Néstor Pinsón
| Ricardo García Blaya

e is undoubtedly a successful artist, and this was never at issue. His art easily traveled through all the existing broadcasting media: records, radio, theater, television and even the seventh art, cinema.

His popularity spread throughout the nation and abroad, he always had his fans. An audience that was looking for a show with music-hall features. A large and strident orchestra, with singers that sang with all their energy, dancers, lighting effects, some choir and its leader, so hyperkinetic, at times with his two hands on the keyboard, now playing with one and conducting with the other, now at a distance from the instrument and using both hands to conduct the orchestra. All this done for the sake of show business.

But paradoxically, this popular and successful formula of Mariano Mores, used throughout his long career, was at the same time, the reason why many tango connoisseurs did not accept him and criticized him because of his style and vedettism.

In fact, the tango lover who admired Aníbal Troilo, Osvaldo Pugliese, Osvaldo Fresedo or even Juan D'Arienzo, never accepted that style, and not even discussed it. It was a different thing. You cannot listen to Mores with unction, Mores is not for dancing, nobody cared much about his singers, it was, in fact, an orchestra for theater and television. An orchestra for show business.

What nobody can deny to this musician is his talent as composer. As someone once said: «Melody is in his head.»

He had as well inspiration and intelligence to set music to the lyrics of the greatest indisputable poets of tango.

Although he is not widely recognized, he is a good pianist, but once more his style betrays him and is against him; his gestures and grimaces, when playing his instrument, impair his dignity.

Anyhow, he displays an artistic pattern, with which fate blesses just a few, in which there is a blend of natural courage, pleasantness, commercial wit and talent. Nowadays he is recognized as a popular idol that represents an essential part of tango history.

«Back in 1936, I was fourteen, and once I was traveling on a streetcar along Corrientes Street. In front of the Germinal café there was a bar named Vicente, on whose door there was a notice saying that a pianist that played international music, sight-read and as well transposed was wanted. So I went, there was an audition and they hired me for three pesos and fifty cents a day. Shortly afterwards I went to study to the academy that was directed by Luis Rubistein; I became a friend of his. Major singers and many others who were starting their careers went there to vocalize. I came to know Rodolfo Sciammarella, who asked me to transcribe to music staff the notes that came to his mind. He had a good ear, he was a good lyricist, but he was unable to write music. Out of this relationship “Salud, dinero y amor” was born, it originally was a zamba and I reshaped it into a waltz. It was a boom.»

Mores goes on telling us that he asked Luis Rubistein for a lyric to which he would add music: « “Gitana” was born, a song with Spanish tinge, that I never played, but Tito Schipa and the Gómez-Vila duo sang. At that time Paraguayan music was fashionable after the success of “India”, a guarania introduced by Samuel Aguayo. Because of that I composed “Flor de hastío”, a song which afterwards I had no more news about until, years later, when I was in Asunción (capital of Paraguay), I knew it was a boom, but people thought it was anonymous, of public domain.»

Soon thereafter, the academy director appointed him teacher and while working as such he got to know Margot and Mirna Moragues, and he fell in love with the latter. Then the young teacher joined their duet, Las Hermanas Mores, then becoming the Trío Mores. They performed on radio and at different venues, until the pianist joined the orchestra of the famous Francisco Canaro.

About that time he tells us: «Some time before, I had written some musical arrangements for the Japanese, Japanese popular music with a tango beat. They paid me five thousand dollars, a fortune. I bought seven suits of the best quality, seven shirts and seven of everything. So, turned into a dandy, I got off the streetcar at the corner of Callao and Corrientes streets, and along the latter, I walked up to Florida Street, on one side of the street and came back along the other side, showing my clothes. People started to wonder: “Who is this high-life guy?”. One day Ivo Pelay saw me, then he told me: “You really are a good publicist for your image. Don't ever change”.»

Canaro was like a father for him. Rodolfo Sciammarella introduced him to Ivo Pelay, a partner of this director. Mores made his debut in Canaro's aggregation in 1939 at the Teatro Nacional located on Corrientes Street and quit in 1948.

In collaboration with Luis Rubistein he released the tango “No quiero” in 1938, and the following year his first major hit: “Cuartito azul”, about that he tells us: «... in fact, it was an arrangement for “La cumparsita”, an introduction, but when Mario Battistella heard it he told me that a tango was there. It bears that title for a little room that I rented on 2410 Serrano Street (neighborhood of Palermo), to live near my girlfriend. One day I had the idea to paint it and for that I had to dissolve tablets of a whitewasher for clothes that were sold in small blue cubes. The lyric was written after the music by Battistela. Nearly always I composed like that. First the music, but there were exceptions.»

«My first contribution for the movies was the music for Senderos de fe, with Amanda Ledesma, Juan Carlos Thorry and Pedro Maratea. It was premiered on October 26, 1938, ... it did not work, and the numbers I composed I filed them as forgettable.»

In the year 1939, he composed the music for the film Corrientes calle de ensueño in which he was also starred as actor. As well in La doctora quiere tangos, with the actress Mirta Legrand, that same year. And finally in La voz de mi ciudad, with Diana Maggi, in 1953.

«My most popular tango is “Adiós pampa mía”, a homage to the folklore of the plains, a tango with airs of pericón and estilo. My greatest disappointment was “Por qué la quise tanto”, because I wanted Hugo Del Carril to premiere it but it was not possible. Later it was a hit by Miguel Montero

According to our point of view, the tangos he composed with Enrique Santos Discépolo are the best of his music: “Cafetín de Buenos Aires” and “Uno”. «When I first met Enrique he told me: -Boy, I do not write music any more, you now have to do it. Before he handed me the lyrics for “Uno” I had to wait for three years, I had nearly forgotten about it.»

«Manzi was a great poet, he was a very close friend of Troilo's and he worked with him. When he was already ill I went to visit him and he was in bed. He told me: “I almost did nothing with you! I am about to die and I won't have that satisfaction. I have no comfort”. Then I began to hum for him the music I had, a kind of tango-malambo, and he immediately started to say: -La voz... triste y sentida, de tu canción... una lágrima tuya...”, so a new hit was born: “Una lágrima tuya”.»

Mariano Mores was born in the neighborhood of San Telmo. He has over 300 recordings. His first singer was his brother Enrique, under the artistic name Lucero. Many vocalists passed through the ranks of his orchestra: the Uruguayan Mario Ponce de León, Aldo Campoamor, Carlos Acuña, Miguel Montero, Hugo Marcel and his son Nito Mores, who died in 1984.

Mariano Mores is an inspired composer of authentic tango classics, known by either their quality or their commercial success. To the abovementioned “Cuartito azul”, “Uno”, “Por qué la quise tango”, “Una lágrima tuya”, “Cafetín de Buenos Aires” and “Adiós pampa mía”, we add “Taquito militar”, “A quién le puede importar?”, “Sin palabras”, “El firulete”, “Cada vez que me recuerdes”, “Cristal”, “Tu piel de jazmín”, “Gricel”, “En esta tarde gris” and many others more.