Horacio Loriente

e was born in Buenos Aires in a house with upper floor located on Corrientes and Esmeralda. He began his studies of piano and violin at the age of five, and continued them with maestro Ernesto Drangosch, switched on a scholarship to Conservatorio Williams, and studied harmony with maestro Troiani.

At age eleven, he traveled to Rio de Janeiro to enter the Conservatorio Real de Lisboa, invited by its director, Juan Ramozcla. There he graduated as teacher of piano and violin. On his comeback to Buenos Aires in 1912 he played concerts in La Argentina and Príncipe George’s Hall. By that time he started his professional career as lead violin in the Company of Operettas Cittá di Milano directed by maestro Mancinelli.

In 1913, attracted to popular music and accompanied by Enrique Saborido he embarked on a great adventure: Paris. Flores, on piano, and the author of “Felicia”, as dancer, appeared to great success in the most distinguished salons, and later in Ambères, Brussels and London, among other cities. During wartime, in 1915, they returned to Buenos Aires on the Tubantia steamboat.

Flores gigged in Buenos Aires and worked in different localities of the interior of Argentina as a piano soloist and, a couple of years later, he performed as member of the small outfit of Arturo Bernstein, (El Alemán). Subsequently he joined for a short time the orchestra led by Agesilao Ferrazzano and, in 1919, he put together his first orchestra to make his debut at the Castilla Barroom —1200 Corrientes Street—. It was lined up by Geroni Flores (piano); Luis Petruccelli and Carlos Marcucci (bandoneons); Emilio Ferrer and Esteban Rovati (violins).

By that time Flores had written “Soñador”, his first tango which was not published, and later “El compromiso” and “La cautiva”. The latter with an original melody and high musical level is one of his best tangos.

During a break in his labor as orchestra leader he substituted for Enrique Delfino who had to travel to the United States with Osvaldo Fresedo and Tito Roccatagliatta. So he formed a duo with Agesilao Ferrazzano to play at the foyer of the Teatro de la Opera while on the stage of the theater the audience enjoyed the outstanding hit of Delfino’s “Milonguita (Esthercita)” sung by Raquel Meller accompanied by the Roberto Firpo’s orchestra. Ferrazzano and Flores was a number with exquisite quality evidenced in two renderings recorded on discs.

Flores later performed as soloist at the Confitería Colón —on Av. de Mayo and Bernardo de Irigoyen—, and in the mid- 1922 was hired by the Victor company to cut records. Flores on piano, Emilio Ferrer and Bernardo Germino (violins) Carlos Marcucci and Pascual Mazzeo (bandoneons); Salvador Ibáñez (trombone). At the end of its period of recordings the group had personnel changes, among them, in the violins, who were Arturo Bettoni (Uruguayan) and Fausto Frontera. Also in 1922 the Flores Orchestra played at the cabaret scene in the sainete (one-act farce) written by Samuel Linnig, Milonguita, at the Teatro Nacional. Here the actress Manolita Poli premiered his tango “Melenita de oro” on August 25 that year.

In 1924, he composed his first folk piece, the famous zamba “Por el camino”, with lyrics by Benjamín Tagle Lara. It was premiered by the Feria-Ítalo duo(Néstor Feria and Ítalo Goyeche) in Montevideo. In Spain it was known as “La canción del boyero” and was one of the pieces that contributed to the success of the Irusta-Fugazot-Demare trio.

By that time he was showcased at the Café Colón in the neighborhood of Flores, where he used to meet with his life-long friends: Fausto Frontera, Enrique Maciel, Julio César Sanders, César Vedani, Enrique Cadícamo and others who did not belong to the tango milieu.

In 1925 Manolita Poli premiered his tango "Campana de plata" in the sainete Puente Alsina —written by Samuel Linnig—, at the Teatro Nacional. It was recorded by the Roberto Firpo Orchestra and by the singer Ignacio Corsini.

Between 1924 and 1929, the Orquesta Típica Flores worked very hard at the cafés Germinal and Nacional, at the cabaret Follies Bergère and at the cinema theater San Martín de Flores.

On June 21, 1929, at the Teatro Nacional, the play La sangre de las guitarras written by Vicente Retta and Carlos Max Viale with music by Geroni Flores known as a «romance federal» was premiered. There the beautiful waltz “La virgen del perdón” was known.

The following year, fronting his own orchestra he made his last recordings for Victor: his tango “Melenita de oro” and Salvador Granata's “Muchachita callejera”. It was a sextet formed by Carlos V. G. Flores (piano); Antonio Rodio and Alberto Mercy (violins); Gabriel Clausi and Pascual Storti (bandoneons) and Luis Bernstein (contrabass).

The following year, he started a tour to appear in Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Canary Islands, and later in Africa and Europe. The traveling musicians headed by Geroni Flores were: Luis Moresco, Héctor Presas and César Ginzo (bandoneons); Alberto Mercy and Víctor Canfrange (violins); Alfredo Marino and Héctor Farrell (singers). In Europe Alberto Celenza, Alberto Romano, Joaquín Mora, Tito Landó and others joined the orchestra.

Unfortunately, Flores had many drawbacks. One of them that his agent fled with all the money to finance the activity of the group. The latter had to break up. This caused a moral breakdown to Flores who started a never-ending traveling in search of his recovery.

He first lived in Lisbon, devoted to teaching piano and violin playing. A person with a vast knowledge, he devoted his time to painting, and exhibited his canvases in Spain and Italy. He appeared as actor in a Portuguese movie, Pan nuestro, that he also musicalized.

In Spain he scratched a financial recovery but was persecuted during the civil war and had to be exiled in Lisbon.

There, in 1950, he met the lyricist Lito Bayardo —officially sent by SADAIC—. The latter gave him the opportunity to return to Buenos Aires but Flores did not accept. Flores handed him the manuscript of a tango -that would be posthumous- asking Bayardo to write the lyric. The number was “Flor de pena” and was recorded in Buenos Aires by the orchestra led by Eduardo Del Piano with Roberto Bayot on vocals.

Besides “La cautiva” and “Melenita de oro” we highlight: “A la luz del candil”, “Andate con la otra” and “Melancólica casita”, with Enrique Dizeo, “Sólo se quiere una vez”, with Claudio Frollo, “Alzame en tus brazos”, with Francisco García Jiménez, “Muchachos me voy”, with Agustín Magaldi and Pedro Noda, “Flor de trapo” with Luis Roldán and the folk song “Mientras lloran los zorzales”, with Benjamín Tagle Lara.

He died in Madrid in the house of the count of Arcentales where he lived. His body was buried at the cemetery of San Isidro.

We choose Julián Porteño's words, whose expressions we totaly share to end this portrayal:

«A wandering bohemian, Flores carried his musical talent throughout the world, spreading tangos and folk music in a personal subtle style. And if as composer he reached a remarkable prestige, as piano player he got such success that those who had the chance to hear him will never be able to forget him».

Published in the book Ochenta notas de tango. Perfiles biográficos, Ediciones de La Plaza, Montevideo 1998. Under the auspices of the Academia de Tango del Uruguay.