troilo (Francisco Fiorentino)
Con toda la voz que tengo 1941
Del tiempo guapo 1941
Tango Milonguero viejo 1955 Carlos Di Sarli (Instrumental)
Germaine 1955
Los treinta y tres orientales 1955
El jagüel 1956
Tango Mano a mano 1936 Francisco Lomuto (Jorge Omar)
Las cuarenta 1937
Que nadie se entere 1936
Nostalgias 1936
Vals La sonrisa de mamá 1954 Juan D’Arienzo (Armando Laborde)
Lloré por los dos 1956
Me quieres y te quiero 1956
Tango Carrillón de la Merced 1931 Orquesta Típica Victor (Ernesto Famá)
Milonga por qué llorás 1930
Payuca 1929
Música de calesita 1930
Tango La cumparsita 1936 Francisco Lomuto (Instrumental)
Tango 500 Book
Tango 500: the book.

All of the music in this set is featured in my book, Tango 500, published in April 2018 and available from Amazon (worldwide).

Sonata and Temo

Tango 500 Book
Tango 500: the book.

One of the vals tandas included in my book, Tango 500, opens with a song called Sonata sung by its composer Augstín Magaldi. The tanda continues with Sin rumbo fijo (with Ángel Vargas) and ends with the wonderful Temo (with Mario Corrales). The orchestra is Orquesta Típica Victor under the direction of Federico Scorticati – or is it?

Well, as far as Sonata is concerned, no, it probably isn’t. Tango.info attributes it to Orquesta Típica Victor, giving the recording date as 3 June 1937, but the song is missing from other OTV discographies. The original shellac disc label says solo con orquesta, but doesn’t name the ensemble. The A-side of the same disc was also a Magaldi recording, but that’s with guitar accompaniment.

OTV was a recording orchestra without fixed personnel. It had a studio session on 26 May and another on 8 July, each producing two recordings, but nothing else was recorded on 3 June. The orchestra usually recorded with ten to twelve players, but the ensemble from 3 June sounds smaller. It seems likely that a handful of players were hired for the session, drawn from the pool of OTV regulars. If anyone has further information, I’d be interested, but it’s a nice song, anyway. Here’s an excerpt:

Tuning

Many tango recordings are published at the wrong pitch/speed. All three of the songs in this tanda require retuning to return them to concert pitch. I analysed the tuning of my transfer of Sonata using the nnls-chroma tuning plugin with the Audacity sound editor and found A = 432.8 Hz (and I am assuming that A = 435 would still have been in use at the time of recording). With some rounding of the values, the published pitch is 9¢ (0.5%) flat, a small (but audible) variance. Correcting it shaves one second off the song duration, and most people wouldn’t notice it – the variance is only just above the threshold for hearing a pitch difference.

I also checked Sin rumbo fijo and found A = 446.9. That is a much more significant 47¢ (2.6%) sharp. The variance is nearly half a semitone, so my transfer (Euro Records Coleccion 78 rpm) is almost exactly in the middle of any key you would find on a piano tuned to A = 435. Correcting the error adds four seconds to the transfer but, more significantly, has a very clear effect on the pace of the song and of the timbre of the singer’s voice. It sounds much better.

Here are two 15s excerpts, before and after:

Lastly, I checked Temo (also Euro Records Coleccion 78 rpm), although I already knew that something was very wrong. In the opening phrase of the introduction, the violin vibrato is obviously too fast, and when the singer enters we hear a rather feeble tenor with an over-fast vibrato, rather than the baritone, Mario Corrales (better known as Mario Pomar from his 1950s recordings with Di Sarli). The measured pitch was A = 445.6 Hz (42¢ fast), almost the same as for Sin rumbo fijo, but correcting it left the transfer still sounding odd and Corrales’ voice barely recognisable. There’s no harm in trying alternatives, so rather than retuning down to the nearest key, I corrected by 142¢ or 7.8% (another complete semitone), and listened again.

Straight away, the violin tone sounds right, and at the singer’s entry, I recognise Corrales’ voice. The pace of the song is very different, too, of course. Here are three 45s excerpts, the original pitch, corrected by 42¢ and then by 142¢.

One final issue with Temo is that by 1940 (the recording date) most orchestras in BsAs had retuned to modern concert pitch, A = 440 Hz. I’ve never seen any source commenting on the changeover date, orchestra by orchestra, so there remains a question over whether OTV were still recording at A = 435, or had already changed. The pitch difference is 20¢ (a fifth of a semitone) – quite audible, but not dramatic. If I’m playing Temo in a tanda with earlier valses, tuning to A = 435 means no jarring clash of relative pitch, but the required speed variance is reduced slightly at the higher pitch.

I don’t know whether I’m right. It seems extraordinary that such a massive pitch error could creep into a published transfer (and as far as I can see, all the alternatives fall into line*), and yet the timbre of Corrales’ voice sounds right at the slower speed. At the slower pace, lots of little details in the violin parts like vibrato and bowing articulations sound so much more natural. The tempo is still 204 bpm, so by no means a ‘slow’ vals. The original rattles along at 220 bpm, which is quick.

[Edit: *The tango-dj.at database lists one version (sourced from a private collector) timed at 3:07, compared with the 2:54 of the Euro Records transfer or 2:55 for CdT, and while I haven’t heard it, I have to assume that it, too, is tuned down a whole semitone.]