Gaspar Astarita

any reasons coincide so as to consider Horacio Sanguinetti as one of the pens that helped to lend prestige to tango literature, especially during the period, deservedly famous, which has remained known in the history of the genre as The Forties.

Horacio Sanguinetti belonged to that qualified and unforgettable generation of musicians, composers, authors and interpreters. By sensitivity, by temper and by generational activity, he easily transcended through an abundant output -rich and notorious-, even though with ups and downs, is regarded and consecrated in a large number, by titles that had overcome oblivion with ease.

The fact that during that decade there was impossible to find any outstanding orchestra that had not recorded some of his pieces is an undeniable evidence of the level and importance for tango of this creative labor. All them, from Troilo to D'Arienzo, from Di Sarli to D'Agostino, from Caló to De Angelis, from Pugliese to Biagi, including Maderna, De Caro, Demare, Rodio, all them, included the most remarkable numbers of this author. And such impact they produced, that many of those compositions were simultaneously committed to record, in the interpretations of two or more outfits.

He threw his inspiration into popular song by means of a language always neat and polished, in which, together with not few authentically poetic expressions, he made prevail his great skill as lyricist. That is to say, that he blended art with craftsmanship. He generally approached the major subject-matter in tango: love, which he handled with romantic finesse in many different situations.

It is worth-noting that in his prolific output there are other recurrent themes. The sea, for example, would be one: “Tristeza marina”, “El barco María”, “Con ella en el mar”, “Novia del mar”, etc. Also the Paris theme, appeared time and again in many of his tangos: “Viviane de París”, “Bohardilla”, “Ivón”, “Flor de lis”, “Arlette”, “La canción de mi tristeza”, etc. He introduced as well the Oriental flavor in tango: “Gitana rusa”, “Oriente”, “En el Volga yo te espero”, etc. The Afro-drum oriented song was often handled by Sanguinetti: “Alhucema”, “Liula la misteriosa”, “María Morena”, “El barrio del tambor”, “Macumba”, “Corazón de tambor”. The themes alien to the main bulk of his output were those related to country life and lunfardo idioms.

As we have already said, his sustained creative flood produced numerous titles that were hits at the time of their release and which still are in vogue for broadcasting, what allowed new generations of tango fans to get acquainted with them, to enjoy them and to approve of them.

However, and at the time of deciding in favor of some of his pieces, where his style, his technique and his craft are best defined, he have to incline ourselves towards “Nada”, “Los despojos”, “Moneda de cobre”, “Tristeza marina” and “Arlette”.

Very little do we know about Horacio Sanguinetti’s life. I have traced very hard-to-find descendants. Including those who are benefited by his copyright originally belonging to the author in SADAIC, but they nothing informed me about it. My search after a photograph, at least just one, has been to no avail.

As for his lyrics, I want to clear out that when we talk of dates of release of his numbers, we will refer to the year of recording of each of them. It is possible that some of those works may have been composed much earlier.

Towards 1939 the name of Horacio Sanguinetti appears in a quite beautiful mountain song recorded by Ignacio Corsini, “Morocha triste”, with music by the guitarist Enrique Maciel:

despacio la caravana,
burritos bajan del cerro,
detrás va la provinciana
acompañada 'e su perro.

Slowly the caravan moves, so still
donkeys are comin’ down the hill,
with her dog, a gal from the province goes behind.

This isolated appearance is followed by a milonga in 1940, composed in collaboration with Edgardo Donato, “Porteña linda” and, in 1942, one of his early hits: “Gitana rusa”, with music by Juan Sánchez Gorio. (See: The Jewish Gypsy)

In 1943 his name appeared with strength, quantity and quality in the titles of his output. Almost without interruption he released: “Tristeza marina”, “Moneda de Cobre”, “Arlette”, “El barco María”, “Corazón de carbón”, “Palomita mía”, “El barrio del tambor” and “Aquellos besos”.

The year 1944 will mean the peak in his work and his successful boom. His best work: “Nada”, or perhaps the one most widely broadcast, is premiered. It will be recorded a great number of times in the future. And without interruption came: “Oriente”, “Bohardilla”, “Alhucema”, “Rosa celeste”, “Magnolia triste”, “Flor de lis”, “El lecherito”, “La gran aldea”, “Trotamundos”, “En el fondo del mar”.

The following year the hits continue: “Discos de Gardel”, “Ivón”, “Paloma”, “Zapatos”, “Mis amores de ayer”, “Mañana no estarás”, “Nieve de amor”, “Hoy te quiero mucho más”. In 1946 “Viviane de París”, “Con ella en el mar”, “Noche de tangos”, “Historia de amor”, “Café” and “La canción de mi tristeza” were recorded.

In 1947 his memorable: “Los despojos” appeared and also “Amiga”, “Era en otro Buenos Aires” and the milonga “Pueblera” were released. In 1948 “Milonga para Gardel” and later “Barro”, “Bailarina de tango”, “Viejo cochero” and the waltz “Esmeralda”.

The pieces above mentioned represent the most noted numbers of his enormous output. He died in Montevideo, Uruguay, on December 19, 1957.

Excerpted from the Tango y Lunfardo magazine, Chivilcoy.