by Juan Silbido
Pianist, violinist and composer
(August 13, 1884 - April 21, 1941)
e was born in the Buenos Aires locality of Las Flores and attended grammar school up to third grade. Thereafter he went on studying on his own and thanks to his musical inclination one uncle taught him elementary guitar lessons. That musical capability goes back to his early childhood, a time when he moved to the city of Buenos Aires.
As for his beginnings, Héctor and Luis Bates say: «Carnival forgives everything; during the carnival celebrations everything is allowed... even that a eight-year-old kid joined the orchestra of “Los Artesanos”, imitating on guitar the unsurpassable art of the masters of the period! So Agustín Bardi began his artistic career.»
Let us mention that “Los Artesanos de Barracas” was a famous carnival group in which Agustín was its pet.
Since an early age he helped with the household sustenance and worked in an enterprise located on Bolívar Street named “La Cargadora”. With the passing of time he would become its manager.
Besides these duties he studied violin and piano with the priest Spadavecchia when he was already a husband and parent.
When he was living in Barracas he began to get in touch with other musicians, appearing in different venues of the neighborhood.
According to the authors of the “La historia del tango”, he made his debut as violinist alongside Genaro Espósito “El Tano” (the Italian) (bandoneon) and José Camarano “El Tuerto” (the one-eyed guy)(guitar): «Then a trio much sought-after that began to spread his early compositions. “Vicentito” dates back to 1912, the first tango he composed and was written by Macchi, because Bardi did not write music yet.»
Finally he opted for the piano, an instrument that was more suitable for his preferences.
Later he appeared at the famous “Armenonville” and at the salon of the Centro de Almaceneros (Grocery Stores’ Center) on Luis Sáenz Peña Street, along with Samuel Castriota with whom, among others, performed for a long time there.
Since his youth he had a close friendship with the Greco brothers; and he had a sincere admiration for the author of “El jagüel”, Carlos Posadas.
We shall try to sketch with a few strokes the musical personality that was in Bardi’s inner self. In his soul melodies swarmed that, only after an exhaustive analysis, he committed to paper.
A rigorous critic of his own oeuvre, he would not surrender a bit as for the polish of it. Like a young player he daily sat a couple of hours at the piano; from his agile hands scales and fingering exercises came forth, absent-minded from all that was around him. He was delighted, due to their modulation, by the Waldteufel’s waltzes.
In his mature age a certain scholarly air emanated from his head. His spirit was far from being agreeable and communicative. Let us not be mistaken to think that he had resentments, nor even that he was a misanthrope. Life imposed on him an early and constant struggle, he had to face adverse occasions and his resources were meager. Laborious and determined, he watched over his family and even had time to satisfy his vocation. His musical oeuvre did not provide for him material comfort. Maybe he did not care about that because he was really a creator that with unyielding endurance wanted to learn and increase his wisdom.
We can define him as a musician who felt music even in his deeper fibers and a sincere idealist, whose premature demise impeded his firm purpose of devoting himself to compose a melodic repertoire. Would the man who created unforgettable pieces think his inspiration was exhausted for tango?
Not precisely, we rather think that the composer was mature to exhibit the wide and ductile musical resources that he possessed.
His son, the professor Carlos Bardi, a proficient musician that was teacher and headed his own conservatory, tells us about his father who guided him to the awakening of his vocation:
«On many occasions I heard my father playing on piano a tango, not yet committed to written music, that had sprang up in a rapture of spontaneous inspiration. My knowledge allowed me to appraise him technically. “I think it’s magnificent, Dad. Write it down! But better... if you want I’ll do it myself”. He did not wait to answer slowly: «Son, this morning while I was fixing the garden these bars were dancing in my head. The piano is close at hand, but you see... I don’t think it’s worthwhile». He lit a “Particulares”, one of his favorite cigarettes, and while he slowly smoked he played with only one finger on the keyboard.»
In 1935 he quit “La Cargadora”, switching to the firm “Pampa”, a house located in Barracas that sold piano rolls. Later a similar activity he carried out on his own, for the “Olimpo” label. According to his son he did not commit anything to record.
Agustín Bardi was among the founders of the society of authors, an entity in which he was appointed treasurer.
The same day of his death he had begun to write a tango that he did not finish. Maestro Julio De Caro finished this piece. This composition of accurate rhythm was entitled “Sus últimas notas” by his son Carlos. This number was premiered by the outfit led by Joaquín Do Reyes on LR1 Radio El Mundo.
Agustín Bardi died on April 21, 1941 of a heart attack. He was walking to his domicile located in Bernal but when he was at a short distance of his house he suddenly fell on the sidewalk. His remains are buried at the cemetery of Ezpeleta.
Below we shall mention some numbers penned by him. Among his tangos we have: “Vicentito”, “Lorenzo”, “Gallo ciego”, “C. T. V.”, “¡Qué noche!”, “La última cita”, “Nunca tuvo novio”, “El cuatrero”, “El rodeo”, “Chuzas”, “Barranca abajo”, “Cabecita negra”, “El abrojo”, “El pial”, “Adiós, pueblo”, “La racha”, “El paladín”, “Independiente Club”, “La guiñada”. “El baquiano”. “El taura”, “Se han sentado las carretas”, “Polvorita”, “Florcita”, “Pico blanco”, “Gente menuda”, “El buey solo”, “La última cita”, “Tiernamente”, “Tierrita”, “Rezagao”, “Misterio”, “Sin hilo en el carretel”, “Amén”, “Florentino”, “Golondrina”, “Cachada”, “No me escribas”, “Madre hay una sola”, “Triste queja”, “En su ley", “Acuérdate de mí”, “Las 12 menos 5”, “Se lo llevaron”, “A la sombra del recuerdo”, “Confidencia”, “Oiga compadre”. The waltzes “Flirteando”, “Nocturno” and the ranchera “Tené cuidao”.Published in book: "Evocación del Tango", by Juan Silbido, Buenos Aires, 1964.