Francisco De Caro

Real name: De Caro, Francisco
Pianist and composer
(23 March 1898 - 31 July 1976)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Gabriel Clausi

hat I show below it is not a biography but an account of different features and events which I witnessed alongside a great friend of mine.

When several musicians, among them was Pedro Laurenz, split with the Julio De Caro's orchestra, the leader reorganized it and invited me to join the bandoneon section along with Carlos Marcucci, Félix Lipesker and Romualdo Marcucci. I had recently teamed up with the bandoneonist Pedro Maffia in his prestigious orchestra.

My inclusion in the outfit led by Julio De Caro, due to the work we shared, made possible for me to get closer to Francisco De Caro, a musician I had admired since I was a kid when I used to listen to him and Julio at the Select Lavalle around 1928 or 1929.

When I joined the orchestra in 1934, Francisco and I knew each other but we were not very close yet. Later we were. My friendship with him became closer and I loved him as if he were my brother. Besides the orchestra, we used to visit each other and we had a personal relationship.

I have already mentioned my admiration towards him and I know that Francisco had a similar feeling for my work. The great talent of Francisco De Caro was already evidenced in the late 20s. He was a quite modern pianist, with a very advanced musical line and, as composer, we need not to say a word. Back in 1927 or 1928 he released the tango “Sueño azul (Pelona)” which was something amazing. And in 1928, the tango “Flores negras”.

Francisco was ahead of his time and a sort of father for numerous pianists that followed that school. Examples: Horacio Salgán, Carlitos García and others, maybe with some differences, but who were nurtured in the mastery of Francisco De Caro. I think that until 1950 he carried out an outstanding career and paved the road for the newer generations of musicians.

He was a very humble simple man. Besides his musical instruction he used his intuition. A great creator and a notable pianist. Those are inborn capabilities.

We always had a great respect for each other. On an occasion a certain Mr. Moles told me: «I went to visit Francisco and during the conversation he told me: I only have one friend and he is Clausi, the 'Chula' who played bandoneon with us».

Some times when I was ill, he used to send me Dr. Iranzi, Julio De Caro's son-in-law, so Francisco had the chance to come to see me with the physician.

During my tenure with Pedro Maffia, around 1930 or 1931, we recorded Francisco's tango “Páginas muertas” with Pedro Lauga on vocals. It was when the De Caros traveled to France.

During a visit of the maestro Fritz Kreisler to perform at the Teatro Colón, the former wanted to hear our music. It took place at the Golden Room of the theater and there were several artists chosen, and for tango music the Julio De Caro Orchestra was the choice. When Francisco's tango “Ideal” was played with Pedro Lauga on vocals, Kreisler, through an interpreter, asked that it be played again because the piece had impressed him. The famous maestro approved of it with his applause and repeating: «Bravo!»

Here I have to mention a regrettable situation. At the time of an election held at SADAIC, I made a complaint because people not quite qualified casted a vote that equated to ten and Francisco De Caro was not even appearing. Luckily I was backed by García Jiménez and finally the notable pianist was given a vote. It was quite a sacrifice.

In 1966, I was told about a gig in Japan so I decided to put together a sextet. So I reunited Elvino Vardaro and Manlio Francia on violins; Francisco De Lorenzo on bass; Pedro Maffia and I on bandoneons and Francisco De Caro on piano. Vardarito was in Córdoba and enthusiastically told Maffia «I'm going for the Chula». Maffia was unable to believe that Francisco would join us. The group had no name. I had thought of one that would not emphasize any of our names according to the prestige already achieved by the boys. I met Raúl Iglesias, pianist with Tanturi and he suggested to me Los Seis de Oro. I thought it was all right and Maffia liked it. By that time, Pedrito Maffia got ill and you could see he was not well.

Anyhow, we went on with our plans. One day Maffia gave me his last tango, “Heliótropo” and told me: «take it, arrange it, it's a tango suitable for good solos...». He had a great esteem for my work. Soon later he died. After the burial I was going out of the cemetery accompanied by Ciriaco Ortiz and commented him about the sextet. I asked him if he would be interested in filling Maffia's place for the trip to Japan and he answered me «Chula!, I'll go even though I die on the plane».

But it could not be, Francisco De Caro wanted that the sextet be named De Caro-Clausi but I thought that it was not fair as I already said. I have to clear out that Francisco had no ill will towards the remainder of the musicians whom he had a great respect for. But in fact, he wanted to head a group at least once and, at the same time, to highlight my performance and my name. That made the project wither until I finally decided not go on with it.

When Francisco De Caro became ill, I used to visit him frequently at his place or at the Sanatorio Anchorena. His brother Julio used to call me to be informed about Francisco's health.

The day he died, I entered the room he was in and saw he was being helped with oxygen. I was there for some time and when I was leaving he told me, raising his arm for the last time: «My regards to your family, my regards to your family...»

In the latter times of his life he had a job and it consisted of giving information to the public at the Ministry of Labor located in the building of the Consejo Deliberante. It was a job he was given as a kind of financial support, probably due to his excellent merits as an artist. It was something he well deserved.

Among my dearest memories, there will always be the one for the beloved, talented and respected by most musicians without exception, Francisco De Caro.