Part 2 is here! Nikos told me there was a lot of people expecting this one, so I’ll deliver to you all the next part of this music adventure. Let’s keep our ears sharp and our minds clear so we can decipher together the secrets of the style of our beloved Aníbal Troilo.
As I said in my previous post, Troilo had four periods:
- First Period: 1938-1942
- Second Period: 1942-1949
- Third Period: 1950-1962
- Fourth Period: 1962-1975
If you haven’t read part 1 yet, please. Do so and come back here, you’ll not regret it I promise!
As we stated in our previous post, this is when Troilo’s tempo (speed) starts to decrease. This was a generalized manner that was present in all orchestras. This gave the musicians and arrangers the chance to embellish their music and create beautifully crafted interpretations as “Sans Souci” Arranged by Maderna, “Pichuco” probably arranged by both of the directors Armando Pontier and Enrique Mario Francini and “El último organito” arranged by Ismael Spitalnik.
The 40s were a big explosion of nationality, laws were passed to promote national music and evade foreign one, a lot of orchestras were born since D’Arienzo’s success in 1935 and the working class got payed holidays, salary boosts twice a year, and many many more. This obviously gave tango musicians an economic boost, since more people could go out and pay to listen to them.
There was an issue with tango thought, at least for a moment: someone from radio communication was verbally imparted to censor lyrics with lunfardo or vesré in them, forcing artists to change the lyrics to “more morally correct” ones. This censorship only affected radio, and sometimes recordings, as we can see in “La casita de mis viejos” recorded by Cobián’s orchestra (the author himself!). Truly a shame.
This also affected Troilo, having to record an altered lyric from what was going to be called “tal vez será su alcohol” that ended up being “tal vez será su voz” and the lyrics of “Farolito de papel”, both sung by Marino. Here’s the original lyrics recorded 25 years later.
Gladly, this shady decreet, full of mystery and variants was cancelled in 1947 when Discépolo mentioned it to the current president of that time: Perón.
Another issue that affected the production of shellacs in Argentina was WWII and the post-war effect. A good chunk of Argentina’s production was focused in suppling raw material to the countries at war, be it iron, weath or whatever was needed. By this fact alone we can safetly say that our favourite tangueros didn’t recorded as much as they wanted to.
(Side note: In Argentina, Perón’s image is highly debated nowadays and you have extremists in both sides: people who thought and think of him as the devil and people who idolize him and all the in-between. One thing is for sure, and I hope I’m being neutral by saying this: be it for good or bad, Argentina wouldn’t be the same without Perón’s policies. Most English-based sources will tell you he was a tyrant, for example. While there’s been so many rumours, exaggerated facts and outright lies from both sides about he and his policies that its hard to debunk and explain all of them without contributing to the problem.)
As always, let’s name and show some of the talent of this orchestra:
Troilo’s strings almost completely stops using De Caro’s yeites (Here’s some 3-notes pizzicato in “Soledad… la de Barracas) and were used to generate texture and nice counter-melodies.This is nothing that was not done before, but Troilo uses it in beautiful ways. Listen to the pizzicatos in “Gime el viento”, “Sosiego en la noche”, “Cristal” and “Marioneta”.
How the cello makes little counter-melodies in “Sosiego en la noche”, “Copas, amigas y besos” and “Llorarás, llorarás” and how after the singer sang there’s a string section solo. (These section solos are called solis and we’ll reffer to them that way from now on).
For example: “Después”, “Nada más que un corazón” and probably many more. Its either a string soli, a bandoneón soli, or a bandoneón solo. We’ll talk more about those in the following parts. Having a complete string section also helped Troilo’s arrangers to create more low-register arrangements for certain parts. Good examples of this are “Torrente” and “Luna llena”.
As we can see in the recordings of the latest years, 1948-1949: “Tú”, “Ojos negros”, “Y volveremos a querernos”, “Una lágrima tuya”, “La viajera perdida”, etc. Troilo’s style has changed a lot since 1938. He became slower, more musically deep, he even silenced some parts of the orchestra, and sometimes even the whole group for a couple seconds. This will be common in the following years, but as always… it will change… and we’ll get there! See you all in part 3!