Gerardo Metallo

Real name: Metallo, Gerardo
Pianist, leader and composer
(14 February 1871 - 14 July 1946)
Place of birth:
Calabritto (Avellino) Italy
Ricardo García Blaya

e was born in Calabritto, in the south of Italy, but his spent his life in Uruguay, precisely in the city of Montevideo, where he arrived in 1882 when he was only 11 years old.

Ángel María Metallo (1863-1914), his older brother, was also a musician. Our friend Bruno Cespi told us that Metallo had composed several waltzes —as “Noches orientales”, recorded by the Bazán-Firpo duo (1917)—, and some tangos that he owns sheet music copies: “El celoso” and “Mundo al revés”. His brother Ángel Miguel Metallo was also a musician and composed the tango “El refriao”.

In the excellent work Raíces Italianas en la Música del Uruguay (Italian Roots in the Music of Uruguay) (Colección Ensayos Históricos, Montevideo 2003), the researcher Julio César Huertas tells us: «In 1905 the Italian composer Giacomo Puccini arrived in Montevideo. Metallo deeply admired the former and was fortunate enough so as to meet him. After this rendezvous, Metallo decided to pay homage to the composer of La Bohème by founding the Liceo Musical Puccini Conservatory on July 1, 1906. It was located in the Paso Molino neighborhood until April 30, 1941».

According to what Alfredo Nicrosi (musician, chronicler in several publications, former art director of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay, former president of the SODRE), wrote in his story entitled Tres Árboles, San Lorenzo, el Dulce de Leche y Gardel: «For 30 years he conducted several music bands in the Army. In the Archives of Musicology of the Lauro Ayestarán National Historical Museum (Romantic Museum), a large number of sheet-music copies of the popular genre can be found: marches, mazurkas, polkas, waltzes and tangos».

Out of his oeuvre the valses criollos stand out: “Recordándote [b]”, recorded for the first time by the Rondalla del Gaucho Relámpago (ERA, matrix 61.452, 1912) and the most popular rendition, acoording to Enrique Binda, by Juan Maglio (Columbia T 540, matrix 56.633, 1912); “Tus ojos me embelesan” which was committed to record by many orchestras; “A ti”, recorded by Adolfo Pérez Pocholo (1935) and by Juan de Dios Filiberto (1959); “Lejos del bien amado”, also cut by Pocholo twice (1934 and 1956). He also composed: “Marte” (his first work), “Vivo para amarte”, “Sueños del corazón”, “Dulces recuerdos” and “Esperándote [b]”, among others.

Among the tangos, the most important and well known is “El otario”, recorded, according to Oscar Zucchi, in 1910 by the Quinteto Garrote, Vicente Greco (Columbia Record, disc T-220, matrix 55411); on the other side of the record there is another tango by Metallo: “La mascota”. Furthermore, we have the interesting recordings of the Cuarteto Los Ases and the Quinteto Pirincho, both in 1941 and the recording by the Alfredo De Angelis Orchestra in 1950. He also composed: “El taura [b]”, “El chingolo”, “Qué hacés que no te casás”, “Estate quieto”, “Bajo el alero”. Time later, Juan Velich wrote lyrics for many of his compositions.

He was as well one of the founding members of the Asociación General de Autores del Uruguay (General Association of Authors) (1930).

Going back to Alfredo Nicrosi’s story: «As for the march “Tres Árboles”: the piano sheet music (Edition by Luis Esteve. Sarandí 361: Pianos and music store), says: «Grand Military March” opus 35, dedicated to my friends Adolfo and Miguel Garce».

«Its name evokes the battle that took place on March 17, 1897 at the Paso Hondo (Deep Pass) of the Tres Árboles (Three Trees) stream, county of Río Negro, where the revolutionary army led by Colonel Diego Lamas defeated the government forces. This march is part of the repertoire of the Argentine Army since the beginning of the twentieth century. It is not a march of the Uruguayan army because with the text written by Julio Casas Araujo (1895-1974) it became an emblem of the Partido Nacional.

«Furthermore, he composed the pasodoble “Curro Cúchares” that was also part of the repertoire of the Argentine Army but now it is no longer played and, in fact, it is completely forgotten».