Alberto Caracciolo

Real name: Caracciolo, Alberto Pascual
Bandoneonist, composer, arranger and leader
(23 March 1918 - 31 January 1994)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Nélida Miranda

e was born in Buenos Aires, in the neighborhood of Palermo. He was a warm human being, despite his strong temper, respectful for his family and his friends.

He very much loved his wife, Dicna, whom he called Chiqui, and he dedicated a tango to her with her latter name. He had only one daughter, Nélida, who compiles these lines. Their greatest happiness was the birth of their grandson Albertito whom they adored.

He began his musical studies at age eight with maestro Juan Bellido and in 1934 when he was only sixteen for the first time he joined an orchestral group which was conducted by Antonio Arcieri.

In 1939 he switched to the trio that accompanied Azucena Maizani. Later he studied music and modern harmony with the Hungarian teacher Anatole Pietri.

Artist of the bandoneon and arranger with a personal style, he stood out alongside renowned figures of the tango milieu such as Manuel Buzón, Joaquín Do Reyes, and Jorge Caldara, to whom he wrote their arrangements. He also played with Ángel D'Agostino and was one of the Aníbal Troilo’s arrangers.

He worked in the field of jazz writing charts for international repertoires of different publishers. He was Musical Advisor for Odeon.

Roberto Selles, the researcher and contributor of Todo Tango said about his work as composer: «He composed unforgettable pages of traditional and avant-garde tango. Some of his titles reveal an integration between tango and chamber music in part of his oeuvre».

Nélida Rouchetto wrote: «Alberto Caracciolo is one of the names of significance and transcendental influence among the advanced streams of tango. A virtuoso player, composer, arranger and leader, in 1962 he formed his Quinteto de Tango Contemporáneo (Quintet of Contemporary tango) with which he defined his truly aesthetic attitude within tango. He thinks that art is a spiritual moment of a creator, and it can never be regarded as new or old, and that an artist must draw the public to the manifestations of realization of better aesthetic possibilities. Caracciolo is preferably interested in the choice of the instrumentalists of his group, which always results in the best players of our milieu, and he regards the vocalist as one more timbre within the orchestra. He is one of the most talented men in tango».

The Quinteto de Tango Contemporáneo was lined up by Roberto Cicaré (piano), Juan Carlos Moyano (percussion), Rufino Arriola (double bass), Eduardo Soler and Eduardo Walczak (violin) and the singer Pedro Ortiz. Caracciolo was the conductor and arranger.

Luis Adolfo Sierra considered him an innovative musician but with his own features taking into account a possible comparison with aggregations of similar artistic orientation.

Bécquer Casaballe, in an interview to this maestro published in the newspaper Clarín in 1981, said: «Alberto Caracciolo is the avant-garde tango with all the colors and the sounds of today». The note was commenting a long-playing record released by Olga Cabrera whom the musician accompanied in two of the numbers chosen. On the same record José Libertella, Daniel Lomuto, Luis Stazo and Aníbal Arias had also played.

Lastly, we shall mention a trio, that he put together around the 70s and 80s, comprised by: Roberto Cicaré on piano, on double bass was Norberto Samonta, and Caracciolo on bandoneon, leader and arranger. «Three that sound as if they were twenty!» was the enthusiastic opinion of Nélida Rouchetto.

There is a compact disc of this trio, in fact a “demo”, with beautiful pieces composed by Caracciolo and other authors.

He is the composer of "Dolor" (with Azucena Maizani), "Tema de Tango en re menor", "Templo 59", "Chiqui", "Con rumbo al cielo" (dedicated to his father), "Réquiem para un gomía" (dedicated to Gardel), "Tema de tango en sol menor", "Amor en gris" (with lyrics by Pedro Ortiz), "Buenos Aires dos por cuatro" (to which Fernando Fuenzalida recently added lyrics), and "Tangomanía", among others.