Don Pedro Tango
El choclo Tango
La morocha Tango
León Benarós

Villoldo pays homage to Mascagni

oet, art critic, lawyer and researcher of daily life and the city of Buenos Aires. He is member of the Academia Porteña del Lunfardo.

In 1911, on a visit to Buenos Aires, the noteworthy Italian maestro Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945) conducted his opera Isabeau at the Teatro Coliseo. A little bit later, Ángel Villoldo (1861-1919) paid a popular tribute to the great composer of Cavallería rusticana, publishing the tango “Don Pedro” (instrumental) which Villoldo dedicated «to the eximious Italian maestro Pietro Mascagni» and which Alfredo O. Francalanci published in Buenos Aires, with business address on 1702 Viamonte street.

On the cover of the printed edition, Mascagni appeared when conducting his opera Isabeau, whose score is insinuated on the music stand.

Villoldo's musical personality has not yet been properly recognized. In the pericón nacional which he named “El granadero”, he innovatively introduced into the melody the trot of the squadron's horses. In “Chiflale, que va a venir” (tango), he utilised whistling as a melodic element.

Villoldo did a thousand things to honestly work for a living. He was typographer (with such a trade he is included in an electoral register), cuarteador (a rider who helps vehicles to be dragged uphill), itinerant singer, circus clown, author of lyrics for carnival costumed groups; one-man orchestra (he had devised an implement which made another harmonica hung from his neck, which he played simultaneously with a guitar).

A generous creole, good-natured and friendly man, the publisher Andrés Pérez Cuberes told us that Villoldo went to visit the sick and friends, whom he entertained with his guitar playing.

He entered tango history with compositions so long-lasting as the tangos “El choclo” and “El porteñito”, or the lyrics of “La morocha”, but he was also an interesting writer of spicy popular romances, lively little pictures of the Buenos Aires popular life, published in Caras y Caretas and Fray Mocho.

As an example, here is an excerpt from the one he titled “Los cabreros”, with illustrations by Juan Peláez, which appeared on Fray Mocho, in the Christmas number of 1913:

— Güenas noches, che.
— Pa algunos,
lo qu'es pa mí, no es muy güena.
— ¿Ya empezás con los resongos?
¡Cha digo, que sos cabrera!
— Como que tengo razón.
No se te ve la silueta
desde ayer que t'espiantaste.
— No me vengas con sonseras
que no te llevo el apunta.
Servime pronto la cena
Que traig' un hambre feroz.
— Al momento, su ex... celencia.
— Dejate de retintines
qu'es lo mejor, Magdalena,
pues ya sabés que conmigo
tenés que andar muy derecha,
porque si no, v'a ligarte
sin quererlo, una "miqueta".
— Venís pesao esta noche.
— Vengo... como me convenga.
Hacé lo que t'he mandao
y dejat'e cantileras
mirá que traig' un estrilo
fulminante en la cabeza,
y si seguís machacando
v'a calentarse la mecha
y es fácil de que reviente
la bomba de la pasencia.

Published in the magazine Desmemoria vol. 4 nº 16.