Volcán Tango
Néstor Pinsón

Volcán - “Volcán”, an Arolas’s unpublished tango

ut of his collection of old sheet music, Bruno Cespi handed me some numbers written by renowned composers which, God knows why, never were recorded and, in some cases, were not even published, and only the original manuscripts survived.

With those music sheets I turned to Osvaldo Requena, always sitting at the piano, composing and arranging. I gave him “Volcán” by Eduardo Arolas, composed between 1917 and 1920. What follows is an extremely short summary of his words while he laid his hands on the keyboard.

«¡Arolas!... I have to stand up, he is one of my admired ones. Arolas, like Agustín Bardi, I don’t know how they are missing in the books of some orchestras. They always surprise me, like this “Volcán”, written in Chinese ink. The pure melody is here. It’s an already transcendental Arolas, with its three parts well differentiated. The first one is in F minor, in the second there is already a modulation to F major and, as if this were not enough, he wrote the trio in A flat.

«I confirms what I always say: how difficult is to compose a tango piece! If you look at a jazz lead sheet you see just a «little chorus», in spite of all the respect I have for them... But this discourse is so long, with a sensitivity that allows tango to become a symphonic piece if we change its harmonic structure.

«Look at the start of this tango, nothing else but the melody... We can’t stop, there’s a feeling that you have to go on... For that time it was marvel, for what it suggests for an orchestration and development.»

After my question if early tangos were played staccato and fast, he answered me that only some of them were; the tempo is decided by the player. Most them were like this one, slow and lyrical.