Camilo Emanuel Gatica from the book "El bandoneón y sus intérpretes -
Generación 1910" (First part) Zucchi, Oscar. (Ed. Corregidor, 2001) Pages 964 to 1048.
Interviewee: Bandoneonist, director, composer and arranger.
Consular figure of our tango music, belonging to the generation of tanguistas of 1910, his career is largely confused with the history of tango itself.
Thus, from the modest trios and quartets that he integrated in dance academies and cafes of fierce clientele that swarmed around the centennial, then went through the sophisticated atmosphere of the most sumptuous cabarets, the most prestigious cinemas of the silent period, as well as private dances in aristocratic residences of the Buenos Aires street, integrating or directing some of the celebrated sextets that characterized the golden years '20.
Finally, as the culmination of his cycle, from the 1930s onwards he directed important groups, whether of conventional instrumental integration or numerous orchestral organizations -without missing the attempt to treat tango symphonically- incorporating to the usual layout of his formations instruments such as brass, vibraphone, harp, drums and percussion. He survived with dignity on this path until shortly before his death. The most remarkable facet of Maestro Fresedo has surely been his work as an orchestra conductor, a model of correctness and musicality, creating one of the richest and most original interpretative modalities of tango, characterized by the subtlety of nuances, the respect for musical time and for the melodic phase of the performance as fundamental premises. He also showed ponderable composer's conditions, with works of lush melodic beauty such as "Aromas" or "Sollozos", or the sharp rhythmic play of "El espiante", "El once" or "Pimienta".
As for his performance on the bandoneon, he showed a clear Arolean influence in his style in the solos recorded in 1920, but he quickly assimilated Pedro Maffia's creative contributions in terms of sound and clean handling, which made him an important bandoneonist of his time.
On another note, very early on he abandoned the execution of the instrument to devote himself exclusively to the direction.
When this interview took place, the Maestro Fresedo was already ill, but he was gentle and compliant with the request.
Full of glory and years, his spirit was jovial and free as in his years as an aviator. He had granted us a limited time for our recording, as he had a commitment at a certain time.
Once the talk had begun, somewhat haphazardly, his natural loquacity made him easily surpass the deadline for the end of the report, but he was no longer interested. On the contrary. He went on with enthusiasm, commenting on the details of his distant beginnings while, periodically, we asked him if he felt tired, fearing that this effort would be harmful to him.
He replied that he was not, and continued; suddenly he interrupted the conversation by questioning me:
- "Does this interest you?" and with an affirmative answer, he would resume the dialogue.
- "I was born on May 5, 1897 at 1606 Lavalle Street; that is, I had understood this, but now my brother Emilio who is older than me, tells me that I was born at 1022 Rivadavia, so I have to talk to him to try to clarify this.
My parents were Clotilde Garcia and Nicolas Fresedo, both Argentineans.
We were five male siblings: Emilio, me, Raúl, Héctor and another one who died at the age of seven, I think in 1905, when we lived at 434 Billinghurst Street."
When this interview took place - in 1973 - only our interviewee and the poet of singular values were alive. Four sisters completed the offspring of the certainly prolific Fresedo couple.
- "I initiated my brother Raul, by playing drums a little; he was quite good. He played in an orchestra I made when I returned from the United States in the 1930s. Then he got sick and died very young.
My mother was a piano teacher, but she never worked as such. My father was a merchant.
From downtown we moved to Ramos Mejia, two blocks from the station to Haedo. From there, we went to the Almagro neighborhood, 434 Billinghurst Street, as I mentioned before, in 1903, where I began my elementary education at the Anchorena School.
In 1906 we moved to the Floresta neighborhood, 4140 Avellaneda Street, between Segurola and Gualeguaychú".
When he discovered the bandoneon
Maestro Fresedo, when did you felt attracted to music, especially the bandoneon?
-Since I was a child I liked sports very much, I was a runner and at the age of eleven I won a race of that specialty that took place in the Vélez Sársfield square, in Flores. I only got to know tango and bandoneon when we all lived in Villa La Paternal, on Del Campo and Eleano Avenue, next to the Lacroze tramway that went to San Martín; I was 13 years old, that is, in 1910.
There, my father had rented a fairly large house; in the back we had a windmill to extract water.
We had become very close to some people who lived in Villa Paternal, about three blocks from there to the side of Tormú Hospital.
All the kids would get together to listen to the only thing they could, the records. Especially the records of "Pacho".
I remember that there was a Turk who always came with a suitcase offering house to house, proclaiming: "Disco bor Bacho", "Disco bor Bacho"...
Through the records I got to know the sound of the bandoneon.
But one day an orchestra came to a cafe on the corner of Chorroarín and Triunvirato, where if you put 15 or 20 cents alongside the price of food, they would give you a number. With that number, at the half of the attraction, which was the orchestra, they raffled off a bottle of anisette or cognac.
There Augusto P. Berto played the bandoneon; I found out from the others that it was Berto, because what interested me was the bandoneon.
I knew in the same way that the violin was played by "Pirincho" Canaro and the guitar by Domingo Salerno.
Until that moment I had no idea what a bandoneon was like; I thought it was something similar to a cello, but there was so much talk about the bandoneon and I was so fascinated by that sound that came from the records, that I wanted to see it.
When I saw that bandoneon and Berto who was moving it around, it was only then that I got a liking for this instrument.
I was already interested in music, because my brother played the piano, as did my mother.
In spite of the moving, I continued to attend a school in Flores, in Yerbal and Fray Cayetano and I cycled from La Paternal and in the afternoon I travelled again to Plaza Flores always by bicycle to make a "changuita" in a kiosk and bookstore in the area.
Then I collected ten pesos, I don't know how, and bought a concertina that had ten keys on each side... let's see... yes, ten keys, so opening and closing it would have about twenty voices. With some friends, who were brothers and played guitar in the neighbourhood of La Paternal, we tried to form a band. Their names were Pedro and Martín Barreto. In Villa Paternal there was a block where some houses stood high.
There were about ten houses on one side, another ten on the other, then a passage cutted it in the middle and again there were ten houses on each side, all the same, with their little garden in front of them, made this way as a working class houses, but high".
It should be remembered that La Paternal was the name of an insurance company to which the land in this neighborhood belonged and in which houses were built for working class families. The name dates back to 1904, when the Chacarita station was renamed La Paternal, a name that time extended to the adjacent neighborhood.
-At that time," continues Maestro Fresedo, "we used to set up shop on a corner where there was a hairdresser's whose owner played the mandolin. With him, these Barreto boys I mentioned and I with my concertina, we would start playing and the boys from the neighborhood would start dancing among themselves.
We should mention that he learned to play the concertina intuitively, "figuiring out" waltzes, polkas, but what he liked most was tango.
Meanwhile the parents who wanted their son to be a mercantile expert, enrolled him in 1911 in the Pagano Merchants Academy of Uruguay Cangallo.
That same year, with his brothers Héctor and Emilio, together with other boys from the neighborhood, they founded a soccer club in Villa Paternal, the "Edison" club, whose team played in the open fields of those years, the seedbed of so many "cracks".
He continued to perform serenades in the area with the Barreto brothers, with a repertoire in which tango predominated. "Emancipación", "El talar", "Mate amargo", "El zurdo", "Cuasi nada", "Una fija", "La catrera" and "El caburé" were some of the titles.
- "The truth is that when I was fifteen I used to go to the "Venturita" café, because I loved listening to Augusto Berto's trio, which was completed by Canaro and Domingo Salerno. I was passionate about the bandoneon, and I decided to save money, in any way, in order to acquire one.
Then, in time, I bought a bandoneon, something my father didn't like at all...
The purchase of the bandoneon coincided with his enrollment in the Pagano Academy. It was an instrument of only 50 voices, with metallic keys so he had to pay $60 saved up with quite a few sacrifices.
- "I began to study bandoneon with a boy who was a coachman in the square, one of those "Mateos". His name was Carlos Besio and he took care of teaching me how to play the keyboard and a tango that was the first one I learned to play on the bandoneon. That tango was called "La chinchibirra" and it was never known who it belonged to.
So, later this boy Besio, who played by ear, had not much more to teach me and soon I had to give him some advice...
I didn't know music yet, but played by ear and learnt many pieces from phonograph records. Later I started to look for the sheet music, my mother would play them on the piano and I would learnt them by ear on the bandoneon.
It was only later that I began to study theory and solfege with Pedro Desrests, who was a symphonic violinist and father of Pedro who would later become a violinist in my orchestra.
But in reality what I had most was a great intuition and I practically studied the bandoneon alone. Then I met a bandoneon player, Manuel Firpo, who played very well and every night we went to listen to him at the Capuchino Café on Rivera Street -today Cordoba- where he worked with Paulino Fasciola (violin) and Manuel Aróztegui (piano) and I began to study with him".
Referring to his learning, Dr. Luis Adolfo Sierra says: " He wanted to gain rapid progress in musical knowledge. And he succeeded. Soon he was playing the tango "El eléctrico", by Greco, written in A flat, a difficult key for a beginner".
But all that channelling of his enthusiasm towards music brought along with it his unconcern for his studies, which translated into frequent "Slack offs":
- "For this reason I abandoned my studies. Because from my house I went out determined to attend the academy. And on the way, I was heading towards where I could play the bandoneon," he said, "At one point, my father found out that I had abandoned my studies. He then made an extreme decision: he kicked me out of my house.
Fresedo then went to take refuge in the house of his close friend Nelo Cosimi, in Villa Ortúzar, who lent him a small room where he lived for several weeks.
Years later, Nelo Cosimi was destined to be one of the pioneers of our cinematography, in the double role of actor and director.
Nelo's father employed Osvaldo in his company as a thick brush painter, with a pay of two pesos per bleached wall.
The mischievous couple of "painters" formed by Nelo and Osvaldo became so enthusiastic about their task that, once the wall was finished and for the same price, they bleached a cow from a neighbouring dairy farm that was sleeping peacefully.
When they were discovered by the furious dairy farmer, Osvaldo had to appeal to his conditions as a pedestrian runner, which earned him a prize years ago, and improving his mark notably, he overtook the dairy farmer on the track, returning unexpectedly to his father's house, where he was rewarded with forgiveness. This was in 1913.
-It was only then that my father accepted my vocation for the tango.
Sealing the reconciliation he received his first bandoneon of 71 keys that costed no less than $200.
Osvaldo Fresedo's career as a professional musician began in 1913, when he formed a neighbourhood orchestra, more precisely a cuarteto típico thus integrated:
Bandoneon: Osvaldo Fresedo
Violin: Emilio Fresedo
Guitars: Pedro and Martín Barreto.
Their debut was scheduled for May 31st of that year at a wedding dance in Opendoor, Buenos Aires, but due to a mistake they appeared playing at another wedding where they had not been hired. When the mistake was cleared up, it was already late and they decided to return to La Paternal, being baptized as "tango musicians" in the form of a merciless rain that cooled both the bodies of the young musicians and their enthusiasm for the debut.
But the discouragement soon dissipated, and once they recovered, besides playing on the sidewalks of the neighborhood, they performed at numerous family gatherings and weddings, but now making sure of the directions very well.
At this point in his itinerary, the young bandoneonist involved in this story had already composed his first two tangos: "Chupate el dedo" and "La ronda", later widely popularized as "El espiante".
The tango mentioned in the first term was made known in the carnival dances of the then luxurious "Tigre Hotel", by the orchestra conducted by the great black musician Carlos Posadas, one of the most important composers of the genre, in whose production there are pages of such a remarkable achievement as "Cordón de oro" and "Retirao".
"La ronda" ("El espiante")
The Maestro Fresedo himself will tell us the circumstances that inspired him to compose this classic of the genre:
- "I composed this tango in 1913, when I was still studying bandoneon. I composed it in the neighborhood of La Paternal and the song was inspired by the round of a watchman who was on the corner of Villa Paternal itself, to which another one answered that he would run along Bellavista Street, which turned around the wall of the cemetery of La Chacarita. At night, while I was studying the bandoneon I heard the call: "Tariii...ra" and the other one answered "Tariii...ra" and from there I took off with the bandoneon and the tango came out. I gave it the title "La ronda", but as it had not been published yet, they told me to give it a more "arrabalero" title, because tango in those times was identified with the suburbs; then they convinced me and I decided to name it "El espiante".
I gave it to José Felipetti to be published and unfortunately I don't even have a copy of that original edition... I would have liked very much to have one.
Berto premiered it in the café "La Oración" that was on Corrientes Street, between Cerrito and Carlos Pellegrini, behind the church of San Nicolás de Bari (currently Santa Fe Avenue).
I took him to that café myself; I gave him five piano parts and he put one in each one; there was Luis Teisseire on flute, José Sasssone on piano -who was also my pianist when I was at the Venturita in Corrientes and Serrano-, violinists Julio Doutry and Peregrino Paulos and on the bandoneon, Berto.
Soon it was being played everywhere; at that time I composed several more tangos, but none had the same success. The fact is that "El espiante" was very popular.
Look how popular it must have been, that there was a " Biographer Café " at that time that was in Corrientes, near Puyrredón, whose owner was called Vicente.
Each time they played the tango, the audience, after the initial call: "Tariii...ra", began to hum more and more vehemently: "Vicente! Vicente! Following the music of the tango.
The owner of the place ended up getting angry and forbade the playing of that tango in his café".
Paulín and Maldonado Café
The first regular performance by Osvaldo Fresedo's group took place in the Café Paulín on Avenida San Martín, between the current Donato Álvarez and San Blas, in 1914.
The formation remained the same: Emilio Fresedo on violin, Osvaldo on bandoneon, except for the desertion of the guitarist Pedro Barreto, only his brother Martín continued.
They only played there on Saturdays and Sundays and the "strong number" of the group was still "El espiante", but their repertoire also included the tangos "Unión Cívica" and "El flete", as well as some Waldteufeld waltzes.
The pay was not too generous: two pesos per head.
Later, he formed a new trio with the pianist Antonio Basso and the violinist Enrique Modesto, with whom he performed for about a month at the Maldonado Café located in front of the stream of the same name in Palermo, and with the same cast he performed in the carnival dances of 1915 at the Municipal Theater of Pergamino.
At the end of this performance the group dispersed.
"El pibe de La Paternal"
In 1915 we find Fresedo integrating another Trío típico with "Manunguito" Aróztegui. The renowned Uruguayan pianist and composer, author of "El Apache Argentino", together with the violinist Paulino Fasciola, playing at the café "A.B.C." in Rivera -today Cordoba- and Canning -today Scalabrini Ortíz-.
It should be noted that Fasciola and Aróztegui had performed at the café "Capuchino" of Rivero and Godoy Cruz with the bandoneonist Manuel Firpo, bandoneon teacher of Fresedo, who used to go regularly to the aforementioned place.
Manuel Firpo recommended his young disciple to Aróztegui to incorporate Fresedo to his trio at the "A.B.C.". Later on, we found Fresedo playing at the "Tontolín" café in Villa Crespo, located in Triunvirato between Frías and Lavalleja. The Triunvirato street in that stretch was called Corrientes at that time. Maestro Fresedo referred to this period of his ascending career:
-"It's Maffia's fault," he said, smiling, "that they call me "El pibe de La Paternal". With Pedro we can say that we started almost together, he in Corrientes Street and I in Triunvirato which was the same street at that time.
Maffia played in Corrientes and Del Carril and about a block and a half away, I played in the Tontolín, with a trio that they knew as "el trío del pibe".
As Maffia was also called "El pibe", logically people when saying "I'm going to listen to the pibe" forced the question: "What pibe? So to differentiate us, they began to identify us by the neighborhood we belonged to. Maffia was "el pibe de Flores" and I was "El pibe de La Paternal".
In the course of the same year 15, "El pibe de La Paternal" went to work at the "Venturita" café in Corrientes and Serrano - then Triunvirato and Serrano - with a new trio:
- "There I had José Sassone as a pianist, the same one who was playing with Berto when they premiered the tango "La ronda". The cast was completed by the violinist Emiliano Costa, a discreet performer; but with many links in the environment".
After acquiring the necessary experience in its passage by the different coffees that have been indicated, Fresedo initiated nourished series of performances in the so-called academias de baile, that is to say halls of public dance, where the attendants practiced the dance with professional dancers, paying by danced piece. These places were also known as "Ollas populares", particularly the lower class ones, where people danced for a small fee of 10 cents per piece.
They were also known as academias, in the oldest sense of the word, dance academies run by well-known professional dancers who attracted customers and taught them how to dance. Fresedo performed in the full range of this genre of venues: "They didn't charge admission," Fresedo said, "you just had to go in and pay 10 cents a piece to dance with the dancers you hired. The owner's profit was in the fact that many pieces were played. I was very enthusiastic and played a lot of music. Fresedo performed in the full range of this genre of venues: "They didn't charge admission," Fresedo said, "you just had to go in and pay 10 cents a piece to dance with the dancers you hired. The owner's profit was in the fact that many pieces were played. I was very enthusiastic and played a lot.
Then the owner would come and yell at me: "Che pibe, shorten that tango that you are not in the theater". Among the different academies in which Fresedo worked we have registered the following:
In 1915, with his brother Emilio on violin and the guitar of the legendary "Negro" Ricardo, before his relationship with Carlos Gardel, he played in the Thames Street venue.
Around the same time he performed at the Gascon Academy between Cordoba and Paraguay, where the famous "Tarila" dancer to whom Fresedo dedicated the tango of the same name used to go. There, the infallible Emilio on violin and José Pracánico on piano accompanied Fresedo.
The same trio played at the Cuyo Academy (then Sarmiento at 1100, 1st floor) and at the Andes Academy, of José Evaristo Uriburu at 700. "José Pracánico was Francisco's brother and he did tango very well", remembers Fresedo.
-The atmosphere was rough. One night came Bianquet "El Cachafaz", who had another academy and began to shoot at the ceiling in the middle of the room so that the public would be scared and not come anymore. Such was the competition. When I got up, I saw on the wall, two meters from where I had been, a tremendous bullet hole".
In 1916 a trio formed by the Fresedo brothers and the pianist and remarkable intuitive composer José Martínez played at the Toscano Academy in Viamonte and Larrea; later the violinist Rafael Rinaldi joined in, thus structuring a quartet. That same year, through José Martínez, Fresedo was part of the orchestra that Francisco Canaro presented to liven up the Carnival dances at the Teatro Politeama in Rosario, replacing none other than Vicente Greco "Garrote".
- "I had the orchestra in a "dancing" where they danced at 10 cents a piece; it was the academy of Viamonte and Larrea (year 1916).
I took José Martínez as pianist, Rafael Rinaldi and my brother Emilio on violins and me on bandoneon.
Now, at the Olimpo Theater, there was an orchestra that belonged to Pedro Polito, the bandoneonist. Because before it was the bandoneons (sic) that had the orchestras. People went to listen to the bandoneons; it seemed that the others didn't interest them.
Polito had Francisco Canaro on violin and the author of "Mi noche triste", Samuel Castriota, on piano".
Let's say that the Olimpo was located in Puyrredón and it originally functioned as a theater, being later transformed into a dance academy where the famous dancer "El Cachafaz" was the teacher of the rante tango choreography.
- "The musicians from "Olimpo" would cross paths to listen to "Pibe de La Paternal" as they called me then, and that way we became friends with Castriota, Polito and "Pirincho". I knew "Pirincho" from before, when I went to a dance hall in Boulogne Sur Mer, where they did matinee dances on Sundays and Saturday nights.
When we finished working at this academy in Viamonte at 1 a.m., we met with the people from Olimpo in a café with billiards that was in Corrientes between Larrea and Ombú -I don't remember the current name- and we played billiards every night. Those who lost, whether those from "Olimpo" or those from "Viamonte", paid everything".
"Now, one night "Tito" Roccatagliata and Arolas came to the café and waited for me outside. -Look, kid," said Tito, "we came to see you because we are playing at the Montmartre, but we are going to leave because we have to inaugurate the new "Fritz" cabaret and we want to know if you can go to the Montmartre in our place. For us that was the glory, because we had played in academies, but never in cabarets. "Well, What's to be done?"
The one who talked the most was "Tito", Arolas was more of a listener.
They told me that in front of the Montmartre there was a Mr. Salas, who was the one I would have to talk to. It wasn't the same Salas of the "Marabú", this one was a big-headed man, with glasses.
"Well," I said to them, "I'm going to go over there".
"Ah, but one thing! Tito" clarified, "you'll have to go with only one violin, because there's a violinist there that will play with any orchestra, he always stays, because he has to accompany the tonadilleras and since he's Spanish he's the only one who understands them".
When we were walking with the people from "Olimpo" - "Pirincho" and Castriota, José Martínez, my brother and I, "El Gallego" Martínez -we called him that because he was married to a Galician woman- asked me: "Why don't we take "Pirincho" with us? Canaro, I think, had already written "El matasano", "El pollito" and since he was a well-known author, I liked him, but we were all friends. How would I face Polito if I stole his violinist? On the other hand, Rinaldi and my brother would be left out.
So, we thought of sending Rinaldi with Polito in exchange for Canaro, staying in the Olimpo, Pedro Polito, Rafael Rinaldi and Samuel Castriota.
The truth is that Polito came out winning, because Rinaldi was much more in tune than Canaro and played quite well. The one who had to sacrifice himself was Emilio who was second violin, being left out.
- "I went to see Mr. Salas and we arranged the conditions: six pesos each per night. Then I was able to get the "Negro" Thompson on the double bass and Julio Doutry on the violin.
The debut in this hall at 31 or 35 Corrientes Street, between Uruguay and Paraná, took place on July 1st, 1916. In front of it was the Félsina Café, where many musicians stopped.
- "Thomspon was very celebrated for the juggling he did with the double bass, making it dance; we were very well there; at the end of the day at 4 o'clock in the morning a big stew was served with the participation of Mr. Lombart, the musicians, "artist" waiters, everybody".
I was the one who had to get paid, but the boss always delayed me a little bit: "Look, kid, wait until tomorrow to get paid", then the same thing and I was always late...
Martinez never stayed for supper, because he had to meet his wife (?) and he kept repeating to me: "Look, why don't you cash in first and then eat?
"But how am I going to bother Mr. Salas, who is eating?, I excused myself, until one day he "bothered" me so much, that I said: "Look, let's do one thing: come and meet Mr. Salas and you take care of getting paid, so you get paid before you eat. One day, two days, five days, seven days went by, until one day Martinez went to get his money and I heard that he and Salas were fighting. To make matters worse, a friend who followed our orchestra came, a certain Galloso who was a rough guy, and he brought out a knife. These kind of people always came to the orchestras.
As a result, we were all thrown out and left on the streets... we only stayed for a month.
- "We always stopped in Paraná and Corrientes. Where we met Pascual Contursi, Samuel Castriota, "Pirincho" Canaro, Dominguito Salerno, the author of "Marianito" who was always with "Pirincho" because he lived in the same house, and "Gallego" Martinez...
I also moved to Puyrredón Street, between Corrientes and Lavalle.
One day we were talking on the street corner and we saw Roberto Firpo coming towards us with a boy who was a violinist in his orchestra, Cayetano Puglisi. They were coming from the Royal Pigall -which later would become the "Tabarís"- which was in Corrientes 825.
On the ground floor where the Royal Theatre is located, in its foyer, before the leather doors at the entrance to the hall, the tango section was danced; a wooden board and a piano were placed.
There was where Firpo played in the tango section, which costed a peso with vermouth and everything. At night he played in the altos, at the Pigall.
So, when we were at the meeting on the street corner that I mentioned, Firpo gave me a sign that he wanted to talk to me; then I turned aside and he said: "Look, kid, you're not working now, are you? Well, because I have to leave a bandoneon there in Royal Pigall, to play with the Mirabell Tzigana Orchestra. I would like that if you are determined, you go to see Mr. Lombart who is the owner and make arrangements with him; you have to play up there, because in the afternoon I will be the one who plays, but at night I start at the Armenonville".
That's how it was; when Firpo left, I gathered "Pirincho", Martínez, "Francesito" Doutry, Leopoldo Thompson and I told them: "Look, Firpo just came and asked me to go as a bandoneon player to the Royal Pigall, but I'm going to offer Lombart the orchestra".
Because the orchestra they had at the Montmartre was very successful, we all sang there and we were liked very much. What broke up the success and everything, was that fight.
We are going to go in the afternoon to the vermouth section -I told them-, we had a little coffee at the old "Marzzotto" and I am going to talk to Lombart, to propose him the orchestra. So it was, all the boys were waiting anxiously in the cafe for the result of the interview located in the little tables in front; it was just across Corrientes Street, which was narrow.
I confess I was quite nervous; imagine, I was a 19 year old kid and I was going to have an interview with a businessman who was a real tycoon, owner of the Teatro Esmeralda, the Parque Japonés, the Cine Empire, and the Casino Pigall".
The third "quette"
- "Having made up my mind, I went to his office and asked for Mr Lombart.
His secretary, Mr. Portalanza, who spoke a little bit of French, answered me: "Look, I spoke to Mr. Firpo," I said, " because before they didn't called someone a Maestro or anything else; that was an invention of the radio.
Then I introduced myself to Lombart, a very serious man, who made me even more nervous.
"Well," he said, "you'd have to play eight pieces all night..." My answer was: "Look, Monsieur Lombart, I came to propose something else: you must have heard of the Cabaret Montmartre orchestra, there are five of us and possibly you would be interested in having a good orchestra here, because we all sing.
Of course, in those days there were no singers, those who sang were the same musicians, in chorus. We sang lyrics like the one that said "Mina que te manyo de hace rato". Do you remember? And maestro Fresedo sings a part of the tango "Flor de fango" in a quiet voice.
"Well", said Lombart, "how much is that orchestra?
I did the calculation; if in the Montmartre we earned 6 pesos each, per night, here we could ask for 10 pesos, since it was the best cabaret at that time. There you wouldn't drink whisky, you had to drink a bottle of champagne, which was French, "Pomminer", which costed 25 pesos. So I took courage and asked him for 50 pesos a night for the whole orchestra. "No, 50 pesos is an outrage, you are crazy!" He answered and seeing that there was nothing to do, I said: "Well, Monsieur Lombart, make me an offer, I have the boys waiting at the Marzzotto.
Well,' emphasized Lombart, 'I'll give you five pesos each and the third quette.
"And what is the third quette?" I asked curiously.
Look," explained the businessman, "at one o'clock in the morning, while singing the "Gorda" Margarita, one of his companions passes the first "quette". At two o'clock "la Chulapona" performs and the second "quette" is passed and at 3 o'clock, when "La Gigollete" comes out, the third "quette" is performed, which is for the orchestra. The "quette" consists of passing around the tables a plate with a folded napkin where the audience places their money, which we call "la manga".
"But do you think we could reach 50 pesos a night?"
"And much more, you'll reach 70 psos," Lombart assured me.
I told him to let me consult with the boys and that I would have my answer right away and I went to the "Marzzotto", where the boys were waiting for the results of my negotiations:
"So?" was the general question.
Well, look, we couldn't even get the 6 pesos from the Montmartre. He stood at 5 pesos and the third "quette".
And what is the third "quette", they questioned me in chorus.
¡La manga! -I explained, plain and simple.
But we don't pass it on, one of the "artists" takes care of it, usually chosen among the most beautiful or the most charming.
And will we get to 50 pesos?
Lombart assured me that we would exceed that amount.
"So, its a deal?, and we sealed the deal!"
The orchestra had no name; at that time it was not customary to put the names of the orchestras in the cabarets, even less so in the Royal Pigall. In the cafés, yes, it was common. I worked with the orchestra as if it belonged to everyone. At that time the orchestras were [directed and name after the] bandoneons, with one exception: Roberto Firpo, who was playing in La Boca across from where Arolas was playing".
This Royal Pigall ensemble was thus formed:
Bandoneon: Osvaldo Fresedo
Violins: Francisco Canaro and Julio Doutry
Piano: José Martínez
Double Bass: Ruperto Leopoldo Thompson
They made their debut on December 1st, 1916.
"We debuted with great success: we played in the afternoon, in the tango section from 18 to 20hs and at night we started at 12 or 12:30, depending on the time the theater ended, where "Panchito" Aranaz, playwright and composer, was.
The orchestra played on a not very high platform and the piano on it.
When people were dancing and we were sitting, we were at the height of the dancers' heads.
On the night of the debut, the "quette" gave them a pleasant surprise: they raised 200 pesos for this concept, far exceeding expectations.
The waiters at the Royal were all burly, they looked like fighters.
It was the time of the First World War and sometimes there were French, Germans, English and they armed each other, otherwise the waiters would not have been able to control the situation.
Everything was going very well at first, but then there was a little bit of jealousy on the part of "Pirincho". He had composed "El chamuyo" and other compositions and began to acquire fame. I had composed "El espiante".
As I was the only bandoneon player, people who danced asked me: "Che, pibe, play that tango of yours", until one day we had an argument with "Pirincho", because he said he had asked for a tango of his".
- "One night "Tito" Roccatagliata came looking for me, because Juan Carlos Cobián had arrived. "Pibe, why don't you come home to eat? I have a piano and Cobián is coming. Bring your bandoneon and we'll make some music.
Come on, I'll introduce you to my wife and my mother."
He also had a brother who later died.
I went to his house; he lived by the Hospital de Clínicas, I don't remember the street exactly, but it was one of those that crossed Azcuénaga or Ombú (Pasteur).
There I met Cobián; there was indeed a piano and we began to play.
It was heavenly, the way they played, wonderful!"
During the 1917 carnival, Osvaldo Fresedo was a member of the giant "Firpo-Canaro" orchestra, which performed the Carnival dances at the Teatro Colón in Rosario.
Integration of the "Firpo-Canaro" orchestra 1917
Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo, Pedro Polito, Juan Bautista Deambroggio "Bachicha" and with many doubts Eduardo Arolas (although his photo appears in a poster published by F. Canaro in his memoirs).
Violins: Francisco Canaro, Tito Roccatagliata, Agesilao Ferrazzano, Julio Doutry and A. Scotti.
Clarinet: Juan Carlos Bazán.
Flute: Alejandro Michetti
Double Bass: Ruperto Leopoldo Thompson
"El espiante" and the trio "Fresedo-Tito-Cobian"
- "Things at the Royal Pigall, as far as relations with "Pirincho" are concerned, have got worse. We had another argument, so I closed the bandoneon, sheathed it and left. I didn't come back for the night section.
so "Pirincho" sent someone to look for his brother, "El Macaco".
That's what they called Juan Canaro, who took my place (there the band began to be called "Orquesta Francisco Canaro").
This would have been in the fall of 1917.
I had the misfortune (or luck) that "Tito" Roccatagliata invited me to his house, along with Cobián: "Why don't you bring the bandoneon?, you have to enter at 12 o'clock, anyways", he told me.
We formed a trio and I forgot about the "Royal Pigall" and everything.
I went with them and two weeks later I was playing at the cabaret "L'Abbaye", which was next to the bakery "El Cañón" in Esmeralda, between Lavalle and Tucumán.
There I started playing with "Tito", Cobián and a German, Fritz, a cellist who had played with Arolas.
Tito was a great guy; when I stopped playing with Canaro, I lived in his house for a while. This happened because until then I had lived in the same "apartment" house as Canaro and I didn't want to see him.
Later Fresedo, Cobián and Roccatagliata would have rented an apartment at Suipacha 323 to rehearse more comfortably.
"After finishing at L'Abbaye, the summer after Firpo left, we went to the old Armenonville, in front of the Automóvil Club Argentino, in the summer of 1917-1918. We played in a very dynamic way that pleased the audience very much".
The "Fresedo-Tito-Cobián" line-up would have produced some phonographic versions for the "Telephone" label, in the period 1917-1918, true rarities.
"Unfortunately, Tito and Cobian drank too much and when we finished at the Armenonville we couldn't find a location."
"A dos bandoneones Loduca-Fresedo"
- "When I was at the Royal Pigall, the Victor company sent a technician with , let's say "portable" recording equipment, to tour all the countries of Latin America recording the characteristic music of each of them. When he arrived in Argentina, the first person he contacted was Vicente Loduca, because he had already been in North America performing with pianist Celestino Ferrer.
They knew him because they had recorded some albums there to be released in our country. As a result, when the technician came, he began to look for Ferrer and Loduca. Ferrer had stayed in France and as a result, he found Loduca and they arranged for him to make a series of records.
Loduca then arrived at the Royal Pigall; he didn't know me personally, but he knew "Pirincho". He saw him and said: "Look, I have an issue: people from the Victor came to me to record some discs. Could I make them with all of you?" Our answer was affirmative.
Since this man from Victor knew nothing, Loduca gave him what he wanted.
In short, we went with the entire Royal orchestra plus the inclusion of Vicente Loduca in it. It was the first time that two bandoneons were played on a record.
The record label specified: "A dos bandoneones Loduca-Fresedo".
In these recordings the musicians were:
Bandoneons: Vicente Loduca and Osvaldo Fresedo.
Violins: Francisco Canaro and Julio Doutry.
Piano: José Martínez.
Double bass: Leopoldo Thompson
We asked the Maestro Fresedo if in this ensemble the bandoneons had two voices:
-"Look, we did whatever came to our minds, because Loduca wanted to earn a few pesos."
Seven discs were recorded in 1917, in which it is announced that they were made with two bandoneons, but there are three more discs from the same year that could also be made with two bandoneons:
In the present discography by Vicente Loduca -already published when we refer to the career of this bandoneonist in volume I of this series- we wanted to fix the omission of record number 65905 and the consequent alteration of the correlative numbers in the following records.
As we see in it, from the phonogram 69717 of the year 1917 the statement "Two bandoneons Loduca-Fresedo" appears; as our dear and wise researcher Horacio Loriente -thanks to whom we offer this discography- points out, it is possible that the other ones of 1917 are as well, which matches with what Fresedo expressed, who assured that he started recording with Loduca in 1917.
"Casino Pigall" with a Tzigane orchestra
-Then came the matter of the opening of the Pigall Casino, which was also owned by Lombart, and he sent someone to look for me for the opening, which was to take place on May 24, 1918. He made me the offer then.
"Very well, but with the orchestra?," I asked him.
"No, bandoneon solo," was the reply.
"But, with bandoneon only, what am I going to do?"
What Lombart wanted was to integrate me as the only bandoneon in Mirabell's Tzigana orchestra, which was the house's exclusive ensemble.
I would intervene only when tangos were performed.
In Mirabell's orchestra there was Mr. Leo, on violin; Mr. Jean Koller, also violin, of Swiss-French origin, who curiously later became the violin of my orchestra; on piano there was a Mr. Berezartúa, " El vasco ", and on double bass Hugo Baralis (senior). On Baralis' behalf I liked him, because he had tango rhythm.
I couldn't get the other orchestra in, so I had to settle for the musicians there, who were good, but not for tango.
I answered that I was going to go, but the truth is that I did not want to work like that. I wanted to see if I could play something with Cobián and Tito.
So, I asked Lombart for a high amount so he would tell me no.
I asked him for twenty pesos a night for myself and to my surprise... he said yes!
We started rehearsing with Baralis, with Berezartúa... things were going quite well, but there came a moment when I couldn't take it anymore.
In '19, I faced Lombart with firmness saying: "I'm very sorry Monsieur Lombart, but I cannot continue here; the only way would be with a good tango pianist and a violin, to make an orchestra. I can't keep going like this."
First "Fresedo Orchestra" at Casino Pigall
When Lombart agreed to Fresedo's request, he turned his attention to finding the elements to make up the line-up.
- "In the cafe "El Parque" in Lavalle and Talcahuano, in cross with the courts there was a very good tango pianist. I don't remember who I went with, and after hearing him play, I called for him via the waiter. With them was bandoneonist Pedro Maffia.
I asked the pianist if he wanted to play with me; they already knew me.
Well, I would go," he answered, "but I happen to be with a boy who plays the violin who brought me here, so I can't leave him. Wouldn't you take him along?
So I asked him to play the violin, to listen him. He played some tangos and I told him yes, he could bring him along.
The pianist was Jose Maria Rizzuti and the violinist boy, Julio De Caro.
That's how we played at the Casino Pigall, with Jean Koller and Hugo Baralis (sr)" staying with us.
Integration of the Osvaldo Fresedo Orchestra in Casino Pigall, 340 Maipú Street, between Sarmiento and Corrientes, during the years of the Casino Theatre, year 1919:
Bandoneon and director: Osvaldo Fresedo.
Violins: Julio De Caro and Jean Koller
Piano: José María Rizzuti.
Double bass: Hugo Baralis (sr)
That same year Fresedo's band was the entertainer of the 6th dance of the internship, where he had the opportunity to present his tango " El sexto baile del internado ", composed expressly for such celebration, held at the "Pabellón de las Rosas" of Avenida Alvear and Tagle, on September 21st of the mentioned year. On the occasion, his ensemble was reinforced:
Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo, Ricardo Luis Brignolo, Luis Minervini, Roque Biaforte and Luis D'Abraccio.
Violins: Rafael Rinaldi, Julio Doutry, Jean Koller, Julio De Caro, Bernardo Germino, Emilio Ferrer and Arturo Arbruzese.
Pianos: José María Rizzuti, Enrique Delfino and José Martínez.
Double-basses: Hugo Baralis (p) and Olindo Sinibaldi. (Information from Dr. Luis Adolfo Sierra, to the author).
Orquesta Típica Select and its first trip to North America
- "A few months after working with my orchestra at the Pigall Casino, I was called by RCA Victor and met with Mr. Laiter and Mr. Leon, who were it representatives. They informed me that they were choosing the best musicians in the country to be sent to North America to record albums, and asked me if I would be willing to travel, to which I answered affirmatively.
Then they asked me if I would like this pianist to play with me, Enrique Delfino. I answered yes and they asked for my opinion about the possibility of the violinist being Tito Roccatagliata. "Of course!" -I said, "Besides, he's my friend".
That's how the base of the group that would travel to the United States to record the first 25 discs registered in Camden, New Jersey to be edited in Argentina by Cas Pratt at 643 Sarmiento Street, their representative in the country, was formed.
The three chosen musicians set sail from Buenos Aires on the steamer "Marta Washington" around the mid-20'. Enrique Delfino informs us of some of the details of the voyage:
"If today it is still an adventure to play tangos in the United States -Delfy declared this in 1961- imagine how much it was for those days in 1920. To top it all off, we had a very hard navigation on board the "Marta Washington", and poor Roccatagliata was attacked by "the sickness of the sea", which kept him practically lying down during the whole voyage. I remember how obsessed with the shipwreck, he used to tell me: "Sure, for you there is no problem, you have the last name of a fish". Besides, to evade the quarantine imposed by the immigration law, they entered the country clandestinely in the permanent anxiety of being caught by the authorities and everyone who passed by looked like a policeman. Maestro Fresedo recalled.
-When we arrived in New York, Tito, Delfino, and I wandered the streets, getting to know Broadway. Delfy, always in a good mood, would go ahead and chat in English, so that they would think we were Americans. How can they think we are Americans?, look at the wide pants we have, and they wear the thin pants".
Then the three of us went to eat at an automatic restaurant on Broadway, on 7th Avenue.
The second violin
-We were sitting at a table, when suddenly a guy appeared and exclaimed: "Hi Pibe!", and he took me by the shoulders; I didn't even know him and to hear him speak in Spanish, especially in New York, was very strange, "But, don't you remember? -he insisted- I was going to dance at every matinee at the Casino Pigall?".
I just recognized him; he was accompanied by another guy. "I'll introduce you to a friend: Roberto Medrano. What are you doing here?"
-We came to record some discs, for Víctor, so we have to travel to Philadelphia, but we've been in New York for a week waiting for a recording date".
- "So you're here to record, gosh! Couldn't you take me with you?", this guy whose name was Alberto Infantas Arancibia, and who played the violin a little bit said.
He had arrived on the steamer "Bahía Blanca" and had deserted: they were both on the road. Medrano had the idea to put an academy there, to teach tango in New York. I said to him: "But you think you are going to make a living here, because nobody knows anything about tango or anything else"; and he replied confidently: "Yes, we are going to do it".
With them was group of Argentines who were later presented to us: "The truth? I didn't like it at all..."
"The tango" and "the thong"
- "What are these guys doing here?" -I asked them
- "They travel to Europe... to look for... the dead," Infantas informed me.
- "To look for the dead?," I exclaimed in awe.
"The tango" and "the tanga"
- "What are these guys doing here?" -I asked them
- "They travel to Europe... to look for... the dead," Infantas informed me.
- "To look for the death?" I exclaimed in amazement.
-"Yes, the soldiers who died in the war, you know, they bring them here and bury them; it's an "odd job", you understand?
-We invited them both to lunch and during the meal, in passing, Infantas reiterated the request to come with us.
-Well, look, you can come, but Medrano can't. After dinner I asked them, "Where are you going now?" "To sleep at any train station," they replied.
There the stations are very wide and blacks and whites can sleep, without anyone bothering them. But we sympathized with them and offered them to come and sleep at the pension where we were. They slept under our beds so that they would not be discovered.
After 9 years, when I was in the fabulous Les Ambassadeur in France, which presented the most successful American magazines, in one of them, as the maximum attraction, the international dance couple "Medrano and Donna" showed up. The same Medrano who had slept under our beds!
The definitive integration of the band
When we started rehearsing, we made Infantas Arancibia play. He played a little, but he was the second violin.
Alberto Infantas Arancibia, later, in 1934, was the conductor of the cabaret orchestra "El chico", one of the most prestigious in the Spanish-speaking New York environment. He also played two very short roles as an actor in two films starring Gardel: "El tango en Broadway" and "El día que me quieras".
Once in Camden, he was joined by the cellist, presumably Herman Meyer, of German descent. Unfortunately, Maestro Fresedo did not remember his name, to confirm or rectify it.
In short, their formation would be as follows:
Bandoneon: Osvaldo Fresedo
Piano: Enrique Delfino
Violins: David "Tito" Roccatagliata and Alberto Infantas Arancibia
Cello: Herman Meyer.
- "There were five of us: piano, bandoneon, two violins and cello; the double bass couldn't be played because it was too low and the recording team wouldn't take it.
There were no microphones yet and it was recorded with horns.
One day, we were recording "Milonguita" and in a studio next to ours, maestro Paul Witheman was recording with his orchestra the fox-trot "Murmurando".
Due to its importance in the instrumental evolution of tango, we give the discography of the ensemble.
As a result of having attended one of the recording sessions with some desertion in his staff, it was decided that Delfino and Fresedo would record two pieces each as soloists.
Osvaldo Fresedo recorded two versions in bandoneon solo:
The discography of the Tipica Select published in the magazine Estudios de Tango N°9 of May-July 1972, has been reproduced in this work, because it is not usually included in the general discography of Osvaldo Fresedo, being the work of this small group of notables, of an enormous transcendence as a sample of the best instrumental tango of its time, reason why it cannot be ignored.
These plaques, registered in Camden, were released in our market in successive batches, which were received with great acceptance, both for the interpretative modality of the orchestra, as well as for the valuable titles poured into their carefully chosen repertoire.
Once these recordings were finished, they returned to New York where they left Infantas and Medrano, making some incursions into night clubs.
- "From there we wanted to go to France, an idea we were very enthusiastic about; we had 90 dollars each and the ticket to that country cost 50 dollars, while returning to Argentina cost us 150 dollars each...".
By the way, let's say that for their recording task each musician had received $5000!
- "We met then with the attaché of the Argentine Embassy in New York, Conrado del Carril, of whom I was a friend; he invited us to a party at his residence, and when he learned of our situation he advised us to return to Buenos Aires: "I am going to give you an extra so all of you can return".
Going to France was an adventure, we had to "Get the rabbit", besides "Tito" wanted to see his wife, so finally we decided to return".
They arrived at this capital in December 1920.
Al que se va del Casino, se lo ocupa su vecino
When Fresedo left the Casino to travel to New York, his orchestra was called "Orquesta Fresedo", conducted by bandoneonist Pedro Polito, and underwent some changes:
Bandoneons: Pedro Polito and Miguel Orlando
Violins: Julio De Caro and Manlio Francia
Piano: José María Rizzuti
Double bass: Hugo Baralis (sr)
On his return, when he told his musicians that he would not continue as a conductor, the orchestra was disbanded.
Then, he played at the carnival dances of 1921 at the "Opera" theatre as a member of a large orchestra presented by Francisco Canaro, where he presented his tango "¡Sufra!" and Fresedo the tango "Cielito mío", the first part of which belongs to a popular Mexican motif called "Cielito lindo", as the same composer explains.
The “Cuarteto de maestros”
Later on, he decided to continue his performance with Tito Roccatagliata and Enrique Delfino, to whom another remarkable violinist of his time was added: Agesilao Ferrazzano, thus becoming part of the "Cuarteto de maestros" that successfully performed in important movie theaters -Capitol, Empire-, aristocratic dances in private homes, performances in Montevideo and auditions by Radio Cultura.
When the Casino Pigall reopened, when its musicians were dismissed, only the bandoneonists Pedro Polito, now leading the orchestra, and Miguel Orlando were left in the cast.
Late in the year 21, in the midst of the success of the "Cuarteto de maestros", disagreements arose between Delfino and Fresedo, leading to the pianist's departure.
Fresedo continued with Tito Roccatagliata and Agesilao Ferrazzano, while Delfino's place was taken by Juan Carlos Cobián, our interviwee took the direction.
On his part, Delfino, who was the holder of the contracts in Montevideo, formed another "Cuarteto de maestros" in 1922, with the bandoneonist Roque Biaforte and the violinists Julio De Caro and Manlio Francia, with whom he performed at the Teatro Artigas in Montevideo.
At the end of the '21, violinist Ferrazzano left the "Cuarteto de maestros" leaded by Fresedo, continuing his performance in Buenos Aires' bacchanat dances, with the trio completed by Cobián in piano and Tito in violin.
New own orchestra
At that time, Fresedo was proposed to go to Mar del Plata, with his own band (Summer 1921-1922):
- "I made my debut at the "Ocean Club" in 1922, when the "Ocean" had a little place on the Rambla. I played there in the afternoon and at dusk and then at 10:30pm I performed at the "Club Mar del Plata", which was presided over by Colonel Irrigaray. From there, we would go out with Cobián, Tito Roccatagliata and Roberto Zerrillo and we would go to Juancito's bar in Rivadavia Street, or to a Munich in San Martín, where they played " El Sapo".
At the "Ocean Club" he premiered his tango "Siete pelos" during the carnival dances in the summer season in Mar del Plata, a work dedicated to Federico de Alvear, and "Sollozos". A few weeks later, Fresedo and Zerrillo became estranged, and the violinist left their ranks, a fact that allowed Manlio Francia to rejoin, who was performing there with his father's Tzigane orchestra. Luis Minervini has been pointed out as Fresedo's second bandoneon in that performance. The Mar del Plata Club was located in Luro and Buenos Aires streets.
"Abdullah Club" and "Víctor" records
Back in Buenos Aires, Fresedo formed a sextet that was hired to perform at the Abdullah Club, located in the basement of the Güemes Gallery on Florida Street, where the studios of Radio Libertad were later located. One of the violins of the band, the author of "Tango Azul", the greatest second violin in the history of tango, Maestro Manlio Francia, reminded us of this in an interview granted to the author in 1969:
-The Abdullah, when I made my debut with Fresedo, was the best thing in Buenos Aires as a cabaret; it was in a basement of the Güemes Gallery, which on one side was the Florida Theatre and on the other a luxurious cabaret.
Its manager was Mr. Mario Borgioli, a very nice man, with a lot of entrepreneurial foresight. The most select of the Buenos Aires society attended the event: the Luro, the Dugan, the Lanusse, the "crazy" Martinez, whose name I do not know the reason for, because he was a very serious man, of whom I remember that he used to attend almost always wearing gloves.
The level of the crowd did not prevent the fact that almost every night a brawl took place; in one of them he remembers that Mr. Martinez got up to calm the situation and a man called Albarracín believed that Martinez was going to attack him and by drawing a revolver he wounded with a shot.
Do you know how much I earned with Fresedo? 750 pesos. ¡A tremendous ammount at that time!
Would you like to tell me what I did with all that?"
Integration of the Fresedo ensemble in 1922:
Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo and Alberto Rodríguez
Violins: Tito Roccatagliata, Manlio Francia, alternating with Agesilao Ferrazzano, the three violinists even appear in photographs of the time together.
Piano: Juan Carlos Cobián, then José María Rizzuti.
Double bass: Ruperto Leopoldo Thompson
Saxophone: the Spaniard Francisco Ortega, who intervened in the interpretations not belonging to the tango genre and also doubled the notes of the double bass in the tangos.
Fresedo solo singer
As we have mentioned, since the time of the performances at the Royal, Fresedo and his boys were in the habit of performing some compositions singing the refrains in chorus, since it was not yet the custom for the orchestras to have "specialized" singers.
This atmosphere of healthy camaraderie between conductor and musicians was broken one night by some guild problems of the orchestra members, without Fresedo knowing anything about it. They complained about the number of work hours and the stipulated salaries. The atmosphere was quite charged.
They decided to stick to their musical work and not intervene in the choir. The repertoire began precisely with "Cielito lindo", a tango that was the showpiece of the ensemble and that people always asked for their catchy lyrics to be chanted. So when the sung part arrived, they made a total silence and Fresedo suddenly found himself singing alone.
The audience thought it was an attempt by the Maestro to show off his vocal skills and celebrated the supposed performance with a standing ovation.
Embarrassed and red with anger, he ended up conducting with his usual grandeur and stood up like a marquis; but those who were near heard him utter a few thick epithets, several unintelligible ones, and he calmly left the premises.
The following day, the rehearsal took place in the afternoon with all different personnel, new costumes and a heavenly choir ("El País") from Montevideo, June 24, 1945).
Fresedo in Victor
In 1922 he began his recordings on the Victor label, on 78 rpm 25cms records printed using the acoustic system.
The first recorded plate presents the tangos "Siete pelos" by the director and on the opposite side the tango by Cobián "Snobismo", a work for which Fresedo felt a special predilection (record Nº73367). The inaugural stage in Victor runs from 1922 to 1925.
This first period on the label served Fresedo to show the extraordinary composing skills of the members of his sextet who were hierarchizing their repertoire. From the director himself they recorded: "Siete pelos", "Aromas", "En las nubes", "Penando", "Sollozos", "Ídolos", "La ratona", "Lina", "Reminiscencias", "Muchachita de Montmartre", etc.
His violinist Manlio Francia contributed with a work not very prolific but of quality, with the titles "Fuego lento" and "Ramas de sauce" and Tito with "Elegante papirusa".
From his first pianist, Juan Carlos Cobián, he captured on the groove "Snobismo", "Mi refugio", "Biscuit", "Mario", "Los dopados" (later "Los mareados") and "L'adivina".
At the end of November 22nd, the pianist Cobián, the violinist Roccatagliata and the bassist Thompson left the Fresedo Orchestra:
Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo and Alberto Rodríguez
Violins: Agesilao Ferrazzano and Manlio France
Piano: "El bacancito" José María Rizzuti
Double bass: Hugo Baralis (sr)
The pianist Rizzuti contributed with several compositions of successful accomplishment, which enriched the discography of the ensemble: "Reflejos", "La pesadilla", "Ta te ti", "Cenizas", "Gemidos", "El cisne", "Hollín".
In the recordings, the violinist Jean Koller is added as a reinforcement of the string.
In 1923 he returned for the summer season in Mar del Plata, with this line-up:
Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo and Alberto Rodriguez
Violins: Manlio Francia and Jean Koller
Piano: José María Rizzuti
Bass: Carmelo Mutarelli, the author of " Mano cruel".
Fresedo shared his passion for music with the aviation sport. It would not be strange, then, that in 1923 he obtained his pilot's license, which he bore under the No. 231, from Eduardo Olivero himself, one of the pioneers of this activity in the country, who was also his instructor. In return, Olivero, a bandoneon enthusiast, received lessons from Fresedo. Months later, the musician was the winner of an aeronautical competition held at the La Plata circuit, in which national and foreign pilots took part. He drove a Curtiss JN-4 machine of 90 horse-power. registering a time of 62' 45", earning himself a check for two thousand pesos.
"We flew doing advertising for a soft drink called "Pomona", having its name written under the wings".
In the book "La victoria de las alas" by Brigadier Angel Maria Zuloaga, referring to those men who contributed to the evolution of national civil aviation, he includes Osvaldo Fresedo, considering him one of the most outstanding pilots of those difficult beginnings. Within his work as a composer, Fresedo has perpetrated that love and admiration for aviation, in two tangos.
One of them is entitled "La ratona" and about it the master manifests:
-"To the airfield where Olivero, Duggan, Uriburu, Newbery flew, came Ernesto Uder with a small machine, a small plane of 3 or 4 meters named "La ratona".
With that little machine Olivero beat an altitude record and could still have surpassed it, if it had not been for the great cold felt at the altitude of two or three thousand meters, which forced him to descend, since these aircrafts lacked heating.
On that occasion and as a tribute to Olivero's temerity, I composed the tango that I called "La ratona".
In the second title, Fresedo, subjugated and moved by the grandiosity of the celestial space, wanted to eternalize those feelings in a tango that he called "Desde las nubes", a work that was premiered in 1923 in the "Tercer Baile de los Aviadores", celebrated in the "Opera" theatre.
Later, Fresedo channeled his skill as a pilot to a practical end, serving as a reporter for the local newspaper "La Razón" bringing news and photographic material from Uruguay on board a fragile plane. He also did this task for "La Nación". The Fresedo brothers, Emilio and Osvaldo, would have devised the following procedure: the journalistic and graphic news were introduced in a pneumatic cylinder that when arriving at the Plaza Colón, behind the Government House, was thrown with such exactitude that it fell on one of the grass beds, where Emilio who belonged to the body of journalist of the mentioned newspaper, picked it up and drove it to his editorial office that was at 700 Avenida de Mayo.
"Abdullah Club" and radio
In 1923 he started his work at L.O.X. Radio Cultura -later LR10- accompanying the singers Ada Falcón and Azucena Maizani, and then L.O.V. Radio Brusa for $50 per audition...
In 1924 he returned to the "Abdullah Club" of the Güemes Gallery; there, in view of the success he was obtaining with his orchestra, the directors of L.O.R. Sociedad Radio Argentina, had the initiative to make radio transmissions from the mentioned night club.
During this stage of his career, they formed his orchestra:
Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo, Alberto Rodriguez and Pastor Trivelli
Violins: Manlio Francia, Adolfo Muzzi and Jean Koller
Piano: José María Rizzuti.
Double bass: Carmelo Mutarelli, alternating with Humberto Costanzo.
Drums: Raúl Fresedo.
"The 11th Internship Dance"
On September 21st of that year '24, Fresedo's orchestra was summoned to play at the eleventh dance of the Internship -which was the last one- and it took place at the Victoria Theatre, where the quoted director presented his tango "El once", whose subtitle was "A divertirse". Fresedo reminded us of that event:
- "I was performing at Florida Dancing -which until recently had been called "Abdullah"- I had been hired for the 11th Internship Dance and it had been agreed that I should compose a tango alluding to that celebration.
With all the other things I had, I completely forgot what had been agreed and with seven days to go, I had not even began the tango.
So, we were playing in the cabaret and I said to the boys of the orchestra: "You are going to accompany me in A Major, and I will start and you follow me and I will tell you the tone. And so the tango "El once" came out, like an improvisation, with the accompaniment of the orchestra.
Then I wrote it, I published it and it could be out on time in four or five days.
The printing house, which was in Bartolomé Mitre and Riobamba, had it ready in two days.
Emilio's lyrics were added later".
In 1924, Prince Humberto of Savoy arrived in the country, before whom Osvaldo Fresedo performed with his orchestra in August. After hearing his congratulations, the Maestro Fresedo thanked him humbly: "Your Majesty, thank you. We do what we can".
Let's say that from 1923 to 1927 Fresedo was the pampered child in dances, festivals and receptions in the homes of the Buenos Aires aristocracy, including those of Ortíz Basualdo, Santamarina Uribelarrea, Alvear, Olazábal, Unzué, Pearson and others.
In 1925 he performed with his orchestra at the Errazuris Palace before Edward of Windsor, Prince of Wales.
That same year '25 recorded the last album of his first period in Victor, with the tangos "Aladino" by Hermes Rómulo Peressini and "Viejo rincón", by Cayol y de los Hoyos, plaque No. 79593.
During that stay in this label the Maestro Fresedo had the chance to accompany the singer Ada Falcón in two acoustic recordings also from the year 25, with the tangos "Oro y seda" by O. Fresedo and A. Canale, "Pobre chica" by O. y E. Fresedo on the first one and "Casquivana" by Ferreri and F. Martinelli Massa together with "Risas de cabaret" by J. M. Rizzuti on the second one, records No. 79592 and No. 79622 respectively, recorded on July 15th and December 14th 1925.
Still in 1925, Maestro Fresedo joined the cast of Odeón artists, inaugurating the series as director with the tangos "Entrá nomás", by Juan Rezzano and Francisco Bastardi and of his own "Perdón viejita", with lyrics by J. A. Saldías, plaque Nº5001, with its corresponding matrixes 3299 and 3302.
Accompanying Gardel in Odeon
Also in 1925 he had the compliment of accompanying with his orchestra the Maximum Singer in a disc 78 rpm of 25cms made with the acoustic system that took the Nº18201, with the tangos "Fea" of H. Petorossi and Alfredo Navarrine, in the side A (matrix 3288) and in the back "Perdón viejita" of O. Fresedo and José Antonio Saldías (matrix 3289/1), work made in Buenos Aires.
The probable integration of Fresedo's orchestra for such a transcendent chapter of his artistic career, is the following:
Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo and Alberto Rodríguez
Violins: Adolfo Muzzi and Jean Koller
Piano: José María Rizzuti
Double Bass: Humberto Costanzo
The opinion of the Maestro Fresedo with reference to his work with Gardel, was the following:
"I would have liked to do something else with the accompaniment, but Carlitos was used to to sing with the guitars and with the sung tangos he sped up a lot. I wanted to restrain him a little bit and I could only play the rhythm. At that time you couldn't accompany in any other way".
When, in 1925, due to disagreements over the renewal of the contract with Victor, Fresedo went on to revue the cast of Odeón, the record company mentioned in his first term created the "Orquesta Típica Victor" -to fill the gap and compete with Firpo's success on the rival label-.
This time the Victor company was very careful that the name of the director did not transcend so that their claims to remuneration would not grow at the same rate as its popularity.
As a consequence of its creation, the violinist Manlio Francia also left the label and joined the various Victor ensembles with different names, but similar integration.
The position of Manlio Francia in the ranks of Fresedo was filled by the "tano" Adolfo Muzzi.
Fresedo's orchestra on a theatrical stage
In the course of this year 1925 of so much activity for the Maestro Fresedo, his orchestra appeared on stage at the National Theatre, of the businessman Pascual Carcavallo, during the theatrical representation of the sainete of José Antonio Saldías entitled "La muchacha de Montmartre", in which he presented his tango "Muchachita de Montmartre" with lyrics by the same Saldías.
In 1926, he returned to his classic presentations in the refined clubs of Mar del Plata during the summer season, and then he performed the Carnival dances of that year at the San Martín theatre in Esmeralda street, where the audience got to know his tango "Pinturita".
Fresedo and his "chain" of Orquestas Típicas
- "By the year 26 I was playing in what had been the "Abdullah Club" and when Lombart took it over it was called "Florida Dancing".
Lombart immediately called me to play there with my orchestra. The manager of this place was Mr. Eduardo Calvo, who became a close friend of mine. So close, in fact, that he decided to create a piece with me.
One day he gave me the lyrics and I, as if to get rid of him, made the music; it was the tango "Arrabalero", which in the end turned out to be famous.
As I had so much friendship with this man, he allowed me to send him a change in the "soirée" section from 8:30 pm to midnight.
Besides, Calvo wanted to do business together; he proposed me to buy a cinema and finally ended up getting me a bar, which we called "Bar Fresedo", which was in front of the "Politeama" theatre.
Consequently, I made a parallel orchestra to play there, with Miguel Caló and me on bandoneons, José María Rizzuti on piano and Adolfo Muzzi on violin.
The actual orchestra was at Florida Dancing"
"Ta-Ba-Rís", "Casino Pigall", "Bar Fresedo", "Cine Fénix", de Flores
During the year 27, Fresedo again displayed an intense artistic activity in accordance with the prestige achieved as a conductor and composer.
The orchestra that could be called the titular one performed at that time in the cabaret "Ta-Ba-Rís", the former "Royal Pigall", which also knew about the success of Maestro Fresedo.
From the well-known nightclub, located in Sarmiento at 800, the performances of the author of "Sollozos" were transmitted directly by LR9 Radio Fénix.
The formation of the orchestra in these auditions, was the following:
Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo and Alberto Rodriguez
Violins: Adolfo Muzzi and Jean Koller
Piano: José María Rizzuti
Double Bass: Humberto Costanzo
At the same time, another orchestra with his name, whose manager was the pianist Nicolás Vaccaro, was playing at the "Casino Pigall" in Maipú between Corrientes and Sarmiento, with these elements:
Bandoneons: Francisco and José Della Rocca and Pascual Storti
Violins: Ateo D'Apiaggi and José Lorito -sometimes Samy Friedenthal-.
Piano: Nicolás Vaccaro
Double bass: Angel Corletto -alternating sometimes Hugo Baralis (sr)-.
- "In this detachment of the Fresedo orchestra, there was this boy Pascual Storti, who I brought from Córdoba", remembers Master Vaccaro in the interview he gave to the author in 1967.
And Maestro Fresedo goes on to tell us interesting details about this very fertile part of his musical career:
- "Later, one night Mr. Muscio, one of the businessmen of the National Theater, appeared to me and told me that he was going to open a movie theater, the "Fénix" in Flores and that he wanted me to bring my orchestra for that opportunity.
I apologized, clarifying that other commitments prevented me from accepting.
But he returned to the charge:
-Well, form me an orchestra; look, Fresedo, what I need is for you to go to the cinema and in the interval play a tango -there is usually not any more time- and then, when the film starts you leave and the orchestra follows.
-In those conditions I said yes; and I had been told that Carlos Di Sarli was there and I called for him to come to my orchestra".
The violinist José Pécora, a great friend of the pianist, had already performed making "changes" in Fresedo's orchestra (c.1926), and he recommended Di Sarli to join the orchestra.
The birth of the Di Sarli Orchestra
- "For bandoneons I put some boys Bianchi, Américo and Emilio, who were brothers; for violin there was José Pécora, for singer Juan Carlos Thorry and for double bass Ángel Corletto.
Later there were successive modifications:
Bandoneons: César Ginzo and Tito Landó
Violins: José Lorito, José Pécora and David Abramsky alternating with each other.
Piano: Carlos Di Sarli
Double bass: Luis Bernstein, then Abraham Krauss
-I operated this way: I had the car parked at the "Bar Fresedo" -Rivadavia and Alberti-, I played some pieces there and then, carrying a bandoneon, I got into the car and quickly left to the " Fénix" cinema in Flores.
I arrived at the cinema when the interval lights were switched on and I played with the orchestra, usually a tango.
When the lights went out to start the movie, I would leave my bandoneon there and disappear, the orchestra would follow without me.
I would then climb into the car that was waiting in front of the cinema and speed off back to the "Fresedo Bar"".
Alfonso Lacueva on piano, Luis Minervini and José Della Rocca on bandoneons, José Lorito and Juan Cruz Mateo on violins and bassist Carmelo Mutarelli would have passed by the "Bar Fresedo".
It has sometimes been said that Di Sarli would have recorded as a member of Fresedo's orchestra; this was the director's response: "No, he never recorded with me".
- "When Di Sarli started in my orchestra at the "Fénix" cinema in Flores, I did all the repertoire, the instrumentation and gave him a copy of everything, and he made his debut there as "Orquesta Fresedo".
Soon after, they requested my orchestra again to open the Paramount cinema, which was being refurbished.
He told me the same "story" of the previous case, "that I would have to play a tango in the interval and then the orchestra would go on".
I thought, "He who covers much, does not press much", and I answered that, given the commitment I had with Mr. Muscio, it was impossible for me to accept any other obligation, but in view of his insistence I asked him to let me think for a week and I would give him my answer.
When he returned for my reply after a week, I passed the offer on to Di Sarli, who made his debut there after a month, when the renovation of the hall was completed.
And that's where Di Sarli's orchestra came from".
In a report that Geno Diaz, writer and comedian made to Maestro Fresedo, Don Osvaldo's version is somewhat different:
-"I continued my nightly car tours from hall to hall," says the musician, "and a fourth offering appeared. It was a businessman from Paramount who wanted my orchestra for his hall. I couldn't hold four orchestras, so I refused. But the businessman skillfully convinced the Fenix musicians. All my orchestras played the same arrangements and that man liked my style. And the boys went to the Paramount. There were no hard feelings and Di Sarli and I always had a very strong friendship and mutual respect. He wrote his tango "Milonguero viejo" and subtitled it "Fresedo". I paid him back by recording the piece for him, as well as the beautiful "Bahía Blanca", which is a musical poem. Di Sarli was a man of great conduct. He was not capable of any compromise in his musical or political convictions. He was a gentleman.
In 1927 Osvaldo Fresedo gave a new proof of his skills as a solo bandoneon player and of his notorious evolution, with respect to his previous versions recorded in 1920 in Camden, USA, without this implying any prejudice to the latter, which are irreproachable within their time.
In this instance, he recorded two versions for the label Odeón in Buenos Aires, included on a 78 rpm 25cms plaque bearing the number 6890, featuring on one side "Un sueño", waltz by Enrique Delfino -Solo by Fresedo-, and on the opposite side, "Milonga con variación", tango by Francisco Canaro, performed as a duo with the bandoneonist Alberto Rodríguez, whose respective matrices and dates are (m: 706), from May 3rd and (m: 1537), both from October 17, 1927. There is also an unpublished record of Pedro Maffia's tango "Noche de reyes", solo by Fresedo, recorded on November 15 of the same year as the previous ones.
In 1928, Fresedo stopped being part of the "Odeón" cast, closing this first period in that label with the tangos "Piedad" by Carlos Percuoco and Luis De Biasse (d: 3324) and "Vamos, ché" (subtitle: "No te detengas") by Guillermo Otheguy (d: 3247), recorded on October 9 and September 25, 1928, respectively and contained in a plaque Nº5295.
Fresedo en París
Thanks to the active management of his great friend of the Buenos Aires high society, "Macoco" Alzaga Unzué, for long periods resident in France, the Fresedo orchestra was advantageously hired to inaugurate the luxurious cabaret "Nouvelle Garrón" in Montmartre, with a very high figure in terms of remuneration, as it was 35,000 francs.
On October 16th of the aforementioned year 28, she set sail for France in the steamer "Florida", with this group of musicians:
Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo, Alberto Rodriguez and Luis Minervini
Violins: Adolfo Muzzi and Jean Koller
Piano: José María Rizzuti
Double Bass: Humberto Costanzo
Singer: Ernesto Famá (who only recorded with Fresedo).
Maestro Fresedo would have preferred to have two bandoneons and three violins, but the businessman insisted on the opposite, given the attraction of the bandoneons on the audience.
After his successful debut at the "Nouvelle Garrón", located on the heights of the "Palermo" cabaret, where one of the pioneers of tango in Paris, Manuel Pizarro, was performing at the same time for three months, working simultaneously in the afternoon at the "The danzantes" of the famous "Lido" of Champs Elysèes.
When the contract with the "Nouvelle Garrón" ended, although there were other work possibilities, several of the members of his orchestra decided to return to our country: the pianist Rizzuti, the bandoneonist Alberto Rodríguez and the violinist Adolfo Muzzi.
In reaction to this desertion, Fresedo had to resort to the musicians of his parallel orchestra of the Casino Pigall in Buenos Aires, in charge of the pianist Nicolás Vaccaro, who tells the story about it for this work:
-In 1928 I received a telegram from Fresedo to travel to Paris, where he was with his orchestra, of which Rizzuti and several other members had left.
From here three musicians traveled: the violinist José Lorito, the bandoneonist José Salvatore and myself, to replace Adolfo Muzzi, Alberto Rodríguez and José María Rizzuti respectively".
Let us note that the singer Fama had also deserted, but was not replaced, and as for Minervini, he remained settled in Paris where he married and went to Spain to work in various Spanish ensembles that cultivated the típico genre, as they believed it to be.
When we returned to our talk with the Maestro Fresedo, he looked for, among many other photographs, one in particular, pointing out:
-"This is from 1928, when the boys left me in Paris; I stayed and went to Paramount. Here is Nicolas Vaccaro, the pianist I made travel from the orchestra I had at the Casino Pigall. This is Juan Salvatore, bandoneon, this Carlos Esposito, also bandoneon, who was the brother of "Tano" Genaro Esposito, then Jose Lorito, violin and Jean Koller, also violin, who had stayed in Paris with me. The others are French musicians."
This cast played in the fabulous "Ambassadeurs" where they spent four months, from which they went to Belgium in order to make the summer season in the sophisticated beaches of "Ostende", performing in the exclusive dances of the Casino "Kursall" in the illuminated Belgian city.
In 1929 they continued their journey along the Côte d'Azur, Monte Carlo, to return to Paris on February 5 of that year and participate in the international event known as "Bal des petit Lits Blanes sur le Pont d'Argent" (Dance of the little white cradles on the silver bridge), which was held annually at the "Theatre de L'Opera", with the presence of the President of France, Gaston Doumergue.
There, the twenty aspirants to the title of Miss Europe usually competed.
A "Cielito" that's not mine, but it's "lindo"
- "When I arrived in Paris on the '28 to inaugurate the "New Garron", I had a pleasant and funny surprise.
I am not - nor have I said that I am - the author of "Cielito lindo", but a Mr. Lalo Buiet, who was a handsome young man in the twenties, when he traveled to Mexico with the Company of the great actress Camila Quiroga, brought me the novelty of this song, which I had heard for the first time there and was sung everywhere.
- "Look, kid, I heard this" and he sang it to me.
- "How nice!" -I said, "I've never heard it before".
-"I've been looking everywhere for the author," continued Buiet, "and there's nothing: it's public domain. Why don't you compose a tango?
-But it's not mine, why would I do a tango!, -I argued. But finally I did.
So I took the first part, and I did the second and third part.
It was a success; I called it "Cielito mío", and it is based on popular Mexican motifs. When I arrived in Paris, there was Mr. Volterra, who spoke a bit of Italian. I was playing in the "Nuevo Garrón" and in an interval Volterra asked me: "Fresedo, you know a tango that says: Salute alla papa, Salute alla mama, Salute a tutta la famiglia?, singing it with the music of "Cielito mío".
- "Yes, I know it, it's mine!" -It had become popular in Paris, with those lyrics!
Baron of Rothschild
During one of his performances in France, the Baron of Rothschild, one of the wealthiest men in the world at that time, heard Fresedo's orchestra and, as a good tango lover, was enthusiastic about it.
He then decided to hire it, so that it could liven up one of the aristocratic dances organized in his luxurious residence.
But it was usual in these bacchanal dances that the orchestra played behind a screen.
Fresedo, in spite of the generous remuneration, did not accept this condition and was willing to return the amount.
Faced with this firm attitude of the Argentine musician, for the first time an orchestra, reaffirming the hierarchy and dignity that as artists and good people they were entitled to, played without the humiliating and classist screen.
After previously mentioned performances, which were awarded with a total success, Fresedo decided to try to repeat that success in North America, in his second visit to this country.
There, his orchestra suffered the new desertion of the pianist, in this case Nicolas Vaccaro, and his place was temporarily covered by a German instrumentalist Otto Montbruk.
Later on, Sebastián Lombardo, an outstanding pianist and orchestrator, would join the orchestra, called to fulfill an important cycle in the instrumental evolution of Osvaldo Fresedo's orchestra:
- "Lombardo was introduced to me in New York, where he was the pianist of the National Broadcasting Company and when I came from North America, he was in my orchestra here.
Later, when we made the first symphony orchestra to play in the country, he made the arrangements of most of the songs, sharing the task with Ramón Gutiérrez del Barrio, another great orchestrator".
Ernesto Famá was not part of the New York cast either. Covering this role were Genaro Veiga, Pilar Arcos and Fortunio Bonanova, who participated in his recordings of Brunswick in the United States.
Fresedo's orchestra performed in very prestigious venues in New York, especially in the most luxurious hotels of the time, such as the "Savoy Plaza Hotel", "Ritz Carlton Hotel", "Abbadies Club" and others.
Maestro Fresedo gives us an idea of what the struggle to impose our music in the United States was like:
- "I spoke very bad English, but the businessman taught me to say the indispensable words to announce more or less: Ladies and gentlemen, we will now play Argentine jazz". And we would start with "El entrerriano", which the Americans did not know even by far. And we played making many firulets with the instruments, making the double bass dance. We had to impose our music at any price. And we succeeded." (Rep. Geno Diaz)
He also performed a highly successful radio concert from the National Broadcasting Company of the splendid Radio City and at the end of this his second incursion into North America, had the privilege of inaugurating the famous "Trocadero".
From New York he returned to Paris where he gave new performances, and finally returned to our country.
Triumphant reappearance at the "Metropol"
Once in our midst, his reunion with the Buenos Aires public took place in the "Metropol" cinema hall on Lavalle Street, on Wednesday, October 1, 1930, with the following formation, according to photographs from the archive of the musician Manlio Francia:
Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo, Juan Salvatore
Violins: Manlio Francia, Juan Cruz Mateo and José Lorito
Piano: Sebastián Lombardo
Double bass: Alfredo Corletto
"Chansonnier": Roberto Diaz
At the end of the year 30 it ended in the "Metropol", on November 30, and started in the "Florida Dancing" on December 1, continuing in this place with remarkable success during the whole summer season.
In 1931 Fresedo returned to the recording rooms after being absent from them, at least in our country, since 1928, doing it in the new record label "Brunswick" where he left 24 records printed, inaugurating his serial number 1436 with the success of that time: "Tango mío", which had the attraction of Agustín Magaldi interpreting the refrain and the reverse side "El mal de ausencia".
In this stage of their dawn for the record, participated as refrain singers Teófilo Ibáñez, Luis Díaz, Roberto Ray -who joined in 1932- Antonio Buglione and Juan Carlos Thorry.
In addition, the duo Agustín Irusta-Roberto Fugazot took part in special collaborations, apart from the already mentioned Agustín Magaldi.
Fresedo's partnership with Brunswick lasted until 1932.
As far as his public presentations during the course of 1931 are concerned, he continued to work in the "Florida Dancing", with the same formation as mentioned above.
Maestro Fresedo made these considerations regarding the appearance of the refrain singer in the Orquestas Típicas.
- "In the United States, fox-trot singers who only performed the refrain of the composition had begun to make a name for themselves. Bing Crosby, for example, did this work with Paul Witheman's orchestra. A director of a Buenos Aires recording company had the idea to make the refrains of the tangos to be sung. And for that he hired Teófilo Ibáñez who sang the refrains in several orchestras. Among others, mine. But on behalf of the recording company".
Fresedo alludes to the Brunswick label, where in addition to Ibáñez, there were other refrain singers such as Luis Díaz, Carlos Viván and Carlos Obregón, all of whom participated in the records of this director on the aforementioned label. This recording company began operating in 1929 and continued until 1932 in our country.
And it should be remembered that the oldest precedent of a recording with a refrain singer dates back to February 1926, when Roberto Díaz recorded with Francisco Canaro's orchestra on the Odeón label, the tango "Así es el mundo", so that initiative belongs to "Pirincho". But let's continue with Fresedo's statements:
- "When I returned from the United States I hired Roberto Ray as "Chansonnier" of my orchestra. (...) Back in 1931 I took Roberto Ray to sing with my orchestra in Ta-Ba-Rís".
(Undated report by Geno Diaz). As the Brunswick imposed its refrain singers on Fresedo, the director complained to the company and asked them to record with "the boy that sings with me at the cabaret", which happened towards the end of 1932, starting with the tangos "El rebelde" and "Metido" and the waltz "Clyde".
Ray was recommended to Fresedo by Luis Rubistein and Emilio Fresedo gave him the stage name Ray, an abbreviation of his surname Raimondi.
Roberto Ray, according to his colleague Osvaldo Arana, was the one who "invented" the way in which one should sing in Fresedo's orchestra.
Experiences with an all-out orchestra
- "Then we made the first symphonic orchestra, with orchestrations by Sebastián Lombardo and Ramón Alejandro del Barrio.
Because De Caro also said that he had made the first symphonic orchestra, but I keep the programs where we announced "the first symphonic orchestra" with which we opened the Astor cinema".
The artistic event took place on May 3, 1932, in the aforementioned cinema at 746 Corrientes Street.
In a program provided by Maestro Fresedo, we can read
"For the first time in Buenos Aires, Osvaldo Fresedo and his Orquesta Tipica and singer Roberto Ray", and the repertoire includes:
"Happy day" - which is something to open with joy, says our interviewee. "Inspiración", "Rapsodia en tango" -written upon "Tango mío", explains Fresedo.
"Tango sinfónico humorístico", written upon "El espiante", where there are a series of effects, voices and they announce that " primer turno a comedor" bit.
The mentioned program also specifies: Harmonization and arrangements: Ramón Gutiérrez del Barrio. Instrumentation: Sebastián Lombardo.
The numerous orchestral group in charge of these experiences, due to the innovative intention that Maestro Fresedo always showed, incorporated into the basic instrumental set-up of the Orquesta Tipica all the usual families of instruments that make up a symphony orchestra (complete and numerous string line, woodwind, brass, instrumentinos, percussion, etc.)
This important orchestral body was made up of 27 professionals chosen from among the most highly qualified elements in our musical sphere. Then it went to the Politeama and later this formation was presented in the month of June in the "Cine Florida" of the street of the same denomination Nº275 and in the cinema theater "Rose Marie", of Lavalle 750, in the month of November, fulfilling also radial performances by LR3 Radio Belgrano. Logically, to maintain a formation of such magnitude, means a considerable expense, that could not be maintained for much more time, forcing Fresedo to leave his ambitious project aside. In the performances at the head of his Orquesta Tipica, some modifications were made, particularly the bandoneon line:
Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo, Pascual Storti, Juan Salvatore, then Ángel Farina, who was replaced by Luis Petrucelli and there was also a brief performance by Eduardo Del Piano.
Violins: Adolfo Muzzi, Pedro Desrets and José Lorito.
Piano: Sebastián Lombardo
Double bass: Humberto Costanzo.
Drums: Saly S. Nisguritz
Saxophone: Tomás Fumo
"Chansonnier": Roberto Ray
Victor records and national cinema
On May 16th, 1933, Osvaldo Fresedo's Orquesta Tipica started its second period on the Victor label, recording in 78 rpm, electric system, inaugurating the series with the classic tango of his own creation, "El espiante", now in instrumental version and on its back "Noches porteñas", singing by Roberto Ray, plaque Nº 37364. The integration of the group is the same, except for the important presence of the pianist José María Rizzuti, decisive in the stylistic definition of Fresedo; in addition, the "Crooner" Charles Wimer, also a guitarist, joined the band.
At that time, he took part with his notably increased orchestra in the play by Trongé and Pidemunt "Diez postales por un peso", performed at the Teatro Cómico, where he premiered his tango fantasía "Tango azul", written on the music of a previous one, by the same Fresedo "Olvidála pa' tu bien".
Also in 1933 was the intervention of his orchestra in the cornerstone of the Argentine talking cinema with phonographic sound, released on April 27th of that year, titled "Tango".
When we refer to Pedro Maffia's career, you will find the technical details of the film.
On May 19 of the same year, the orchestra conducted by the active and intelligent musician could be seen and heard again on the Astor's screen.
There, he participated in the sequences of Luminton's film "Los tres berretines", whose leading role was played by the great comedian Luis Sandrini, together with other fundamental names of our scene such as Luis Arata and Luisa Vehil. It was directed by T. Susini, L. Malfatti y de las Llanderas. Music by Enrique Delfino and Isidro Maiztegui.
In this film, Fresedo's orchestra plays Delfino's tango "Araca la cana". Its verses were sung by Luis Díaz.
From this period is his tango "Vida mía", which he recorded with the orchestra on the Victor label with the refrain singer Roberto Ray in 1933 and the following year he recorded it again for the same label, accompanying the tenor Tito Schipa.
His third visit to the United States
Fresedo had performed in North America for the first time in 1920, forming part of the "Típica Select", a trip that he repeated in March 1930, as an extension of his performances in France on the '28 and '29.
In 1934 he made his third trip, this time without his orchestra, as the reason for it was a guild issue to manage the exchange of royalties between the two countries. Fresedo, accompanied by Dr. Ríos, was the head of the Argentine Association of Music Authors and Composers.
Despite of the fact that the reasons for the trip were limited, this was not an obstacle for the flattering proposal of offering a recital from the National Broadcasting Company (N.B.C.) and its red WJS chain, which covers the whole country of the north, which broadcasted a symphonic version of tangos.
In a 1967 report, Maestro Fresedo commented on some details of the concert, which was the crystallization of an intimate desire: to conduct a world-renowned symphony orchestra:
"Do you know what orchestra they gave me to give my tango concert at Radio City, back in New York? No less than the symphony orchestra conducted by Toscanini. I couldn't believe it, but that's how it was. And there I was as first violin Remo Bolognini, a wonderful madman that I met in Buenos Aires and we used to ride together on a motorbikes -another of the great passions of Maestro Fresedo, the same as for his violinist Manlio Francia- (Author's note) with a brother of his who was a cellist, a great cellist. What was his name? Well, I'll remember it later.
It should be noted that Remo Bolognini's brothers, both like the previous one, who were remarkable instrumentalists, were Astor, also a violinist, and Ennio, a cellist.
Fresedo continues in the paragraph of the report that is transcribed:
"At that concert, which was unforgettable, were Carlos Gardel and Le Pera, Tito Guizar, Mr. Peer -an American publisher- his secretary and then wife and today a multimillionaire widow, Mrs. Monica Iberson; Adolfo Aviles -the author of "Los ojazos de mi negra"- Mr. Ralph Todd, Dr. Eduardo Rios and a lot of friends. Carlitos was going to sing with the symphonic, but he was working hard on one of his films and could not rehearse.
So the singer was the brother of Silvio Spaventa (presumably Carlos, Note of the author).
I integrated the program, among other songs, with "Aguacero" by Cátulo Castillo, "Vida mía" that I composed with my brother Emilio and opened and closed with "Canto de amor".
The Maestro's concert on Radio City was broadcasted on November 9, 1934 at 8:30 p.m., U.S. time, and was broadcasted over the "NBC" microphones as noted above. Fresedo also made presentations at the "Palace" and "Kenmore" theaters in the city of Brooklyn and made some recordings, in aluminum discs for the Brunswick label, singing Pilar Arcos, Genaro Veiga and Fortunio Bonanova and several instrumental pieces.
Upon his triumphant return on the American Legion, he was received by Alfredo Pelaia, Victor Donato, author of "Vayan saliendo", Guillermo del Ciancio -author of "Giuseppe el zapatero"-, his brother Emilio Fresedo and other personalities.
His renewed orchestra
The renovation of the basic layout of his orchestra, with the addition of new timbres and a greater complexity of harmonisations, together with the requirements in terms of the affinity of his ensembles, which always characterised Maestro Fresedo, delayed his reappearance before the Buenos Aires public to some extent.
In this new stage he had the valuable contribution of a musician with a solid academic background like Mario Perini, who alternated his performances in the field of classical music with his participation in orquestas típicas.
In an interesting review of the activity of this outstanding violinist and musician, Oscar Bozzarelli points out:
"Between 1934 and 1943 he was part of Osvaldo Fresedo's violin line, of whose orchestra he was also the arranger. And here is the surprising information from Perini himself: he introduced -continues Bozzarelli- in Fresedo's orchestra the vibraphone and the harp and he reinstated the drums that that illustrious master had stopped using. Fresedo performed for the first time with this formation in 1935, inaugurating El Mundo radio station".
Let's say that the service of this radio station was delivered on November 29, 1935 with the presence of the then president of the Nation, General Agustín P. Justo, the director of the Post and Telegraphs Dr. Risso Domínguez and other outstanding personalities of the medium.
In addition to the Fresedo Orchestra, Julio De Caro, Francisco Lomuto, Ricardo Tanturi and Juan Canaro were among the first Típicas who belonged to its cast.
The integration of Fresedo's orchestra in 1936, according to a photographic document of the time, was the following:
Bandoneons: Osvaldo Fresedo, Luis Petrucelli, Pascual Storti and Ulderico Panella.
Violins: Adolfo Muzzi, José Lorito, Pedro Desrets, Mario Perini
Pianos: José María Rizzuti and Ricardo Desrets.
Drums and Vibraphone: Saly Nisguritz.
Harp: Nélida Gianneo.
Singer: sporadically at '35 Ricardo Ruíz - who later returned in the 1940s -. On this occasion he recorded only one track, Lecuona's rumba "Canto Siboney," on the Victor record No. 37751, April 5, 1935. Roberto Díaz also intervened that year, recording the tango of José María Rizzuti and Santiago Giordano "Retazo", Victor record No. 37733 of March 22nd of the same year. In the remaining recordings, the refrain singer was Roberto Ray.
Split and new orchestra
In 1937 Fresedo's orchestra with its refrain singer Roberto Ray travelled to Uruguay, to perform in the city of Montevideo in the Ariel cinema and in Radio Carve programmes.
Back in the country, it performed at Radio Belgrano, headed by Jaime Yankelevich.
At the beginning of 1939, Fresedo's cast started to appear again as artists of Radio El Mundo.
Yankelevich, to fill the void left by the renowned master, managed to convince several of his musicians to become independent by forming an orchestra that would perform on his radio station. Thus, from this detachment, the group "Rizzuti-Ray" emerged, joined by violinist Adolfo Muzzi and double bass player Humberto Costanzo.
Fresedo left aside his task as a performer to stick to his conducting work, reorganizing his ensemble with the help of outstanding musicians who quickly assimilated, without producing fractures in the stylistic line; on the contrary, it was intensified with the reinforcement of the string, in accordance with the predominance of melodic elements in the Fresedian style.
Here is its integration:
Bandoneons: Luis Petrucelli, Pascual Storti, Ulderico Panella.
Violins: Victor Felice, José Lorito, Pedro Desrets and Mario Perini
Viola: Demetrio Rizzeti, then Do Reis.
Drums and vibraphone: De Luca. In addition, electric guitar should be added.
Harp: Nélida Gianneo
Piano: Eduardo "Lalo" Scalise Regard
Double bass: Hugo Baralis (sr) for a short period and then Tito Colom ("Ray Nolan" in jazz)
Singers: Ricardo Ruíz and Carlos Mayel, and a fleeting passage of Carlos Roldán (who recorded "Negra María").
On January 1st, 1940, Ricardo Ruiz made his debut on Radio El Mundo.
Later on, there were continuous changes in the bandoneon line:
When Petrucelli died in 1941, Héctor María Artola entered as first bandoneon and arranger and Federico Scorticati entered for Panella, which consequently constituted the lineup of Artola, Scorticatti and Storti.
In the summer of 1941-1942, Fresedo travelled again to Montevideo, where the public always showed its support for this orchestra. There they performed at the Casino of that city.
Separation of his musicians and another orchestra
After this presentation, a conflict arose between the conductor and his musicians, who disassociated themselves en masse to constitute " La Nueva Orquesta Argentina ", which was led by the pianist Scalise and the singer Ricardo Ruíz, together with the violinists Felice, Desrets and Lorito, and the double bassist Tito Colom.
Maestro Fresedo found himself in the need to constitute a totally new orchestra, which time would consecrate as one of the best he had ever conducted, marking one of the most artistically valuable periods of his career as a conductor.
This was the new formation:
Bandoneons: Ángel Ramos, Félix Lipesker and Anselmo Esmella.
Violins: Elvino Vardaro, Simón Blech, Antonio Casanova and Augusto Frediers.
Piano: Emilio Barbato
Cello: Nero Ferrazzano
Double bass: Raúl Muñoz
Vibraphon: De Luca
Harp: Nélida Gianneo
Singer: Oscar Serpa
The outstanding work of the new pianist Emilio Barbato and the 1st line musicians, Elvino Vardaro in the violin sector and Ángel Ramos in the bandoneon row, less evident in this case, given the few opportunities that Fresedo gave the bandoneons to shine, in the face of the conductor's preferential devotion to the strings and the piano. Barbato, a musician with a solid academic background, won the unanimous admiration of his peers for his finished technique and the amplitude and brilliance of his sound.
Elvino Vardaro, in the opinion of most people the best tango violin in history, an opinion shared by the author, contributed to give "cachet" to the orchestra with his unmistakable vibrato and his peculiar sound of incomparable beauty.
There are no structural changes, but rather enrichment of the pre-existing schemes, to which the beautiful orchestration works of Héctor María Artola and the "Negro" Argentino Galván generously contribute.
Vocalist Oscar Serpa, with a refined modality, perfectly fitted into Fresedo's performance plans, with whom he stayed until 1946, taking part in '42, in the remembered success of the radio program "Ronda de ases" broadcast by LR1 Radio El Mundo. The tango of the same name by Fresedo and Manzi, alluding to this audition, was one of his most successful creations, together with "Noches largas", "Te llama mi violín", "Hermana" and many others.
In 1945 the Mexican melodic singer Pedro Vargas, recorded with Fresedo, recording the tango "Vida mía", which he did again in '47 to record Lecuona's bolero "La última noche". By then, there had been further changes in the integration of the staff, which in 1946 aligned these elements:
Bandoneons: Angel Ramos, Julio Ahumada, Hamlet Calise
Violins: Domingo Varela Conte, Antonio Casanova, José Amatriain and Oberti.
Piano: Emilio Barbato
Cello: Nerón Ferrazzano
Double bass: Raúl Muñoz.
Vibraphone: De Luca
Harp: Nélida Gianneo
Singer: Oscar Serpa
There are not many instrumental versions in the period from 1942 to 1948, and when he plays them, Fresedo uses well-known pieces such as "El Entrerriano" (26/04/1944), "La cumparsita" (20/06/1943), "Griseta" (31/07/1944), "La mariposa" (21/06/1945) or "El choclo" (11/09/1947) and others.
In 1948 a singer entered as a valuable talent, whose career was cut short by health problems, which if it were not for them, he would have been expected to rise among the great singers of all times: Osvaldo Cordó, the unforgettable "Mocito", who despite the fleeting nature of his passage left lasting creations such as "Por las calles muertas", "Cafetín de Buenos Aires", "Volverás" and "Motivo de vals".
That same year saw the return of Fresedo's beloved vocalist, Roberto Ray.
In 1947 Ángel Ramos left Fresedo's bandoneon line, Ahumada moved to 1st bandoneón and Mario Rodas entered to take his place, while Calise remained in his position. At that time, they performed in boites, Radio El Mundo, Victor records and Casino de Mar del Plata. They performed permanently in the night club "Rendez Vous", owned by the Maestro Fresedo.
In 1948 the pianist Emilio Barbato left, returning Eduardo Scalise to his old post.
Orquesta Fresedo "Para lucirse"
After having recorded the last disc of his second period on the Victor label on September 29, 1949, when he recorded the tango by Antonio Rodio and José María Contursi "Y la perdí", a little less than a year had to pass before Maestro Fresedo's orchestra returned to the recording studio. This fact became concrete in the Columbia label on October 25th 1950, when he took to the record "Para lucirse", Piazzolla's instrumental tango, and on its B side a beautiful tango by the Maestro director, also an orchestral one, which he called "Mi viejo reloj" (subtitle: "Cajita de música").
During this time, Fresedo restructured his musical staff, the conception of the arrangements, mostly entrusted to a young musician with revolutionary ideas, the bandoneonist Roberto Pansera, who entered as Fresedo's arranger and first bandoneon player when he was 18 years old. There are also his own arrangements of excellent quality.
Fresedo's repertoire included several instrumental tangos and also songs by new composers such as Astor Piazzolla, Roberto Pansera and Roberto Pérez Préchi, the latter two bandoneonists of his orchestra.
To them he added several revamped versions of well known themes of his ("Pampero", "Sollozos", "Vida mía") and of already classical authors (Figari, Troilo, Mores, Demare, etc.).
The integration of his orchestra in 1950 is detailed below:
Bandoneons: Roberto Pansera, Américo Caggiano, who was succeeded by Roberto Pérez Préchi and Mariano Rodas. Oscar Baglione also alternated, but always in the row of 3 bandoneons.
Violins: Domingo Varela Conte, Pedro Lopérfido, José Amatriain and Antonio Casanova.
Piano: Eduardo Scalise Regard.
Cello: Enrique Bourguet.
Double bass: Raúl Muñoz
To this basic instrumental set-up should be added harp, vibraphone, drums and percussion.
Singers: Roberto Ray in his last incursion in the group of Fresedo, Armando Garrido, then Hector Pacheco and Carlos Barrios, who joined in 51 and 52 respectively.
This ensemble performed at Radio Splendid, night club "Rendez Vous" in Maipú 854, between Córdoba and Paraguay, where they shared the splendid evenings with Eduardo Armani's highly regarded jazz band.
During the summer season they performed at the "Tajamar" club in Mar del Plata, located on Avenida Constitución, which was also owned by maestro Fresedo.
Although Pansera continued to play the bandoneon until 1954, this did not interrupt his work as an arranger, although his colleague Roberto Pérez Préchi gradually began to take this role more frequently.
Some of the instrumental productions of this period on the Columbia label already mentioned are "Para lucirse" by Piazzolla and by the same composer "Prepárense" (1951), "Contratiempo" (1952) tangos, and "Tanguango", a new rhythm that he recorded in 51 to the despair of the orthodox line of Fresedism. At opposite poles, "La puñalada" and "La trampera".
His singers during this part of his career were Armando Garrido, with a pleasant vocal timbre and a refined interpretation, very much in keeping with the style of the orchestra, sharing responsibilities with the successful Héctor Pacheco, who achieved several successes with his peculiarly intimate tone together with Fresedo.
They were successes of Garrido, "Del tiempo de Gardel", of Pansera and Cárpena, "Una y mil veces" of Pérez Préchi and Alberto A. Leiva, "Sombra de humo" by Pansera and Cárpena, his last work with Fresedo, done on November 21, 1951.
Pacheco, on the other hand, obtained notable repercussions with "Vida mía", "Pampero", "Sollozos", all by the master director and "Fugitiva" by Piazzolla and verses by the poet Juan Carlos Lamadrid, which marked a milestone in tango literature, which may not have been perceived at the time.
On October 16, 1952, Fresedo closes this series in Columbia with the tangos "Solo de bandoneón" by Cadícamo and "Sosteniendo recuerdos", one of the last encounters of the magnificent authorial duo Lucio Demare-Homero Manzi, both songs sung by Héctor Pacheco.
Second period Odeon "Triunfal"
On November 21, 1952, he returned to Odeon, opening the series with the tangos "Nostalgias", the classic by Cadícamo and Cobián and "Viejo Malevo" by Germán Teisseire and Diego E. Perkins, with vocal contributions by Héctor Pacheco.
Pacheco later paired up with Carlos Barrios, who made his debut in 1952 on Radio Splendid.
In 1953, José Márquez took over as pianist.
In 1955 the orchestra with its two singers performed in "Rendez Vous" and then in Radio El Mundo; during the summer season they performed in the "Tajamar" club in Mar del Plata. That year there were important changes in the structure of the musicians' staff, as indicated below:
Bandoneons: Roberto Pérez Préchi, Pedro Viduarre and José Appendino.
Violins: Domingo Varela Conte, Pedro Lopérfido, Juan Scaffino, "Manolo" Baya Gómez, later Claudio González joined and Varela Conte left.
Piano: José Márquez
Viola: Jorge Gonzalez
Cello: Ignacio Fuster and successively Flavio Russo, José Bragato, Ricardo Francia.
Double bass: Rufino Arriola and then Raúl Muñoz
Drums and vibraphone: José Pugliano
Singers: Héctor Pacheco and Carlos Barrios
From 1953 to 1957 they continued to perform in "Rendez Vous", recording of Odeon records and radio auditions.
In this part of the orchestra's career, the arrangements are more elaborated, as can be seen in Pansera's tango "Preludio Nº3" recorded on 15 September 1953, "Tema en fa" by the pianist of the orchestra José Márquez, which was released on 10 September 1957 or "Triunfal" by Astor Piazzolla, recorded on 15 September 1953. Pérez Préchi composed an instrumental tango of remarkable conception that Fresedo included in his discography, on December 23, 1953; it is "Apasionado".
Among the sung repertoire, Pacheco obtained well-deserved recognition for his interpretations of Pontier's splendid tango, with lyrics by "Catunga" Contursi, "Lluvia sobre el mar" (23/12/1953), which he revalidated with "Perdóname" by Héctor Stamponi and Cátulo Castillo (03/12/1954).
Carlos Barrios achieved a successful version of "Divina," the delicate tango romanza by Joaquín Mora and verses by Juan de la Calle (23/12/1953), and his work in "Trenzas de ocho" by Pansera and Homero Cárpena (29-12-1955) should also be noted.
Fresedo closes this his second period in the catalogues of Odeón, on September 27th 1957 with one of his favourite tangos, "La viruta", by Vicente Greco and "Vamos cariñito" by Pérez Préchi and Cayetano Bontempi, with the participation of the vocalist Carlos Barrios. He performed in several radio stations: Belgrano, El Mundo, Splendid.
At that time he recorded some songs accompanying with his orchestra the improvisations of the black trumpet player Dizzie Gillespie, on the label "Orión-Rendez Vous", ("Vida mía", "Adiós muchachos", "Preludio Nº3 [Pansera] and "Capricho de amor" [Pérez Préchi]).
He continued at "Tajamar" and "Rendez Vous" until 1958, when the latter closed its doors.
During 1958, the singer Héctor De Rosas performed in place of Héctor Pacheco, although he did not record with the Fresedo Orchestra.
Second Period at Columbia "De Académia"
On January 12, 1959, maestro Fresedo returned to the Columbia label, and led the way with the tangos "Lejos de Buenos Aires" by Pansera y Cárpena and "Después de carnaval", an old hit from his repertoire, which was once again brought to life by the young singer Hugo Marcel, with his powerful voice.
A little later, an excellent female voice made its appearance in the sphere of the popular song, with a deep tone, suggestive and deep shades and a great interpretative sobriety: Blanca Mooney, in whose accent "Julián" and "Arrabalero" recover their freshness.
Besides these vocalists, the singers Carlos Barrios -in a brief return in 1961- recorded "Tango mío", "Naipe marcado" and "Perro 'e sulky"; Ricardo Ruíz, in another brief reunion with "Rosarina linda" in 1961; Oscar Luna, Roberto Bayot, again Carlos Barrios in 1963 when he recorded "Migaja" and in 1966 the intervention of the melodic singer Roberto Yanés, recording "Tengo", "Barrio pobre" and "Bandoneón amigo" (by Fresedo and Manzi).
As far as musical ideas are concerned, it can be said that there are no major innovations, but rather a reaffirmation of everything done previously, within the correct framework, always with the mastery and musicality that defined its stylistic orientation.
During this period, the integration of the orchestra was not so stable: Roberto Pérez Préchi, José Appendino, Pedro Viduarre were on bandoneons, and when Viduarre left the bandoneon for the cello in 1960, he was successively replaced by Armando Brunini, Fernando Tell and Armando Rodríguez.
Violins: "Manolo" Baya, first violin, Elvino Vardaro, Juan Scaffino, José Niesow, Enrique Mario Francini (these last two were added in the recordings to reinforce the string), Pedro Lopérfido.
Piano: José Márquez and from 1960 he alternated with Roberto Cícare.
Cello: Enrique Bourguet.
Double bass: Domingo Donnaruma.
Drums and percussion: José Pugliano.
In 1960 he played on the carnivals at Luna Park and Racing Club.
In June 1961 he travelled with his orchestra and the singers Roberto Ray, Carlos Barrios and Hugo Marcel, to Uruguay, to perform in different stages of the city of Montevideo, dances in the Banco República, Club Holanda del Cerro, Bohemios and Palacio Peñarol, radio auditions by Radio Carve and TV Channel "Saeta".
The musicians who travelled were: Roberto Pérez Préchi, Appendino and Pedro Viduarre (band.), Manuel Baya, Pedro Lopérfido, Carlos Catoia, Jorge Eduardo González (violin), Victor Casagrande (viola), Julio Fuster (cello), Roberto Cícare (piano), Raúl Muñoz (double bass), the cast being extended to 18 members, with local musicians.
In 1962 he composed what he thought was his most beautiful tango: "Viajando".
In our country he returned to the clubs after the closing of Rendez Vous: Clubes Vélez Sársfield, San Lorenzo, Gimnasia y Esgrima de Buenos Aires, River Plate, Circulo Militar, Circulo Aeronáutico, Plaza Hotel.
His orchestra was the last one to perform at "Les Ambassadeurs" -former Armenonville at Figueroa Alcorta 3428-, shortly before its final closing.
In 1966, Osvaldo Arana joined the band as a singer, making his debut at Club Sportivo Sarmiento in Sarandí, alternating with Carlos Barrios and Roberto Bayot.
Later on, they performed again at the Círculo Militar, Colegio Militar de El Palomar, Club Americano de Buenos Aires at Viamonte 1133, Plaza Hotel and Club Náutico San Fernando.
The carnival dances of that year were performed at the San Lorenzo de Almagro Club and at the Harrod's Gath & Chaves Club.
In 1968 Arana recorded in Columbia on playback of the orchestra "Viejo Buenos Aires", "Tengo", "Amar hasta morir" and "Sobre el pucho", edited by Show Récord.
The Columbia series was closed by Fresedo's orchestra with two instrumental pieces: "El flete", a tango by Vicente Greco and "La sanata", a milonga by Roberto Nievas Blanco, recorded on October 24, 1966.
In 1968 he also collaborated in the musical part with Roberto Pansera, in a series of ten works gathered under the title "Los diez mandamientos", versified by Roberto Lambertucci, whose vocal interpretation was entrusted to the melodic singer Daniel Riolobos, with an introduction recited by Jorge Raunova, a discographic work edited by the label "Arte".
The album includes the following titles: La creación, Frente a Dios, Juro por Dios, Fiesta Santa, Amo a mis padres, No mataré, Huyendo del pecado, No robarás, Odio a la mentira, Es amor prohibido, No codicio lo ajeno, Una canción de fe.
His last works
In February 1968, Fresedo presented his orchestra at the "IV Fiesta Nacional del Tango" in La Falda, province of Córdoba, which was held at the Municipal Auditorium. A chronicle of the time referred to his performance in these terms:
"The creator of 'Vida mía' and his melodious orchestral group, received in that -it is alluded to the debut- and also in his second presentation, the most spectacular ovation of the night, which reached its maximum degree when Fresedo abandoned the baton and taking the bandoneon he executed with his direction several pages of the 'guardia vieja'" ("La Razón" 11/02/1968).
Still in 1968, he appeared before the cameras of TV Channel 13 in programs conducted by Nicolás Mancera.
This medium was already familiar to him, since in the early 1960s he had performed with his singers Hugo Marcel and Carlos Barrios in the studios of the old Channel 7, where he animated the program "Noches porteñas" and "Aquí Armenonville", and in 1967 on the same channel the cycle "Vivamos contentos".
During 1969 he performed at the carnivals of Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro, Club Harrod's Gath & Chaves, and also took part in the centenary celebrations of the city of Dolores, province of Buenos Aires, and in the dances of Club Americano.
In December 1969, Osvaldo Fresedo's last dance and performance with his orchestra took place at the Sociedad Rural Argentina, shortly after he had performed at the Circulo Militar de Olivos. The last tango performed and sung by Arana himself was "Barrio pobre".
They were part of the orchestra at this time:
Conductor: Osvaldo Fresedo
Piano: Roberto Cícare.
Violins: Manuel Baya, Pedro Lopérfido, Bautista Huerta, José Niesow.
Viola: Jorge E. González.
Cello: Enrique Bourguet.
Drums and percussion: Juan Carlos Moyano
Bandoneons: Roberto Pérez Préchi, Pedro Viduarre, José Appendino -sometimes Roberto Pansera-.
Double bass: Raúl Muñoz.
Singer: Osvaldo Arana.
In 1970, maestro Fresedo had to undergo a surgical intervention and from then on, he decided to abandon the activity and there were no more public performances, nor recordings for almost 10 years, except for four songs made for Columbia in 1975.
Due to the insistence of people linked to tango, so that this particular style could be recorded with the greatest fidelity that the technological advance of the last decade allowed, he finally broke the silence he had imposed on himself and accepted to record a long play, a true anthology of the most representative instrumental themes of the stylistic school that had him as an inventor.
The long duration was titled "Fresedo 1980" and edited by Columbia CBS 20041, gathering these themes: (recorded between October 30 and November 6, 1979).
Side 1 - "La cumparsita" by Matos Rodríguez, "¿Por qué" by Osvaldo Fresedo, "Ojos negros" by Vicente Greco, "Mi refugio" by Juan Carlos Cobián and "El once" by the master director.
Side 2 - "El pibe de la paternal" -a new tango by Roberto Pansera, paying homage to the illustrious musician-, "El entrerriano" by Rosendo Mendizábal, "La viruta" by Vicente Greco, "El espiante" classic by Osvaldo Fresedo and "La cachila" by Eduardo Arolas.
The album was presented in the radio program "Tango a tango", which was broadcast by LR3 Radio Belgrano, on Monday, May 5, 1980, on the occasion of Maestro Fresedo's 83rd birthday, who performed conducting his orchestra as in the past, "live", from 10:30 pm.
The group of musicians that took part in this long play and subsequent homage broadcast, gathered around 27 first level professionals that we will point out:
On bandoneon: Roberto Pérez Préchi - at the express request of Maestro Fresedo - Marcos Madrigal, Ernesto Baffa and Osvaldo Montes.
Violins: Antonio Agri, Hugo Baralis, Aquiles Aguilar, Manuel Baya Gómez, Mauricio Marcelli, Juan Scaffino, Emilio González, Pedro Lopérfido, Simón Broitman, José Votti, Carlos Arnaíz.
Violas: Henry Ballestro, Rodolfo Fernández.
Cellos: Alfredo López Echeverría, Daniel Pucci.
Double bass: Raúl Muñoz
Electric bass: Carlos Nicolini
Vibraphon: Mateo Juan Giarruzzo.
Percussion: Roberto Corriale
Piano: Roberto Cícare.
Arrangements. Roberto Pansera.
Fresedo without Fresedo
Maestro Pérez Préchi pointed out the importance of Fresedo's presence in order to achieve that particular " mood " in the orchestra's sonority
-You know that you could tell right away, when Fresedo's hand was missing from the direction, you couldn't achieve the nuances so characteristic of his orchestra, he 'carried' it.
Later on, his group, now conducted by Roberto Pansera, due to the gradual deterioration of the maestro's health, recorded another long-lasting record on the Columbia label, with which he closed his discography definitively.
In this new release of his orchestra, an album Columbia CBS 20189, some instrumental pages were included, among them a version of "Flores negras", the beautiful work by Francisco De Caro where you can appreciate a special and unusual highlight of the bandoneons, two classics by Arolas: "Maipo" and "El Marne", another interpretation of the tango "Mi viejo reloj"; in the sung repertoire there are two interventions by Argentino Ledesma, the celebrated "A media luz" and a composition by maestro Fresedo, with lyrics by his nephew Oscar, entitled "Yo soy" and the participation of the singer Hugo García, saying the verses of "Mimí Pinsón" by José Rótulo and the violinist Aquiles Roggero.
We would like you, Maestro Fresedo, to tell us which were the bandoneon players who, in your opinion, stood out the most at the time of your initiation as a musician.
- "Look, I was going to listen to all of them.
I went to listen to Domingo Santa Cruz at the Royal Pigall; he was very good among the primitive ones. At that time, the orchestras belonged to the bandoneon players, but there was an exception: Roberto Firpo's orchestra, which was playing in La Boca, in front of where Arolas played.
Arolas excited me; you would hear Arolas and that bandoneon would "fill you up".
He had a great personality, he did everything harmoniously, he embellished very well.
In short, he played very well and was the most sought after.
I was a great admirer of Arolas; later I was lucky enough to become friends with him, but not friends to go out with him because he was on a different " vibe ".
But we used to meet at the Fopiano restaurant, in front of the Lavalle square at 2 or 4 in the morning.
I was with Tito (Roccatagliata) and Cobián and he would arrive later with... someone else...
He was a very nice guy, a very good-looking guy, what is called today a "churro".
Now, I also liked "Pacho" a lot.
It was very simple, but what he did he did very well; what happened was that while the others were progressing, he was staying, many new ones were coming out, that harmonized better, Augusto Berto was good in his time, in a time when there were no people who dedicated themselves much, they were not able to give their interpretations that flavor of tango, that Arolas or "Pacho" had for example.
" El alemán" Arturo Bernstein had a superior technique, but he was a cold man -for me at least-, because I don't like to criticize anybody.
He had studied a lot, on the other hand, usually at that time, all those who played the bandoneon, started playing a tango, as I started.
Loduca? well, he didn't play very well.
There was an orchestra from that time that had a very good bandoneon and that has forgotten it: Graciano De Leone, who played in the Café Domínguez before the 1920', with the pianist Nicolás Vaccaro. This ensemble was very popular.
"Tano" Genaro played well, but he was a bit rough; "Pacho" was more harmonious. Genaro used his left hand more because he was left-handed.
The bandoneon, I repeat, was not studied in depth and is a very difficult instrument.
You go looking for an arpeggio and it seems that your fingers get tangled up; the same arpeggio in C opening, you have to jump around.
The bandoneon is an instrument that is played with a lot of imagination of the drawing that the scales are forming. It's not like in the piano that all the scales are the same.
Not here; here it's a madhouse, all from memory... it's very difficult. Possibly the most difficult of all instruments."
You start a scale and it turns out you don't have the note to finish it.
"It' s very rough, very rough, and it's become so popular. "
The "Fresedo style" according to Fresedo
-At that time, was there already talk of bandoneon variations?
- "No, absolutely."
I never introduced them in my orchestra if they were not tangos in which the variations were obligatory, like "Canaro en París", for example.
But I was never in favour of them.
I was more concerned with embellishing the tango, refining it, but I liked it as long as the listener understood the melody.
I was interested in transmitting to them what I feel, in the same way that my musicians try to communicate my feeling to them.
In my orchestra I rehearse string by string and make them play as I feel it.
I rehearse with the violins, then the bandoneons with the piano and the double bass and then I put it all together and I want to extract the essence of what I play".
-In your orchestra you assign more predominance to the strings than to the bandoneons?
-No, no, I give the divisions to the strings and to the bandoneons and I alternate that with some unisons.
Because don't forget that the Orquesta Típica usually requires strings and bandoneons and there is not much diversity of sounds.
In my orchestra, except when I played, which was four, I almost always had three bandoneons".
-How did you place the voices?
-Mostly in divisors and unisons, because you can't do anything else, I mean, you can do a lot of things but what I'm interested in is that people understand me.
Technically divises means that if, for example, there are four violins, they don't all play the same note, but each one, a different note, they harmonize. Also with the bandoneons.
Another detail that I take care of is to place the "staccatos" well - when there are any - and when we go from staccatos to legatos, for it to not be a shocking thing, to "call" it by legatos, and then make a "staccato" start.
Also, to nuance the "staccatos" and the "legatos", which is what I have managed to get people to like the orchestra.
Undoubtedly, I can't explain what I'm imposing in each thing, but I try at least to interpret each phrase well, without "bothering" anyone.
Besides, it is essential to know how to ask the musicians, the orchestra, what one wants".
Which of your orchestras has satisfied you the most?
-The one that has given me most satisfaction is the one I had with Pansera and Pérez Préchi".
-And the one with Barbato on piano and Vardaro on violin?
- "Also, it was good, but it was not an orchestra with which one could defend oneself as with the latter, in which I had six violins, two violas and sometimes two cellos".
During the twenties, two fundamental modalities in the instrumental interpretation of tango emerged in the so-called Guardia Nueva period, oriented towards more evolved musical forms, which are those conceived by the so-called Escuela Decareana and Escuela Fresediana, which are somewhat antinomic.
The characteristics of the one named in the first term, are pointed out when we refer to the figure of Pedro Maffia, so we will summarize here the defining elements of the one created by the Maestro Fresedo, many of which are inferred from his appreciations in the previous paragraph. The Fresedo school, as an essential expressive resource, resorts to the use of nuances, that is, variations in the intensity of the sound volume, an element that it handles with a degree of supreme subtlety.
To this end, it draws ascending lines, the sound intensity of which gradually increases from the "piano" to the "forte" ("crescendo"), and then descends in the same way, in the opposite direction, from the "forte" to the "piano" ("Diminuendo"), which it regulates with striking precision. Another element that plays constantly in his interpretations, consists of executing a passage in the same "ligature" form - group of successive notes in a single emission - and on the contrary, the following one in "staccato" - that is to say, attacking each note separately, sometimes "pianissimos". With these two resources, skillfully conducted, he manages to break a certain rigidity in the phrasing, since he does not get used to going ahead or staying in the mark, which is a consequence of another of his stylistic precepts, the absolute and total respect for musical tempo.
Finally, the scrupulous observance of the original melodic drawing is another of the guidelines of his interpretative school, deriving from it the virtual absence of solos and bandoneon variations and limiting the splitting of the voices of these in the row, giving prevalence to singing in unison or to the mere rhythmic marking, which is usually done in a similar way throughout the whole performed work.
It should be clarified that this does not imply that the bandoneons are marking in a "square" way during the whole executed piece; on the contrary, it is a measured way to introduce attractive syncopation effects.
The Fresedo style places in the foreground the generous use of the strings - at its most evolved moment it used the complete string - generally reinforced in the violin section, with its classic counterpoint effects, a procedure by which it combines several simultaneous melodies without any of them losing their independence.
He often uses the double bass effect known as "rulo", which is reminiscent of a drum roll, obtained by a percussive effect, "Col legno", consisting of a rapid secession of strokes from the "stick" of the bow on the strings, accentuated at the end by a strike with the left hand on the strings.
He also incorporated, in his perfectionist eagerness, new musical timbres, adding to the basic instrumental plant of a typical orchestra, instruments that had been unused until then in groups dedicated to this musical genre, or he reincorporated others that had been left aside, wasting their possibilities.
In the first case we find the harp, an instrument that is used as an amalgamating element of the cordistic sector, giving a colourful filling to the luxurious sound mass.
The same can be said of the vibraphone, which with a remarkable sense of opportunity and balance, places those classic touches or "screenings" that give its performances such a particular atmosphere.
The Maestro says with reference to the inclusion of the harp and the vibraphone in his orchestral plan:
-"The introduction of the harp with reinforced strings, or the vibraphone, was intended to give the ensemble a richer melodic sound. They supported the harmonic base and greatly valued the work of the strings". (Report to Fresedo, by Geno Díaz).
Finally, he recovered for the Orquesta Típica, the drums and percussion elements and added others created by him to achieve special effects, such as the " lija" (sandpaper) that consists of two common mason's fratachos, covered by sandpaper that are rubbed together.
Regarding this reintroduction of the drums in the Orquesta Típica, the maestro said:
- "I added the drums so that they would gently fill in the rhythmic gaps and thus give the piano freedom. The piano has always been a fundamental instrument in my orchestra. From the great Juan Carlos Cobián, with whom I played for a long time, or Enrique Delfino, to the pianist who played with me for the last time, I reserved a very important role in the arrangements for everyone" (Report by Geno Díaz to Maestro Fresedo).
Although he occasionally included the saxophone, the first time around 1922 and again around 1933, why would he use the saxophone? Manlio Francia, his violin in 1922...
On the first occasion he incorporated a baritone saxophone, which was intended to double the basic notes of the double bass, since the recording systems of the time, which were extremely precarious, did not capture the bass background of the orchestra and therefore the rhythmic marking of the bass disappeared.
In spite of the renovating spirit that drove his extensive and brilliant career, he never deviated from the canons adopted in the conception of his style, but rather refined and deepened them, trying to extract the maximum of possibilities until the last time that he guided his body to wield the conductor's baton.
It was never in Maestro Fresedo's sights, to be a virtuoso bandoneon soloist, but he was more interested in it as an element of assembly with the different instrumental sectors of the orchestra and as he confessed in our interview, to compose in it: "I like the bandoneon above all, to see how the chords are formed".
Clearly influenced by the bandoneonist modality of Eduardo Arolas in his early days, although with a tendency to perform in a legato way, natural musicality and aversion to variations. Fresedo evolved above all, with respect to his predecessors, in "his sound", closer to that of Pedro Maffia or Enrique Pollet, also contributing his sober and personal left-handed phrasing, although equally skilful with both hands. "What I had most was great intuition", he would confess in our talk.
On the other hand, around 1939 he abandoned his position in the row to dedicate himself exclusively to orchestral conducting, except for some sporadic interventions, so that his evolution as a conductor was not accompanied in the same way by his condition as an instrumentalist.
The few records about his virtues as a bandoneon soloist have been pointed out when dealing with his career, but let's remember here that in 1920 he left a disc recorded in Camden, New Jersey, for the Victor label, with the songs "Bélgica" and his tango "Nueva York" and in our country he printed for the Odeón label the waltz "Un sueño" and in a bandoneon duo with his usual longtime friend, the Uruguayan Alberto Rodríguez, the tango by Francisco Canaro "Milonga con variaciones", both from 1927.
Undoubtedly, the two most important facets of his artistic personality have been those of director and composer, which combine admirably, since he has created an interpretive style aimed at exalting the melodic values of the works, so that the creations due to his talent have been specially conceived to be executed by his group, endowing them with a particular wealth of inventiveness that places him in a similar tessitura to that sustained by Enrique Delfino.
Some of these melodically more valuable compositions, suitable to be sung, have been treated instrumentally constituting marked successes, as the versions of "Sollozos" and "Aromas" by Julio De Caro's sextet.
The above does not mean that there are not in their production, tangos singularly suitable for the predominantly rhythmic treatment, like "El espiante", "Pimienta", or "El once", which were remarkable events of their repertoire.
When referring to the way of composing in the past and the way it was done in 1959, Maestro Fresedo expressed it in a report in the longed-for magazine "Cantando":
- "Before it was composed with inspiration... now the lyrics limit the possibilities and the melody must be adjusted to the measure. Tangos are "technical"".