Guillermo Thorp

aughter of Román de Iturriaga y López, journalist, and Laurentina Arroyo, housewife, she was born in Buenos Aires, in the neighborhood of Palermo. She was the youngest of 18 children. Several of them were fond of music and tango. She married Pedro Vicente Thorp in March 1933 and had a son.

Her older bothers played piano and guitar. That familiar environment imbued with art and, especially, with music, made her a tango fan since an early age and her dream of meeting Carlos Gardel came true thanks to one of her brothers, Aníbal —who used to be in touch with El Zorzal— and was very close to her.

So, when she was only 21 years old, she composed the tango piece “La eterna milonga [b]” which was recorded by the orchestra fronted by maestro Roberto Firpo, Odeon record 8892-B, matrix 4712, on October 18, 1929. The number was presented at the contests organized by Max Glücksmann and reached a memorable fifth position.

Furthermore, with Aníbal she composed “El rasgueo”, a tango that in another contest sponsored by the Glücksmann house was awarded the first prize in renditions without vocals. A diploma signed by no less than Francisco Canaro, Francisco Lomuto, Max Glücksmann and Leopoldo Marechal certified that award.

El rasgueo” was recorded by Canaro, Odeon disc 4470-A matrix 3095/1, on September 3, 1928. (Neither the disc label nor the discographies researched mention Dora).

Other pieces by Aníbal de Iturriaga which were committed to disc by the Pirincho’s orchestra were:

“El titán” (tango), Odeon 4360, matrix 1420, on September 29, 1927.

“Qué le importa” (tango), Odeon no/nº, matrix 3249, September 25, 1928. According to Christoph Lanner’s in his Canaro discography, in the Disco Nacional advertisement on Caras y Caretas Nº 1589, March 16,1929 it wrongly appears: "D. Iturriaga" (Dora Iturriaga). Recorded again on Odeon record 4511-A, matrix 3249/3, on December 3, 1928.

“Reír para llorar” (vals criollo co-written with Pedro A. Arroyo and lyrics by Luis De Biase), with vocal refrain by Charlo, Odeon 4707-B, matrix 6440/1, on November 28, 1930. Recorded again by Canaro with Charlo, on this occasion as soloist, Odeon 16262-B, matrix 6479, on December 4, 1930.

Dora used to say that Aníbal was a generous person who had given some tangos as gifts to his nephew Enrique Lorenz, son of his sister Haydée. I only found one under his name, “Yo también era dichoso”, recorded by Canaro on September 12, 1927, Odeon 4355-B, matrix 1301.

She also boasted about being highly praised as tango dancer but she did not mention the venues she used to frequent. Her favorite singers were Carlos Gardel and Ignacio Corsini. She was also charmed by Azucena Maizani —La Ñata Gaucha— whom she was in touch with. She was a woman of the milieu who made friends with many great artists of her time, among them, Francisco Canaro, Roberto Firpo and Julio De Caro.

Her brother Aníbal encouraged her to play piano and thanks to that several pieces sprang up that, I think, were recorded but I have not found information about it, not even their titles.

The quite good relationship of her brothers with Gardel reached such level that the singer promised them he would record one of their tangos but fate closed that door with the painful tragedy of Medellín. Dora, faithful follower of El Zorzal, used to bring flowers to his vault in La Chacarita every month for many years, nearly always accompanied by her son.

Her devotion to her family, after her mother’s death and a few days after her brother Aníbal passed away, on September 30, 1943, made her quit her show business career early. But from time to time, on the piano owned by her sister Lía, she was showcased playing melodic songs. One of her other sisters, Zulema, played guitar.

Among her favorite orchestras we can mention the ones led by Juan D'Arienzo, Francisco Lomuto, Francisco Canaro, Roberto Firpo, Osvaldo Fresedo and Aníbal Troilo.

A singer that was admired by her was Julio Sosa, likewise Alberto Castillo, Susy Leiva, Alberto Morán and Alberto Marino.

After 1990 her health began to decline and, six years later, accompanied by her family, she passed away on a winter day in her beloved Buenos Aires at age 89. I’m afraid that with the excuse of talking about Dorita, this portrayal has become a family chronicle.

Director’s Note: It is quite likely that Dora de Iturriaga had contributed to his brother Aníbal’s oeuvre, because they were very close, but we cannot be sure. Anyhow her name neither appears on the record labels nor in the Canaro discographies. Probably, she composed other numbers but she is the history of tango because of her piece “La eterna milonga [b]”, a danceable tango with a beautiful melody which we know through the nice rendering of the Roberto Firpo orchestra.