Néstor Pinsón

hen critcs are talking about composers, generally, the most outstanding names, and even those of secondary importance, are mentioned but we see that always Rodolfo Sciammarella is omitted. Those who behave like that maybe have their reasons although it is possible, if we search for strictly musical reasons, that they regard him as a commercial musician fond of easy music, a maker of simple melodies. They may also think that his output was not limited exclusively to tango, that he approached other music genres and, what is worse, his numerous output of jingles for commercials. Also there may be political reasons because of his ideas and his relationship with Peronism.

Furthermore it is possible, that the fact of having achieved so many hits —fruit of his extraordinary facility for composition, his permanent inventiness— and consequently, the royalties obtained by his oeuvre, had generated an unconscious envy among colleagues and researchers.

His most popular numbers are characterized by their pleasant melodies that the public immediately adopted, learning them by heart through whistlings and songs in the streets and at work.

In his family everybody played a musical instrument. He chose piano. They say that his professional career started in 1926 as pianist and singer in the beginnings of radio. And that the same year he composed a tango, commissioning its lyrics to a friend journalist, José María Caffaro Rossi who worked at the newspaper La Razón. But the director of the said daily paper did not like to have a tango fan in his staff and told him he had to choose either his job or tango. José María continued in the paper but he wrote the lyrics requested. Sciammarella released it with the title “No te engañes corazón” that soon Ignacio Corsini premiered at a theater and later committed to record in November that same year. By the mid- 1928 Gardel also recorded it. Furthermore El Zorzal recorded his pieces: “Por qué me das dique” with lyrics by Luis Alonso, “Che Bartolo”, “Dos en uno” and “Vieja recova”, both three with lyrics by Enrique Cadícamo.

He composed the music for many musicals and revues, for around eighty films, beginning with Dancing in 1933 in which Amanda Ledesma sings “No quiero verte más”. In the famous movie ¡Tango!, Libertad Lamarque sings his “Andate” with lyrics by Roberto Fontaina in collaboration with Sciammarella himself and later, in Ayudame a vivir, the tango “Arrepentido”. Thereafter he composed for her all the numbers of the movie Besos brujos.

Azucena Maizani included in her songbook his numbers: “Virgencita de arrabal”, “Coperita posta” and “Llevatelo todo”. Agustín Magaldi premiered “No quiero verte llorar” where it is indicated that he was the author of the lyrics and Magaldi, the music composer. Charlo recorded eight of his pieces, among which “Parece mentira” and the waltz that became a boom “Salud dinero y amor” stand out.

Francisco Lomuto recorded twenty-one of his numbers, among which we can name “Qué fácil es decir”, “De igual a igual” and a waltz made popular through a film with the same title: “Isabelita”.

Very few were the singers soloists and the orchestras that had not included some of his pieces in their repertoires. The Orquesta Típica Victor with “Adiós Buenos Aires”, with lyrics by Leopoldo Torres Ríos, and four more numbers. Ángel Vargas performed three and Juan D'Arienzo, several ones. And even Julio De Caro included the waltz “Demasiado tarde” and the tango tune “Tené cuidado”.

Another striking hit that through a wide diffusion the whole country learnt was when, by 1950, Alberto Castillo began to shout the march “Por cuatro días locos

Also his are classics of the genre such as: “Hacelo por la vieja”, “Chatita color celeste” or others like: “Dime mi amor”, “Tres recuerdos”, “Total para que”, etc. It is interesting to clear out that the tango piece “Llevatelo todo”, in which he is credited as author of the lyrics, he is not the author, according to his own confession. It was a gift by Luis Alonso in return for some favors.

He adhered to Peronism since its beginnings and he was author, among other party songs seldom aired, of the march “Evita capitana” recorded by Nelly Omar and Juanita Larrauri in non comercial releases. When the president Perón was overthrown in 1955 he was chased, like other Peronists of the show business milieu, by the new authorities to establish a new order, the order of the military men, saviours of the nation. But they arrived late, he had already left for his exile in Mexico, first, and later in Spain.

Abroad he continued with his advertising activity and frequently visited in Spain the residence of General Perón, who also was exiled in Madrid in the neighborhood Puerta de Hierro.

When he came back to Argentina soon he was noted for his new labor, but now everything was not the same, tango was very seldom heard and Buenos Aires had changed a lot. I found him active and with vitality in his way of walking when I met him by chance along Corrientes avenue or Callao. He was then seventy-one but life ought to have allowed him a little more time.