On the U.S. festival scene, Troilo, especially his mid-’40s repertoire, is not as popular as he is in Buenos Aires. I think this is because these recordings are both very lyrical and very complex musically; they are not as straightforward to dance to as D’Arienzo or even Di Sarli‘s recordings from the same period. Michael Lavocah explores Troilo’s inventiveness in great detail in his excellent book Tango Masters: Aníbal Troilo, for those who are interested.
My friend Mike McCarrel is one of few fellow Americans I know who enjoy Troilo’s recordings with Marino—and I have to admit, at first I wasn’t crazy about them. Of course, that was largely due to the fact that I didn’t have good quality versions (many of the most widely available CDs of Troilo with Marino have been terribly processed, and the sound quality is appallingly awful). I didn’t really begin to appreciate Marino until recently, when I purchased some shellac transfers of his sides with Troilo from TangoTunes.
These four tangos represent, to me, the height of ’40s emotional tangos: Troilo’s master arrangers (Astor Piazzolla himself wrote the arrangement for “Uno”) put together multilayered orchestrations that perfectly incorporate Marino’s delivery of words by three master lyricists (“Uno” is by Enrique Santos Discépolo; “Después” and “Torrente” by Homero Manzi; and “Cristal” by José María Contursi). The result is dense, rich, rewarding music.
For a more unorthodox yet still coherent tanda, you could remove any song except “Cristal” and end the tanda with the masterpiece “Gricel,” sung by Fiorentino. Another beautiful lyric by José María Contursi, “Gricel,” like “Cristal,” is part of a cycle of tangos that chronicle his passion for a woman he couldn’t have…the full real-life story and its surprising ending can be found in Lavocah’s book or on TodoTango.
Dear Fellow Tango Aficionados,
DJ Antti Suniala (Finland/Germany) has been kind enough to feature one of my tandas on his blog, Tanda of the Week.
Sosiego en la noche (1943)
Cada vez que me recuerdes (1943)
To listen to the songs and read my comments on this tanda, please visit Antti’s site here.
Temblando, singer Francisco Fiorentino (1944)
Palomita blanca, singers Floreal Ruiz y Alberto Marino (1944)
Flor de lino, singer Floreal Ruiz (1947)
Romance de barrio, singer Floreal Ruiz (1947)
I most often play tandas of three valses, especially if the milonga is shorter. But sometimes, especially at festivals, I feel like the crowd really craves four. And for that special four-vals tanda, who better to play than el gordo Pichuco? All three of his great singers of the 1940s—Francisco Fiorentino, Alberto Marino, and Floreal Ruiz—make an appearance in this tanda.
Troilo and Fiorentino are each titans of tango on their own, and together they form one of the most prolific and beloved orchestra-singer pairings of the 1940s. I’ve already posted another tanda of their tangos, but at the moment I love these just a little bit more.
The first song, “Pájaro ciego,” is a beautiful duet with singer Amadeo Mandarino.
En esta tarde gris (1941)
El bulín de la calle Ayacucho (1941)
Te aconsejo que me olvides (1941)
El Gordo Picucho, Aníbal Troilo, is one of the giants of tango. In later years, his orchestra would accompany great singers like Edmundo Rivero and Roberto “El polaco” Goyeneche. He also collaborated with lyricist Homero Manzi on several classic tangos.
From 1938 to 1944, Astor Piazzolla played bandoneón for Troilo, and also wrote a few of the most innovative and unusual arrangements ever recorded by a Golden Age dance orchestra.
Among dancers, his most beloved recordings are his early 1940s collaborations with singer Francisco Fiorentino. Their songs cover a range of styles, from romantic to rhythmic. This tanda starts at romantic and speeds up near the end, culminating with the powerful “Te aconsejo que me olvides.”