Vicente Rodríguez

ioloncello has had a scarce preponderance in the history of tango, however, there is a long list of great players beginning with José Bragato, possibly the one most frequently mentioned in the last decades. Also, it’s absolutely fair to highlight the work of Alfredo Citro, Ascanio Donato, Enrique Lannoo, Florencio Gianneo. But the transcendental name, due to his musical knowledge and because he was associated with tango since its very beginning belongs to the protagonist of this article: Nerón Ferrazzano. We have very little information about him, for that reason is so important this contribution by Vicente Rodríguez, published in Estudios de tango, in July-August 1972.

«Until 1920 there were very few players of cello in tango. We can mention Alemán Fritz and Alberto Paredes as the pioneers of the instrument. Both were members of groups led by Eduardo Arolas, during 1916 and 1917. The former also played in an outfit headed by the excellent pianist and composer José Martínez.

«But it was Ferrazzano who, due to his remarkable capabilities, established the cello as a regular instrument in the tango orchestras. He began to study in 1916 with the Italian teacher Egidio Bolognini, father of the musicians Astor Bolognini, Remo Bolognini and Ennio Bolognini.

«His first appearance was at the Primera Junta cinema theater, on Gaona avenue, in the neighborhood of Caballito, as member of a trio playing a classical repertoire.

«He began to come closer to tango, trying to write some tango tune, but his start only takes place when his brother Agesilao comes back from Europe and forms the Ferrazzano-Pollero team. It is interesting to mention its members: Salvador Grupillo and Nicolás Primiani (bandoneons), Agesilao Ferrazzano, Eugenio Nobile and Alfredo Mazzeo (violins), Nerón (cello), Olindo Sinibaldi (double bass), Julio Pollero (piano) and Salomón Nisguritzer (drums). This group had several changes in personnel and its career was not long.

«In 1928 he is member of the Anselmo Aieta’s orchestra which was playing at the Hindú cinema theater on 800 Lavalle Street. He joined the Julio De Caroa’s sextet only once on occasion of a ball. He then played cello solos in “La cumparsita” and “Chiqué”.

«That same year he was summoned by Pedro Maffia. It was an eight-year tenure in that aggregation, with some intervals. Then, at the beginning, he used a cello «corneta», later he returned to the traditional instrument.

«Thereafter he joined the group led by Osvaldo Fresedo and stayed seven years. From 1947 he performed in the Pedro Laurenz Orchestra and finally with Horacio Salgán. He also joined the staff orchestra of Radio Splendid conducted by Francisco Trópoli until he retired in 1963.

«Listening to the recordings of the Pedro Maffia Orchestra we can hear the magnificent sound of his instrument on the occasions he was required».

«As composer his work was neither frequent nor his compositions were fairly outstanding. According to the sheetmusic researched, we found: “Alondra”, with lyric by García Jiménez, whose dedication says: «To the jockey kid Lemita», was sung by Agustín Magaldi, but was not committed to record; “Buena yunta”, with his own lyrics when was first published in 1927. But in a later publication in 1929 there is another lyric signed by Luis Rubistein. It was premiered at the Hindú cinema theater by Los Siete Ases (The Seven Aces), the abovementioned group of Aieta, which included Juan D'Arienzo and Luis Visca. It was recorded as an instrumental by Osvaldo Fresedo in 1926. “Casa de muñecas”, lullaby with words by García Jiménez; “Chelín”, recorded by Fresedo in 1923 (in a later sheetmusic its title is “Aladino”); “El chinchorro [b]”, that Fresedo also recorded in 1923; “La china linda”, zamba with lyric by Celedonio Flores».

He as well wrote: “Mirtha”, dedicated to his daughter; “Ofrenda” and “Pobres violetas”, with words by Antonio Polito; “Olvídala”, with Oscar Roma and “Quimera juvenil”, with music and lyrics of his own.

«There are other titles but they are not important. As a curiousity, he was thought to be the author of “Una tarde” and “Cuando tú me quieras”, but both belong —and so are filed in the record— to his brother Agesilao, in collaboration with Julio Pollero».