Horacio Ferrer

n innate faculty for musical invention and a delicate creative temper identified, from the very beginning, the characteristics of his oeuvre.

Involved, by reasons of intimate aesthetic affinity with the Romantic school that was born with the tangos written by Cobián and Delfino, he shared with the latter and with Francisco De Caro, Carlos Vicente Geroni Flores, and with Julio De Caro’s style, when he composed pieces like “Copacabana (Nido de amor)”, and with the Agustín Bardi of “Nunca tuvo novio”, a front line of romantic songs of first class released between 1915 and 1935, a period of height of this formal and moody variety of tango.

Mañanitas de Montmartre”, “Musett”, “Capricho de amor”, “Dandy”, “Mi musa campera”, his oeuvre composed between 1926 y 1932, characterized with its overt lyricism and its melodic richness, that initial time of his output. Later, in a musical hyerarchy parallel to that of Eduardo Pereyra, Joaquín Mora and Aníbal Troilo —among others— he released “Yo era un corazón” and a series of songs with lyrics by Homero Manzi: “Telón”, “Hermana”, “Mañana zarpa un barco”, “Malena”, “Solamente ella”, “Tal vez será mi alcohol” that inspired and promoted the selected repertoire that shaped the tango of the forties.

With a similar quality of imagination and development, he ventured into the composition of instrumentals with “Punto muerto”, “Cascarita” and “Sentimiento tanguero”.

A player of unmistakable sound and phrasing, he has been an authentic speaker with his piano. An intimate mood playing which is exactly exemplified by his renditions of “Mañana zarpa un barco”, “La casita de mis viejos”, “Mi noche triste”, “Dandy”, “Mañanitas de Montmartre”, recorded in 1952 for Columbia records; and “La calle sin sueño”, “Gricel”, “Nunca tuvo novio” and “Divina”, among the ones cut for Disc Jockey in 1968.

Either his instrumental and vocal charts have the trademark of his fine personality as artist or the groups he led in renderings so satisfying as “Florcita” (Odeon records, 1945), “Sentimiento tanguero” (T.K.discs, 1956) and “Milonguero viejo (Fresedo)”, (Artfono, 1956), among the orchestra numbers; “No te apures carablanca” (with Juan Carlos Miranda on vocals), “El pescante”, “En un rincón”, “Qué solo estoy”, “Pena de amor” (all with Raúl Berón, Odeon, 1943 1944) and “Dónde” (with Armando Garrido, Artfono, 1956).

He was born in Buenos Aires. His father was the violinist Domingo Demare. Like his brother Lucas (later movie director with an outstanding career) that devoted himself to bandoneon, he devoted to piano. He studied the technical disciplines of the instrument with Vicente Scaramuzza.

In his beginnings as professional he joined the orchestra fronted by the bandoneonist Nicolás Verona. In 1926 Francisco Canaro —then playing in France and about to leave for New York, wanted to leave a group under his name in Paris—, so he summoned him to join it at the Florida dancehall. Thereafter, on recommendation of the composer of “La tablada”, he teamed up with the singers Agustín Irusta and Roberto Fugazot to form the well-known Irusta Fugazot Demare trio that made its debut at the Teatro Maravillas of Madrid.

With his trio partners he was starred in some Spanish films —Boliche, among them—, so cutting a series of recordings for Victor in Barcelona. Among them we highlight “Capricho de Amor”, played by him on piano and Sam Reznik on violin, and “Mi musa campera”, recorded by an orchestra conducted by him and with Agustín Irusta on vocals.

After two long and successful tours of the countries of Central and South America and a second European season he definitively returned to Buenos Aires in 1936. Like his brother Lucas —each one in his own field— he worked in the Argentine movies. His musical work was repeatedly awarded by the Academia de Artes y Ciencias Cinematográficas and by the Municipalidad de Buenos Aires. He alternated this task with a brief re-appearance of his trio in Buenos Aires —that performed with Canaro in the comedy Mal de amores— and with some new collaborations with the composer of “El pollito” when the latter had two pianos in his orchestra (the regular player was Luis Riccardi). But in 1938 he preferred to put together his own, later teaming up his name with Elvino Vardaro’s to appear on Radio Belgrano both of them, with Alfredo Calabró as lead bandoneon and Juan Carlos Miranda as vocalist.

As from 1939, after he split with Vardaro, he continued his career as bandleader successfully and has recorded since “La racha” and “Telón” sixty-two numbers for Odeon with Miranda, Raúl Berón and Horacio Quintana on vocals. After 1950 he recorded with his orchestra for Columbia, for T.K. and for Artfono, then with the vocalists Héctor Alvarado and Armando Garrido.

With his orchestra he appeared in the movie Sangre y acero (1955). In later years the most important things of his career were linked to his outstanding work as soloist —on occasions shared with Ciriaco Ortiz or with Máximo Mori— in Buenos Aires night clubs. And in his own venue, the Tanguería de Lucio, on Cangallo Street. In 1969 it moved to San Telmo, on Balcarce and Giuffra, now named Malena al Sur.

Excerpted from Libro del tango, by Horacio Ferrer, editorial Antonio Tersol, 1980, Spain.