Daniel Pedercini

clock, in order to work well, must have its pieces positioned in the corresponding place and well oiled. Tango is like it, a big machine made by authors, composers, orchestra leaders, singers and musicians. Through history, we have verified that this big clock worked well and works because there were and there are big pieces that were and are placed in the right position and are very well synchronized. One of them, and a fundamental one, is the great violinist Alberto del Bagno.

Son of Antonio del Bagno and Luisa Caporilli, he was born at the locality of Santos Lugares (province of Buenos Aires). But before he was one year old his family moved to a house of the porteño neighborhood of Villa del Parque. There was there a branch of the Conservatorio Musical Williams where his father was the director and where Alberto, at age nine, began to study violin playing.

Don Antonio was also violinist and, in tango groups, he played, among others, with Juan Maglio (Pacho) and Paquita Bernardo at the Café La Paloma. Furthermore, he also played at private parties with his violin and a pianist and he used to go with little Alberto, then eleven, so that he would take part at those events.

Here I want to tell you about the kinship between Alberto del Bagno and the virtuoso double bass player, Rafael del Bagno. Alberto and Rafael were cousins, their fathers were brothers but they scarcely had any contact. Rafael came to know Alberto when the latter was member of the José Pascual’s aggregation. Later, after the passing of time, they would meet while working in a large number of orchestras, among them, the ones of Aníbal Troilo, Francini-Pontier and Joaquín Do Reyes.

Alberto’s professional beginnings were in the orchestra led by Lucio Demare at the time when the vocalist was Juan Carlos Miranda. In 1940 he joined the aggregation fronted by José Pascual which was known as Los Príncipes del Tango. That year he was also summoned by several jazz orchestras.

Firstly it was the Pasadena Jazz, the following year —in 1941—, Los Trovadores de América and the Brighton Jazz led by Elvino Vardaro. By that time his friend, until then unknown, Enrique aka El Mono Villegas began to play jazz.

Returning to the Elvino Vardaro’s Brighton Jazz, the leader dismembered the aggregation and put together a tango orchestra in which he included Alberto. Thereafter, in 1942, we will find him playing in the Joaquín do Reyes Orchestra.

One year later he switched to the aggregation fronted by Ángel D'Agostino until 1945, switching later to the one led by Mario Maurano. In 1946 he was summoned to join the Francini–Pontier orchestra in which he played until the team broke up in 1955. He continued with Armando Pontier in the new lineup of the bandoneonist for the following twenty-five years.

Furthermore, he was member of the first string group of Astor Piazzolla in 1956. While he was member of the Armando Pontier orchestra he also played as violin soloist in other aggregations like the ones led by: Leopoldo Federico, Eduardo Del Piano, Alberto Di Paulo, Jorge Dragone, the Horacio Salgán septet, Alberto Caracciolo and the Sexteto Mayor.

He appeared, alongside Pedro Laurenz, in the well-remembered Carpa del Pueblo (The People’s Tent), organized by Hugo Del Carril. He joined the staff orchestra of Radio Splendid that accompanied great singers: Alfonso Ortiz Tirado, Pedro Vargas and Tito Rodríguez.

As player in violin sections, he was in the orchestras of: Osvaldo Fresedo, José Basso, Florindo Sassone, Miguel Caló, Alfredo De Angelis, Enrique Rodríguez, Carlos Figari, Raul Garello, Baffa-Berlingieri, José Colángelo and the string group of Antonio Agri.

With Aníbal Troilo, he joined his aggregation for recordings for the RCA-Victor and at the unforgettable appearance of El Gordo at the Teatro Colón in 1972.

He was member of the staff orchestra of Channel 9 between 1965 and 1985 and also appeared in the television program Grandes Valores del Tango.

He even recorded with new wave groups like Pintura Fresca and also with popular singers like Piero and Sandro and he as well accompanied the tenor singer Plácido Domingo.

In 1980 he appeared as founding member of the Orquesta del Tango de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires which was conducted by Carlos García and Raúl Garello.

Alberto del Bagno had another passion: classical music. In his youth he played several concertos, joined the Orquesta Argentina de Música de Cámara (Argentine Orchestra of Chamber Msic), the Quartet of the Municipal Conservatory and the Orquesta Estable del Teatro Colón (Staff Orchestra of the Teatro Colón).

He also played in seasons of zarzuelas at the Teatro Avenida. It is worthwhile mentioning that in 1950 he took Bach pieces originally written for harpsichord and violin and transcribed them for bandoneon and violin. He recorded them with his intimate friend, the bandoneonist Fernando Tell.

On January 13, 1985 he had a stroke which paralyzed half of his body for nearly eight years.

Alberto del Bagno was a man that devoted his life to what he loved most: music. But the most important thing is that he was a man of principle, those that cannot be found so easily. Those who were acquainted with him shall be able to corroborate this. This is my humble memory for an unavoidable tango man.