Horacio Loriente

e would never succeed in placing Héctor Stamponi at the right place if we did not say that he is one of the fundamental names that appeared in the 40s, with an influence on the present, by means of the outstanding features of his remarkable personality.

A brilliant orchestrator, exquisite pianist and inspired composer. All these attributes place him at the level of the greats in the history of tango.

He was born in Campana, province of Buenos Aires, on December 24, 1916. He studied music with the maestro Juan Elhert. Precisely Elhert was the one who made him join a small ensemble he led, in which Enrique Francini, Armando Pontier, Cristóbal Herreros and the singer René Di Pietro were members as well. They moved to Buenos Aires appearing at the famous Juan Manuel's matineé, in 1936. Soon thereafter the artistic careers of these musicians followed different roads. Stamponi, Francini and Pontier put together a trio to accompany the artists on Radio Argentina.

Later, Héctor Stamponi joined the orchestra led by Federico Scorticati who played on radio Stentor, at the season 1937/38. This excellent group was lined-up as follows: on piano, Héctor Stamponi; bandoneons: Federico Scorticati, Domingo Triguero and Horacio Golino; violins: Víctor Braña, Emilio González and Ponzoni; double bass, Fava. It was the same ensemble that by then used to record under the name Orquesta Típica Victor.

Stamponi split with the orchestra of Federico Scorticati, and had a brief stay in Miguel Caló orchestra, but he did not make any recording. He devoted then to orchestration.

In 1943 he was pianist of the orchestra of Antonio Rodio, traveling soon to Central America as accompanist of the female singer Amanda Ledesma. In México (1944) he composed music for films and wrote two tangos with Ernesto Cortázar: “Somos dos” and “Cruz”.

When he returned to Buenos Aires he began to study with the maestro Alberto Ginastera (harmony) and Julián Bautista (composition) (1946) and put together an excellent tango orchestra under a recording contract with the Victor label.

Guillermo Arbós who would be later an outstanding member of the folk duo Arbós-Narváez, with Remberto Narváez, was his first singer. Later came Alberto Drames and Alfredo Arrocha. The cycle of recordings peaked in 1949, during which he appeared before the mikes on Radio Belgrano.

When he left this activity he continued as piano soloist, accompanist and arranger. The most important interpreters requested his collaboration. Mentioning them would result in a very long list, which we summarize pointing out Charlo in his celebrated appearances on Radio Splendid.

In 1953, as many years before did Roberto Firpo and Cayetano Puglisi, Enrique Delfino and Agesilao Ferrazzano, and Carlos Vicente Geroni Flores also with Ferrazzano, he appeared together with Enrique Mario Francini teaming up a duet of piano and violin. Sometimes the excellent cellist José Bragato joined them. Fortunately there are recordings of these great musicians.

Time later, in 1959, the outfit Los Violines De Oro Del Tango was created, led by Francini and Stamponi. The other members were the bass player Enrique Díaz and the violinists José Niesov, Adolfo Gendelman, Vicente Tagliacozzo, Simón Bajour, Luis Gutiérrez del Barrio, Hugo Baralis and Juan Ghirlanda. By that time he put together a big aggregation to be the orchestral background in a splendid LP of Edmundo Rivero, having as featured soloists the violinist Raúl Marcelli and the bandoneon of Mario Demarco, Kicho Díaz on double bass, Mario Lalli on viola and José Bragato on cello.

In 1960 he reunited another qualified group of musicians to accompany the singer Raúl Lavié, with them he recorded a great instrumental tango composed by Mario Demarco titled “Solfeando”.

In September 1962, he was known in Montevideo under the auspices of Gente De Tango, which we proudly joined together with Mario Arroyo, Horacio Ferrer, Jorge Seijo and Dr. Luis Adolfo Sierra, in a record with four numbers written by Adolfo Ábalos, “En pleno Nueva York”, “Al Buenos Aires de las 3 de la mañana”, “Para cantor y orquesta” and “Para recordar”, remarkable tangos played as wonderful piano solos by Héctor Stamponi.

One year later he composed the soundtrack for the film Carlos Gardel. Historia de un ídolo. He put together different ensembles for live shows and radio appearances, and he composed the music for Cátulo Castillo's play “Cielo de barrilete”.

In 1964 he was awarded the first prize at a tango contest with “El último café”, with lyrics by Cátulo Castillo, today still fashionable in the singers' repertory.

He is a name highly recognized in the artistic milieu of the River Plate. Recently he appeared with his piano in Spain together with the poet Horacio Ferrer with a remarkable success.

His career as composer starts with the tango “Inquietud” in collaboration with Enrique Francini and lyrics by Oscar Rubens, recorded by the Osvaldo Fresedo orchestra with Ricardo Ruiz on vocals, on July 12, 1939. His works recorded are over fifty. We can give you a hint of their quality by highlighting the level of his instrumental tangos: “Festejador” (1951), “Romance y tango” (1952), “Yunquitango” (1956) and several numbers of tangos with lyrics, of wide popular acclaim ordered according to their release: “Junto a tu corazón”, “Qué me van a hablar de amor”, “Triste comedia”, “Perdóname”, “Alguien”, “Quedémonos aquí”, “Yo quería ser feliz”, “Llamarada pasional”, “Ventanal”, “Canción de Ave María”.

The beauty and the originality of his waltzes is evidenced in some titles that, after “Bajo un cielo de estrellas” and “Pedacito de cielo” composed in collaboration with Enrique Francini are followed by “Flor de lino”, “Delantal”, “Un momento” and “Caricias perdidas”.

Héctor Luciano Stamponi, the beloved Chupita Stamponi, as affectionately his large group of friends named him, died in Buenos Aires on December 3, 1997.

Originally published in the book Ochenta notas de Tango. Perfiles Biográficos, Ediciones de La Plaza, Montevideo 1998. Under the auspices of the Academia de Tango del Uruguay.